Starting the Athletic Recruiting Process Early

Instructor: Christopher Sailus

Chris has an M.A. in history and taught university and high school history.

In the athletic recruiting process, it's important to get started early. The tips provided in this lesson will help you hit the ground running and maximize your chances of receiving a scholarship.


Do you watch sports on television? Whether you are a fan of baseball, football, or something less mainstream like swimming or figure skating, everyone who has ever competed in sports dreams of making it to the big time. It's a long process, and in most sports in the United States, one of the more difficult stages is the recruiting process, when college coaches watch, scout, speak with, and offer scholarships to potential players.

The recruiting process requires finesse and some knowledge about how recruiting occurs in your sport of choice. If your end goal is an athletic scholarship, it is important to get acquainted with recruiting and get the ball rolling early. This lesson will give you some helpful tips and point you in the right direction.


Like most long-term projects, whether you are writing a book or trying to gain an athletic scholarship, you need to start by doing some research. This means checking out what it takes to make it at the next level and what kind of scholarships are available to you.

How many colleges field teams in your sport? How hard is it to get a scholarship? Are all scholarships full scholarships? Do the schools you like need players at your position? What is recruiting like? Do coaches often come to your games, or do you have to make first contact with coaches?

These are all important questions that can help you decide how to begin the recruiting process. There are lots of resources online that can help you with these questions: from lessons here at, to athletic department pages, to recruiting-specific web sites.

Sign Up

Recruiting, especially in major sports, has taken off as an industry in its own right in the past generation. There are websites and services that can help you improve your visibility as a potential recruit. Make sure you sign up for these web sites and create a profile. You can use those profiles to advertise yourself throughout the recruiting process by uploading videos, posting your stats, and connecting with people connected to the programs where you want to play.

There are also recruiting services you can hire to help you in the recruiting process. See what is available in your sport--and the prices they charge--to see if you think a recruiting service would help you in the process.

Be Known

The most important thing you need to do early in the recruiting process is make sure college coaches know who you are. After all, it is pretty difficult to recruit a player you don't even know about!

Though many people think college coaches have scouts everywhere looking for top athletes, this is really only the case in the highest profile sports like football, baseball, or basketball. If you play one of these other sports, you will need to do some work to get on their radar.

You can talk to your current coaches who may know coaches at the next level, or you may be able to call athletic departments directly. If your research highlighted any top tournaments where coaches recruit, make sure you are on a team which is playing in one of those.

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