Yesterday, I was talking with a woman who recently completed her volleyball career at one of the top D2 schools in the nation. She gave me some good insights that I wanted to pass along to you. Her husband, also a star athlete, added to her advice. The conversation lasted only a few minutes, but here’s what I learned:
1. If you can’t compete at the D1 level, don’t. She told me she was too short to play D1, so she didn’t try to get onto a team at that level. Instead, she went with a program that was a good fit, and was a scholarship athlete on a championship team. She had a great experience. I’m sure she actually could have played D1 somewhere, but probably not in a quality program where she ended up.
The lesson here is that you need to look for a program that is a good fit for your son or daughter. It’s a message I keep delivering to families, but sometimes it’s good to hear from someone else.
2. Be willing to compete on a club or travel team in the off-season. Unless you’re a football player, you’re likely going to have to get exposure outside your high school season. The woman I talked with told me that, for volleyball, there is no other option. You MUST compete on a club team. College coaches, she said, do not go to high school games. They go to tournaments so they can see multiple players. The tournament and club players are a higher caliber, too, so college coaches can see more quality players at these events.
3. Approach coaches yourself, and don’t rely on a service. This advice came from the husband, who was a top athlete at his university before graduation a few years ago. He even made the strong statement that coaches throw away resumes that come from recruiting services. I don’t believe all coaches do that, but most do. He emphasized that coaches want to hear from the families personally.
What’s your strategy this summer? Time is ticking away quickly and the fall will be here before you know it. Make a commitment with your son or daughter that you’ll carve out 60 minutes in the next week to go somewhere are talk over what you’ll do together this summer in recruiting. Here are some activities you can do at the table at Starbucks:
1. Take out a napkin and start making a list of schools you might check into.
2. Ask your son or daughter what he or she loves about the sport they compete in.
3. Ask your athlete what his or her athletic dreams are. Have fun with this question.
4. Tell a couple stories about your athletic or academic past. You want the recruiting experience to be a team effort, and building the relationship really helps.
I’m looking forward to attacking your biggest challenges in the upcoming Athletic Scholarship and Recruiting Mini-Course. Be looking for your invitation to attend. It’s all online, so it’s convenient no matter where you live.