How to Get Recruited Despite the Covid-19 Pandemic

Posted by Latif Thomas

Complete Track and Field Combine & Showcase


For coaches, athletes, and parents alike, the chaos and uncertainty of the past year has thrown a wrench into how to get recruited during the Covid-19 pandemic. After all, which criteria are college coaches supposed to use for basing their opinions about your recruitability when you’ve missed entire seasons, training has been inconsistent, access to equipment and facilities has been infrequent, etc.

College coaches are still recruiting, but they’ve had to get creative and adjust the process they use to assess your fit for their programs.

Everyone knows it’s a mess. But, this article will explain exactly what you can do to help yourself or your athletes gain an advantage over the competition.

Now, Covid aside, when it comes to contacting coaches there are rules to follow if you don’t want to turn coaches off before you even get started. The world is a big place and chances are there are hundreds of athletes with similar performances, grades…or both.

(And you don’t want to be labeled ‘Unrecruitable’.)

So how do you draw interest from college coaches when a global pandemic has limited your ability to train and compete and/or gain an advantage over people gunning for the same slots, roster spots, or scholarships you’re hoping utilize as the foundation for your future?

Well, first:



College coaches don’t place as much stock in your times/heights/distances as you think they do.

It sounds counterintuitive, but it is true.


Your times don’t your whole story.

I’ll use myself as the example:

Spring of my junior year, I ran 11.1, 22.1, and 48.8.

A college coach sees that and has no context outside of my grade and my times. If you didn't know better, you might believe that would be enough.

But, if they knew I was only 16, weighed 145 pounds, never lifted a weight, didn't warm up before races, *and* only started running track the previous spring, you'd agree those extra pieces of relevant information would impact their opinion, wouldn't you?

Think about it like this:

I have college coach friends who would have looked at how skinny, raw and unskilled I was…and would have taken a *hard pass* on recruiting me! For the type of program and system they run, it wouldn’t have been worth it to waste the time to develop someone with such a low training age, even if, on paper, I ran times meeting the criteria for being recruited.

On the other hand, I have college coach friends who would have looked at how skinny, raw and unskilled I was and would have recruited me *hard*. For the type of program and system they run, they would have looked at my low training age and inexperience and calculated that weight room and technical development could turn that kid into a fricken monster.

Regardless of my times, if I could have given relevant information (beyond just my personal bests) to both types of coaches, two things would have happened at the outset of the recruiting process that would have benefited me in the short and long term:

1️⃣ I wouldn’t waste time talking to a coach who ultimately wasn’t interested in my skill set, therefore…
2️⃣ I could get in front of more coaches who were interested and put myself in a better position to maximize my value and (potential) scholarship offer and/or admittance into my top choices.


Simply put:

Specific testing results.

Whether it’s a Power 5 school or a small DIII program, all quality collegiate sprints, hurdles, and jumps coaches test their athletes at set training intervals in a consistent series of activities/events.

While there is some variation in the activities coaches choose based on their personal preferences, their choices stem from the fact that the results, individually and overall, collected and analyzed over time, help them project event specific performance potential, as well as highlight strengths and weaknesses that can be enhanced through individualized training.

Think about it like this:

➡️ Maybe you’re not super talented, but love track and field and want to compete in a program where you can be happy, successful, and continue to improve.

➡️ Maybe you’re looking to leverage your talent to get into your dream school (however you define it) because without that slot in the track and field program you’d be on the outside looking in regarding acceptance to that college or university.

➡️ Maybe you’re getting recruited by Brand Name programs and you’re starting to realize that as good as you are where you live, there are a whole lot of different versions of you nationally (and Internationally).

Are you willing to give up any advantage to someone as happy to take your scholarship and roster spot as they are to take your title or meet record?

If you’re not Top 25 in the country in your primary event you fall into one or both of the following categories:

⚠️ Due to the pandemic you’ve missed so many practices, meets, and opportunities to showcase your abilities you’re hungry to take advantage of any opportunities to show college coaches relevant information proving what you can do…especially in their preferred language.

⚠️ You know you’re competing with a lot of other athletes with similar performances. If you’re going to secure a roster spot at one of your top choices, you’re hungry to take advantage of any opportunities to add to relevant information to your personal profile in a way that makes you stand out.

Well what, specifically, is this “relevant information” and how do you ensure you get your hands on it?



Here’s why I believe this event is the ‘Golden Ticket’ for track and field athletes serious about competing at the collegiate level, regardless of how Covid tried to ruin everything for everyone:

✅ I surveyed the college track and field coaches I know, running the full gamut of D1 to D3 programs, establishing the most popular performance tests they use in their ‘Team Pentathlon’ and ‘Team Heptathlon’ events:

🔥 30m out of blocks [Fully Automatic Timing]
🔥 Fly 10m (30-40m, 40-50m, & 50-60m) [Freelap Timing System]
🔥 Standing Long Jump
🔥 Standing Triple Jump
🔥 Overhead Back Throw
🔥 300m [Fully Automatic Timing]

✅ I joined forces with the organization that runs The Nutmeg State Games, a group experienced in running large scale track and field (and all sports) meets, combines, and showcases.

After months of meetings, planning, and discussions, we’re officially opening limited registration for the Complete Track and Field Combine & Showcase, hosted by the Nutmeg State Games.

The experience and reputations we’ve developed running such complex events ensures a safe (stringent Covid-19 protocols will be enforced), professional, and organized event. More specifically, it ensures your results will be considered valid and reliable to any college coaches who see and assess the data.

(You can feel free, of course, to time/measure these tests yourself and share them with college coaches, but I assure you they will be taken as seriously as a relay split or your fastest hand timed 100m race.)

If you, your athletes, or your kids want to compete at the next level, act now and reserve a spot at the Complete Track and Field Combine & Showcase, hosted by the Nutmeg State Games.

It will be held at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium in New Britain Connecticut on Sunday, July 11, 2021.

While we have decades of experience running events several times larger than this one, we have chosen to open less spots than we think we can handle to ensure safety, as well as promote the Championship atmosphere and intensity of the competition.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to respond to this email.

We hope to see you in July.

Be safe.

Latif Thomas - Latif Thomas owns and operates Complete Track and Field and serves as the Co-Director of the Complete Track and Field Clinic at Harvard University, the largest track and field clinic in the United States. A popular speaker and presenter at some of the largest coaching clinics across the country, Latif has true passion for the sport and it definitely shows. Over the past 19 years, he has coached more combined League, Division, All-State, and New England Champions in sprints, hurdles, and jumps than he can count. Follow @latif_thomas on Twitter.

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