College coaches evaluate prospective student-athletes on 3 levels: Academic strength, athletic ability and depth of character. That aside, when mid-March rolls around, coaches are simply drilling down on evaluating boys and girls when the stakes are high.
As you advance from states to regionals and onto the national championship, you are not only demonstrating to the college coaches the level of your skill repertoire, you are also validating your consistency as a competitor and your “nerves of steel” at your competitive core.
Give the college coaches a snapshot of what’s ahead of you and preview each subsequent meet honestly but confidently. Send a clear message that you will be up against strong competition, but it is an opportunity you will wholly embrace and vigorously rise to the challenge.
This serves two purposes. Firstly, it demonstrates your willingness to share your inner confidence with the coaches and give them a glimpse of your emotional substance. Secondly…It puts you to the test. The line is drawn, and the pressure is now on you to step up and get the job done.
Honesty and clarity are key operatives when sharing post-meet information with the coaches. Good, bad or indifferent, you want to convey an accurate assessment of how you competed. The message can be exhilarating, painful, or somewhere in-between. An honest broker will always gain greater respect from college coaches.
Perhaps you faltered badly on one event which thwarted your chance to move on to the regional or national championship. Although this can be a difficult statement to make to college coaches, you need to express it.
But it does not end here. Take responsibility for a rough performance but let the coaches know you have every intention to engage training tactics that will correct the problem and help continue to drive your skill set to higher levels.
Blow by Blow
As Prospective Student-Athletes advance from one championship to the next, feed the college coaches with bite-size information and updates. Remember, the college season coinsides with your season and the simpler you can convey information and with the greatest impact, the better.
Keep your highlight video updates to competitions only…There will be plenty of time to share training updates as the summer approaches. Share your re-cap with bullet points rather than extended sentences… Share video links instead of large video files to help college coaches save time.
Evaluation When the Stakes are High
College coaches task themselves to achieve one primary target when navigating the college athletic recruiting process…Identify, recruit and retain prospective student-athletes who fill gaps and drive the team to higher levels.
Athletes who perform well in practice and at a high skill level will meet prerequisite evaluation operatives, but it is the athlete who can consistently “hit” at high levels that really grabs the attention of college coaches.
Currently, most athletes are right in the thick of the championship portion of the season with regional competitions approaching on the short horizon. You can hedge your best bet that college coaches will be paying close attention to prospective student-athletes and their level of competition success and advancement right through nationals!
Take time to look in the mirror and be proud of every effort you have put forth to drive your skill-set to your current level. Look hard at yourself and determine the “gaps” you need to fill as an athlete that will push you toward further success. Commit yourself to embracing that effort and you give yourself the best chance at success with the collegiate recruiting process.
If your dream to compete as part of a worthy college team is clear, then determine your personal roadmap to achieve that goal. College coaches are looking for talented athletes, but more importantly, they need to identify prospective student-athletes who are both talented and consistent in competition. That being the case, there is no better time to identify that talent than now. Good luck moving forward!
About Tom Kovic:
Tom Kovic is a former Division I college gymnastics coach (Penn) and the current director of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he provides individual advisement for families on college recruiting. Tom is the author of “Reaching for Excellence”, an educational guide for college athletics recruiting. For further information visit: www.victoryrecruiting.com
Editor's Note: Publication of this article is not an endorsement of any recruiting service. Always check with the NCAA or your school's compliance officer for any questions regarding recruiting rules, the latest timelines, or other issues.