How social media can help your recruiting

Social media can help with self-promotion

Social media can be a great tool for self promotion for your recruiting. I use it everyday to promote players, share ideas, tips and motivational coaches quotes. On several occasions college coaches have connected with me via social media to ask about my PrepStar athletes.

Social media can also help you connect with coaches, player and key people at prospective colleges. Here’s why.

Many college coaches use social media as another recruiting tool. For them, its a good way to find out what kind of person you are just by viewing your social media pages, posts and interactions.

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 12.33.10 PMTwo Reasons to Use Social Media

So, if you don’t have a social media account I recommend that you get one soon. Here are two good reasons a why.

First, social media is a great way to start and keep a recruiting relationship going. But what about the email? Emails definitely have a place in recruiting.  However, connecting with a coach via social media can open the door of opportunity to send the email to tell the coach more about you.  Also, social media is a good way to stay in touch after you’ve gotten to know one another.

Second, NCAA guidelines are a bit vague on the contacting athletes through social media. Texts and emails on the other hand are more regulated and count as a recruiting contact. Use loophole to your advantage advantage.

Lets Review Some Basics

Now, if you want to use social media like Twitter and Facebook to your advantage let’s cover a few basics. Follow these tips and you’re sure to help you use social media to your advantage.

  1. Connect with coaches follow teams to learn about program
  2. Follow college players to collect information, get to know them and learn about the program.
  3. Make your posts interesting. If you put a link, give your follower a reason to want to click the link and find out more about you.
  4. Be wise with the content you post. Don’t post profanity, vulgar or offensive material. And if its on your page delete remove it now!  You want to post content that presents you in a positive way.
  5.  Its not smart to post injuries, failures and absolutely no whining/complaining about a coach or teammates!

    Are you crying? There's no crying in baseball!
    Are you crying? There’s no crying in baseball!

Okay, now that you’ve decided to use social media to your advantage use the social media search menu and started connecting. Also, if you haven’t already, make sure to connect with me on Twitter @michaelwoosley.

Next week, I’ll share some tips on how to get the most out of your social media communications.

Good luck!

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Coach Mike Woosley is a National Scouting Director at CSA-PrepStar.  As a professional collegiate sports scout Mike works with qualified next level student-athletes to find the right college athletic and academic fit. Comments and questions are always welcome.

Early signing day for football could speed up the recruiting process for some and slow it dow for others

Talk of allowing December early signing date for National Letters of Intent for FBS and FCS schools. By the end of the month this matter should be settled following an upcoming vote. ESPN broke the story Monday about the CCA experimenting with new recruiting regulations.

Currently, there no early signing date for collegiate football program. However, most other collegiate sports except soccer and mens’ water polo have early signing date the second week of November. This new regulation can take effect as early as 2016 with a review coming after two year of experimenting with the new rule.

NLI signing dates could undergo a monumental change following an upcoming vote of FBS and FCS representatives.
NLI signing dates could undergo a monumental change following an upcoming vote of FBS and FCS representatives.

So, how will an early signing date affect Senior football players hoping to get to the next level?

First, it means for some players recruiting will speed up while for others it will slow down. Secondly, collegiate hopefuls will have to rethink they way they approach the college recruiting process both athletically and academically.

Here’s a general breakdown of what to anticipate.

Undoubtably, recruiting will speed up for prospects that are high on the recruiting boards. These athletes will be identified much earlier and recruited with more intensity. We can count of this because college coaches will need to be more aggressive with blue-chip players to make sure another school doesn’t steal them away.

As a result, this intense focus will cause recruiting to slow down for prospects that aren’t primary targets for the December declaration day. These prospects will likely experience a lag in communication with college coaches. Make no mistake, college coaches will benefit from the additional time permitted by the early signing date to pick and choose the most ideal player, or players, to fill the remaining roster spots. But for the rest, this process might become tedious and perhaps stressful.

So where do we go from here? Simple. Recruiting exposure needs to start earlier and athletes will have to be on top of their core courses and ACT/SAT tests to make sure they are early academic qualifiers.

Most certainly, athletes must be on the coach’s recruiting radar by the Sophomore year to get a pen and paper placed before them in December. Furthermore, athletes will need more aggressive with their strategy to get seen, scouted and recruited. Clearly, the advantage goes to players able to play at the varsity level as underclassmen, who take the initiative to get quality recruiting exposure and perform well in the classroom.

