New Rule Changes Supports HS Football Players’ Safety

629px-1909_Tyee_-_football_illustration_2Player safety has been a recent hot- button issue at all levels of organized football and the NFHS wasted no time by making some significant rule changes for 2015. A recent study found that high school football players, are twice as likely than college football players to suffer a head trauma (i.e. concussions). Though high-school football is the most popular boys sport, injuries as a whole are a threat to the game and in some locations have led to an exodus where some football programs are now unable to field a team.

This past January the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Football Rules Committee modified three previous rules to address player safety. Additionally, two rule changes provide further clarification to already established rules and one new rule in regards to series of down has been added.

Here’s a summary of the six rules modified for the 2015-2016 season.

  1. Rule 9-4-3g. No player or non-player shall make any contact with an opponent, including a defenseless player who is not in the vicinity of the ball, which is deemed unnecessary or excessive and which incites roughness.
  2. Rule 2-20. Spearing is now defined as “an act by any player who initiates contact against an opponent at the shoulders or below with the crown (top portion) of his helmet.
  3. Rule 6-1-4 is a new rule. It was added to state that the timing of the foul for not having at least four players on each side of the kicker on a free kick now occurs when the ball is kicked.
  4. Rule 9-4. Beginning next season, an automatic first down will not be awarded for a 5-yard incidental face-mask penalty against the passer.
  5. Rule 10-2-5. New language clarifies that the distance penalty for unsportsmanlike, non-player or dead-ball personal fouls committed by teams can offset. Equal numbers of 15-yard penalties by both teams will cancel and remaining penalties may be enforced.
  6. Rule 5-1-1b is also a new rule. It states that the referee shall have authority to correct the number of the next down prior to a new series of downs being awarded.

Last year 1,093,234 student-athletes participated in 11-man football at the high school level. Hopefully, these new rules will assure the safety of current players and fill more football rosters for the future.

Find the full article here .

Athletic scholarship offer…what you can do to create that contact moment

Every athlete aspiring to play at the college level dreams of the moment they meet the head coach and get offered an athletic scholarship. But when can this moment happen? The NCAA has specific guidelines regarding recruiting. We’ve all heard of recruiting violations occurring resulting in sanctions on both the athlete and college program. To answer the question, this moment most often happens during the recruiting contact period.

College recruiting regulations can be hard to figure out without someone to help direct you through the process. That’s a big part of my responsibility to you. Sometimes it helps to define and break down these rules so they are easier to understand. One rule is the contact period rule.

By definition provided by the NCAA Guide for College-Bound Student Athletes, a for prospective collegiate student-athletes contact period is the time frame where, “a college coach may have in-person contact with an prospective student-athletes and/or his or her parents on or off the college’s campus. The coach may also watch prospective student-athletes play or visit their high school. Athletes and parents may visit a college campus and the coach may write and telephone prospective student athletes during this period.”*

Breakdown of the rule

So what does that mean? Here’s the breakdown in simple terms.

  • Basically, the contact period is the only recruiting period where a college coach can both evaluate and communicate with a player.
    • This is important to know because other recruiting periods have greater contact restrictions.
  • Prospective Student Athletes (PSA’s) and college coaches can talk to one another on or off campus.
    • Specifically Junior and Seniors
  • Coaches can evaluate players by watching games or practices.
    • This includes underclassmen as well. Its a great opportunity to catch a coaches eye!
  • Contact with PSA can be made through phone, letter, email, text, and social media.
    • Underclassmen will only receive school info as noted in my previous blog.
  • PSA’s can take unofficial and official college visits during the contact period
    • Mostly, upperclassmen take advantage of the allotted visits.

A few other important notes. Contact periods are the least restricted of of the four recruiting periods. For many juniors and senior athletes this is also time where scholarship are offered, agreements are drawn up and athletes make commitments to colleges. So, this goes to show how important it is to start the recruiting process no later than Sophomore year!

