The Evolution of the Recruiting Process for High School Athletes

It’s no secret, high school sports have evolved and continue to adapt to modern changes.  For the last 40 years, it’s safe to say that we have experienced at least three phases of high school progression.  Each phase of the high school recruiting process brings both positive and negative impacts to coaches, athletes, and college recruiting programs.  Let’s take a closer look at the impact these phases specifically have on the recruiting process.

Phase One

The modern recruiting process began in the seventies and into the early eighties.  Recruiters placed much of their recruiting focus on the off-season.  For athletes to compete, working out and bulking up required access to well-equipped weight rooms.  The company, Nautilus, introduced machines that easily allow one person to work out alone, without a spotter.  It was a common transition to see schools clearing out rooms in the gymnasium and adding weight rooms.  Following the trend, school construction and design plans would include weight rooms and cardio rooms as prerequisites for athletic programs. Remaining competitive, the emphasis was placed on the importance of getting bigger, faster, and stronger.  Today, every college and high school would be equipped with a state-of-the-art weight room facility.

Phase Two

As the recruiting process evolved, athletes were introduced to the off-season club world.  High school programs for basketball, volleyball, soccer, lacrosse, baseball, softball, and wrestling would push their athletes to continue in the off-season with an organized club team.  These schedules require a major commitment from the athlete, coaches, and even parents.  Another downside (or upside) to this model forces a lot of athletes to become single sport participants.  Fewer and fewer athletes had time to play multiple sports because of the massive time commitment.  Parents chase their kids around every weekend to play in tournaments.  It is difficult to keep up with your competition unless athletes commit to these rigorous off-season schedules.

Recruiters would rather go to a club tournament to watch several college-bound athletes than attend a single high school game.  Some athletes have even opted out of playing high school sports to focus on club teams to increase their chances of getting a scholarship.

Phase Three

And now we enter Phase Three, due to lower costs of video cameras and online platforms, coaches are able to capture game film easily with a camera or mobile devices, such as an iPad or cell phone.  The event/games can then be uploaded to a cloud based app or software, allowing everyone on the team to watch on their smartphone or computer.  Sports video software for high schools allows coaches to analyze the game film and make adjustments as needed.

Phase three of the recruiting process for High Schools can be summarized as a self-evaluation toolkit by utilizing video review.  Entire teams (including coaches and players) can do this through sports video analysis software like QwikCut or Hudl.  In addition to evaluating their own performance, athletes can also create highlights in a sports video editor.  Athletes who desire to play in college, need to create highlights or cutups of their games and share them with colleges they would consider attending.

Platforms like QwikCut provide a list of college coaches that can receive these highlight reels.  The athlete can even send highlights directly to the Twitter page of the college.  For QwikCut users, high school coaches can assist athletes with recruiting by sending the highlight directly to college coaches through the recruiting module, initiating that connection for the athlete. Sports video software makes it easier for colleges to access, review, and evaluate high school athletes.

Today’s progressive coaches use video platforms to store, share, and analyze game film.  In the never-ending pursuit to play at the next level, off-season training, club teams, and video analysis software are ways coaches and athletes can gain an edge on the competition, and ultimately increase their chances of being recruited.