Play ball! (soon)

Photo by Pierre-Etienne Vachon on Unsplash

Now that the powers that be are deciding to loosen the stay-at-home restrictions soon practices and games will resume. This is very exciting news. Recently, many of my conversations with coaches and athletes suggest that teams are starting to come together at the end of June and first week of July.  However, there will definitely be some modifications.

Here’s what we know. 

Sport will look like sport but it will be different 

  • there will be weird restrictions and over cautious regulations (no spiting in baseball????) 
  • there will be fewer fans in the stands

What we can be sure of 

  • sports are back
  • athletes will compete
  • recruting will continue to move forward

What will soon be known 

  • those that put in the work will succeed
  • those that didn’t will fail
  • those that stopped their recruiting will surely be behind.

As I have written before, high performing athletes have no off season. Their goals won’t allow them to take time off. Instead, those goals are like a magnet drawing them in. 

But for those who decided to slack off, or who were convinced that recruiting wasn’t happing during the Dead Period, here are a few things to do immediately. 

  1. Get off your a*s and get to work! There is nothing more to say about that . 
  2. Get some help, right away. Find someone who has the contacts necessary to get your name out there.  Exposure is key to the recruiting game. Get it right away.
  3. Invest in yourself. It will cost you time, sweat, and money to get recruited. Nothing worthwhile is free but things that are worthwhile come at a cost.  Truthfully, it will cost you now or cost you in the future, so you can invest in yourself now or pay the price in the future.

Extending the Recruiting Dead Period; what it means for student-athletes

Last week, the NCAA extended the recruiting Dead period to June 30 as a result of covid-19  concerns. While the Dead Period may have mild repercussions,  it does not mean is that all recruiting has stopped. 

Many student athletes and parents should be aware what the extension means  and how it impacts recruiting. for their student athlete.  The goal of this blog is to answer those questions. 

To begin, the Dead Period extension means that college coaches and recruits are not permitted to have 

  • in person evaluations
  • official campus visits
  • in person contacts 

These are typical Dead Period restrictions.   However, like any other Dead Period throughout the recruiting calendar, the extension does not stop the recruiting process. 

Even during the extended Dead Period college coaches are still recruiting. Homepage screenshot: ESPN football recruiting May 19, 2020

So, let’s break down the Dead Period. At the core, the Dead Period is designed to give college coaches opportunity to digitally scout, research, and yes, recruit student athletes!  It’s somewhat of a respite for college coaches. The Dead Period provides coaches the time and space to recruit players without interruptions. 

The NCAA defines the Dead Period as, “a period a college coach may not have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents, and may not watch student-athletes compete or visit their high schools. Coaches may write and telephone student-athletes or their parents during a dead period.”

Again, coaches may not have in person contact, campus visits or personal evaluations. They can, however, communicate with student-athletes and their parents. 

Clearly, the extension of the Dead Period does modify the typical recruiting process. However, it does not stop it altogether. 

So, my tip to the Class of 2021 recruits and beyond is to be more active and aggressive with their recruiting than ever before. Don’t get suckered into thinking that your recruiting is dead . Make sure it stays alive!


Return to Competition (Soon)

“As adults, and especially as adults who have considerable influence on our athletes, it is important to model behaviors that demonstrate responsibility, residence, and respect. “ Shortly after the quarantine I wrote a blog on Elite Athletes Recruiting as a reminder to coaches and people of influence about the example to set for the athletes entrusted to them. 

Now, restrictions are starting to loosen and in matter of time athletes will return to competition. 

Soon, the time coming for athletes to return to the field of competition.  Certainly, for some states it will happen sooner than others.
Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Major sports organizations are posting planned start dates along with guidelines required for player participation such as waivers, safety regulations, phases, stages and guidelines

Certainly, the time coming for athletes to return to the field of competition.  For some states it will happen sooner than others. As an example, in my home state of Arizona, plans are in process for competition to begin be the end of May.  Many other states have yet to be so bold, but surely completion will return.  I’m confident of that. 

