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You’ve trained hard and played harder, fighting with every fiber for victory, and triumphing over any player unlucky enough to stand opposed to you. Even the local news couldn’t help but notice poetry in the fact that your final game was also your greatest win yet, a fitting end to a phenomenal high-school run. Now, nearing graduation, your focus shifts to ensuring a clean segue into college athletics.

For high school sports stars, senior year marks a nationwide scramble for the perfectly suited college athletics program. Naturally, this quest leads many athletes to the doorstep of the person who oversaw their sports success up until the present: their high school coach. Unfortunately, relying solely on high school coaches to conjure up college scholarships is, in many cases, futile.

Besides developing drills, running strategies, reviewing tapes, and managing dozens of kids for hours at a time, high school coaches also have obligations beyond the field, usually involving some type of full-time employment. Of course, there are some high schools with coaches who specialize in facilitating student transitions into college programs, but these are the exception, not the standard, and even athletes lucky enough to attend those institutions must realize that coaches are under no obligation to provide such service.

The truth is that, regarding college recruiting, most high school coaches hold only a limited body of knowledge, and a tiny sphere of influence. One estimate puts the number of recruiting connections per coach at an average of three to five. Out of hundreds upon hundreds of available sports programs, most high-school coaches’ reach represents a meager fraction. Such relationships are often predicated on nothing more than mutual acquaintanceship; I cannot stress enough the fact that nothing is guaranteed. Parents and students who cast their line in such a shallow pool are often left hanging.

While they likely aren’t going to be the sole vehicle of athletes’ NCAA acceptance, high school coaches can still offer valuable aid in gaining acceptance into suitable programs. College athletics won’t shell out scholarships on a whim; they’ll a need valid endorsement of players’ skill, which is where red-hot recommendations from a high school coach comes into perfect play. Develop an effective working relationship with your coach, and they’ll also be more than willing to help you fine-tune your highlight reel, format skills videos, and check over outgoing info.