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Coaches are evaluating skill, size, strength and speed. Most players may not be great at all four, but being exceptional with any of those qualities can help you get on the map or get the recruiting conversations going.
Never let someone tell you that you are “too small” or “too slow” to play college sports—if you have the talent, you can work your way to scholarship offers somewhere. Some coaching staffs sit down and determine physical sizes they are looking for at each position and may not make many exceptions, other staffs are more flexible if the skills outweigh the size issues.
Not every school may be willing to take a look—but you just need to find that one coaching staff who believes in you.
I have worked with players who may have had great measurable who lacked position skills. Since many coaches feel they can teach position skills, they may recruit players who already have the great size and speed—it just depends on how that staff evaluates players for scholarships.
Great skill, toughness and a high sport IQ can overcome a lack of size or speed.
Continue to develop great fundamentals of your position and set goals to improve your measurables.
You may not be able to control your height but there are ways to improve your skills, speed, strength and weight.
1- Don’t blame anyone, ever. If times get tough, put the team on your back and say, “I should/could have done more.” And understand and believe in that statement – you can always lead everyone to do more. Never throw your teammates or coaches under the bus. Even if they probably deserve it, your reactions publicly will only make the situation worse. If necessarily, pull them aside one-on-one.
2- Realize that it’s up to you. If you are a junior or a senior- you NEED to become a leader. If you are one of the most talented players on the team, you NEED to be a leader. The lockerroom is waiting for someone to SPEAK UP and STEP UP—this starts with you!
3- During tough times ENCOURAGE those teammates or units that are failing. Urge them to keep fighting!! Support them. Tell them you have their back and know what they are capable of. Offer to join them for extra practice time. Let them know that you believe in them and these tough times will soon pass.
4- “I may not say much but when I speak, people listen.” – If these words come out of your mouth that means you need to SPEAK more often. That means people respect you. That means you have a responsibility.
5- Invite the team or your position group to your house – extra time together away from the faclility helps TREMENDOUSLY. Cook dinner, play video games, watch sports, watch movies, whatever. ANY time that you spend together helps, initiate the effort! Do it on a consistent basis. Set up a weekly tradition.
6- Leadership is contagious!! Leaders create other leaders. It starts with one—let that be you. Your leadership will cause a ripple effect in your team. If you bring relentless and positive energy to everything that you do they will begin to mirror you.
7- Eliminate distractions that are holding you back – junk food, video games, academic issues, partying, drama. When players see their leaders becoming more serious, they will also begin to sacrifice and make smarter decisions. What you will gain in the future by cutting those distractions will motivate you.
8- Initiate extra offseason work—bring the energy, set the pace! Have a positive and relentless attitude!! Personal and team improvements happen in the offseason—not during your season! Set the schedule, set the standards, set the positive attitude.
9- Help your team build trust in each other – no championships are won when a team lacks trust in each other. To be successful, you need teammates that trust each other and a coaching staff who trusts their players. Show your teammates that you trust them. Give your coaches a reason to trust you. Trust begins with simply being where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there!
10- Come 15 min early and stay 15 min late – Come to the weightroom or film room on off days and bring your unit or teammates to do quality work, put in the same effort as if your coaches are there. Multiply the extra time by the number of teammates who join you—it adds up quickly!
11- Show that you CARE – You care about the team and you care about WINNING! Once you decide to quit on your team and just put in minimum effort so will everyone else.
12- Be in the lockerroom as much as you can, create an environment where team wants to be. Music, attitude, conversation—create a positive environment that people want to hang out in.
13- Academics – call out younger players who are slipping to get it together – raise expectations for them to be responsible!! They will follow your lead. Make it cool to be on the Honor Roll!
14- Realize and be sensitive that teammates may have outside issues (family, depression, addiction, injury) going on. Be a listener or supporter. Pull troubled teammates aside. Any distractions off-the-field can keep you away from success; do what you can to help your teammates who are going through off-the-field troubles.
15- Fights are the biggest reason for suspensions and expulsions – When you see teammates scuffling on or off-campus, break it up or diffuse the situation! If 1 player fights, usually everyone fights. Be the calming voice in heated situations. You want teammates who are committed and focused enough on winning to walk away.