In the end, while the vote has yet to be cast, it is expected to pass. So athletes better start preparing for it.

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Coach Mike Woosley is a National Scouting Director at CSA-PrepStar.  As a professional collegiate sports scout Mike works with qualified next level student-athletes to find the right college athletic and academic fit. Comments and questions are always welcome.

Twitter: @michaelwoosley

Tips on how to communicate with college coaches 

“Who dis?”

That’s an actual text response I recently received from a high school athlete.  Immediately, I knew that this young man was going to have issues communicating with college coaches. And in recruiting how you communicate is just as important as how you perform on the field.

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When you talk with a coach your resume is your athletic and academic accomplishments, but what’s going to put you at the top of the list is how sell yourself during the interview.

Most athletes don’t understand that meeting a college coach is much like a job interview. To state it simply, the coach has a open position in his organization and he’s looking for the best candidate to fill that position. So treat your visit like you would a job interview. Your resume is your athletic and academic accomplishments, but what’s going to put you at the top of the list is how sell yourself during the interview.

You want to leave a positive impression. So here are four tips that you need to know. 

1) Use proper English. Coaches take their job seriously, they also look for serious players. Demonstrate that you are articulate and intelligent (if you don’t know what those works mean get a thesaurus!)

2) Dress for success. Leave the warm-ups at home. Dress nicely and wear a tie. Don’t worry about standing out. After all, that’s what you are there for.

3) Separate yourself from the pack. Sheep run in a flock so they don’t get eaten, lions roam alone to hunt down their prey! When everyone else is goofing off, keep in mind that your there for one reason; to get noticed and get a scholarship!

4) Be confident when you respond to questions. Rehearse your responses to questions that a coach may ask. Teams practice so that they are prepared for whatever may come during game-time.  Anticipate questions that revolve around your strengths, weaknesses, concept of team, individual goals, work ethic, and responsibility.

Remember, the objective is to leave the interview confident that you left a good impression.  Certainly, don’t put yourself in a position where you walk away wishing you would have said or did something differently.

Good luck on your upcoming interview.

Coach Mike

Coach Mike Woosley is a National Scouting Director at CSA-PrepStar.  As a professional collegiatecropped-main_logo-12.jpg sports scout Mike works with qualified next level student-athletes to find the right college athletic and academic fit. Comments and questions are always welcome.

Twitter: @michaelwoosley

The Courtship of College Recruiting

 

This summer my wife and I will mark our 18th year of beginning together (married for 16 years).  Believe it or not, however, when I first met my wife she did not immediately start dating me. It’s hard to imagine, I know, but we went through several months of courtship before we committed to dating exclusively. Dating and recruiting are a lot alike. There is always a period of time that it takes for a coach and player to get to know one another before making a formal commitment to spend the next 4 years together.

 

During the recruiting process the relationship developed between a player and coach leads to great commitment.
During the recruiting process the relationship developed between a player and coach leads to great commitment.

 

So, how does dating relate to recruiting?  I’ve outline three steps to communication to grow a solid player/coach recruiting relationship. During that time lots of communication should happen to grow the relationship. Take note, because there are several similarities in process of getting to know the person you’re going to be committed to for the next 4 years.

 

The first step is to get to know one another. Whether its text, email, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or SnapChat athletes and coaches need to communicate with one another. Don’t be timid! Healthy relationships grow out of quality conversations. Its okay to be forward, often a coach expresses his/her interests first starting the recruiting communication process by contacting an athlete, viewing their profile or sending an athlete (or family) written correspondence.

 

The second step is to ask questions. You should ask questions to get the information you are looking for. Keep in mind that you are interviewing a coach, just as much as the coach is interviewing you. Your decision to accept a scholarship offer is contingent on the answers to your questions. Also, keep in mind, coaches solidify relationships by making scholarship offers to players they are comfortable with and confident in.

 

The third step is to schedule a meeting. Eventually the time will come to decide whether or not to take the relationship to the next level. Real dates happen face to face, not via technology, so its necessary that a time to meet is scheduled. This can be a campus visit, camp, or meeting at your school/home. Point is the communication you’ve had with the coach will determine the chemistry (or lack of) at the face to face meeting.

