Blue Chip v. Yellow Chip Athlete

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Most of us know a “blue- chip” athlete when we walk onto a field or into a gym, as they clearly standout as the best player. ” Blue- chip” athletes are typically found by college coaches in the freshmen or sophomore year and are mid to high Division I players. This type of player is normally recruited to play on the best club or AAU teams, and doesn’t have to do a great deal to be recruited and receive scholarship offers. As always, there are exceptions, some high level DI athletes aren’t found until after their sophomore year as they might grow or develop their skills late. Of course, they can be missed by college coaches especially if they aren’t playing on the right AAU/Club teams.
A” yellow- chip” athlete is a player trying to make a Division III team up to a low level Division I player. While some of these players can be found, like” blue- chip” athletes by being on the right AAU/Club team, typically they have to work at it much harder. Think about it, if your son or daughter attends a basketball camp with 400 kids, how many 6’0 combo guards will be in attendance-200? What makes your son or daughter stand out among the 200 kids? Certainly their ability and grades are a good starting point. So eliminate the top 20 kids, ability and grade wise, and now you have 180 kids they need to compete against.
To stand out they need to make sure college coaches are at the event to specifically to watch your son or daughter. To hope coaches are going to find them among 180 is wishful thinking. Typically a coach is going to see them play for five minutes and they need to impress. To ensure coaches watch your son or daughter play they need to either have an advocate, know how to market themselves, or both. They can market themselves by emailing college coaches a resume and video. Unfortunately, this method is hit or miss. In fairness, coaches receive hundreds, sometimes thousands of emails from potential recruits and don’t have the time or resources to look at everyone. I still would recommend you try and reach out to coaches, as there are many success stories through self marketing.
The other avenue is having an advocate. This person needs to be someone the college coach respects and knows they understand the game. It can be a high school coach, club coach, or advisor. It all depends on their background and available time they have to help you. When a college coach hears from someone they trust, that person validates that the student athlete has the grades and ability to play at their level. This means instead of watching your son or daughter at camp for five minutes, they might watch for two games to do a true evaluation. At this point, the coach has to decide if the student athlete is better than the others they are evaluating for the upcoming class.
Remember the vast majority of players are” yellow- chip” recruits and need to find a way to be seen by college coaches. Besides improving your game and grades, marketing yourself and/or having an advocate are key.