With the light at the end of the tunnel starting to come into view, I still think what i wrote in March is relevant. As adults, and especially as adults who have considerable influence on our athletes, it is important to model behaviors that demonstrate responsibility, residence, and respect. “ 

Athletes and families are looking to us. Lead them. 

Breaking down recruiting video.

Yes, thats right. Its almost over. Soon the quarantine will be lifted and in turn athletes can return to competition. So the question for student-athletes will be, what did you do during the quarantine to help move your recruiting forward?

Hopefully, time has been invested in recruiting video. Video is crucial to the recruiting process, because most coaches recruit digitally first before seeing an athlete in person. Right now, with the stay at home policies in place, coaches have relied on video to recruit digitally.

So, what kind of recruiting video is most beneficial? And, what footage should the video feature?

Actually, the answer varies by sport. For example, game video is paramount for high school football prospects. However, sports like baseball, softball, and soccer require that skills video also accompanies game footage. Keep in mind, the purpose of the recruiting video, no matter the sport, is to demonstrate position specific athletic skills.  

It may be a matter of debate, it makes little difference if the video is professionally recorded or self-recorded.

Though it may be a matter of debate, it makes little difference if the video is professionally recorded or self-recorded. In most situations, quality cellphone video works well. I’ve recored skills video with a video camera, iPad and iPhone with good success. What matters most is the quality of athletic content not necessarily the quality of content. College coaches must be able to clearly identify the player and clearly view all the required skills.  Last year, I was talking with several scouts at a major tournament here in Phoenix, when the Oregon scout got up, took out his cell phone, walked over to the fence and began recording a players at-bat. Right there, I thought, ‘well if it’s good enough for Oregon then it’s good enough for others.’

Lastly, it should be obvious that having no video will surely stifle the recruiting process. Athletes trying to get recruited without video will find it almost impossible to gain interest. In fact, limited exposure will surely put the student-athlete at a tremendous recruiting disadvantage.

Here are 5 quick tips from a previous article I wrote about recruiting video

  1. Always make sure the video is appropriately timed (4-5 minutes)
  2. Next, make sure that your best plays are in the first 30 to 60 seconds.
  3. Then make sure to highlight position specific skills.
  4. Most importantly, highlight videos should feature you, not other players.
  5. Lastly, keep questionable plays out of your video.

Because highlight videos carry a lot of significance in your recruiting I’m glad to review your highlight videos before you send them to a coach or post them online.  You want some outside help with your recruiting video. If so, schedule a FREE recruiting video consultation where I will take a look at your highlight or skills video to provide you helpful tips and feedback. Schedule your free recruiting video review here.

The Recruiting Process: A parent’s perspective.

Over the Easter weekend, I recorded an Interview with Jeff Wozniak, teacher, parent of student athlete, and all around good guy. He graciously took the time to share with me his point of view as a parent of a student athlete going through the recruiting process. 

Jeff played college ball back in the day. But, as most of us old-timers know, the recruiting process is much different today. It was great hearing about his experience as he and his wife walked alongside their son through his recruiting process. 

Jeff provides, from the parent perspective, some great insight about the recruiting process that I think will be helpful to parents and players alike. 

0:00  Intro

0:43  Making the decision to start the recruiting process.

2:40  The best time to start the recruiting process

3:12   How to get the advantage in the recruiting process

3:33   Seeing the value in recruiting assistance: relationships and connections

4:44   Committing to a college

5:26   The advantage of starting the recruiting process early

6:22   Accountability throughout the recruiting process

7:13   The triangle effect

8:00   Teaming up with outside resources (PrepStar/Coach Mike

8:45   The benefits of PrepStar

9:28   The family advisor

9:40   Criticism for using an outside resource and how to ignore it

10:30  Investing in your kids’ future

11:40  Timeline of his sons’ recruiting process

13:02  Getting the first offer

14:41  Decommitting (restarting the recruiting process)

16:35  How PrepStar helped get a second scholarship offer

19:23  Advice for parents: let the program work

21:45  Coach Mike : my Jerry Maguire

23:10  Without PrepStar my son would be out in the cold

25:00  College rosters after COVID-19

26:21  Let PrepStar work the process; trust the process to get the best offer

27:21  Parent’s pressure and angst in the process

28:26  What college coaches want to see

29:54  Overall experience: telling others about PrepStar 

32:32  Parent  perspective: coaches don’t want to talk to parents, they want to talk to professionals. 

