As a wrestling parent I felt overwhelmed and anxious by the college wrestling recruiting process. It can be very intimidating and you feel out of control.
Where do I start?
Should I be involved or just let him do it?
Has he won enough for coaches to call him?
What about scholarships?
I can save you some stress by sharing what I learned during the process and how I’ve helped my other wrestlers (and parents) navigate college wrestling recruiting.
- First decide if you really want to be a college wrestler or do you just want a “committed post” – College wrestling is a big commitment and everyone there is good. It can also be tough balancing wrestling and school with the new freedom and independence. Make sure you really want to wrestle all 4-5 years and are hungry to do it.
- Decide your goals and what is important to you – You can’t make a college decision unless you know what you want. Take some time to write these down, along with what you are looking for in a school. This step will ensure you are finding the right fit. Below is a link to a helpful spreadsheet I send my wrestlers with sample criteria to think about.
- Wrestlers need to take control of the process – It’s a red flag to coaches when parents are the ones reaching out. Coaches want to recruit the wrestler, not you. You can help get them started but they need to do the work. In addition, wrestlers need to be the ones reaching out to coaches, asking for phone calls and when the time is right, asking for a visit. Coaches are talking to hundreds of other wrestlers and they may not know who you are, so you have to be the one taking the initiative.
- Start earlier than you think – Time will fly by. Wrestlers ideally need to start putting in the work during their sophomore year (especially if you want to go D1). It is certainly possible to wait and still be recruited. I have seniors who are just now starting the process. But if you want to maximize your choices and opportunities for scholarships, calls from coaches are allowed to start June 15th before their Junior year.
- Start with a big list and narrow down – Ideally you want to start with at least 10-15 schools on your list to reach out to. Include a few “reach” schools and a few safe choices.
- Talk to everyone – Don’t limit yourself to one division. There are lots of good programs in all divisions (DI, DII, DIII, NAIA and Juco) and you never know where you’ll find a fit. Also, it’s a small community and coaches talk. You want to put your best foot forward.
- Know there is a fit for everyone – The old myth was that it was hard to get recruited to wrestle in college. D1 can be at the top programs for sure, but there are lots of great programs for a variety of experience levels. I’ve had kids who didn’t place at state still find a place to wrestle in college.
- Let go of YOUR ego – This isn’t about your status as a parent, a reflection of what you’ve done, or making a facebook post about your kid going to a top program. It’s about them finding the right fit with a school and a team that will shape the rest of their life.
Want help making a final college decision?
One of the hardest things in the college wrestling recruiting process is making a final decision. It will shape the trajectory of a young person’s life.
To help with this process, I created a free matrix spreadsheet where wrestlers and parents can enter their most important criteria, weigh the importance of each and compare it among their final college choices.
>> Access the Free College Decision Matrix Here
Want a more comprehensive guide?