To best understand the process, let’s begin by starting from the coaches’ point of view.
College coaches will tell you that they always know the right player for their program when they see it, so frankly this comes down to the athlete knowing themselves as a player more than anything. When coaches say that they know the right recruit when they see it, what they really mean is that this particular recruit’s skill set matches the system or vision the coach has for their program.
Some NCAA teams are all about speed so coaches look for someone who can sprint, while other teams are all about ball possession and strategy so they care more about a recruit’s stamina and leadership potential. However, while differences in recruiting approach exist between programs, there are a few things that almost every college scout or coach will pay attention to: effort, attitude, and consistency.
Every player will make a bad play, or even have a bad game, and that’s okay. It’s important to remember that a coach is looking to bring a player in for four years, not just one game, so coaches are looking for a player who can bounce back after making mistakes, a player that goes full speed no matter the situation. At the end of the day, NCAA coaches treat their players like sons and daughters, so scouts are looking to bring in players that can step in and not only produce, but join their family.
It might seem trivial, but college coaches will always watch practices and walkthroughs before a game. If they see a potential recruit just slouching his way through warm-ups or not taking the stretching seriously, they will immediately cross that player off the list. In the NCAA, everyone is athletic, so winning is derived from attitude and commitment. If you are lucky enough to speak to a coach who is recruiting you, always be respectful and never take the fact that they are talking to you for granted.
There are hundreds if not thousands of other athletes that would love to be in your position, so as much as being recruited is about being a self-promoter, it’s important to stay humble and focused. You never know who is watching.