33:31 Final thoughts

Admittedly, in some parts the audio and video recording is less than desired.

To learn more about PrepStar recruiting go here.

High Performing Athletes- Self discipline during social distancing

I’m over it. You’re probably over it too. The new routine you created is now starting to get old since we’re in the second month of the social-distancing, self -isolation, sequester. So, what do you do next? How do you create a new routine designed to keep you performing at a high level?

Let’s break down the 6 characteristics of high performing athletes to help guide you:

  •  High performing athletes are able to clarify the vision and path to reach their goals. 
    • Even though it looks like no end is in sight, high performing athletes are, right now, playing out the scenes in their minds, of games they haven’t played yet. They can see themselves on the field dominating the opponent!
  • High performance athletes measure results repeatedly.  They do this to discover areas of progress as well as weaknesses.
    • The gym is closed, meal prep is difficult, and the temptation to stay up late is very real. But the high performing athlete is very aware of weakness and is meticulously measuring progress. To them its a challenge not just maintain but pack on muscle, get faster, and throw farther.
  • High-performing athletes take full responsibility. They take complete ownership of their actions, their plans, and their purpose.
    • For a high performing athlete it is unquestionable to stay at home, sit inside and not get any workouts in. They are putting in the work! They are getting up early and eating clean. High performing athletes don’t listen to the talking heads spouting about the possibility of no season ahead. The high performing athletes ignore that bull and remain accountability to their teammates.
  • High performing athletes possess “want to”. They willfully want to practice and put in the extra reps. This characteristic is often partnered with words like passion, desire, drive and determination. 
    • Against conventional wisdom and the smack-talk of the slackers, the high performing athletes are getting extra reps today. High performing athletes are obsessive about their sport. The thought of not doing something every day that will make them better at their sport makes them ill.
  • High performing athletes take care of their body, mind, and spirit. They plan and execute good self care habits and have the discipline to maintain those habits. 
    1. Access to resources have been limited, the high performing athlete finds creative ways for self care. They allow themselves to explore new techniques. High performing athletes take self care seriously.
  • High performing athletes seek out great coaching. They intentionally look for and listen to coaches who  can help them  break through to the next level. 
    • Regardless of the current constraints, the high performing athlete has kept in contact with their coach. To the high performing athlete, the mentorship of the coach holds great value. The bond towards reaching a common goal is so strong that the high performing athlete make it a priority to stay in touch.


Utter disappointment. Really, that’s a tremendous over statement. My heart goes out to the Spring athletes as well as those athletes who were unable to take their college visits. Many 2020’s have had their recruiting and signings delayed, while 2021’s also missed the opportunity to showcase their skills this season.  Many people ask me my thoughts on how ‘Rona (COVID-19) will impact recruiting in the near future, so here’s some of my thoughts.

Let me begin by stating that by nature I am an optimistic person. It’s in DNA to see things the potential in people and circumstances.  I’m holding hope that with cooperation, diligence, and compliance the spread of the virus will be stifled so that soon athletes can take to the field again.  

Without doubt, new recruiting opportunities are sure to surface to make up for lost time. So, even though college recruiting may have been slowed this spring, there will certainly be more recruiting opportunities to come.
Photo by Peter Feghali on Unsplash

Now, in regards to recruiting, it is likely that there will be little to no significant impact on the recruiting process. By that, I mean the recruiting process will continue to move forward in spite of the sequester. I am certain, at this very moment college coaches still recruiting athletes!  They may be doing this from their offices instead of the sidelines, but make no mistake, college coaches are recruiting athletes!

