An athletic scholarship is one of the highest honors you can achieve as a high school athlete. Just because you are a great athlete does not mean you are guaranteed money. Plenty of other factors are taken into consideration in scholarship awards. You must be mature enough to compete at the next level and able to handle yourself on and off the field. Scouts are looking for the athletes who work hard, perform well under pressure and adapt quickly to situations. One thing that athletes don't seem to understand is that the recruiting process doesn't end after a conversation with a scout. Several steps follow after you've been noticed by a college or university.
Let's take a look at some of the most important factors that could lead you to becoming a scholar-athlete.
School Comes First
There is a reason why you are called a "student-athlete." Most athletes don't want to hear it, but education comes before athletics. If you put all your time into sports and not enough into school, chances are you won't have the grades to get into a big time Division I school.
If you have the skills to compete at the next level, it would be an absolute shame not to be able to do so because of poor grades. The key is to find a perfect balance between practice and studying. If you are willing to put 100 percent effort into each, you have the makings of a successful student-athlete at the next level.
College coaches take education very seriously. They want the highest team GPA possible, and they want the best future for their players, so they will push you in the classroom as well as on the field. Most colleges require their athletes to participate in study hall hours, and even more colleges prohibit you from competing if your GPA is too low. It's a good idea to acquire good study habits early, so when it's time to apply, you'll have the grades to back up your talent on the field.
Train Like a Pro
A serious work ethic shows scouts and coaches that you're willing to go the extra mile to succeed in your sport. They look for athletes who are the first to arrive to practice or the weight room and the last to leave. They want to see you spend an extra few minutes stretching or icing—or getting in a few extra reps during a workout. Some of the best athletes in the world got to an elite level by never quitting, knowing that a little extra today will give them an edge on their competition tomorrow.
The fire in your eyes has to start at a young age. Natural talent will only get you so far; but when you complement your talent with an undaunted work ethic, you will be performing at the top of your game. A scout or coach will often reach out to your high school coach to learn how you are in practice, how you handle a loss, what kind of work you put into the weight room, and what kind of student you are. Your job is to take every step you can to ensure that you are a shining example of how athletes should act. It all comes back to that work ethic.
Make An Impact On Your Visit
So you've been invited to make an official visit—to meet the coaches and team, tour the campus, go out to eat, and get wowed by everyone involved. That can be intimidating for someone who isn't ready, so you need to be prepared for whatever they fire at you.
The first impression is the most crucial, so what can you do to make it count? If you have been invited to take an official visit, that means the coaches know you have what it takes as an athlete to be on the team, but they want to know a little more about you. First, always give firm, confident handshakes with eye contact. That shows the coach you are respectful and mature. Speak clearly when meeting staff as well.
From there, you need to be ready for a lot of questions. When you respond, be confident in your answers, and ask questions back. They want to see that you're passionate about the sport, if you can see yourself wearing their uniform, and if you can grow and develop at their school.
Follow this advice and by the end of your visit, you could be rewarded with the athletic scholarship offer you deserve.
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