14 Ways to Help Your Athletes Get Recruited

Brooke Rasnick
6 min readMay 17, 2023

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By: Brooke Rasnick — Elevate Athletic Recruiting

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

Track and field has one of the highest participation rates in high school sports.

The same is true in collegiate athletics. There are a significant number of opportunities for track and field and cross country athletes to continue competing at the next level.

As a high school coach, how can you be an asset to your athletes that want to compete in college?

First off, understand most of your actual help in recruiting is going to be behind the scenes. The athlete must take ownership in their own recruiting process. But understand this, before the recruiting process even begins you can make a positive impact.

Indirect Recruiting Help

1.Be an organized, knowledgable and invested track and field coach. The better high school coaches are the more recruitable athletes become. Quality training, limiting injuries, and providing high level competitions are major factors in improving athlete performance. The greatest indicator of college opportunities for an athlete is their personal best marks on the track and competitive finishes for cross country runners.

2. Cooperate with any club/specialty coaches involved. Some of you will stop reading now. I get it, this is a touchy topic. If an athlete has the desire to work with an outside coach, communicate clearly on what your expectations are during the high school season. Before setting your standards, be realistic on if your staff is capable of providing the training and coaching they need. If you aren’t able to cover all the events well, own that. There is no hard and fast protocol on this. Every program dynamic and athlete is different. Understand that battles between high school and private coaches typically only hurt the athletes in the long run.

3. Give athletes opportunities to showcase their talents. Athletes need fresh legs in their primary event to highlight their ability. Have a plan to give them these chances during the season. Team points and relays have value to your team, but athletes that want to compete in college need quality open event marks at good condition meets. Relays splits don’t convert to scholarship money.

4. Make sure their personal best marks are listed on milesplit.com or athletic.net. If a meet director didn’t upload results, find a way to make it happen. Also make sure their profile has the correct graduation year listed.

5. Be easy to find. Make high school coaches’ names and contact information easy to find on your high school website. If we can’t find an athlete on social media we’ll go searching for the coach’s information to get into contact. If we can’t find that easily we may move on if they aren’t a high level recruit.

6. Create an official twitter or instagram account for your team with open DMs. This is another place coaches will go to get in touch with coaches for information on athletes. Follow college track and field coaches in your state and region.

7. Have an understanding which athletes in your program want to compete in college. Ask questions and empower those that have the talent and drive to be successful as a college athlete. Also provide realistic expectations of what it takes at the next level.

8. Encourage athletes to enroll in the necessary classes, maintain quality grades and take a standardized test. Even though the SAT or ACT isn’t required for NCAA eligibility anymore, it is still typically a vital piece for admissions and academic scholarships. Understand the requirements for NCAA Eligibility.

9. If able, build rapport with college coaches. Be honest about current athletes, understand what it takes to be competitive at their level, and be a resource for them if they need insights on the high school system or ways to get in touch with other coaches or athletes outside of your program. When athletes compete in college, help make the transition smooth. If you undermine college coaches, they will be very hesitant to recruit your future athletes. I had a Power 5 coach tell me last week that they would never recruit a future athlete from a certain coach again. Even if that athlete would appear to be a great fit for their program, it wouldn’t be worth dealing with the high school coach. Understand that you can help and you can hinder opportunities for your athletes by your actions as a high school coach.

10.Know your short comings in understanding the recruiting process. Every sport is different and the landscape constantly changes. The majority of high school coaches are less informed than they realize. Direct athletes to a knowledgable recruiting resource.

Direct Recruiting Help

11. If you have multiple athletes interested in competing in college this is an efficient way to help. Email regional college coaches a list of your athletes. This email must be well organized, easy to read, and include the proper information for college coaches. Basic details you may take for granted may not be recognized by a college coach that is new to the area. Don’t use acronyms someone across the country wouldn’t recognize. Make sure you list what state your high school is in.

Organize your athletes by graduation year (use 2024 instead of Junior) and list the most talented first. If these athletes span multiple event areas, send the email to the entire college coaching staff. Don’t send the email to college programs that no one on your team is capable of competing at. This will make you lose credibility. Keep your message simple and don’t forget who your audience is with your messaging.

For each athlete listed include these details:

  • Athlete Name
  • Graduation Year
  • Events and PRs
  • Height/Weight (if it is a positive)
  • Academic (if given clearance to include)
  • Milesplit/Athletic.net Profile Link
  • Email Address
  • Cell Phone Number

12. Post meet highlights tagging your athletes on social media. This increases exposure while also giving coaches a quick avenue to reach out directly to the athlete.

13.Email or call a college coach about an individual athlete that is interested in their school. Make sure you reach out to the correct event coach in that program. With an email about an individual athlete, it’s better to send it to one person than multiple coaches on staff. You’ll have a higher chance of response in this situation. Make sure the athlete is in that program’s recruitable wheel house. If you aren’t sure, ask.

Good email example excerpt: Joe Smith, 2024, has run 2:01 in the 800m this season and is interested in your school. He’s an upstanding young man with a 23 ACT and 3.4 GPA. Is he a recruitable athlete for your program? If not, what performance would he need to achieve to be considered?

Bad email example excerpt: Joe Smith would be a huge asset to your program. He has run 2:01 in the 800m and would already be the 4th best 800m runner on your team as high school junior. He has dreams of being an Olympian. You’ll be disappointed if he isn’t running for you in the future.

Humility goes a long way.

Don’t oversell an athlete. It won’t help either party and will ruin your relationship with that college coach.

Also understand, an email from a coach doesn’t go nearly as far as an email directly from the athlete. Even if you have a long standing relationship with a college coach, make sure your athlete reaches out as well.

14.Don’t get upset if a coach doesn’t offer your athlete an opportunity. So many factors play into recruiting: timing, roster limits, scholarship availability, etc. No one outside of a college program can fully understand why decisions are made a certain way. Accept that and be gracious even when you don’t agree.

Follow this guide and you will increase track and field college opportunities for the young men and women you coach.

Sign up at Elevate Athletic Recruiting for a free track and field specific recruiting newsletter to gain more knowledge about the process and further empower your athletes.

Follow Brooke Rasnick on social media for more recruiting tips. Twitter: @brooke_rasnick — Instagram: @brookerasnick

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