When we were parents on the scholarship trail for our twin sons, we didn’t have the resources that are available today.
For instance, college websites weren’t as complete as they are now. I don’t think Facebook existed. We really had to dig. We needed personal conversations with coaches and administrative staff to really get a picture of that school. Today, you’ve got just about everything at your fingertips. Continue reading
(Summer Recruiting Breakthrough Sale has begun. Get $80-$100 off a Recruit-Me Premium purchase).
On this first day of summer, reality hits.
The major recruiting season is underway. The next 60 days can be the road to an athletic scholarship. The challenge is to stay on the road and not slide off the shoulder.
Let me share three things that you’ll need to do this summer to stay on the scholarship road. Don’t get sidetracked and end up in the ditch.
You see, if you can keep your son or daughter disciplined this summer, it will yield huge benefits. Athletic, academic and financial.
#1: Get out of the garage. The summer will pass you by if you don’t get started. There’s a tendency to take it easy in the summer but recruiting doesn’t go on vacation in June, July and August. If you stay in “park,” you’ll be left in the dust by other families that realize that summer is golden for recruiting. Continue reading
Any great athlete or coach enters a season with a plan. Without it, the season would be a disaster. In fact, a coach would be deemed foolish if he or she didn’t map out the season, set goals, define strategy and then begin executing.
The great coach Mike Krzyzewski said, “There are a lot of people who want to win, but winners prepare to win.”
So my question to you as summer kicks off, “Is your family prepared to win an athletic scholarship?”
“I’d like to…” “I hope…” and “I want to…” are not phrases that tell me you’re confident you’ll get an athletic scholarship. As a parent, you’re part of this process and your confidence level is key. As an athlete, it’s obvious that your confidence is critically important.
I will make sure recruiting happens for your family this summer. Are you ready for a wild ride? You’ll be in a great position by fall when several coaches are in contact with your son or daughter and your athlete is on their radar.
This is your Summer ’16 Recruiting Breakthrough. I’m looking for 100 families who will get serious enough about the recruiting process that they’ll dedicate this summer to making it happen. And make it happen with a plan that has goals, strategy and execution.
If you’re one of these 100 families, be prepared to dedicate your time and energy to this, and to act wisely. I’m willing to set you on course and make sure the athlete in your family gets recruited this summer– the beginning of a successful journey to an athletic scholarship.If you’re one of those families, read this post and begin taking action. Devour it. Devour my latest podcast, too, because it will set you up for summer.
This is your campaign
You’ve got to have the perspective that recruiting is a series of events over a long period of time. It’s not once and for all. A coach doesn’t just discover your son or daughter and then it’s all done.
If you don’t like the word “campaign” (and many don’t this year), then use the word “season.” Recruiting is a season in your family’s life. Sunny days, rainy days, easy days, hard days. Long days, short days. Oh, there are so many factors in recruiting that will knock you around. So be prepared.
Since it is a season, let’s talk about the plan, getting back to what I started with in this post.
…set your goals and state them. Here are some examples:
- Long-term: Jenny will receive three solid offers by spring of her senior year.
- One-year: Terry will have 10 coaches looking at him seriously by this time next year.
- Short-term: Fifteen coaches will contact Andy by July 15, 2016.
I believe you should have goals in each of those categories. In fact, state more goals at other intervals, such as “By the end of fall season…” or “By the beginning of senior year…”
Goals are critical. And as a sports family, you should be able to nail down these goals. You can add performance goals to these, as well. And academic goals. Goals give you targets and rails to run on.
Your assignment: Take time as a parent(s) and athlete and get away for a working session… this week! Time is flying by, so get these goals spelled out early.
Remember, these are not cast in stone. The purpose of the goals are to give you something tangible to shoot at and drive your actions. These goals can change, and they will. I saw a journal in the store yesterday, with the title, “Make Mistakes.” It’s alright to set and re-set goals as time goes on.
… define your strategy. You’ve got goals, but a well-defined strategy has to be in place next. Here’s the hard work and much of it is unknown at this point. But there are things you have to nail down in this process. Such as…
- In what ways will we take the initiative to get on coaches’ radars this summer? Map out the how. Put the actions into your calendar so you are accountable to yourselves.
- Which schools are at the top of our list (please have at least 10)? We will get the contact information for each coach by June 10.
- Plan one week this summer when you can visit 2-3 schools nearby to get the feel for college campuses. Make an appointment with the coaches and staff in admissions. Choose these schools even if you don’t have a keen interest there. The purpose is to see a college campus, experience meeting with a coach without pressure, and spend time in the academic area.