Here are a sports in the midst of, or upcoming, contact periods.

  • Softball – January 2 through July 31, 2015
  • Baseball– March 1 through July 31, 2015
  • Football – November 30, 2014, through March 9, 2015
  • Basketball– November 14, 2014 through March 31, 2015

Finally, student-athletes and parents do your part to create that contact moment happen by making sure your Prepstar profile is up to date. Be sure that all contact numbers, email addresses and home addresses are current. Highlight film or skills videos should also be loaded on the site…remember multiple films can be uploaded on the Prepstar profile page. Finally, do not neglect academic information. Be sure that your most recent GPA, test scores (ACT, SAT) recorded and PDF copies of important documents are included in your academic section. Contact me immediately if you need help!

All this is to insure that the coaches evaluating your son/daughter have all the necessary information to make that contact moment a reality.

Signing Day Is About More Than Signatures

February is a month of important dates. Most dates on the calendar people know; Super Bowl (Feb 1), Valentines’ Day (Feb 14), Presidents Day (Feb 16). But, for most senior student athletes there is one very important day in February … Signing Day!

hats-national-signing-day-0205

Signing Day is also known in the athletic world as the day athletes sign their National Letter of Intent. It is the day when verbal commitments between college coaches and student-athletes become solidified thanks to a well executed recruiting strategy.  (Tip- verbal are not binding until you sign on the dotted lines. College coaches and student-athletes are notorious for verbally committing to more than one college or student-athlete..thus the hats:)

Here’s a quick review of the NLI Signing Day

What is a National Letter of Intent?
A National Letter of Intent is signed by a college-bound student-athlete when the student-athlete agrees to attend a Division I or II college or university for one academic year.  Division 3 and Junior Colleges (JUCO) do not have formal signing days (yet). The NLI is a binding agreement between Participating institutions agree to provide financial aid for one academic year to the student-athlete as long as the student-athlete is enrolled in classes and academically eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules.

Off Limits
When a student athlete signs his or her National Letter of Intent ends the recruiting process and competing schools are prohibited from recruiting that student-athlete.

Change Your Mind

Once a student-athlete signs a National Letter of Intent she or he may request a release from his or her contract with the school. If a student-athlete signs a National Letter of Intent with one school but enrolls in a different college or university, she or he will lose one full year of eligibility. To be athletically eligible the student-athlete must complete a full academic year at their new school before being allowed to compete.

Different Signing Days for Different Sports

Signing day varies by sport. The reason for this is because some spring sports like baseball, softball and track do not conclude until after February 4. Signing day for different sports is April 15. I posted the chart to reference.

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 6.48.08 PM
Chart provided by the National Letter of Intent homepage

Good luck to all the senior student-athletes signing to play college ball next year at the college or university of their choice.

 

 

Coach Mike Woosley is a National Scouting Director at CSA-PrepStar.  As a professional collegiatecropped-main_logo-12.jpg sports scout Mike works with qualified next level student-athletes to find the right college athletic and academic fit.

Some Instruction Required. Making sense of the contact period for hopeful college softball players

Breakdown of recruiting contact period.

takaratomy-qsteer-2
College recruiting regulations can be hard to figure out without someone to help direct you through the process. Sometimes rules need to be defined and broken down so they are easier to understand. One rule is the contact period rule.

Have you ever tried to figure out how to put together something without instructions? This Christmas my son got a remote control car from Santa (;0 ) but it didn’t work right out of the box. Some assembly was required. Disappointed, I looked in the box no instructions were to be found. To say the least, it was a bit frustrating. Where do the batteries go? What were the extra wheels for? And why weren’t the remote commands and combinations noted? Without the instructions to direct us my son and I had to figure it out on our own.

High schools softball players, do you know that today, January 2 begins the college recruiting contact period? Are you aware of the guidelines that college coaches must follow as they try to recruit you?  If you’re as confused about recruiting as I was trying to put that child’s toy together, then this blog is for you! Here’s a breakdown of what the contact period is, what coaches can do and who can be evaluated during this time.

