With the regular season over and student-athletes back home for a well-deserved break, you might think that college coaches have switched to a lower gear for the summer. Nothing could be further from the truth. If there is a prime season for recruiting, it's the summer. Below are some tips to consider as you move your college recruiting efforts to a higher level.
Whether you had one of those "magical season for the books" or hit a brick wall at the end, now is the time to analyze your performance and put it into clear perspective. Young prospects who have the ability to be introspective—to review the past year and catalog lessons learned, from both positive and negative experiences—are well on their way to developing self-awareness and effectively plotting their college search.
Don't just muddle through the summer. View it as a challenge in rising up to a higher athletic level. Determine the skill set you want to achieve and ask yourself two questions: "Are these goals reasonably within my grasp?" and "Am I selling myself short?" Once you've done a reality check, confirm your goals and place them at the top of your priority list. [Is advancing your sport-specific training one of your goals? Check out the 4th Annual STACK Summer Training Guide for workouts and more.]
Ask your high school and/or club coach to review your goals and help you build your plan of attack. This shows respect for the coach and your willingness to ask for advice. It also demonstrates a mature understanding of the benefits of a team approach—to a person who knows you and wants to help.
By including your coach in the mix, you give him or her a vested interest in the outcome; and with that interest comes a willingness to be a key player in your process.
Whether you're providing college coaches with your latest SAT scores or a DVD showing off your improved athletic skills, give the update real substance. Coaches are swamped during the summer with accelerated travel schedules. By keeping updates brief and simple, you are assisting the coaches; and they will appreciate the effort.
Once you have updated your academic progress report [grades, standardized test scores and academic awards], forward it along in a clean and easy-to-read format.
Next, re-cap your past season with bullet points covering your team record, individual stats and personal accolades. Let the coach know where you will be attending tournaments and showcases. As these events draw near, send a more personal and detailed communication about each event.
Finally, update your personal profile and video stream. Keep them clean and crisp.
Take a Road Trip
A good road trip is your backstage pass to the college search, and taking unofficial visits to several of your top schools is a great way to determine which institutions are potential matches. Contact the office of admissions to determine when campus tours and information sessions are offered, and make every effort to schedule a meeting with the coach. The campus visit is extremely important, and it requires careful planning. It can be very difficult to track down coaches without proactive communication.
Contact the coaches four to six weeks prior to your planned trip to check their schedules and availability. You will be pleasantly surprised how campus visits and coach meetings will propel your recruiting quest.
Summer vacation gives student-athletes a welcome break from school and a wonderful time to lighten their loads. That said, prospects and families who are willing to make proactive efforts in executing key areas of their recruiting plan will position themselves for success in the college search.
Tom Kovic is the founder and president of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he advises families and prospective student-athletes in developing and executing personal plans for the college search. Kovic has delivered nearly 300 presentations and seminars to more than 3,500 participants. He is the author of Reaching for Excellence, an educational guide to college athletics recruiting, and he is a regular contributor to numerous educational and sports publications.
Prior to founding his own company, Kovic coached gymnastics at The University of Pennsylvania. He has coached 34 individual Ivy League Champions, three ECAC athletes of the year and more than 160 NCAA Academic All-Americans. He was named ECAC Coach of the Year twice.
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