College coaches look for three things in a player and student athlete – are they a good person? – are they a good student? – are they a great athlete? I can say with much certainty that outside of these three questions nothing else really matters. Your recruiting process is long, overwhelming and nerve racking; but it’s what you do inside and outside of school that separates you from the pack. What is the key you ask? Simply put, be a good person and get good grades.
Due to the recent changes in the NCAA this year is now the year you’re able to be recruited. You’ve proven yourself on the field and colleges want you to play for them. That first letter comes and you’re elated! “They want me, they really want me!!” But before you pop the bottle of sparkling cider know that this is only one small step in the process. What do you mean, I’m in… right? Nope. You still have to be accepted and trust us, the fact that you can drill 3 pointers all day long, run a 4.3, 40 or crack a home run to outer space won’t be the deciding factor. So then what is the deciding factors you ask? Who you are outside of sports and what’s your track record in the classroom.
Your first phone call with the coach:
Palms are sweaty, knees weak, mom’s spaghetti… am I right? You’re more nervous than that state championship game. This call, for you, is the first step to proving who you are outside of sports. There’s a lot of great players out there, the coach has to vouch for you, you’re going to represent their college. So, yes, being a great player is key but what’s more important is how you’re going to represent the school when you step off the playing field, court, ice etc. If a coach lets any Joe Shmoe or Sally Sue on the team that could cost them their job. Even though you might not know it, they’re interviewing you, no different than they would an employee for a job. Remember, there’s a ton of players just as good as you if not better out there. What can set you apart is the fact that the coach knows the athlete won’t cause trouble when they get to campus.
Getting in to the school:
“Ok, so I was recruited by them and that means I’ll get pushed through the admissions process, right?“
Just because you got a letter, email, text or phone call doesn’t mean squat. You’ve got to have the grades to get in. Remember, your grades are now going to affect the teams GPA average – do you think a coach wants to gamble on a player who’s got a crappy GPA and brings the team average GPA down? Absolutely not! If the team GPA stinks, guess who’s to blame? The coach. If that happens, they’re out of a job!
After figuring out if you’re a good person, the next thing the coach wants to see/hear is your grades. Dun Dun Duhhhhhh. Here’s the thing, for a student athlete, your GPA is indicative of your work ethic, if you have a solid GPA and average ACT/ SAT scores you’ll be fine. If a coach can see you’re putting the work in, in the high school classroom, they’ll vouch for you and gamble on the fact that this will translate to the college classroom. The inverse of that – poor GPA & poor testing scores means no scholarship for Joe Shmo or Sally Sue. Moral of the story – put the work in now so you don’t miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime.
Why you’re talent on the field is not enough:
We’ve said it a few times throughout this blog and want to reiterate it one more time. Remember, there are thousands of great players just like you across the country but there are not thousands of players who are great people and great student athletes. In a world of differentiating yourself you must do what others are not willing to do. That’s being a good person first and foremost, working your butt off in the classroom and continuing to dominate in your sport. I promise that if you focus on these three things everything else will take care of itself.
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