[NOTE: Five Steps to an Athletic Scholarship, a Free Mini-Course from Recruit-Me, will be available in just a few days. This is the only step-by-step course available today and will expand on some of the things in this blog post, as well as much more. Check back in a few days and you’ll see how to get started with the first lesson.]
Most people don’t understand the process that gets an athlete recruited. The official signing is what most of us see or hear about, but we have no idea what went into getting the student-athlete in that position.
Is it a big mystery? To most families, it is. So let me lay out five factors that cause an athlete to get recruited:
1. Talent. There’s no substitute for this. But don’t be fooled. Your son or daughter doesn’t need to be the best in the league or on the team. They key is that he or she has the talent to compete at the next level. If that’s the case, there’s a good chance a scholarship is in their future. It’s important to cast your net wide, because you don’t know which programs are looking for recruits at your son or daughter’s talent level. Don’t get hung up on particular schools at the outset. It will take time to see which ones are the best fit.
2. Initiative. Scholarships don’t find athletes. Athletes find scholarships. Unless your son or daughter is a top-tier athlete, coaches are not just going to find him or her. You need to get their information in front of coaches at programs you’re interested in. Ideally, coaches want to know that the athlete has interest in their program before they will spend the time and money recruiting the athlete. Sure, coaches are competing for top-line, elite athletes and those athletes don’t have to have an initial interest in the school. However, most scholarship athletes have to make the first move towards the coaches.
3. Academic achievement. Athletic scholarships are competitive, so coaches look at the academic level of their recruits. If your son or daughter is on an even talent level with other athletes, the coach will lean towards the one with better grades, higher GPA and healthier test scores. The academic piece is so important and cannot be overlooked by families. Coaches want athletes that can compete academically and will stay all four years (ideally).
4. Character. When coaches come watch athletes compete, they’re looking at how the athlete behaves. Does he or she have a temper? How about pride? Is it over the top? What’s the kid’s reputation. The coaches are looking at how an athlete responds in adversity and under pressure. When you think he isn’t looking, he probably is. And the reference checks reveal a lot about an athlete’s character to a coach.
5. Endurance. An athletic scholarship pursuit is a marathon. For some, it is a three-year experience or more. That’s why it’s important to have perspective. The journey will have its highs and lows. There will be attention and there will be rejection. There will be times of silence (which is hard to endure), and times of multiple calls a night. When it comes down to it, the journey doesn’t end until the athlete’s senior year. So get strapped in and be ready for a long ride. It’s normal. Do things to keep your son or daughter’s spirits up and help give them vision for the future.