- Research the following: (1) How to put together a dynamite intro packet, (2) How to produce a quality video, (3) How to interview a college coach, (4) NCAA recruiting rules and recruiting calendars.
This applies to winning an athletic scholarship. A written strategy isn’t worth the iPad it’s written on unless it is followed by committed execution. Execution that excels.
Your athlete may excel at running, shooting, hitting or kicking. Well, it’s time to excel at executing your recruiting strategy.
That requires three things– at least:
- Discipline. You’ve got to stay at it. This is not a short-haul effort. You’ve got a carefully thought-out strategy and blueprint written out. Stick with it for the long haul.
- Evaluation. How’s your strategy and execution doing? Make mid-course corrections along the way based on your honest evaluation of how the process is going. It’s a lot like competing. If you’re not hitting, find out why and make adjustments. If your kicks or shots hook to the left all the time, change.
- In recruiting, if you’re not getting the interest of college coaches on your target list, make changes to solve that issue. If coaches start contacting your son or daughter but for some reason a number of the relationships die, make adjustments to revive the relationships or strengthen the ones you do have.
- Vision. This is important. Vision brings inspiration, energy and action. If you get lost in the weeds of recruiting, it’s time to climb a mountain and take a look at the bigger picture. You should start the recruiting process with goals and an overall vision. What’s the big win at the end of the process? That’s the vision.
I guarantee you’ll have ups and downs in this crazy recruiting process, but clear vision will help you make it through. As an individual and as a family.
The Big Question
Are you ready to move out and make this a Summer ’16 Recruiting Breakthrough? I’ll be leading you through the process this summer through my blog, podcast and webcasts. If you’re ready to take the summer recruiting challenge, tell me and I’ll pray for and lead your family this summer.
Let’s make the 90 days of summer count big-time as you set your goals, define your strategy and excel at execution.
When you think of baseball, what states come to mind? Certainly not the home state of the defending NCAA Champion Vanderbilt baseball team. Understand that Tennessee is not a baseball breeding ground like Florida, California, Arizona, Mississippi and several other states. However, this team won the College World Series last year.
As I thought about what it takes to be a champion, my mind goes to thinking about what it takes to be a scholarship athlete. And believe me, it’s a lot more than talent.
Given that talent must be present, here are three more qualities of scholarship athlete. I’ve talked with a number of college coaches over the years, and they are looking beyond the talent to the person. Continue reading
I was thinking about some of the big questions parents and athletes ask me about what it takes to get an athletic scholarship. Most people know so little about it.
I was there once, when I was working on getting my sons recruited. But over the years, I’ve become an expert who has helped thousands of other families.
I can’t give all the answers in one post, but I can give you one: hard work.
For example, I was reading about Lindsay Brown, who accepted a scholarship offer for volleyball. She had interest from several schools, including New Hampshire, Oregon State, Louisiana Tech, Lewis & Clark College, Dominican University, Menlo College, UC Santa Barbara and UC Riverside. She chose Sonoma State, which is near her home town. Continue reading
Athletic scholarships don’t just happen, although it sure looked that way a few days ago on signing day. I want to dispel that myth, because believing it will assure that your kid is left out in the cold and you’re left holding an entire college bill.
So let’s talk about what it takes to being selected for an athletic scholarship. There is a road and your family needs to know the checkpoints along that road. If you do, and you act correctly, your kid will get signed to an athletic scholarship.
Consider it a long race. It’s one that you have to be willing to run, because getting an athletic scholarship is a process. It takes effort on your part as a family. Most families wait around and lose out. Don’t be one of those.
And don’t be scattered. That’s another mistake families make. The end result is frustration and no real progress. Confusion reigns.
The families I work with that are successful are ones that follow a step-by-step system. And it always includes the chronological checkpoints I will lay out for you in this post.
Let’s go! Continue reading
I’m in Houston this week. Unfortunately, I’m leaving Saturday morning at 5:30, when all the Final Four fans arrive.
What comes to mind is the number of high school athletes that make their school choice based on who they see on TV in the big games. Parents, you know what I’m talking about.
When you consider a college education is one of the biggest choices your family will ever make, it’s important to have more to go on than watching teams on TV. You may have to convince your student-athlete about that.
Talk to your kid about the better way of making his or her hot list of schools. Remind them that the #1 priority is to find the best fit, or match, in the end. Let’s look at four key matches to consider and discuss.
This is first because your kid is a student-athlete.
Your list should include schools that have your kid’s area of academic interest. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, because their interests are likely to change after they are in school for a year or two. But a good starting point are schools that have majors that fit their interests.