16- Go by your coach’s offices for 10 minutes a few times a week – spend time with the assistants and coordinators. Get to know your coaches. Ask them what you can be doing to get better.
17- Hold your teammates to high expectations in every area – if you are successful, they’ll listen!
18- You can be more influential than your coaches, realize that your messages are heard—good and bad.
19- Cut the nonsense at inappropriate times (meetings, practice, film, lift). If your teammates see that you are serious when you need to be, they will focus too.
20- Help with recruiting talent once on a college campus—host top recruits, be positive. The coaches are working their butts off to bring in the best players and if you want to win, you should be doing so as well.
21- Eliminate the negativity in the lockerroom. Establish a NO TOLERANCE attitude for complaining and backstabbing among teammates. Negativity never will win championships. Cut it off immediately! Help feuding teammates to get to the root of their problems and to put them behind them.
22- Get over losses – be positive and move on – brighter days ahead. Get those around you to believe! Frustration makes quitting easier, get your teammates to PUSH PAST that layer of frustration and focus on doing better the next time.
23- Get the fans involved, you will need them all season! Appreciate them at school, invite them to games, pump up crowd at key times. Win or lose, thank them for coming!
24- Talk to your coaches if you or a teammate has a major issue that could hurt team (legal, health, academic, eligibility)—the quicker they hear it, the quicker they can address it – it is what is best for the team.
25- Praise teammates when they do something great. If you are a leader in front of the media, do it publicly. Don’t overdo it but make a point to pat teammates on the back for their improvements. People like recognition and once they begin to get it, they will strive for even more. Motivate the backups and practice players, they don’t get much acknowledgement for their hard work.
#1 – VIDEO GAMES: Put the controller down!!! Play only on the weekend or give them up all together. Use that time during the week for homework or preparing for the ACT or SAT.
#2 – Go out to the field or court 15 minutes early and stay 15 minutes late to get in extra drills every day. Encourage teammates to join you. Extra practice will help you separate yourself if it’s taken seriously on a daily basis.
#3 – Stop eating fried foods, processed foods, candy and fast food. Add more fruit and vegetables to your diet.
#4 – Keep your body pure – No drinking, smoking or drugs!
#5 – Make getting enough sleep a priority. Go to bed early and take naps when possible.
#6 – Wake up an hour early a few times per week to get in extra conditioning. BONUS – Waking up early will help build mental toughness!
#7 – Get position-specific drills in EVERY DAY of the offseason! Ask your coach which drills will help you that you can do on your own. Elite players use the offseason to improve, not just to stay in shape. Select position-specific drills you need improvement on and focus on them every day of the offseason.
#8 – Drink more water! Eliminate sodas and don’t overdo it with extra sugar from juice and sport drinks.
#9 – Give up the negative people and influences in your life. Most times, you know exactly WHO and WHAT is holding you back from your dreams and goals. These people and issues are toxic to your future! They are draining you of positive energy which is a NECESSITY on your path to success!
10 – Get a part-time job (grocery store, mall, restaurant, concession stand, valet, hospital, construction, moving company) to save up money to attend camps and combines or for travel to visit schools. Do not allow money to be an excuse! A job will also help you build maturity and mental toughness!
Not all coaches are looking for the same type of athlete. But there are some characteristics that make athletes more attractive to most coaches.
All student athletes need, of course, to excel in two areas:
Coaches pay close attention to athletic performance, using high school results to predict a recruit’s ability to compete at the college level. Coaches are also looking to fill specific needs of their teams, first choosing athletes who can fill team weaknesses.
Student athletes are students are well as athletes. Coaches seek recruits who are motivated in the classroom as well as on the field. Recruits must meet the academic requirements to be admitted to a particular college or university, and they must remain academically eligible throughout their college careers.
Beyond academic and athletic success, coaches are looking for recruits who are strong in other areas:
Coaches want athletes who not only are good but are likely to get better. How do they assess a recruit’s potential? One key way is to look at how recruits have improved each year during high school. Coaches want athletes who will improve and remain dedicated during their years in college.
