I write a lot about the different stories I hear from athletes that I talk to. They vary from story to story but this helps me continue to get a feel for the recruiting process and what athletes are thinking. Something that I have been hearing frequently lately is athletes getting recruiting attention from smaller schools but saying that they think they want to play at the scholarship level.
While this does seem to be an ongoing theme from athletes of all different sports, many people (And athletes as well) have a high opinion of themselves. They may be getting Division III and NAIA attention but in their mind, they are a Division I or II player. The question is what should an athlete do if they really think they are better than the colleges that are recruiting you?
For the sake of playing both sides of the card, lets say you really are an exceptional athlete who is better than those at the Division III and NAIA levels. What you will need to do is go through the second and third steps of The Five Steps to a Scholarship Offer and look for bigger programs that fit what you are looking for. Getting your name out is always huge during the recruiting process.
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There may be a hundred different reasons why you were unable to get your name out earlier. They could include missing time your junior year, being unable to go to/afford summer camps, or having an outstanding player ahead of you in the lineup. Things like this happen everywhere so it should come as no surprise. Let me stress while it is harder to find a school with only a breakout senior season, it can happen.
On the other side of the equation is the fact that you really may only be of the Division III and NAIA level. What you have to realize is that these are very good players in their sport. Some high school athletes think that just because they put up big numbers at their small high school, they are going to stand out right away. The fact is that is not usually the case. These are hard working athletes and many high schoolers don’t understand how good they really are.
If you want to get a true evaluation, don’t but what recruiters, scouts, are evaluators are trying to sell you. I have seen so many low to mid major Division I players end up in Division III basketball it is sick. These evaluators watch you for ten minutes and try to get a quick feel for your game. Once that ten minutes is over, for the good or the bad, they move on to watch another kid. So don’t buy the hype that they are selling you.
The place to go is to your high school coach and possibly any other coaches in the area who do not have a bias involved. Unfortunately, asking your mom or dad (Unless they are college coaches) will not do the trick. And with a situation I have seen recently, even a dad as a college coach does not take the bias out of his eyes for his son.
Although some high school coaches may not really know, it would be good to at least ask them and get an opinion. If they believe you above that level (Which many will say you are because the coaches are bias as well), ask them to help you get your name out to coaches at this level. Again, I have seen many high school coaches feel a player can go Division II and he or she end up at the Division III ranks. It just happens.
As an athlete, the first step I would take is talking to your coaches. If they feel you are above that, then it is time to market yourself. The hardest thing is being realistic about your talent and what level you can play.