College Recruiting Contact Period

By definition provided by the NCAA Guide for College-Bound Student Athlete, a for D1 prospective student-athletes contact period is the time frame where, a college coach may have in-person contact with an prospective student-athletes and/or his or her parents on or off the college’s campus. The coach may also watch prospective student-athletes play or visit their high school. Athletes and parents may visit a college campus and the coach may write and telephone prospective student athletes during this period.*

College recruiting regulations can be hard to figure out without someone to help direct you through the process. Sometimes rules need to be defined and broken down so they are easier to understand. One rule is the contact period rule.

Breakdown of the rule

So what does that mean? Here’s the breakdown in simple terms.

  • Basically, the contact period is the only recruiting period where a college coach can both evaluate and communicate with a player.
    • This is important to know because other recruiting periods have greater contact restrictions.
  • PSA’s and coaches can talk to one another on or off campus.
    • Specifically Junior and Seniors
  • Coaches can evaluate players by watching games or practices.
    • This includes underclassmen as well. Its a great opportunity to catch a coaches eye!
  • Contact with PSA can be made through phone, letter, email, text, and social media.
    • Underclassmen will only receive school info as noted in my previous blog.
  • PSA’s can take unofficial and official college visits during the contact period
    • Mostly, upperclassmen take advantage of the allotted visits.

A few other important notes. Contact periods are the least restricted of of the four recruiting periods. For many juniors and senior athletes this is also time where scholarship are offered, agreements are drawn up and athletes make commitments to colleges.

Lastly, if all of this is as confusing to you as instructions printed in Korean feel free to reach out to me by leaving a question in the comment section or finding me on twitter @michaelwoosley.

cropped-main_logo-1.jpgCoach Mike Woosley is a National Scouting Coordinator at CSA-PrepStar. As a professional collegiate sports scout Mike works with qualified next level student-athletes to find the right college athletic and academic fit.

How to Enjoy the Recruiting Experience Your Senior Year

Almost every athletic competition has time constraints. For example, soccer has two 45 minute halves, basketball four 8 minute quarters, even track and swimming measure placements by time. Baseball and softball limits games by a specified number of innings. Clearly, time management is vital to every game. Usually, the winning team at the end of the game is the team that managed the clock best. In contrast, the team that does not always relies on last second miracles to pull out the victory.

Last Minute Miracles

Athletes in the midst of their senior year should not rely on last minute miracles to land a scholarship. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe that miracles happen, but I’d much rather be confident that everything has been done to assure that victory is certain. Think of it like this. Would you rather hurry and scurry around as the clock winds down hoping to score at the last second or would you prefer to know that victory is eminent as you take a knee allowing time expire and relish the moment of celebration?

Senior year should be one of recruiting celebration not  recruiting anxiety.
Senior year should be one of recruiting celebration not recruiting anxiety.

Often, I speak with parents and athletes who didn’t take the time earlier in high school to design a recruiting plan. For many reasons these folks are in a panic. Each day anxiety builds up more and more because they are aware that the clock is winding down; the phone’s not ringing, no letters are in the mailbox, and no coach’s emails in the inbox. Truly, I feel for these folks because a miracle is the only hope they have for a scholarship offer.

Tips to Enjoy the Recruiting Process Senior Year.

Senior year is supposed to be an enjoyable year, not one of anxiety.  Follow these few tips to be certain that you’ve met your goals and victory belongs to you!

  1. Stay true to your recruiting plan. Start working the plan early and stay the course. This is where years of recruiting exposure will pay off.
  2. Keep focused in the classroom and on the field. This is not the time to let your performance slip.
  3. Be familiar with the recruiting timeline. Depending on the sport, calls from college coaches for recruiting can begin in June, July and September.
  4. Know that you can contact college coaches. If they haven’t called you, then you call them. Communicate with as many coaches as possible. Show them that you are interested.
  5. Take official visits to colleges recruiting you. Five official visits are permitted, use them wisely.  Make sure you know the academic and athletic expectations for athletes at each school.

