College coaches are looking for the best athletes they can find. So, they reach out to a lot of them, talk to a few, and eventually offer scholarships to just a small fraction. This is known as the recruiting funnel.
Coaches start with a huge sample of recruits but narrow their scholarship offers down to very few. Even a phone call is no guarantee. Roughly 1 in 20 athletes that receive a phone call from a coach ever play for that coach.
That’s why understanding the funnel and knowing what you can do to make sure you stay in it greatly increase your chances of landing an athletic scholarship. You have to realize that nothing in the recruiting process is handed to you. But, just like on the playing field or court, hard work and determination can provide a big payoff.
How do you survive the funnel? Remember these key points.
- Realize that the recruiting process is a two-way street. It’s not just about coaches getting in touch with you, you also have to reach out to them. Make phone call and send letters and emails to coaches you want to play for. Coaches want athletes who take initiative.
- Stay humble. Remember that there are thousands of other athletes out there that are just as good or better than you. Make it a point to work harder than other athletes during the recruiting process.
An Example of the Recruiting Funnel in Football
- A college football coaching staff sends out 10,000 to 15,000 letters and they watch 1,000 to 2,000 videos.
- They make only 500 phone calls to potential recruits.
- They verbally offer between 65 and 200 scholarships and extend up to 85 offers for official visits.
- They finally only sign a maximum of 25 players each year.
A True Story About the Recruiting Funnel
Chris was a standout football player in high school and received plenty of letters and interest from college coaches. When he was a junior he noticed that his friends were making college visits, committing to schools and getting scholarships. But he wasn’t.
Chris didn’t know about the recruiting funnel, and he thought that the multitude of letters he was getting early in high school meant that he’d have a spot on a college football team waiting for him. He was wrong.
What did Chris do wrong? For one, he wasn’t proactive enough and didn’t express interest in schools by contacting coaches and sending letters. Also, he didn’t realize that he was just one of roughly 15,000 athletes getting the same letters from colleges.
The good news is that Chris realized his mistakes and went into high gear. He called and wrote as many coaches as he could and eventually landed a scholarship at Vanderbilt.
“Chris” is Chris Krause, the founder of NCSA. He now spends his life making sure that no athlete misses their chance the way he almost did. The recruiting process is tough to understand, but once you learn how it works, there’s no excuse not to make the right moves.
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