 

Lastly, always keep in mind that every relationship takes time. So my advice to you is to give yourself plenty of time to start and grow that relationship. This is a vital because we are well aware that relationships that happen in a hurry often end in a hurry. If you want the relationship between you and your coach to last, you need to invest the time necessary to assure that it will last.

 

Coach Mike Woosley is a National Scouting Director at CSA-PrepStar.  As a professional collegiatecropped-main_logo-12.jpg sports scout Mike works with qualified next level student-athletes to find the right college athletic and academic fit. Comments and questions are always welcome.

 

 

Athletic scholarship offer…what you can do to create that contact moment

Every athlete aspiring to play at the college level dreams of the moment they meet the head coach and get offered an athletic scholarship. But when can this moment happen? The NCAA has specific guidelines regarding recruiting. We’ve all heard of recruiting violations occurring resulting in sanctions on both the athlete and college program. To answer the question, this moment most often happens during the recruiting contact period.

College recruiting regulations can be hard to figure out without someone to help direct you through the process. That’s a big part of my responsibility to you. Sometimes it helps to define and break down these rules so they are easier to understand. One rule is the contact period rule.

By definition provided by the NCAA Guide for College-Bound Student Athletes, a for prospective collegiate student-athletes contact period is the time frame where, “a college coach may have in-person contact with an prospective student-athletes and/or his or her parents on or off the college’s campus. The coach may also watch prospective student-athletes play or visit their high school. Athletes and parents may visit a college campus and the coach may write and telephone prospective student athletes during this period.”*

Breakdown of the rule

So what does that mean? Here’s the breakdown in simple terms.

  • Basically, the contact period is the only recruiting period where a college coach can both evaluate and communicate with a player.
    • This is important to know because other recruiting periods have greater contact restrictions.
  • Prospective Student Athletes (PSA’s) and college coaches can talk to one another on or off campus.
    • Specifically Junior and Seniors
  • Coaches can evaluate players by watching games or practices.
    • This includes underclassmen as well. Its a great opportunity to catch a coaches eye!
  • Contact with PSA can be made through phone, letter, email, text, and social media.
    • Underclassmen will only receive school info as noted in my previous blog.
  • PSA’s can take unofficial and official college visits during the contact period
    • Mostly, upperclassmen take advantage of the allotted visits.

A few other important notes. Contact periods are the least restricted of of the four recruiting periods. For many juniors and senior athletes this is also time where scholarship are offered, agreements are drawn up and athletes make commitments to colleges. So, this goes to show how important it is to start the recruiting process no later than Sophomore year!

Here are a sports in the midst of, or upcoming, contact periods.

  • Softball – January 2 through July 31, 2015
  • Baseball– March 1 through July 31, 2015
  • Football – November 30, 2014, through March 9, 2015
  • Basketball– November 14, 2014 through March 31, 2015

Finally, student-athletes and parents do your part to create that contact moment happen by making sure your Prepstar profile is up to date. Be sure that all contact numbers, email addresses and home addresses are current. Highlight film or skills videos should also be loaded on the site…remember multiple films can be uploaded on the Prepstar profile page. Finally, do not neglect academic information. Be sure that your most recent GPA, test scores (ACT, SAT) recorded and PDF copies of important documents are included in your academic section. Contact me immediately if you need help!

All this is to insure that the coaches evaluating your son/daughter have all the necessary information to make that contact moment a reality.

Signing Day Is About More Than Signatures

February is a month of important dates. Most dates on the calendar people know; Super Bowl (Feb 1), Valentines’ Day (Feb 14), Presidents Day (Feb 16). But, for most senior student athletes there is one very important day in February … Signing Day!

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Signing Day is also known in the athletic world as the day athletes sign their National Letter of Intent. It is the day when verbal commitments between college coaches and student-athletes become solidified thanks to a well executed recruiting strategy.  (Tip- verbal are not binding until you sign on the dotted lines. College coaches and student-athletes are notorious for verbally committing to more than one college or student-athlete..thus the hats:)

Here’s a quick review of the NLI Signing Day

What is a National Letter of Intent?
A National Letter of Intent is signed by a college-bound student-athlete when the student-athlete agrees to attend a Division I or II college or university for one academic year.  Division 3 and Junior Colleges (JUCO) do not have formal signing days (yet). The NLI is a binding agreement between Participating institutions agree to provide financial aid for one academic year to the student-athlete as long as the student-athlete is enrolled in classes and academically eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules.

