Spring Break will be here before we know it. During that period, many of your students, including CBSAs (college-bound student-athletes), will be planning visits to schools they wish to attend.

With your non-athlete students you can look at their GPA and test scores and quickly have an idea of which colleges may be realistic for them. However, for CBSAs, it’s a whole different ball game!

Yes, grades are clearly a factor, however, their athletic ability is equally important in regards to admission to any specific college. Does the athlete “fit” the athletic competition level of the schools (s)he is visiting? If so, will your athlete feel comfortable with the coaches, players, facilities, rules and regulations, time commitment required for their sport, etc. as a member of that college’s athletic program?

Hopefully, your CBSAs are starting their recruiting activities, including spring break visits, summer sports camps, and unofficial visits during their sophomore year.

To maximize the value and benefit of the spring break visits, your athlete, prior to taking these trips, should have already sent an athletic profile and introductory letter to his or her target schools, as well as a professional recruiting video or a schedule providing the opportunity for college coaches to see him of her compete in person.

For your athlete to optimize the value of the time spent on college visits (s)he, or a parent, needs to contact the college coaching staff 3-4 weeks prior to their campus visit. The athlete should explain to the coach that (s)he and his parents will be visiting their campus on a specified date and would really like to meet the coach, take a tour of the athletic facilities and possibly see the team compete or practice.

Prior to the campus visit, the athlete/parents need to do some research on the college AND the athletic team that they will be meeting. Research the roster, stats of players who play his or her position, coach’s bio, W-L record, etc. When meeting the coach, the athlete should have a notepad and take notes diligently as well as have a series of questions to ask the coach. For example, if the coach has seen the athlete compete in person, and/or on a well prepared video, ask the coach for an honest evaluation of his ability and if the coach seriously feels that the athlete has a realistic potential to be competitive in his conference. Another important question to ask is “Coach, what is your recruiting time line”? This recruiting timeline question is critical because you want to know: when do you try to see your prospective recruits play in person and/or on video, when do you narrow down your list, when do you have your top prospects on “Official Visits”, and by what date do you plan to make offers and solidify your Class of 2018?

Also, don’t forget to take some photos of the athletic facilities as well as rest of the campus. Is the weight room, training room, practice facilities, etc. state-of-the-art or do they look like they really are in need of refurbishing? This could be an indicator of the administration’s willingness to fully support your sport’s program.

When your athlete leaves the campus, (s)he should immediately write down his or her thoughts and impressions of the visit, including: what was his or her gut reaction to the campus, the players, the facilities, the coaches – their personality, philosophy regarding importance of athletics vs academics, sincerity of interest in you, etc.

Upon returning home, your athlete should immediately send a very sincere thank you note to the coach with whom the athlete spent the most time, with a copy to the Head Coach. Be specific in the contents of the letter; make reference to specific situations and valuable information shared by the coaches and/or players.

Remember, successful recruiting requires ongoing two way communications. Your athlete must take the initiate to communicate with the college coach any time he has newsworthy information to share.

If you should have any quick questions or comments please feel to contact me – 949.306.3310 or david@PlayCollegeSports.com.

Good luck with your athletes and their spring break visits!

By David Stoeckel