Summer Tips for the Prospective Student-Athlete
By, Tom Kovic
Many believe the summer is a time where college coaches switch to lower gears. The regular season is complete and the student-athletes have headed home for a well-deserved break. Nothing can be further from the truth! Opportunity is eminently knocking and if there is a prime season for recruiting, it is during the summer. Below are some auxiliary tips to consider as you move your college recruiting effort to a higher level.
Whether you had that “magical season for the books” or one where you hit a brick wall at the end, now is the time to “ferret out” your past season and put it into lucid perspective. The young prospect that has the ability to be introspective in his approach to the past year and pull significant learning points from both positive and negative experiences is well on his way in developing self-awareness and effectively plotting the next target in his college search.
Don’t just muddle forward through your summer. Face it as the ultimate challenge in “rising up” to a higher athletic level. Determine the skill set you want to achieve and ask yourself two questions: Are these aims reasonably within my grasp? Am I selling myself short? Once you have done a “reality check,” determine your goals and place them at the vanguard of your priority list.
Include your club and/or high school Coach in reviewing your goals and helping you build your plan of attack. This approach shows respect for Coach and your willingness to reach to him for advice. Second, it demonstrates a mature approach in utilizing a team approach and in this case, with an individual who wants to help!
By including Coach in the mix, he now has a vested interest in the final product and with that interest will grow a willingness to become a key player in the effort.
Whether you intend to provide the college coaches with your latest SAT score or with an improved look to your athletic skill set, the rule of thumb here is to give it “grip.” Coaches are simply swamped, even during the summer when their travel schedules accelerate. By keeping communication updates simple and crisp, you are assisting Coach and he will appreciate the effort.
As soon as you have compiled your academic progress records (past year grades, standardized testing and academic awards), forward them along in a clean and easy to read format.
Next, re-cap your past season in a bullet format that includes your team record, individual statistics and personal accolades. Let Coach know where you will be attending tournaments and showcases and as these events draw nearer, send a more personal and detailed communication about each event.
Finally, update your personal profile, video stream and share it with the coaches. Keep it clean and crisp and remove any unnecessary and outdated information.
Take a Road Trip:
A good road trip is your “backstage pass” to the college search for athletes and taking unofficial visits to several of your top schools of interest is a great way to get a “look under the hood” to determine if the institution is a potential “match.”
The campus visit is extremely important and requires careful planning. Coaches are like hot potatoes during the summer and it can be very difficult to track them down without proactive communication. Contact the office of admissions and determine when campus tours and information sessions are offered, but you also want to make every attempt to schedule a meeting with Coach.
Contact the college coaches 4-6 weeks prior to your planned trip and determine their schedule and availability to meet with you. You should be pleasantly surprised with how these campus visits will jump start your recruiting quest!
Summer vacation provides the prospective student-athlete with a great break from school and a wonderful time to “lighten the schedule.” That said, prospects and families who are willing to make proactive efforts in executing key areas of their recruiting plan will position themselves best for great success in the college search.
Tom Kovic is a former Division I college coach and the President of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he provides individual advisement for families on college recruiting. He is the author of Reaching for Excellence: An educational guide for college athletics recruiting. For further information visit: www.victoryrecruiting.com
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