Athletes believing that attention and letters equal a scholarship offer and why this is not a great way to think

I recently had an opportunity to speak with a basketball recruit about what college programs had been showing him interest.  This talented athlete is very gifted but he just wrapped up his freshman year on the court.  For the record, let me state that he obviously is very young and early into the recruiting process. 

This player has had a lot of success while growing up in hoops but he seemed to believe that because a school sends you a letter, there is a good chance that he will have an opportunity to go there.  This unfortunately is the mindset of many athletes and parents who go through the recruiting process. 

I have mentioned this before but even when I was in high school, I had no idea about the recruiting process.  It has taken me over a decade to figure out what real recruiting is and how athletes can actually help themselves during the process.  That is obviously why I started and maintain this site. 

But for this athlete, he mentioned two schools sending mail and made it sound like he will eventually have his pick between the programs.  A letter means very little in the athletic recruiting process.  All it shows is that the school has some how found your name and added it to their recruiting database. 

Many schools start with database that is in the thousands and eventually whittle it down to recruits that end up signing with them.  In order to be one of the athletes who sign a Division I Letter of Intent, you have to be among the best of the best and excelled throughout your career. 

What this athlete needs to realize is that there is a lot more work to be done if you are just receiving letters.  I would assume that the majority of readers out there are currently at that stage.  They have received letters but that is it right now.  So what should you be doing?

Have you gone/are you going to summer football camps?  Are you on an AAU/club team?  Did you line up showcases for baseball/softball?  There are a number of things that you need to be doing outside of the regular workouts and lifting.  These camps, select teams, and showcases are can help you get your name out there and showcase your skills in front of college coaches. 

If your goal is to play Division I athletics, than the initial letters you receive don’t mean a whole lot.  What you need to be working for is not excelling at the high school level.  It is being good enough to receive scholarship offers from college coaches.  And that takes a great deal of hard work, a little luck, and impressing the right coach.  All you need to do is find one coaching staff that likes you to play at the Division I level. 

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