When playing athletics at the high school level, it may not be the reason you do it but receiving postseason honors is nice recognition. It may be All State, All Conference, or even All District honors but I know that all athletes love reading their name on those lists.
However, there are many things that these postseason awards will not do for you. Some athletes think that being a first team All Stater means you will be a Division I player and up getting a scholarship. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
To start, what exactly will major postseason honors do for you in the athletic recruiting process? The first thing it does is what I call recruiting street cred. What I mean by this is that college coaches will take notice of you at least in their recruiting databases early because many use All State and All Conference lists (especially for the extremely large conferences).
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The reason I call it recruiting street cred is that in order to be named All State, it is pretty obvious that you must have some skill. You may play in the smallest class in your state but earning major honors like that means you have some ability. Because good college coaches want to cover all bases with recruits, regardless of their size or level of play, they should at least send you a questionnaire looking for more information. Obviously a questionnaire is not going to get you a scholarship offer right away but your foot is at least in the door with the college.
You can also use your recruiting street cred as a major selling point to out of state colleges when sending out your recruiting profile. In this example, we are going to say that all of the major colleges in-state are competent enough to put you in their recruiting databases after you wrap up an All State season. You want to keep your options open so you make sure to include FIRST TEAM ALL STATE in bold and caps on your recruiting profile. Again, college coaches will view that as this kid can play so they will likely at least look further into your abilities and skills.
What is very difficult for parents is when athletes get scholarships after not getting any postseason honors. They believe that if their kid got first team All Conference and an eventual Division I athlete got second team All Conference, that it isn’t right and their son is better. Throw the bias out the window here (which is impossible as a parent so don’t even try) and realize that the second team All Conference selection has more size, strength, speed, or something else that a college coach is looking for.
Recently I heard a story regarding a kicker who had a really strong leg but was never accurate. That accuracy was so bad that a senior started in front of him when he was a junior. All told, this athlete only was able to kick one ball during that year. During the off-season, he continued working hard and shined at summer camps. The kicker for the rival school, who actually started as a junior, was extremely mad about it and felt that the other athlete stole his scholarship. Situations like this come up all the time and that is why I have stressed to never compare yourself to other athletes. And especially don’t compare your kids to other athletes.
In the end, I have seen many, many, many situations where postseason honors didn’t mean much. Recently, I saw two linemen (one received honorable mention All Conference and the other nothing) end up with multiple Division I scholarship offers from throughout the country. Outside of feeling a little sense of accomplishment and getting some recruiting street cred, postseason honors do not mean anything.
So if you have received postseason honors, you should have a foot in the door with colleges. For those that have not, you may need to spend a little more time working on the marketing aspect of recruiting but if you are good enough, then you will be fine. Everything in the athletic recruiting process boils down to having the skills college coaches are looking for.