Thursday, December 11, 2008

Getting Through the Stages of Grief in College Recruiting

Most decent athletes start the college recruiting process expecting a lot. Everyone is a top D I prospect before reality sets in. Given that there's about 330 D I schools, and about 1500 more between D II, D III, NAIA, and NJCAA, it's not hard to figure out where more are going to end up.

Student-athletes go through this process over the course of a year or so, and when they figure out that it's not going to play out like they hoped, it's like watching people go through the five stages of grief:

Denial: "I'm really good, this can't be happening to me"

Anger: (directed at others) "Those coaches are jerks--they don't realize how good I am," or (directed at yourself) "Why was I so bad when they were watching"

Bargaining: "Just let me get a small scholarship, just give me something I can tell everyone about--I'll do anything if I can just keep playing for a few more years"

Depression: "I stink--why bother anymore, what's the point"

and thankfully, Acceptance: "It's okay, I found a place where I can play and I fit in pretty well. I'll just enjoy it, maybe I'll even get a decent education while I'm there"

Save yourself a lot of time and self pity--get to the acceptance part quickly. Not making the D I cut doesn't mean you're a lousy athlete, it's just a numbers game and there's a lot of competition for a few spots. The sooner you can aim yourself at the right level, the more you'll enjoy recruiting and the more you'll look forward to what's next.

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