USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from Playced.com. This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of the company. Playced.com identifies appropriate colleges for potential recruits and delivers an online DIY college planning experience for student athletes of all talent levels and ages.
I once heard leadership described as “doing the next right thing or making the next right decision, regardless of what happened in the past.” I love that. It is such a simple idea that can literally turn anyone into a leader, right now. That quote made such an impact in my life that not only do I think on it regularly, but I also have it written on the white board by my desk!
In the spirit of meaningful quotes, I thought it would be a good idea to get some of the best college recruiting quotes from our coach interviews in front of you high school athletes, before you’re dismissed for summer break. If you are serious about becoming a college athlete, take these 3 quotes and make them work for you.
“You aren’t a recruit until a coach knows about you.” –Pat Dolan, St. Cloud State Baseball
Merriam-Webster defines the word invisible as “impossible to see” or “not visible”. In terms of college recruiting, the last thing you want to be described as would be invisible! I want to ask you a very simple question… Do college coaches know who you are? Honestly. Do college coaches have any idea that you exist?
If you don’t know the answer to that question, the answer, unfortunately, is probably not. If this is you, there’s no need to worry, just yet! College recruiting is really not as confusing as some people would have you believe it is. But here’s the deal; it’s on you to make yourself visible to these college coaches. How do you do that? Send an email, make a phone call, go to a camp or take some unofficial visits to schools that might actually have interest in what you have to offer. The point is this: if you haven’t been found yet, that is as much your fault as it is anyone else’s. Whatever you have to do to be seen is exactly what you should do. So remember, invisible- bad and visible- good!
“If you can play your sport at a decent level, there is a college out there that will be interested in you.” –Jerry Ford, Perfect Game
If you have the desire to play in college, I am guessing that you have some sort of ability to match that desire. Right? As a high school athlete, you already know there are expectations and requirements of you getting to the next level. You know this. That said, I am a realist and I completely understand that not every high school athlete is going on to a collegiate playing career. I am, however, a firm believer in the idea that if you can be honest about your talent, you can absolutely find a school that will give you a chance.
Here’s my challenge to all of you athletes with aspirations of playing in college: Be honest with who you are and expand your idea of what you think being a college athlete is all about. Just because you see Alabama playing on CBS every Saturday afternoon doesn’t mean that Alabama is your best college option. But, just because you can’t cut it at that level doesn’t mean you can’t play college ball. My point: find what schools fit you, search out all of your options and find somewhere that you can achieve your dreams.
“Quit comparing yourself to everyone else and focus on you. Bloom where you’re planted!” –Joey Batson, Clemson Football
Drumroll. The #1 reason college recruiting can be frustrating, stressful and often times, just a major letdown is… EGO. Hear me clearly on this one; ego has destroyed more college recruiting experiences and playing careers than any other factors, combined! Think about that. All of the “shoulda-beens”, the “woulda-beens” and the “coulda-beens”. We’ve all heard that story 10 times before… Think of all of the college playing careers that were never even given a chance. The careers that never happened. The “Uncle Rico’s” of the world! For every injury that cuts a career short, there are 10 careers that ended because pride got in the way.
Take this quote from Coach Batson and pin it up on your wall or make it your screensaver. Parents, I’m talking to you, too! So often, we try to be something we are not because of what we see happening with other people. College recruiting is no different. You cannot get caught up in what offers your teammates are getting. Quit trying to be the kid you see signing on ESPNU. Good for them, so what. This is your story. Here is a guarantee: if you focus on being the best student-athlete you can be, can be honest with your abilities and have the mindset of doing whatever it takes to play in college; you will play in college. There is no doubt in my mind that there is a college out there that wants you as bad as you want them!