At what age is recruiting necessary?
It depends on the level of the athlete. Top athletes can be recognized as early as 8th grade.
Some freshman are highly recruited but not many.
Sophomore year recruiting begins for a lot of players simply because schools are offering scholarships so much earlier than a few years ago. If your daughter is a top athlete in her class she will begin the process her sophomore year. If she is a mid-top level athlete she will begin the recruiting process sophomore year too, but without any real urgency.
Junior year is a big year for college recruiting because colleges can finally talk with the athletes via email and they have a good sense of where their program is and what their needs are. This is the year to get serious if you were not highly recruited your sophomore year.
Senior year is a huge recruiting year as well because many schools have scholarships left and are trying to complete their roster for the upcoming season.
What should my daughter's club do to help her with recruiting?
They should have a recruiting coordinator who understands the recruiting process and can help you and your daughter understand the different aspects of the process. The recruiting coordinator should also be able to represent your daughter with college coaches so she is being properly portrayed to schools and given the opportunity be noticed.
They should provide consistent training and facilities so your daughter can succeed at practice on a weekly basis.
They should provide the opportunity to play at local and national tournaments so your daughter can be seen by college coaches.
They should provide you with information on how and what to do to help your daughter find the right school and get a college scholarship if applicable.
What should my daughter' club coach do to help with recruiting?
The number 1 thing your daughters club coach should do is coach your daughter. He/She should help her to become a better and stronger player – technically, competitively and mentally.
Explain to your daughter what college coaches are looking for in a recruit – field hockey aptitude (skill and understanding of the game), athleticism, potential, and position specific ability. But also, college coaches want recruits who are mentally tough, competitive, work hard, have a good attitude, are coachable, have good relationships with their teammates and coaches, are consistent in their play and approach, go to all the practices and are a team player!
Make the team the best they can be because your daughter will play to her potential on a team that functions well.
Talk to college coaches about your daughters ability when they inquire or call. College coaches will initiate most of this contact, but for certain players the club coach will need to call or approach a collegiate coach that they player wants to talk to.
If you're not a top level recruit – the coach needs to talk to college coaches about your abilities and help to build interest in you. He/she also needs to talk to you about your strengths and weaknesses, what level you want to play at, and talk about realistic goals and then working together to achieve them.
Why is recruiting so complicated?
It's a business like any other and in a competitive field everyone wants to recruit the best athletes. Therefore it is a process that requires a lot of evaluation by both the coach and the player, and a lot of negotiation and decision making that can get rather complex.
Having said that, don't be afraid of the recruiting process and looking foolish from time to time. The only way to win at the recruiting process is through trial and error. Talk to coaches on the phone, go visit schools, go watch teams play, and ask a lot of questions!
The best thing to do is really think about what you're looking for and try to find it. It's also helpful to keep an open mind and be willing to try something new! There are a lot of schools in the west, mid-west, and back east that have good programs and want to recruit good players from California. There are a lot of scholarships to be had; they're just not all in California!
Should I trust college coaches?
Yes and No. Get a feel for the coach and go with your instinct about whether to trust him or her. This is why you need to ask a lot of questions! Don't just listen to everything they say!
College coaches obviously like the school and the program they are apart of so they are going to speak positively about it. Unfortunately, we don't all have the same preferences so what might be right for someone else might not be right for you. This is why I encourage you to get out there and see for yourself!
How many schools should I pursue?
It's different for everyone. Eventually every recruit narrows it down to 3-5 schools. However, in the beginning of the process you may have 20-30 schools that you're interested in. However, I think for all recruits, a realistic amount after some homework is 10.
What if a school is interested in me, and I'm not interested in them?
Make sure you're really NOT interested before telling them. You do want to let schools know if you're not interested but you want to keep your options open too. So be thoughtful.
Send them an email and say, "thank you for your interest but I am not interested in your program at this time. If something changes I will let you know."