Last year there were 7.8 million male and female high school athletes participating in sports. While it isn’t necessarily the dream every person chases, that market continues to grow annually (about 70,000 per year) and only 5 percent of those are going to continue on to play at “the next level”.
That scholarship that people are chasing has come to symbolize so many things from person to person. To some students, it is the pursuit of a passion while to others there are true aspirations of playing professionally one day. Then there is an entirely different market. With the rising cost of higher education, there are the people who see that skill set they were blessed with or have fine-tuned over the course of their life as an opportunity for a financial reprieve. It could be the very thing that makes college a reality for them or starts their life off differently upon graduating from it. For such a life changing scenario for so many, why are the field of individuals and universities for that matter, armed with such poor tools to help distinguish one another?
Scout.com can tell you the elite of the elite prospects based on metrics, numbers, statistics, testimonies and so forth. But when the elite is defined as a group of 1,000 or so, who is assisting the remaining 389,000 who are destined to move forward as well? Who is helping them distinguish themselves from that pool of 7.8 million? The answer is nobody. Filters and analytics are in place to help limit the workload of a scouting team these days. To help hone down to a manageable number, but even the 1 percentile now is too large. Would you rather stake your future telling someone about what you can do or showing them? That is the mentality taken by coaches these days as while every number under the sun can limit the pool, they still need validation. Viral media and social media platforms have risen to the surface as the ultimate recruiting tool to coaches. As University of Georgia head coach, Kirby Smart stated, “I don’t spend a night on Twitter where I don’t watch video of a guy making an unbelievable throw or a guy making an unbelievable catch. And you take note, going ‘Wow, that kid’s making plays.’”
A school deemed as an upper echelon program in a power 5 division 1 conference, with resources aplenty isn’t relying on a filter or a recruiting software. He has taken to social media to allow his eyes to alert him to what he sees and the numbers confirm it or even reversed. Let the numbers set the landscape and his eyes validate the information. Gone are the days of relying solely on metrics to decipher your landscape. The pool is too large and the numbers too deceiving. People trust what they see more than what they hear. So on that note, polish your social media, for the decline of statistics is upon us and coaches are watching.