Recruiting High School to College: Part 1 of 2 - 2016
Welcome back to the second week of February and Chris P Austin Coaching. This month is all about recruiting. Following up on last week (Post 5), I am going to write to you a little about the recruiting process going from high school or academy, into college or university. Part one is going to discuss preparation... for the preparation... of being recruited. Yes, the beginning stages before taking action. I will also be discussing a few different avenues that are available and how to set the path that is right for you (or your athlete). Finally, I will close part one with some frequently asked questions, so that you have the opportunity to add on any questions you may have before next week's part two.
So, you're an athlete or the parent of an athlete, and you are fresh into choosing a high school or academy. Whether you joined a private or public school, a wealthy or poorer school, an athletically talented or talent-thin school, etc., you're trying to find your place. The most important first step in to be realistic with yourself. What that means is: pay attention to your size, your natural athletic ability, your attitude, and your experience. After you've gaged those things, ask yourself where your level or drive and commitment is, and then ask yourself where you'd like it to be in the near future. High school lasts for a while, but not as long a time as most athletes try to grace themselves with.
Write down a priority list (in pen) on a sheet of paper. If you're naturally gifted athletically and not as much academically, then perhaps your list should look something like this:
Priority 1 - Minimum 3.25 GPA through such and such semester or quarter
Priority 2 - Read one chapter per night outside of school assigned homework
Priority 3 - Maintain or reach such and such weight goal by such and such date
Priority 4 - Attend at least (blank) intramural workouts per week
If you're more naturally academic and struggled on the athletic side (like me), then maybe your list looks something like this:
P1 - Attend every scheduled intramural or school workout for the month of (blank)
P2 - An extra 30 minutes or 1 hour of lifting or plyometrics or stretching outside of school sports (blank) days per week. ** There are options for those with the excess money and those without**
P3 - Watch (blank) amount of video of next level players per week/attend (blank) amount of sporting events of next level players each month
P4 - Maintain 3.75 GPA through such and such date(s)
The same kind of list can be created if you see yourself needing more work on relationships and building trust, more so than academics and athletics. All three will be crucial if you want to give yourself or your kid the best opportunity to reach the next level. If you're responsible then hold yourself to achieving the things on the list and make sure that the things you write down are not too easy to achieve, but are clearly within reach by the time frames that you set for them. If you'd like help with responsibility while you develop then show the list to someone close (a parent, a sibling, a coach) and have them hold you accountable (preferably not someone that will influence you to blow it off: like a goofy best friend). As you go through your priority list... track your goals and see how you're doing. If the goals are reached prematurely and you aren't stressed then add on. If you are struggling to reach the goals and they don't appear within reach, then adjust. But, importantly, if you feel that the original priority goals that you set were supposed to be within reach then remind yourself that you will only go as far as your work ethic takes you.
So, you're into sports and decided that you want to make the team, maybe it's Frosh, JV, Varsity... The level doesn't matter so much before 11th or 12th grade. There have been team managers and water boys/girls who have gone on to progress and play in college. While keeping an eye on your grades, it's time to start creating a plan and a backup plan. Although, the backup plan shouldn't be so near that it acts as a crutch for the original plan. The backup plan is something realistic that you can see yourself doing without much complaint. The plan A should be what you want to do and will be all of your energy into achieving. Again, pull out a sheet of paper and write down (in pen) a list of goals you have:
- 1 Overarching Long Term Goal (D1 ball, Junior College Ball, Pro Ball, D3 Ball, College Club Team, etc.) Whatever it is for you
- 1 or 2 Medium Term Goals (Make a sports team at school by (blank) year, and/or play Varsity by such and such year, and/or achieve a 3.0 by such and such year) Whatever it is, and remember, academics will be the first thing that most schools ask about.
- 2 or 3 Short Term Goals (which will specifically aid toward the medium term) Pass such and such perfect balls per day, hit 10 extra serves after each training, watch (blank) amount of video per week, check in with coach about my progress and current standing at least once per week, etc.
Be clear that your avenue can change and will likely change. Be ready to have some days in which your part feels like everything to you, and you may have a few days in which your sport feels like something you want to do without... always return to your paper and ask yourself if you still want that Overarching goal. Something handwritten and posted is much stronger than a note written in your iPhone, the same way an old school letter or phone call is better than a text or an instant message. You will only go as far as your work ethic takes you.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ) that I get are: When is the right time to reach out to schools? How do I know what level is right for me? What is the scholarship situation? How many schools should I apply to? If I get a scholarship, can they take it away? Does it matter if I play club or travel? What if my high school coach doesn't have contacts for the next level? I am not as tall or strong as my friend and he got denied from every school, so how will it happen for me? What is the most important thing to know in the recruiting process?
All of those questions will be answered in next week's part two, as well as any additional questions you leave for me in the comment section below. If you enjoyed the read, hit the "Like" button below. If you want to join the list for email updates or invite a friend, drop your email at the top of the page to the right.
Have a blessed week.
Chris P Austin