NIL Signing Day

When its all over, the goal is to sign your letter of intent in February. Circle this date on your calendar. National Letter of Intent signing day is always the first Wednesday in February. Also note that the NCAA has 346 D1 member schools, 291 D2 and 439 D3 schools all with athletic programs! Many of these programs will not complete recruiting athletes until well into the Spring.  Some Spring sports however have extensions, such as softball and baseball. Due to later season play, regular signing period for these sports are typically April 16 through May 21 for Division I athletes. For Division II athletes the regular signing period is April 16 through August 1st.

Want to receive the Elite Athletes blog as your email? Simply click on the follow button above.

Readers are welcome to leave comments to this week’s post or ask questions to be answered in next week’s post.  As always, I can be reached around the clock on twitter @michaelwoosley.

Score Junior Year When the Recruiting Plan Begins to Comes Together

As a young boy I was a big fan of the A-Team. Regardless of the challenge that faced them, the A-Team Ateamalways overcame the odds finding success in the plan. I will forever be reminded of that show when I hear the famous line, “I love it when a plan comes together!” Any good plan will come together with the right execution.

In the sports world coaches talk a lot about execution. Good execution requires that you step up to your responsibility and deliver results. In the timeline of recruiting, the Junior year is when the execution of your recruiting plan should begin to come together.

The challenge to execute the recruiting plan for every hopeful college athlete can be daunting. Similar to the pressure of hitting that last second shot, driving in the game winning run, or rushing against the clock to score the game winning touchdown. But, a well prepared athlete, isn’t flustered. They know that hard work,  preparation and planning has prepared them to accomplish any objective. So when you’re number is called, you relish the pressure to score one for your team!

 

SCORE

These tips are sure to help you SCORE that scholarship.

Stay focused on academics by scheduling to take the ACT and SAT test no later than the spring.

Create your junior season highlight video that should include your updated skills video along with quality live game footage

Only send your profile and recruiting video to colleges that match your competitive, geographical and academic interests.

Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center and complete the amateurism certification questionnaire (www.eligibiltycenter.org).

Engage interested coaches by planning to attend sport specific camps and combines.

 

Bring about Victory

You’re number has been called to execute the plan and bring about victory.  The Junior year is when coaches can start to talk scholarship opportunities with prospective athletes. Off campus contact and official visits are permitted for many sports.

Finally, a good plan needs good people to see it through. Don’t hesitate. Contact me to get the help needed to execute your customized recruiting plan. I can be reached around the clock on twitter @michaelwoosley.

 

~Coach Mike

Avoid the Sophmore Slump with a Focused Recruiting Strategy

sophomoreslumpEver heard of the “Sophomore slump”? In the sporting world the Sophomore year is often the year when performance in the classroom or on the field doesn’t quite meet expectations. How do you avoid the Sophomore slump in recruiting? Simple. All it takes is to be prepared and focused!

For most college sports nearly 85 percent of collegiate athletes are identified by college coaches by the end of their sophomore year. This is true because college coaches can only begin making contact after sophomore year. This means coaches are paying attention to what athletes do Freshman and Sophomore year.  Therefore, the goal with preparation and focus is to get noticed. And to get noticed you have to prepare.

“It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that.  It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”  ~Paul “Bear” Bryant

Prepare

The Sophomore year recruiting strategy is to prepare.

  • Prepare in classroom.
  • Prepare in the weight room.
  • Prepare on the practice field.

Why should you prepare? Because, otherwise, if the Sophomore slump gets to you, the only kind of notice you’ll get from coaches will be disappointment. Conversely, if you want coaches to take note of you, you’ll have to defeat the Sophomore slump with hard work.

