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 always knocking and if there is a prime season for recruiting, it is during the summer. Below are some simple tips to consider as you move your college recruiting effort to a higher level.
Define Goals: 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 carefully review your past season and put it into perspective. The young prospect who 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 to developing self-awareness and effectively plotting the next plan.
Don’t just muddle forward through your summer, but face it as the ultimate challenge in “rising up.” Determine the skill set you want to achieve and ask yourself 2 questions: Are these aims reasonably within my grasp? Am I selling myself short? Once you have done a “realistic check” you are ready to put together your summer goals.
Team Approach: Include your club and/or high school Coach in reviewing your goals and helping you build your plan to achieve your goals. This approach shows respect for Coach and your willingness to reach to him for advice. Second, it demonstrates a mature approach to 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 be a valuable partner in the effort.
Updates: 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 make it have “grip.” Coaches are simply swamped, even during the summer when their travel schedules accelerate. By keeping your communication updates simple and crisp, you are assisting Coach and he will appreciate your 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 and include team record, individual statistics and personal accolades. Let Coach know where you will be attending tournaments and showcases and as these events draw closer, send a more personal and detailed communication about the event details.
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. You certainly want to call 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 as well.
Contact the 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 the school year and a wonderful time to “lighten the schedule.” Prospects and families who are willing to make proactive efforts in executing several key areas of their recruiting plan will position themselves best for great success in the college search.