An important part of the recruiting process centers around key dates ranging from the first time a college coach can officially write a prospect to the first time they can call a potential recruit and all the way to the official signing day. These dates shape the timeline for the recruiting process that millions of student-athletes go through each year.
Unfortunately, I think families often times use their knowledge of the important dates incorrectly, or at least fail to maximize the value of their knowledge.
The good news is that the majority of families properly use these dates to gauge their recruiting progress. For example, if a junior prospect receives 50 handwritten letters on September 1st, they should view that as a good sign that the process has been a relative success up until that point. Conversely, a prospect who opens an empty mailbox on the same date should view that as a need to make a change in their recruiting approach. I think most families understand this application of recruiting date knowledge.
While gauging progress after the occurrence of these dates is helpful, the families who succeed in the process utilize forward thinking prior to theses dates to make sure they are in the right position.
Let me explain.
Imagine a football prospect is in the middle of summer, entering junior year. Due to research, this prospect understands that September 1st will be an important day in the recruiting process. Using this knowledge, the prospect and his family formulate a proactive game plan to reach out to more than 100 realistic college programs to alert them of his abilities and interests. As a result, on September 1st when this prospect goes to the mailbox, it is full of letters from various college coaches. Essentially, this prospect planned his recruiting process with knowledge of future dates rather than the reverse.
Too many prospects wait for the important dates to come along to gauge their recruiting progress, realize they are well behind, and then formulate a proactive game plan. This is not how you should use recruiting dates!
I encourage all families to study the important recruiting dates for their individual sport, plan them out on a calendar, and then make sincere efforts prior to those dates to ensure they are on track.