The path to landing a spot on a collegiate athletic team may seem confusing at times. Here are some common missteps to avoid:
Don’t assume that because you receive a letter from a school, or are the star of your high school team, you will be aggressively recruited. Only a few select athletes receive personal visits from coaches. You need to market yourself, following up with coaches to express interest and showcase your skills.
Not Being Confident Enough
Some high school athletes assume that because they’re not stars, they have no chance at an athletic scholarship. They may be leaving money on the table. Although you need to be skilled at your sport to earn an athletic scholarship, you don’t need to be the best athlete in your league or even on your team. Talk to your coach to assess your chances and get some advice on how to proceed with the recruiting process.
Making Poor Decisions Off the Field
You can severely damage your chances of earning an athletic scholarship by getting trouble with the law or abusing drugs and alcohol. Coaches will assume that if you don’t exercise discipline and good decision-making off the field, you probably aren’t going to on the field. Drugs and alcohol also dramatically affect the body’s recovery time and double the chances of injury.
Letting Your Grades Slip
Schools want excellent athletes, but they also need recruits who can perform in the classroom. Do not assume that your athletic prowess trumps your academics. Do your best in the classroom at all times.
Relying Too Much – or Too Little – on Your Coach
Your high school coach is one of your biggest assets in the college recruiting process. Often, coaches have connections that can help you in your search. Experienced coaches are also good judges of talent and may be able to give you an idea of your level of competition. Don’t forget to use your coach as a resource.
However, don’t assume that coaches know everything, or that they will manage the recruiting process for you. You need to ask for their help, and you will need to follow up with them. Remember that they have a lot going on in their lives besides you. Few coaches will aggressively market you to colleges. Consider your coach as being a crucial part of your recruiting process, but not your only resource.
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