There is No Magic Formula to Recruiting

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There is no pulling a commitment out of a hat...there is no amount of abra cadabras that will get you an offer from the college of your dreams. No concoction of # of calls + # of emails + # of times you hit, set or pass a ball that turns into the 'magic formula' that brings the magical commitment.

Committing to a college is all about the right match both from a physical & academic standpoint. It is about the right timing and often about the right numbers. The numbers of scholarships available, the number of positions that are needed in your graduating year, the number of transfers that may affect you being recruited by the school(s) you are targeting. The number of athletes that are competing for the same position at the same school at the same time. Then, it's the ever changing opportunities on a weekly basis. What was a zero opportunity school yesterday, could become a multiple opportunity school tomorrow.

Let's simplify what seems to become a complicated juggling act of numbers and actions and turn them into a few logical and simple steps.

Step 1: Self-Evaluation – know where you can play at the next level. If you don't know, ask your club coach, high school coach, club director and/or recruiting coordinator. Finding the right offer and the right fit starts with knowing yourself. Not only do you need to be honest about your athletic abilities and skills but also it takes some self-discovery in the area of academics and knowing how far you want to be from home.

Step 2: Communication – Build a target list of schools based upon your level of play, academic interests and ideal location. Then voila' – it's time to start communicating. Send intro emails to coaches (be brief) and share a few highlights of who you are both as an athlete and a student. Share some interesting facts about your season or high school life. Don't just communicate who you are as an athlete – that is what you do! It is not who you are – be creative and get their attention by sharing some interests outside of your sport. Never forget to invite a coach to come watch your team play! Don't forget to send video with your email...coaches are 11X more likely to come watch you play if you do!

Step 3: Information Gathering - It is okay to ask a coach exactly where they are at with their needs and where you are on their list. If they only have (1) position available for your graduating year and there are 10 athletes on their list and you are not in the top 5, it might be time to move on. Stay in contact in case things change but do not put all of your efforts into one option 'hoping' for things to change. Keep moving forward!

Recruiting does take perseverance along with patience and throw in a dash of commitment and a strong work ethic to the mix. It also takes a support system that includes your parents, club personnel, high school coaches and teachers. To coin a much used and old phrase – 'it literally takes a village'.

There is no waving a 'magic wand' and instantly achieving your dreams. The reality is that the magic happens when you labor, sweat and shed tears to overcome adversity with the end result of achieving your goals.

In closing, I want to share a genuine story about one of our student-athletes at Munciana that recently committed to play collegiate volleyball in April. The story of her perseverance began in her middle school years. Our club director, Wes Lyon shared this testament of the beauty of her unstoppable spirit, which he witnessed first-hand as he led the summer camps. This young girl signed up for EVERY camp we offered to middle school athletes that summer. She came in early and stayed late, always giving it everything she had. Never having played volleyball prior to stepping in our gym, she was determined to learn all she could from our coaches that summer. At the end of the session, she proudly declared that all she hoped for was to 'make her 6th grade team' that fall. It quickly dawned on Wes that her school did not have a 6th grade team. That did not stop this young athlete...determination and work ethic led her to making the 7th grade team as a 6th grader. She has never looked back... she embraced reality, communicated her goals and dreams, persevered and embodied an unstoppable work ethic.

Now that's truly Magical!

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About the Author

Patty Costlow is the Recruiting Coordinator for Munciana Volleyball, a long time JVA member club located in Muncie, Indiana.


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