Be Recruited by a College Coach. 3 Ways to Stand Out Be Recruited by a College Coach. 3 Ways to Stand Out
High School Rugby Tournaments, as well as camps and clinics, are continuing to grow as the best places to be recruited by a college... Be Recruited by a College Coach. 3 Ways to Stand Out

High School Rugby Tournaments, as well as camps and clinics, are continuing to grow as the best places to be recruited by a college rugby (or other sport) coach.

Top tournaments attract the cream of the crop. Meaning a big chunk of the nation’s top talent can be found in one place a few weekends throughout the year.

You better believe the college coaches follow close behind, not wanting to let such a convenient opportunity to scout players go to waste.

However, even though the fields are often crawling with college coaches and professional scouts, it can be difficult for players to stand out in the crowd amongst the hundreds of other players present at some of these tournaments.

Here are 3 Ways to Stand Out:

Be Recruited by a College Coach

Photo Credit:

1. Let Them Know You Are Coming — Unless you are a 7’ lock or run a 4.3 40m, it’s going to be tough to grab the attention of anyone out of the blue. Therefore, it’s critical you let coaches know you will be there.

In your communication, include what team you are playing on, your position, and your coaches’ contact info. If you have a schedule, go ahead and send that as well. If you see college coaches from programs you are interested in on the sideline, go ahead and introduce yourself.

2. Hustle/Work Rate/Off-The-Ball Play — Did you know? The average time the ball is in play during a match is less than *30 minutes. This means that the majority of the time you will NOT have the ball in your hand. Coaches will spend most of the time watching what you are doing “off the ball.”

Did you make a tackle and get right up to hit the next ruck? Or, did you lay there for an extra few seconds to catch your breath?

The amount of hustle, high-work rate, and off-the-ball play are areas that definitively separate the good players from the great players.

3. Character – This is becoming more of a critical factor when it comes to recruitment.

I typically see poor character come out when things are not going a player’s way. (E.g. if you make a mistake or if you don’t start). If this happens to you, remember: coaches are watching!

Don’t scream at the referees or your teammates, be supportive and a positive person on your team. All college coaches want someone who will add good character to their team!

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Bonus Tip:

Wear Something That Identifies You – When there are so many players at a recruit camp or tournament—many who can look alike—find a way to stand out and help coaches and selectors remember who you are.

At a recent camp, I recognized one player because when he wasn’t playing he wore a bright, tie-dyed baseball cap. It reflected his unique personality and while it had nothing to do with his play, it made him memorable.

Obviously, this is at the discretion of your coaches, but try to find ways you can help yourself stand out on or off the pitch.

 *Stat taken from

Feature Photo Credit: David Barpal/ Goff Rugby Report

Karen Fong Donoghue

Karen has been active in the rugby community for almost 20 years and knows firsthand what it takes to be successful at the highest levels of the game. Her rugby accolades include competing at the collegiate Division I level, being selected as a Collegiate All-American and National U-23 player, and currently serving as a top national referee and World Rugby Educator. She is the founder of The Ruggers Edge, a college advisory firm especially for rugby players.

  • Rebecca Gardner

    March 17, 2020 #1 Author

    I love your suggestion for players to wear something unique so they stand out and can easily be remembered by recruiters. My son has always been athletically inclined and really wants to earn a football scholarship before he goes off to college next year. Your article provided some helpful advice that I hadn’t thought of before reading, so thanks for sharing!


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