student-athlete

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

KhadadiOnce you have a coach’s interest, how do you keep it?

One of the mistakes that families make in the recruiting process is thinking that if their student-athlete is on a coach’s radar, he or she will always be.  It’s just the opposite. Unless your kid is a superstar, coaches will lose interest unless you keep them interested.  You see, they think you’ve lost interest if you don’t maintain contact. Continue reading

Baseball basketball volleyball football

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I remember the phone call with a parent who really understands the recruiting process, but the athletes on her son’s team don’t.  She told me that these athletes think that college coaches will just show up and start recruiting them.  That’s the furthest from the truth.

She told me she is the team mom, so she printed out some materials I sent her and handed them to the athletes.  At first, the kids thought she was totally wrong.  However, after reading the materials and going online to do more research, they realized she was absolutely right.

How about you?  If you’re a parent, do you think your talented son or daughter will get discovered?  It just doesn’t happen that way.  I like to see it the other way.  You need to discover the coaches and programs!  Taking the first step in a recruiting relationship is what leads to most scholarships. 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

NashvilleWhen 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

BaseballI 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 interestVolleyball 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

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

TrackThe 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.

Continue reading

Thanks for the rBasketball arenaecruiting and athletic scholarship questions you’ve presenting lately.  These are questions many parents and student-athletes are wrestling with, so I thought I’d dig into a couple more in this post.

Q: “My daughter and I would like to attend local D2 tournaments games in our area. I know we can’t approach the D2 coaches, so how do we make contact with them? Send a email stating her interest in the school and that she will be in attendance watching the game? Will my daughter be allowed to hand a coach her player profile while at the game? Your thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you.”

A: The nice thing about recruiting is that the contact rules apply to coaches.  The parent and student-athlete can make contact with the coaches anywhere and anytime.  You can visit a school, meet with the coach, tour the campus, deliver information, etc.

The same is true for attending these tournament games.  Yes, your daughter can go and approach the coach.  However, it may not be very effective at the game itself.  The coach is “in the zone” before and during the game.  The best time to approach the coach is after the game.  She can hand the player profile to the coach then, but I would also highly recommend sending the complete Introductory Packet by mail or email.  A coach has a lot on his or her mind during competition.

I think it is a good idea what you have planned.  She’ll make an impression on the coach that will make a difference when he or she gets the Intro Packet from your daughter. Continue reading