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.

“I like working hard to play well. I don’t mind breaking a sweat,” Lindsay said. “I’ll do everything I can to improve my game and be there for the team.”

Her high school coach said that as long as she maintained her work ethic once she got to college, she wouldn’t have anything to worry about.

Juan HerreraThen there’s Juan Herrera.  He just signed to attend Point University on a soccer scholarship.

“It’s been probably the best thing in my life really,” Herrera said of soccer. “Without it, I probably wouldn’t be able to go to college. So I basically had to work my butt off to get this.”

His coach, Jase Crenshaw, summed it up, “It’s a special day for Juan. Congratulations on the hard work you’ve put in, in the classroom, on the field, and in the offseason also. You know what it takes.”

How’s your work ethic? On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate yourself? Hard work is an ingredient most athletes need to perform at their best and to have the best chance at an athletic scholarship.

An athlete’s work ethic says a lot about his or her character, as well as his or her willingness to pay the price to be the best and to help the team.

And that’s what a college coach is looking for.

Wisconsin Badgers’ women’s head basketball coach Bobbie Kelsey made some direct statements about hard work when her team fell victim to Nebraska this year.  The Cornhuskers were led by Natalie Romeo’s 30 points, including 8 for 14 from the three-point range.

A Bleacher Report article said that “Kelsey hopes that Romeo’s performance will catch the attention of other players around the country.

“According to Coach Kelsey, the Badgers—and women’s college basketball players in general—need to put their phones down and hit the gym if they want to shoot like Romeo. A jumper like that doesn’t just magically form while players sleep.

“‘You can’t nap your way to being a great shooter,’ Kelsey said.”

For Parents

Parents, your son or daughter cannot handle the recruiting details while getting great grades, and excelling at athletics.  You have to shoulder some of the burden.  And the place you do it is in the recruiting process.

After my sons and I worked together and completed a model letter, I took the ball and ran with it.  I inserted the coach’s name, address and school, printed the letters and had my sons sign them.  Then I popped them in the mail.  That was before email became the way to go.

When responses came, I had the next piece of mail ready to send back in response.  It’s really an assembly line, of sorts.  You need to have your materials ready so you can respond quickly.  Remember, the college coaches have their own assembly line going, too.

I hope this helps put things in perspective as you walk through the recruiting process.  Lead your kid and you’ll see results.

Hard work.  It’s not just for the student-athlete.

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