The following are books about the college athletic recruiting process that I’ve actually read. Just because I didn’t particularly like a book doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t work for someone else. I think the whole process is hit or miss–getting the first book is the important part. Once you have the book, you start to realize what you don’t know and can go from there. I think it’s also why most of these books are highly rated on Amazon. The reviewers went from knowing nothing to being able to manage the recruiting process–how can that not be a good thing?
This book provides everything you need to start the recruiting process. It includes sample letters and profiles along with check lists and “real stories.” I like the example of a player researching two college teams to see which one would be a better fit. While the book discusses how to use the web to research teams it is still a bit dated since it suggests a personal web page and talks about making a VHS highlight video. Overall, this is a good choice for starting the process.
How To Win A Sports Scholarship
by Penny Hastings & Todd Caven
This book provides a good overview of the recruiting process along with checklists and self-assessments. The “hook” for this book is The Sports Resume Kit TM which is essentially an athletic profile. You need one and it gives you examples. While I think some of the approaches are dated (even though the book was reprinted in 2003, the last copyright was 1999) we found the examples of letters and questions to ask very useful. The numerous quotes from college coaches were also interesting. The basic ideas of college recruiting are covered but a lot of the suggested tools are dated because of all of the opportunities on the web.
Put Me In, Coach: A Parent’s Guide to Winning the Game of College Recruiting
by Laurie A. Richter
Okay, the first thing to know about this book is that you can buy it in ebook format. This may be good or bad depending on how many impulsive ebook purchases you make. This book is a little different because it spends more time upfront talking about if you should play college athletics and where before it starts into the how. It is also much more up to date in terms of technology–coaches will be calling your student on his cell phone, make sure you have a camcorder, etc. Like the other books, it gives you an example of a cover letter and a student profile. This book has a different feel than the others, more personal, and definitely directed at the parent. The author also goes more into the possibilities at D3 schools. Of the books that I have read, if you are only going to buy one book, this is the one I recommend.
I have the 2005 version of this book. There is now a 2009 edition but I don’t know to what extent the information has been updated. I found the 2005 version of limited use. Over half the book is a listing of general contact information for universities and a listing of all schools sports offered. Like the others, it has a sample profile. However, it has only one sample letter. In many ways, it is an abridged form of the other books. Yet there are three things that I found in this book that weren’t in the others. It lists expected statistics for athletes by sport–for example average speed of pitchers by division. This book also goes into more detail of recruiting and non-athletic scholarships for D3 schools. Finally, the author gives you the number of schools that you should target, the minimum being 30, and explains why. This is probably a book that you would want to peruse through first before buying.
I got this book as an ebook and it probably falls into the impulsive purchase I shouldn’t have made. I think that if I had had a chance to flip through the book before buying it, I wouldn’t have. It’s not that the book doesn’t have good information, it does, a lot even. I’m just not sure who the book is targeted to. All the chapters are based on several (I assume fictional) athlete’s story of the process being discussed. The first chapter uses the three examples of high school students and managing the process of communicating with the coaches. It’s fairly interesting and lots of information about rules but never explicitly outlines the recruiting process. One player initiates contacts, one is seen by coaches at a game but it has the feel of these are the rules once the process has started. The chapter on what college coaches want is great if you happen to interested in playing and attending the specific sport/college combination presented. Different coaches want different things. Of course, the variety of coaches in the chapter suggests such a conclusion but I think it would be just as easy for the reader to assume these are representative coaches for their sport. Two of the chapters are on being prepared physically for college sports that seems to have a lot to do with what happens after you are recruited. Another two chapters warn of the dangers of not following up once you have been accepted and not being prepared for college life. Again, useful information but not something I found immediately useful especially since I had already read a number of other books on the subject. The format may work for some people, but I didn’t find it very effective.