How I Will Guide My Kids Through The College Athletics Recruiting Process
I earned a full athletic scholarship to Division I Sacramento State, to play football for their football team.
But, it took me two tries to get there.
While in high school, I was recruited by dozens of schools. I received scholarship offers from multiple Division II and Division III colleges and universities, but that Division I scholarship offer was elusive at time.
So, I took my talents to Butte Community College. From there, I was able to “figure it out”, and focus on the right things to earn a Division I scholarship.
I learned so much along the way, and if my kids decide that they want to play college sports too someday, I know exactly how I plan to help them attack the college athletics recruiting process.
We will avoid athletic recruiting services like the plague, and do the following:
- Get On The Field — I will get my kid out on the field. We will be the first people on the field, and the last off. We will be there on weekends, holidays, in the rain, and in the shine. Only 2% of high school student-athletes earn scholarship offers. Understanding that, we are going to try to give a Top-2% effort. Scholarship level athletes earn it on the field.
- Compete Against The Best — If my kid decides that he wants to play sports in college, one of the first things we are going to do is attend large-scale camps, combines, and showcases. Most sports these days have a leading camp/combine provider, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find the right place to be. But, it is important for my kid to know how good college-level athletes are and how hard a scholarship is to earn. But, I hope that my kid will also realize that through hard work, he too can compete at the college level. At the end of the day, he will need to know what he is up against, and understand what it will take to live out his dream of playing college athletics.
- Identify The Right “Fit”— We will spend time researching schools where my kid is likely to be most successful. This does not mean Division I only. I played at the Division-I level, and trust me, the novelty of playing at the highest level wears off quickly if you are in a poor fit. At the end of the day, a good “fit” primarily depends on the relationships you have with the people around you. So, I will do my best to understand my kids for who they truly are, and help guide them towards the people and places where they will thrive.
- Keep our options open — When I went through the recruiting process, I formed opinions about different schools along the way. For example, growing up, I always envisioned Sacramento State as a commuter school in a big city. How foolish of me to form an opinion about it without ever stepping foot on campus or meeting the people! I ended up being totally wrong, and Sacramento State ended up being different than I expected (and ultimately, my dream school). So, if I go through the college athletics recruiting process with my kids, we are going to keep an open mind about every school, and we are going to wait until we meet the coaches and players, and actually step foot on campus before we form opinions about anywhere or anyone.
- Be Proactive — I don’t know of a better way to get the attention of college coaches than performing in front of them. After going through the recruiting process, the most effective thing I ever saw was going to camps put on by specific schools. For example, I attended a football camp put on by Stanford. At that camp, they offered a scholarship to the Punter who won the camp competition. Earlier in my high school career, I went to a baseball camp at Cal State Fullerton. I saw two kids go from student-athletes to “recruits” in one day. So, once my kids have identified a handful of schools that they are interested in, we are going to go camp at those schools.
- Cheer my kid on — At the end of the day, I am going to love my kids and be their biggest fan. I have been lucky enough to enjoy my own little day in the sun in life, and I won’t feel the need to live vicariously through them. My goal is going to be to help them realize their dreams, not mine :)
To learn more about the college athletics recruiting process, visit us at signingdayscience.com.
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