Focus

This is the year where the recruiting plan that you put in motion way back in back in Junior high really begins to come into focus. Athletes, the focus should be on putting yourself in position to get noticed by college coaches for your performance in the classroom and in the lineup.  Once again, for most sports, coaches begin to take note of and reach out to contact contact prospective athletes following their sophomore year.

Sophomore Year Recruiting Tips
As a potential collegiate level student athlete you’re sure to be prepared and focused your sophomore year if you keep these recruiting tips in mind.

  • Play up to your potential, avoid the slump.
  • Maintain grades, keeping on track with NCAA core requirements.
  • Research list of potential schools
  • Create a player profile – update it quarterly
  • Start collecting video of game-film and athletic skills footage
  • Record accurate athletic metrics
  • Work towards goal of starting on the varsity team
  • Attend sports camps to continue to improve

Being prepared will help you so say so-long to the sophomore slump. Being prepared will help you get that call or letter of interest after your Sophomore year. So focus on these final recruiting tips is to help you prepare and focus.  Parents and athletes need to know the recruiting timeline. By the time  sophomore year, athletes can receive questionnaire of athletics interest, institutional educational information and camp invites. Personal contact with DI and DII college coaches is not permitted until after your sophomore year.

Want to receive the Elite Athletes blog as your email? Simply click on the follow button above.

Readers are welcome to leave comments to this week’s post or ask questions to be answered in next week’s post.  As always, I can be reached around the clock on twitter @michaelwoosley.

~Coach Mike

Beginners Guide to College Recruiting

Parents of junior high athletes often ask me when they should begin the recruiting process for their son or daughter. Typically, my reply is an emphatic, “Now!”  The most frequent response I get from that parent then is, “well, we have time.” Sorry friend, that’s just not true. Here’s why. According to the NCAA student-athletes become college prospects the first day of their Freshman year. So while the goal is not to get a college scholarship in the 8th grade, instead, the goal should be to use the junior high years to get your student athlete prepared for the recruiting process. This week, I’m going to help you come up with that plan as part of my beginners guide to recruiting series.

Parents of young athletes with big dreams need to start planning now.
Parents of young athletes with big dreams need to start planning now.

It may be true that only a select few athletes get on college recruiting boards the first day of Freshman year, it is equally true that you need to start making plans for your student-athlete if he or she ever expects to get noticed by college coaches.

The Junior high years, 7th and 8th grades, are the formidable years of athletic development. This is the time when athletes start to take an interest in favorite sport. Also, it is during the Junior high years talent begins to either blossom or wither.

Look for the 3 D’s
During the Junior high years parents need to look for the 3 D’s. Junior high is a great time to test for the 3 D’s. As a scout, I measure athletes by the 3D’s because they are found in the DNA of elite athlete, The 3 D’s are desire, determination and drive.

Desire– athletes that have an unyielding passion for the game. They eat, sleep, and breath it!
Determination  – athletes that motivated by the “have to” effect. These athletes have to master there position.
Drive– athletes that thrive on competition and the relentless pursuit to be the best.

The 3 D’s separate good athletes from great athletes. Good athletes get by on talent. Great athletes put in the work to become great. Almost every athlete has some amount of the 3 D’s, but I’m looking for the student- athlete that has noticeably more dedication to the 3 D’s than their peers. So parents, if your student athlete a shows measurable amount of the 3 D’s then its time to devise a plan.

Plan the plan
Usually, we fail when we fail to plan. If your goal is to get a scholarship to play a sport in college now is the time start making a plan. Remember to keep in mind that plans are flexible, not rigid. So my advice is to devise a plan, work towards that plan, and if necessary, adjust accordingly. Advice that I was given when I was young sums it up completely, “Plan the plan.”

Put the plan in motion
Now that a plan is coming together, start putting that plan in motion. Plan to be in the midst of your plan on day 1 of Freshman year. Here are a few suggestions to consider when putting your plan in motion.