Off Limits
When a student athlete signs his or her National Letter of Intent ends the recruiting process and competing schools are prohibited from recruiting that student-athlete.

Change Your Mind

Once a student-athlete signs a National Letter of Intent she or he may request a release from his or her contract with the school. If a student-athlete signs a National Letter of Intent with one school but enrolls in a different college or university, she or he will lose one full year of eligibility. To be athletically eligible the student-athlete must complete a full academic year at their new school before being allowed to compete.

Different Signing Days for Different Sports

Signing day varies by sport. The reason for this is because some spring sports like baseball, softball and track do not conclude until after February 4. Signing day for different sports is April 15. I posted the chart to reference.

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Chart provided by the National Letter of Intent homepage

Good luck to all the senior student-athletes signing to play college ball next year at the college or university of their choice.

 

 

Coach Mike Woosley is a National Scouting Director at CSA-PrepStar.  As a professional collegiatecropped-main_logo-12.jpg sports scout Mike works with qualified next level student-athletes to find the right college athletic and academic fit.

Proof that Stats Matter

Geometry and Sports

Anyone remember learning how to do proofs in Geometry class? For some of us learning proofs may have happened a long time ago. We learned how to write proofs to show the progressional steps of our work and prove how we arrived at the correct answer. In recruiting it is necessary that you have accurate facts if you are an athletes looking to catch the eye of a coach. Accurate statistical information is an invaluable assets to the recruiting process. Game stats, like proofs, are a series of facts that prove the correct solution to the problem a college coach is looking to solve.

 Stats as a Coaching Tool

Unfortunately, too many high-school coaches do a poor job of keeping and posting accurate stats. When scouting prospective college athletes, I see it everyday. One reason I suspect that coaches don’t keep and post accurate stats is simple; stats can highlight a player’s weakness. A lot of coaches are sympathetic to the athlete and don’t want to make them feel bad about their overall performance. But, good coaching is about helping players accentuate their strengths and work on their weaknesses so that they become strengths!

 

Glossary of baseball statistics.
Glossary of baseball statistics.

Overall, I believe good coaching includes keeping accurate stats because these stats help players become better players! Ultimately, a coach that does not post stats doesn’t help his/her players and consequently does a great deal of harm to the athletes’ prospect status.

 Proofs that Stats Matter

Here are three reasons why stats matter.

  1. First, stats indicate ability to perform. Some athletes are blessed with size or speed. Other athletes have to rely on stats to prove that they have the ability to compete and excel at a high competitive level.
  2. Second, stats provide proof of progress. When an athlete is working on their game stats tend to improve. College coaches use stats to see how you’ve improved your game from week to week and season to season.
  3. Third, stats show strengths and weaknesses. Athletes need to be driven to improve so stats highlight areas to work on. For example, if a batting average that progressively rises shows that you’ve been working on hitting. Or your goal count increases from one season to the next indicates that you’ve been working in the off-season to be more offensively aggressive.

 Stats Show You are the Solution

All in all, stats leave a trail for college coaches to follow to determine if you are the athlete they are looking for. Like your high school geometry teacher grading the steps to your answer college coaches are looking to find players to be solution to their problems. So without accurate, thorough and up-to-date stats college coach may never be able to determine if you are the solution.

Share the Responsibility of Stats

One final word to parents. Most coaches, high school or club, aren’t lazy they have many other responsibility than recording and posting game stats. Many coaches have a profession, teach classes, grade papers and try to maintain family life on top of all the team responsibilities. So, if your high school coach doesn’t post stats parents please step-up and offer to help! It just may make a difference in a student-athlete being passed over and a student-athlete presented with an opportunity for an athletic scholarship.

 

 

Coach Mike Woosley is a National Scouting Coordinator at CSA-PrepStar. As a professional collegiate cropped-main_logo-12.jpgsports scout Mike works with qualified next level student-athletes to  find the right college athletic and academic fit.