The college recruiting process can be a stressful and overwhelming (and exciting!) time for female high school basketball players, especially if you are unsure how to go about the recruitment process. Here is a list of my top 5 tips to get recruited to the school of your dreams!
1. Get in the gym
Dreams don’t work unless you do. If you aren’t putting the proper work in off the court, it’s unlikely that colleges will take interest in you. As blunt as it may sound, it's the reality. The best players are typically the best players for a reason - they are the hardest working. If you want to earn a scholarship and play post secondary, you have to be not only talented, but deserving. What's done in the dark will come to light come recruiting time - and if you've been putting in the proper work to make yourself into an elite player, schools will take notice! Cream always rises to the top!
2. Join a travel team
Joining a travel team is essential when it comes to getting recruited. Whether it's provincial, club, or AAU - getting into the travel circuit will exponentially boost your chances of getting seen and recruited by colleges (for me, that was Basketball BC and Canada Basketball). Scouts and colleges gather to watch summer ball during their off seasons, which is why you want to still be competing, not only during your school season. Club becomes even more necessary if you are from a small town, if you want to play in the states, cross country, or have dreams of playing pro one day. Exposure is key! Thanks to the multitude of club teams that are available now, there are many possibilities to choose from - so take advantage! If you don't make one team, try out for another one! I would suggest getting involved as early as possible (I started provincial at U15 - which is now almost considered "late.") Joining a travel team in the summer will not only lead you to opportunity, but will also greatly improve your game and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime!
3. Use your resources
So, maybe you don't have schools knocking down your door, or maybe you have a specific school/team that you know you want to go/play for. That just means might have to do a little bit of extra work. There is absolutely nothing wrong with putting yourself out there and reaching out to a program that you are interested in. Be proactive! If there is a school that you're really interested in, send the coach or athletic director an email introducing yourself and expressing your interest (attach some game tape for good measure). Also, think about who you know - sometimes, a simple connection you didn't even know you had could help you get your foot in the door. If any of your previous coaches, teammates, or trainers, know anyone or play(ed) for the program you're interested in, ask them if they would feel comfortable reaching out and putting in a good word for you. You could even go visit the school in person to show how interested you are (give them a heads up to make sure they know you're coming). If you are serious about getting a scholarship, do the little things that others aren’t willing to do.
[Quick note: make sure you are being honest with yourself about what division level is realistic for your abilities through this process - dreaming big is great but be realistic as well!]
4. Have game tape
Not only your highlights, but full game tape. Find a couple of your best games of the season, and have them ready to send off (best games = best all around games, not just scoring - this means defence, rebounding, assists, steals, hustle plays, decision making, moving without the ball etc. if you score 30 but your check also has 30, coaches will take notice). Highlight tapes are good to have, but most college coaches are going to want to see full game tape. It's easy to make someone look good in a highlight real - we see this in the oversaturated market on Instagram - but full game footage will expose your true strengths and weaknesses and and give coaches a realistic sense of who you truly are as a player.
5. Trust the process
Be persistent. Keep e-mailing, keep calling, keep working hard, keep trusting in your game. At the end of the day, not every school is going to want you. You could be a phenomenal player, but maybe the team isn't looking for your position, maybe the team is already full of underclassmen, or maybe your style of play just isn't the right fit for that program. And that's okay. Don't let that discourage you from other opportunities that are just over the horizon. When one door closes, another door opens and what's meant for you will not pass you!
The college recruiting process can be a nerve wracking time and will look different for everyone. For some, offers may come flying in and for others, more heavy lifting may be required. Because everyone will have a different experience, it's important not to compare and focus on your own journey. Control what you can control - leave the rest up to the universe and what fate has in store for you. If you continue to do all the above and strive daily to be the basketball player you can be, you will be in a great position to get the scholarship that you want!