Athletes who can compete and contribute in several events or positions are more attractive to many coaches than those who are less versatile. Versatility is especially prized by smaller teams that struggle to fill all their needs. Larger teams are able to be more selective and tend to recruit more specialized athletes.
Coaches seek talented athletes and leaders. Leaders are not necessarily the best athletes; they are, however, important to a team’s success. Team captains, for example, are both dedicated to their sports and able to motivate other players. Coaches recruit prospective athletes who show leadership potential.
Dedicated athletes not only improve their own performance with their hard work, they motivate their teammates to train harder and compete more intensely. Coaches look for recruits with strong, consistent work ethics.
For most families, the day their son or daughter commits to a college is a joyous occasion. All those years of hard work, travel, and expenses have finally paid off in the form of a college acceptance letter, roster spot, and in many cases a scholarship. Parents brag to their co-workers about their outstanding son or daughter. The high school student sports his or her college t-shirt to high school, breathing a sigh of relief that the biggest stress of senior year has magically been lifted. A college commitment should certainly be a source of pride, but what many student-athletes fail to realize is that the hard work is just beginning.
Signing on the dotted line and committing to a college athletic program can be a life changing event. You are joining a team that is, in most cases, much more competitive and intense than what you knew in high school. Don’t downplay the meaning of the word “commitment”. You are not only commiting to play for a college team, you are actually making a commitment to work for the coach. One of the biggest mistakes a student-athlete can make is to take the spring and summer off of training.
Most college coaches will mail incoming freshman a copy of their summer workout.
If your coach does not send you a workout book, ask for one!
Follow your college workout religiously. Those athletes who come to campus in the best physical condition will prove to the coaches that they are serious and committed, and in return will have the best chance of playing early. If you do not understand the workouts, call the coach and ask questions, see if there is an upper-classmen who lives in your area and can help, or consider a few private training sessions at a local gym or training facility.
Set goals for your freshman year and be sure to stay out of trouble. Remember that one wrong move could jeopardize your entire collegiate athletic career. I recently heard from a father of an athlete who had to come home after his freshman year of college because he was not mature or responsible enough to survive on his college campus, despite the fact that he was a star on the baseball team. Once you get to campus it is time to prove to your new coaches why they recruited you. They are looking for student-athletes who will make a positive impact not only in competition, but on the college campus at large.
To those student-athletes who have signed a National Letter of Intent or made an equivalent commitment to a college athletic program – congratulations. Now get to work!
Right now is the most critical time in the recruiting process where coaches are expecting phone calls from players. If you haven’t started you need to start ASAP. You need to start separating yourself from other recruits on the coaches list.
In order to be adequately prepared for a call with a coach, there are a couple things you must do. You should first think about the following areas: your overall tone, your confidence level and your leadership ability.
Most importantly, you need to make sure that you are enthusiastic when talking to coaches! They will be able to sense if you are doing something else at the time or if you really don’t want to be talking to them. It can be an easy way to lose out on an opportunity and you don’t want to risk it.
Before you have your first live call with a coach, you need to have a couple practice runs.
1) Call coaches at schools you are not interested in, talk to that coach and see how you do. You have nothing to lose since you aren’t really interested in that school.
2) Role play with a teammate, friend or parent and go over the questions you are planning to ask as well as the questions coaches usually ask.
In terms of leaving voicemails:
1) Practice leaving voicemails for coaches on your cell phone or house phone.
2) Listen to your voicemails, would you call yourself back? Goes back to tone and you need to get used to paying attention to this.
When it comes time to actually calling a coach, you need to make sure you have written down your list of questions to ask the coach and you want to have a pen and paper ready.
It is important to have a pen and paper ready!
1) To be able to write the answers to your questions and the questions you were asked.
2) You will be more prepared to ask your questions.
3) You will remember everything a coach tells you.
If you are prone to saying um or like when you get nervous, it may help to have a note for yourself that reminds you not to say it or reminds you to be enthusiastic. These things are very easy to forget about when on a call.