Choosing a school

BaseballIf our family hadn’t taken action over 15 years ago, who knows where our twin sons would have ended up in college?  It would have been unlikely that they would have received athletic scholarships.

Our recruiting experience changed our family.  And it really changed the lives of our sons.   They received fully paid educations because we, as a family, took the initiative to get our sons recruited.  Sure, we couldn’t guarantee how coaches would respond, but at least our sons’ abilities were seen by coaches.

Why don’t so many talented athletes ever get recruited?  It’s really quite simple.

If you’re a parent of a talented athlete, I’m sure you want the best opportunity for your son or daughter.  Helping them take the initiative is one of the best things you can do for them.  Come alongside them and work on this as a team.  And a word for athletes… Continue reading

Baseball

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

Student-athleteI’ve had many athletes  come to me and ask how to get on a coach’s radar.  My first response is always that “you have to make the first move.”  Specifically, it’s important that you make a good first impression, and that comes off the field.

You have to write a good introductory email or letter in order to get a coach’s interest.  Here are five pointers:

1. Make it your email. This email (or letter) must come from the athlete, because that’s who the coaches will want to build a relationship with.  We encourage parents to help craft the letter, but make sure it’s from the athlete.

2. Make it brief. The key to an effective letter or email can be summed up in one word: BRIEF.  The goal is not to share your life story or all your great athletic achievements.  That will come later, but a long introductory letter will turn off the coach quickly.  He’s only going to read the first page anyway. Therefore… Continue reading

College campusThe words of this college coach still ring in my ears.

“Visiting schools speaks loudly to college coaches.”

I probed further with this experienced D1 coach and he went on to tell me why.  And I thought that as fall approaches, this would be good for you to know.

We’re not talking about official visits.  You get five of those, paid for by the program.  Obviously, if your family has a genuine interest in the program, your athlete should make the official visit.  But remember the five-visit limit.  Five official visits.

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But you can make as many unofficial visits as you want.  And you should do that generously, especially with schools in your state or region– where there is a sincere interest.

Let’s look at the difference between an official and unofficial visit.  The NCAA states: Continue reading

QuestionWhen it comes to evaluating their son or daughter, parents usually make one of two mistakes:

  1.  They overrate them, or
  2.  They underrate them

Let’s be honest about it.  There’s usually no way we can be objective in evaluating our kid’s athletic ability. 

If that’s the case, how can we know whether they can get a scholarship?  Or, if they can, at what level?  What’s realistic?

I know I faced each of those questions with my twin sons.  I so much wanted them to make it in college as athletes.  I believed they could get scholarships.  I’m not sure how strongly they believed it.  I led the charge and they followed … and got that fully paid education while competing in the sport they loved.

Now it’s your turn to make that call.  How far can your athlete go?  Is he or she athletic scholarship material?  Continue reading

College football coach Brady HokeIf your son or daughter is going to get an athletic scholarship, you both need to know what college coaches are looking for, what they expect and how they do their recruiting.  In other words, you need to know what they’re thinking.  And especially what they’re thinking about your athlete.

First of all, know that coaches are trying to fill specific spots on their roster.  They’re looking ahead to your athlete’s year of entry, and they’re considering whether they have a spot for within the first couple years your son or daughter would be there.  If your athlete is in a sport that has position players, they’ll be recruited if the coach knows that slot will be open in their freshman or sophomore year.

You need to understand this point.  It doesn’t matter how talented your son or daughter is if there isn’t an opening for them.

*** For more insights, I encourage you to listen to my podcast interview with D1 coach Tom Kunis Episode #4.  We go into depth about what college coaches are looking for. ***

Second, is your athlete going to be a good fit in the program and college?  College coaches look at these things.  They want to know if the chemistry is there and if your son or daughter truly want to compete in their program.  If an athlete doesn’t want to go across the country, but his parents are pushing him, coaches will pick that up.  They want to eliminate as much chance as possible that your son or daughter will transfer.  They do their best on the front end to see if there’s a good fit. You should want that, too. Continue reading

Journey(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

High school footballLet’s think about something together.

If you could get your son or daughter on multiple college coaches’ radars this summer, how would you feel?

Relieved … joyful … empowered … hopeful … confident?

If you could do one thing, what would you do to guarantee your son or daughter gets recruited this summer?

 

  • Produce a video and post it on BeRecruited or on another recruiting site?Women's basketball
  • Get your athlete to the top three camps?
  • Complete the online recruiting forms at 15 schools you have identified as your top choice programs?
  • Have your son or daughter call five coaches a week to personally express interest in their programs?

Remember, I’m asking you to narrow it down to one thing that would guarantee your student-athlete gets recruited this summer.

That’s a tough choice, isn’t it?  But it really does make you think.

Everything I’ve listed is valid, but not one of these is the right thing to do if you want to guarantee your son or daughter gets recruited… this summer!

Recruiting Checklist

Continue reading

Final Four 2016I’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.

Academic match

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.

Athletic match

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.

Aspirational match

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.

Anecdotal match

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.

And so…

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.

College basketballYou could call this a showcase blog post.  It’s the kind of post that hits the prime things any family needs to know about recruiting.  If you’re just getting started in the journey, this is the post you need to read. 

If you’ve been at it for a while, this is the kind of post you need to re-read.  It’s getting back to basics when your efforts get scattered.  In fact, I was re-focused when I wrote this.  It reminded me about staying true north.

As always, feel free to write me with thoughts or questions.

 

Need to Know #1: When to Start

The number one question I get from parents is, “When should we start the recruiting process?”Athletic scholarship questions

I remember getting an email from one parent whose son was a senior, asking if it was too late. A moment later, I received an email from a freshman parent asking if it was too early!

Just this week, a parent wrote me, “We have twin daughters.  They are only freshmen in high school.  Is it too early to start the process?”

So, as you can see, there is some confusion out there.

You should start early. In fact, as early as the freshman year, if that’s possible.

But, even if you start in the senior year, it’s still probably not too late. You just have to work faster.  Of course, this late in the year you really need to hustle.  You need to apply the five steps I teach and do it fast.  Now back to the subject at hand… Continue reading