Next, recruiting this summer will certainly ramp up. Ben Franklin was noted to have said, “Out of adversity comes opportunity.” Without doubt, new recruiting opportunities are sure to surface to make up for lost time. So, even though college recruiting may have been slowed this spring, there will certainly be more recruiting opportunities to come. I anticipate an increase of showcases and camps this summer. Two reasons play into this. First, more camps and showcases will help replace some revenue lost as a result of the cancelled spring season. Second, additional camps and showcases will provide coaches the opportunity to have athletes come to them. This will allow coaches to evaluate more players in a short amount of time.  Early exposure to these coaches will be a tremendous help for prospects wanting invitations to these events.

Additionally, athletes who make the most of the self sequester will be those who continue communicating with college coaches, stay in shape, and keep up with their regular routine. When the opportunity returns for student-athletes to take the field once again it will be evident who stayed on course and made the most of the downtime. Consequently, those student-athletes who choose chill-time over training time will surely fall behind. 

Lastly, as of March 30 the NCAA announced that spring college athletes can be awarded an extra year of eligibility. However, the NCAA did not mandate additional scholarship money. The NCAA did loosed the roster limit for the 2021 season. But, scholarship money awarded to student-athletes will be at the desecration of the college athletic program.

This presents an option for the student-athletes who take advantage of this gift. It is likely that that they will have to pay out of pocket for an additional year of college so that then can play one more season of Spring sports. Outside of athletes from prominent Power 5 schools, I suspect that few Spring athletes will take advantage of this benevolent offer. For most college students, the cost of college tuition might just outweigh the benefit of one more year of competition. 

Finally, and most importantly, I want to wish you all wellness, safety and good health during this unprecedented season. 

Let them play?

Every student athlete is impacted by the Covid-19 virus. Weeks ago the severity of the spread was underestimated, thousands of people took to social media with posts of “Let them play!”  Little did we know that a pandemic was encroaching that would dole a knockout blow to all spring sports, at every level throughout our great country. 

As adults, and especially as adults who have considerable influence on our athletes, it is important to model behaviors that demonstrate responsibility, residence, and respect.
As adults, and especially as adults who have considerable influence on our athletes, it is important to model behaviors that demonstrate responsibility, residence, and respect. 

At least for most. 

Recently, on a return visit to the grocery, I drove by a neighborhood baseball part, noticing the movement of colorful little dots scattering the outfield. Not sure what I was observing, I drove into the parking lot astounded to see a little league baseball team practicing.  Enamored and  disappointed, I shook my head. 

Now, I’m all for sports. I love sports, for two decades I’ve coached sports and my children are also athletes. They are involved in team sports and when the sanctions were passed down each one of them lost  their season.  

But, I also know that sports in not more important than life. As adults, and especially as adults who have considerable influence on our athletes, it is important to model behaviors that demonstrate responsibility, residence, and respect. 

Responsibly that models to our athletes that certain risks are not more rewarding than wins.

Resilience that models to our athletes fortitude in face of adversity. 

Respect that models to our athletes that right choices always supersede selfish ignorance. 

In years to come, athletes of all ages will remember the season that was cut short. They will be pained by the possibility of what could have been. But, they will also remember those responsible for leading them. How they made touch decisions  in their best interest, so that in the years to come these same athletes and their children can take the field again. 

#HPA Challenge

Adversity brings out the true character in people.  It is like an x-ray. Adversity reveals what is actually there.  It has a harsh but truthful way of unveiling what we are made of. 

Since most, if not all, high school spring sports have been suspended or cancelled since the quarantine restrictions have been enforced, student athletes have a tremendous amount of free time.  I’m positive that the mandated hiatus will surely reveal the true nature of many student-athletes.

