Friday, October 22, 2010

Tip of the Day #10

Understand that athletic scholarships are renewable one-year contracts, not four-year contracts. The rules about when a coach can choose not to renew a scholarship are pretty clear, and the good news is that they can't take away your scholarship because they're disappointed in the way you're playing. But they can revoke your scholarship if you're not meeting academic standards or if you get caught violating a school or athletic program rule. And even though they can't revoke your scholarship without just cause, they can strongly encourage you to leave by never playing you and generally making your life miserable. So keep your nose clean and your attitude positive.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tip of the Day #9

Athletic scholarships require you to be an active member of a team but merit scholarships do not, so think your decision through carefully if you have separate offers of both.

It's the rare athlete who is in this fortunate position but if you're one of them, consider your options very carefully. Everyone who goes through college recruiting hopes to be able to brag about the athletic scholarship offers they receive but there is a downside. There are a million reasons college athletes decide to give up their sport in college. What if you decide you just don't want to compete anymore, if you get seriously injured, if you're not getting the playing time you thought you would, if you hate the coach, if there are just other things you want to concentrate on more. Quit the team, lose your scholarship. It's that simple. There are lots of unhappy and unmotivated juniors and seniors who don't want to compete anymore but can't quit their teams because they would lose their scholarships.

If you have an offer of a merit scholarship, and you decide to leave the team for some reason, you keep the scholarship and finish your education on your own time. Pretty attractive deal if you can get it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tip of the Day #8

Be realistic about your skills.
Maybe you're as good as you think you are, maybe you're not. It's so important to get an accurate assessment of your skills from objective outside sources in preparation for college recruiting, and I list several ways to do that in Put Me In, Coach. If you're willing to believe what objective sources are telling you and you aim yourself accordingly, you will generate more college recruiting interest and options than if you stubbornly reach for too high a level. The right level is challenging enough to stretch you, but manageable enough that you'll see playing time. If you reach too high, you may end up with nothing, or you may walk on to find yourself in a permanent practice squad situation. If you've gone through a year of college basketball recruiting or college football recruiting only to end up as a practice player, you probably won't be very happy.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tip of the Day #7

Here is one good way to use your parents in college recruiting: have them help you develop a good resume and cover letter. You may be sending these out to college coaches and you may be posting them on a college recruiting website. Either way, it's good to have an adult pair of eyes look them over and give them a final thumbs up. Most parents have had to write resumes and cover letters at some point in their lives so they're pretty experienced at it. And it's a pretty straightforward task that you won't fight or disagree over.

Suppose you're pursuing college basketball recruiting or college football recruiting. Once you have some videotape footage that you can post on a recruiting website or YouTube, you're ready to contact college coaches with your resume (keep it to 1 page), and cover letter. Your letter has to be personal and can't look like a form letter that you sent to 100 coaches. Talk about why you like this coach's program, why you're a good fit, and how you would add value. Direct them to wherever you've posted your college basketball recruiting or college football recruiting videotape. And as long as you've aimed yourself at the right level of program, good things should happen.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tip of the Day #6

Use the athletic page on college websites to get the backgrounds of players on the roster and compare yourself to see if you'd fit.

Pick a typical D I, D II, and D III program. Go to your specific sport on the school's athletic page. Look at the players' size, weight, and speed. Suppose you're interested in college basketball recruiting. If you're 6'3" and playing a forward in high school, you'll probably find that forwards in college are at least 6'5" at the D III level and closer to 6'8" at the D I level. You may be too small for the level you want to play at, or you may need to consider switching positions to make it happen. Same is true for college football recruiting. 6'1" and 190 isn't going to work when the typical player at your position is 6'3" and 245.

Check times if you're in a timed sport like swimming or track. That's a pretty straight empirical measure that's hard for a coach responsible for college recruiting to argue with.

Read the bios of current college athletes to see what kinds of awards they got in high school. They will all be impressive and it will give you a good comparison point for where you fit in.

You can also get a good feel for whether they recruit locally, regionally, nationally, or internationally. And you can tell if they're recruiting primarily from public, private, or religious high schools, or if they get a fair number of recruits from junior colleges.

Do your research. It's all right there on the web and it's free.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tip of the Day # 5

Ask the coach the following question: "How often do you play freshmen, and what are my chances of playing as a freshman?"

Most kids want to know if they're likely to play as freshman. Any astute coach will tell you that playing time depends on performance, attitude, and other "you" things that they won't know until they see you in action, outside of the recruiting environment. This is an easy (and fair) way to deflect the question. But if you ask a college coach how often they have played freshmen in the past five years, they can't hide their record, and history will speak for itself. With this question, you'll get a very good idea of how likely any given freshman is to get playing time.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tip of the Day #4

Prepare and practice what you want to say when coaches call.

That first college recruiting phone call is pretty momentous and hopefully, there will be more after that. To make the best impression on a coach who may be recruiting you, you should be prepared for this call. Think through what you want to tell them about yourself, why you're interested in their program, how you can add value to it, and what questions you have. When they actually get you on the phone, you may be nervous and it will be hard to come up with all of this on the fly. This is especially true if it's a coach from a school you're really fired up about. Write it down and keep it close.

Another thing you may want to consider is role playing the conversation with a friend or parent ahead of time. This will give you practice and help build your confidence.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tip of the Day #3

If you're a junior who is interested in college football recruiting, college basketball recruiting, or college recruiting for any other sport, start the NCAA Eligibility Center registration early this school year. There is more to it than filling out a form and clicking "send." Here's a quick list of what you need to do:

--Check with your high school counselor to make sure you're taking the right courses in high school

--If you haven't take the SAT's or ACT's, make sure to register and take the test on time, and request that the scores get sent to code 9999 which is the Eligibility center

--If you have taken the SAT's or ACT's but haven't sent your scores on, you need to go to their websites and request that the scores get sent to the Eligibility Center. The SAT link is The ACT link is

--Your high school transcripts from junior year (and again, after you graduate) need to be sent from your high school to the Eligibility Center. You can't send an unofficial transcript or a copy, it has to come directly from your school

--You need to sign a form indicating that you have amateur, and not professional status. You can find this on the Eligibility Center website

--And of course, nothing is complete without moolah. It will cost you $60 to register and get this whole process started on their website. Credit cards accepted.

Good luck and get started.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tip of the Day #2

Don't let parents contact college coaches--do this yourself.

Coaches want to see some evidence of maturity, communication skills, and passion from the athletes they go through the college recruiting process with. They don't expect you to do all the talking and they are used to leading the conversation. But they do want to know that the athletes they are considering giving a sports scholarship to are willing to take the first step by themselves. And a great by-product is the ongoing relationship you start to develop with them.

Finally, they don't want to deal with a meddling parent. While it's not necessarily the case that a parent who contacts them will become a meddler, they don't even need to consider that possibility if a parent isn't involved in the beginning.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Starting a Tip of the Day Blog

So now that most schools are in session, high school athletes are starting to think about college football recruiting, college basketball recruiting, college baseball recruiting, and high school athletics in general. I'm going to publish a Tip of the Day every few days to help you get going on your search for sports scholarships. These are abbreviated versions of the tips I published in my ebook: The Recruiting Companion for College Sports: Over 100 Winning Tips. Here's the first one:

TIP #1:

The coaches you care about the most may not be in attendance at a competition you're participating in, but others will be and they talk amongst themselves. Keeping your guard up will ensure that you don't sabotage yourself when you thought no one of importance to you was watching or listening. Someone always is.