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?

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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.

The Guide to Writing Great Recruiting Emails

What is the key to writing recruiting emails that actually catch the attention of a college coaches? How do other athletes do it? And what information should be included when writing an email to a college coach?

First, I think we can all agree that email is a very effective way to get the attention of a college coach. Sure, other methods, like Twitter, are great for sending small bits of information, .But the email allows the athlete to share key recruiting information. Anyone can send a tweet, like a tweet or retweet a tweet. But only a few can draft a compose a well worded recruiting email.

Information that should be included in a recruiting email needs to separates you from other athletes who are also competing for the coaches attention. What is communicated needs to be information that helps you stand out, not blend in.

To guide athletes with the right information, I recently published an ebook specifically for athletes wanting to be different from the crowd. My book teaches athletes how to write great recruiting emails and also explains what type of email should be written for every recruiting situation. This book contains formatted fill in the blank templates for camps, showcases, games and other requirements. It also contains real examples of effective email used by high school athletes who successfully used the templates to help get on the radar and eventually earn a college roster spot!

Readers, I want to help you reach your recruiting goals. So, go get your copy today and get the confidence you need to write great recruiting emails.

Ebook website: http://coachmikewoosley.com/shop/

Tips to choose the right Camps, Showcases, and Combines

College camps, showcases, combines and now the ever present “Junior Days” are a necessary part of the recruiting process. Many offer the opportunity to compete against some of the top high school talent. Additionally, the experience at these events can be very valuable in the development of a young athlete. However, choosing the right event to attend can be a challenge.

For starters, relying solely on college showcases, camps and combines as the primary avenue to get recruited not a very sound strategy. Often the enormous number of camp attendees is not favorable for your exposure. In this case, too many athletes equals too few reps. Too few reps means not enough opportunity to showcase your talent. Also, typically college coaches already have developed recruiting lists of athletes they plan to watch at the camp so be cautions of camps expecting several hundred athletes. Additionally, before registering, athletes need to certain that the head coach or position coach will actually be at the event. Simple put, if the college coach wont’ be at the event, then it is impossible for him/her to see you compete, which means, there is a pretty good chance you will go unnoticed. It also means you wasted a lot of money for zero exposure.

If the college coach wont’ be at the event, then it is impossible for him/her to see you compete, which means, there is a pretty good chance you will go unnoticed. Photo by Jeffrey F Lin on Unsplash

Instead, heres a winning recruiting strategy for using camps, combines and showcases. First, do some research to make sure college coaches form the schools you feel are realistically a good fit. Once you decide on a event, make sure you are prepared for the event. Next, utilize good interactive communication before the event. This is a good opportunity to provide coaches with your recruiting profile along with any video highlights you may have. (PrepStar athletes can do this in a few clicks- message me if you need to know how). Finally, before the event, prepare a few questions to ask about the college or the athletic program.

Getting lots of camp invites? Have questions about which are legit? Need help?  Contact me to set up a time to talk (get free advise!) or use the comment section below.

High Performing Athletes- 6 common characteristics

At the start of the new year, I began as series focused on 6 major characteristics of high performing athletes. Often, I am asked about the what it takes for an athlete to reach a a high performance level beyond natural ability. So, after making a long list, researching top athletes, and persistent review I came up with 6 common characteristics. Obviously, these six characteristics is not an exhaustive list, however, I am certain that some form of these characteristics are prevalent in the life, mind and practices of anyone that is considered to be a high performing athletes. 

Any athlete who desires to perform at the highest level must exercise a extra-ordinary amount of disciple. (Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash)

The summary of the 6 characteristics are:

  1.  High performing athletes are able to clarify the vision and path to reach their goals. 
  2. High performance athletes measure results repeatedly.  They do this to discover areas of progress as well as weaknesses.
  3. High-performing athletes take full responsibility. They take complete ownership of their actions, their plans, and their purpose.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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. 
  6. 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. 

Now that you are aware of these six characteristics, the next question to consider is what is the common denominator ties them together?  In my opinion that denominator is discipline. Any athlete who desires to perform at the highest level must exercise a extra-ordinary amount of disciple. Almost to a level that seems obsessive when compared to those around him/her. High performing athletes know that to make their goals into reality uncompromising discipline is a must.  

High Performance Athletes Common Characteristics: Great coaching

This week I round out the major characteristics of high performing athletes (HPAs). The characteristic outlined this week is focused on great coaching. All high performing athletes willingly seek great coaching because of the insatiable drive to improve. 

In the mind of an elite high performing athlete they must find ways to get better!  Inside their mind there is a constant drive to improve. For them, the ceiling is glass, it can be broken. Even if at the top of their game, HPA’s are certain that more coaching will give them what they need to break through another next level. High performing athletes seek out coaches because the drive to improve is great than arrogance that they’re already at the top of their game. 

Coaching chalkboard

For example, in the book Relentless Tim Grover illuminates the unyielding pursuit of excellence by some of the NBA’s past and present superstars. In other professional sports such as baseball, even the game’s greatest hitters are known to take regular hitting lessons.  In fact, if you do some research you will surely find that top athletes of every professional sport seek out great coaches. 

Here are three reasons to seek a great coach: 
1. Great coaches know first hand what is necessary for an athlete to become great. 

2.Great coaches see the things players cannot see. Therefore can help you make positive improvements.

3. Great coaches also understand what it takes for you to achieve at your highest level. So great coaches motivate you to achieve greatness. They comprehend your vision and therefore will push you past the point of self-induced limitations.

Firmly, I believe that great coaches make great players. In contrast, great players don’t make great coaches. Don’t believe me, think about how many coaches fail even though their team is stacked with great players? So if you are willing to get coaching, don’t just go out and find any so-called coach, I encourage you to seek out a great coach.