See, there are athletes who will take advantage of the downtime and use it to make themselves better. These high performing athletes will get creative and make opportunities to improve their skills. No matter what, these high performers will get their reps in with improvised practices, drills and spontaneous workouts. 

But, there are also student-athletes who will take advantage of the downtime and make little or now use of it. Instead, they will get complacent and make excuses for why it is better to rest and relax than it is to use the time to sharpen their skills.  

When the sanctions are lifted, which student-athlete is going to be prepared to compete? Which student- athlete is going to be ready to help the team right away?

Preview(opens in a new tab)

Here is a challenge for student-athletes designed to keep them stay game-ready and accountable to their teammates. 

I call it the HPA CHALLENGE (High Performing Athlete Challenge). #HPAchallenge

The goal is that even though your team can’t practice together, EVERYONE is doing their part to make the team stronger and better for when competition resumes.

Here are the rules.

1. Student- athletes are to create a home base workout focused on these three areas.

  • Dynamic functional sport specific strength exercises
  • Position specific drills including number of reps
  • Conditioning activity

2. Daily training sessions should be at least 1 hour. 

3. Student-athletes must be accountable to teammates.  So, connect with them on social media, text, email…whatever. 

4. Notify teammates when you start your workout, tell them your goals, practice plan, and number of reps. Then notify teammates when you finish.

5. Also, throughout the day, show them that you are eating clean and staying hydrated (drink between 1/2 gallon and 1 gallon of water everyday!)   

Why do this? It’s because when you tell people what you are going to do you are more likely to do it! That’s called accountability!So, as you are accountable to your teammates they will also be accountable to you. As a result EVERYONE will get better!

Lastly, if you use social media to be accountable use the #HPAchallenge and tag me @coachmikewoosley. I’ll do what I can to support and encourage your progress.

Recruiting in the Spring – communication rules

Recruiting timelines and communication rules can appear confusing. But with a little planning and research, athletes can use them to their benefit. For example, during the Spring it is very important to be aware of  the contact communication periods within your sport as well as the communication regulations that accompany them. This information is easy to located within the NCAA and NAIA regulations pages on their respective websites. This information can also be accessed in the Prepstar recruiting profile.

It is also important to note the communication rules. While many divisions (D1, D2, D3, etc) have similar, communication rules, in actuality, there are some glaring differences. The difference range from permissible emails, phone calls or visits. For example, D2 coaches in comparison to DI coaches, have much more leniency with communications. It is helpful to learn the differences.

Contact periods for all colleges run along similar timeline however. For example, FBS schools (those that go to bowl games) have similar contact periods than FCS or D2 colleges. But, D3 colleges have nominal timeline communication.

Now, for athletes looking to take advantage of Spring recruiting opportunities, the key to is to be proactive! Please keep in mind that at any time throughout the year, athletes are permitted to contact coaches. This means that to communicate with college coach outside of designated contact periods the student-athlete has to be the one to initiate contact. Additionally, this rule also applies to underclassmen (Freshman and Sophomores). So again, no matter what time of year and no matter the contact period, college coaches are permitted to talk with prospects as long as the prospect makes the first move to contact them. For this reason, I always suggest asking the coach to schedule a few minutes of his/her time for a quick call to talk about their program and recruiting process. 

The NCAA posts, “The rules define who may be involved in the recruiting process, when recruiting may occur and the conditions under which recruiting may be conducted. Recruiting rules seek, as much as possible, to control intrusions into the lives of student-athletes.”
However, the statement makes no mention of prohibiting student initiated communicating with college coaches!

Clearly, it would it would be an advantage to use this rule to your benefit. I highly recommend that student-athletes take the initiative to reach out to coaches with emails, texts and voicemails. Never wait around for coaches to call you! Instead, be proactive and make it a priority to contact them. 

To wrap up, it is an understatement to say that recruiting is anything but a year round process. There is no downtime. College coaches are always recruiting. They are always on alert, looking for that student-athlete who can impact their program. So make sure to use the early part of the year to your advantage.