The following is from an Elite Dad about what college coaches are really looking for:
"I am a frequent reader of your blog, and I think you are putting some great info out there. In my opinion, your blog entries about FIT should apply to the AAU level as well as the college level. You want your kid to look their very best in front of college coaches. After all, that is what is going to get them noticed, and ultimately get them that scholarship everyone is working so hard to achieve. I would like to tell you about my experience over the last two days. This was a great learning opportunity for me. If this info helps one of your readers, it will have been worth my time to write it.
I have always heard the phrase: “College coaches follow players.” What exactly does this mean, and furthermore, is it really true? Let’s start with what does it mean. If your child is already being recruited, it does not matter which exposure event he/she plays in,college coaches will follow him/her. Of course, if your child is not being recruited yet, this does not apply; however, if he/she is on a team with such a player, that provides the opportunity to get noticed.Now, to take that a little further, if your child is the one being recruited, does it really matter what AAU team he/she plays for? This is where my research begins, and we answer the “is it true” part of the opening question.
I figured the only way to get a straight answer on this was to go directly to the source, so I called three NCAA Division I programs. I called one in Texas, one in Arizona, and one in California. I asked all 3 the same two questions:
1) As a college recruiter, do you care what AAU program a kid plays for?
2) If you are recruiting a kid who plays for team A, and that kid moves to team B, and then the coach/director from team A contacts you with negative things to say about the kid, what stock do you put in that.
Regarding question 1, all the coaches I spoke to said no, they do not care what AAU program a kid plays for. I was told by all of them: “We recruit kids, not AAU coaches or programs.” I did have one coach say if a kid played for an AAU team where all the players on the team just run around, that would not be good.
In response to question #2, again, all three coaches responded basically the same: “We know sour grapes when we hear them.” They all said they would not put much stock in such comments; however, there are some “red flag” topics that would get their attention. They said they would always investigate, and draw their own conclusion.
I guess it is pretty safe to say, college coaches recruit kids, not AAU coaches or programs. When looking for an AAU team, parents should consider the right fit for their child, just as they would when considering colleges. If your child is best suited for a more structured, set play, type of offense that is the type of AAU team you should look for. If your child is better suited for an “open floor”system, you should look for that type of team. Again, you want your kid to look their very best in front of college coaches. That is what is going to get them noticed, and ultimately get them that scholarship they have worked so hard for. In closing I would like to add, I think it is very important that parents of athletes get educated about the college recruiting process. It is IMPERATIVE that parents are involved with the process. They MUST have some clue about what is going; after all, it is THEIR child’s future."