As for me, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study going into college. I started in communications and ended up in radio and TV. I knew I didn’t want to pursue engineering or science, so that narrowed it down to liberal arts. That may be all you have to go on at this point, and that’s fine.
On the other hand, if your son or daughter has strong interests in a certain major or area, be sure to take that into account when you build your list of prospective schools.
Can your kid compete at the schools on his or her radar? This is important, because you don’t want to put a lot of effort into programs that are way above their talent level, and you don’t want to shoot for ones that are way below. You want to find the sweet spot. Go after those schools that are a good match.
This is where it’s important to open your son or daughter’s eyes to good institutions they’ve never considered. As a parent, your role kicks in here. Do some research and get a wider variety of schools on your kid’s radar.
The athletic match also includes the dynamics of coaching staff. You won’t know this until you meet the coaches, but have this factor on your radar.
I’m talking about your kid’s desires and dreams. What’s important to him or her in a college? You should consider athletics, academics, college life, location, etc. Listen to what your student-athlete has to say. Take note. You may understand more than they do what their aspirations are. As they verbalize those aspirations, they’ll get clarity, too.
What stories are coming out of the programs on your list? You may not hear anything in the early going, but the more you get to know a coach and program, you should hear some stories that give you a better picture about the program and institution.
Ask other athletes in the program. Talk to students there. If you know other people who have gone to that school, talk with them. Get as much information as you can from what others have to say about their experience.
When your kid hears these stories, how does he feel? Is he attracted to the school or not? While not a scientific evaluation, this can really help the “gut feeling” about a school.
I’m one who urges my families to cast your net wide. Don’t come up with a short list out of the gate. So, while I’m encouraging you to develop your list from the four keys above, don’t limit your choices early on. Use these guidelines throughout the recruiting process, especially as you narrow down your choices.
The athletic scholarship world can be confusing. Once you start down the recruiting road, you get bombarded with options and opportunities. As you may have experienced, it’s hard to know what advice to follow and what options to pursue. And which advice is just plain bad.
The window of opportunity is limited. No matter what year your athlete is in, he or she only has so much time to get on coaches’ radar, get recruited, and then get scholarship offers. You have to make the most of the time.
Here are three red flags to watch out for on your scholarship journey.
1. Consultants or services that make scholarship promises. No one can ever guarantee that your son or daughter will get a scholarship. Outright promises or strong suggestions to this end should set off alarms in your head. Avoid these people.
Instead, get honest evaluations of your kid’s talent. College coaches will tell you if you ask. The problem is that most parents don’t want to know the truth deep down inside. I know. I’ve been there. We believe our kids are better than they are, or we underestimate their talent. Either extreme is bad. An honest evaluation will tell you what level your athlete performs at. You’ll have a better idea of where he or she can compete and use their talents.
You want the program and school that are the best fit athletically, academically and in college life. There are more factors than just money when it comes to choosing a school.
I receive a lot of questions from student-athletes and parents when it comes to recruiting and scholarships. I remember when I was going through the process with my twin sons, and I had a lot of questions, too. Here are a couple I’ve received that have risen to the top. I thought it would be helpful to post them and respond to them, because you may be asking similar questions.
Q: I play varsity doubles and have received all-state for 2 years, but it seems very hard to get noticed at the regional/national level in doubles. Any suggestions?
A: Your struggle is not an uncommon problem for most high school athletes. Even talented ones like yourself get overlooked. Most colleges’ recruiting budgets are limited, and the coaches cannot get out to see that many players. They rely on tournaments, showcases and camps to see large numbers of players at once. Only for exceptional prospects will a coach normally travel to see an individual game or match.
For these reasons, it is extremely important that you take the initiative to let college coaches know about you. Be aggressive in pursuing the schools where you have an interest. Once you make contact with the coaches, you open the door for continued contact. They will write back if they see that you have the tools to play on their team. Your letter, player profile, completed questionnaire, video (if they ask for one), and regular updates are those tools. Continue reading
For a high school student-athlete, there aren’t many things more frightening than talking with a college coach on the phone. It can be daunting. And it should be. You’ve been dreaming of getting an athletic scholarship and now the coaches are calling. You’re on the spot.
You need to prepare for these occasions. Once you take a few calls, you’ll get more comfortable. That is, until you get a call from a coach you really want to play for. This school is on your A list. You’ve been hoping he or she will call. And now it happens. It can really make you nervous.
When taking a coach’s call, try to relax. He or she will understand you’re nervous. That’s ok.
Secondly, have a list of questions ready. If the coach is calling your cell phone, you’ll have to think quickly. The list will have to be in your head. Continue reading