  • Practice frequently
  • Get private position coaching
  • Go to sport specific camps.
  • Start playing on a competitive travel ball team
  • Start planning your high school course load.
  • Excel in the classroom and get good grades. (Only eligible players can play. )
  • Learn good study habits
  • Research your local high school, find out how many teams it has (Fr, JV, Var) and get to know the coaches.

All recruiting begins with a plan. These are just some the beginning steps to get you started with college recruiting. Next week’s post of the guide to recruiting with focus on Freshman year. That’s when the real fun begins!

So, if you want to be sure to get all the posts take a moment to click the follow button to make sure you get the entire beginners guide to recruiting sent to your email.

As always, readers are welcome to leave comments to this week’s post or ask questions to be answered in next week’s post. Tweet me around the clock with questions or comments on Twitter @michaelwoosley.

Useful tools to simplify the recruiting process

People often ask me what they get if they unlock their PrepStar profile. My response, when you unlock your profile you get amazing tools to help you take control of the recruiting process. Tools make thing easier today. The tools you get by unlocking your PrepStar profile take away the guesswork and help you monitor progress, interest and offers.

Plus, with the PrepStar profile, the headache of keeping track of all paperwork is gone. Say goodbye to trying to stacks of folders and pages of notes to try to track your recruiting contacts. Prepstar makes it simple to keep track of all your college contact in one place.  The instructional video below shows you how to use your Prepstar profile to its fullest potential.

Helpful tips this video covers:
1. Building your profile – update your profile in real time.
2. Editing your profile – catch the attention of coaches by adding new information, videos,  accomplishments, and transcripts
3. College view– see coaches that are looking at your profile
4. Contacting college coaches– emails of every college coach is preloaded for you! Plus you can email them directly from your profile!
5. Recruiting calendars– contact periods, non-contact periods, signing dates.

Why wait until the last minute to start getting nationwide recruiting exposure? Get started by unlocking your profile today! Don’t know how?  Message me so I can tell you how.

PrepStar is an exclusive collegiate sports recruiting organization that qualifies student athletes for college athletic and academic scholarships.

Here’s how you can contact me. Email me at mwoosley@csaprepstar.com, call or text me at 805-622-7827, Tweet me @michaelwoosley on Twitter.

 

Your Future Isn’t Just in Your Hands….

The average debt of 2013 college graduates was over $35000. Its essential that whoever helps you get recruiting exposure helps you find the right college fit, otherwise you'll be paying to play.
The average debt of 2013 college graduates was over $35000. Its essential that whoever helps you get recruiting exposure helps you find the right college fit, otherwise you’ll be paying to play.

Fact is, who you choose to help you get to the next level can make a substantial difference. Please don’t take this consideration lightly.  Afterall,  its your future that you place in the hands of whomever you choose to help you get noticed by college coaches.

Let’s be honest, there are only a select few athletes who don’t need help to get to the next level. Truth is most athletes rely on help from an outside source such as a coach, family friend, or recruiting organization to help them get noticed by college coaches.

Not to sound too overly dramatic, but you must choose carefully because your future depends on it!  Take some time to ask yourself two simple questions. ‘Does this person has your best interest in mind?’ “Do they want to see me succeed not just in sports but in life?”

Again, the person or organization you choose to guide you through the recruiting process will make a world of difference. Here are three reasons why you need to put some thought as you to choose the right person to help you get to the next level. The right person handling your recruiting can help you get maximum exposure, financial assistance and the right fit. Here’s a brief explanation of each.

Exposure– who you choose to help you needs to have reach. What I mean by reach is relationships and connections with colleges nationwide to help you get the exposure you need to get noticed. A person with reach should know coaches from coast to coast. More reach equals more exposure and more exposure equals more opportunity for collegiate athletic scholarships.

Financial assistance– who you choose to help you will impact the amount of scholarship money offered to you. There is a huge difference between playing for a school and getting a scholarship to play for a college. The difference is not just the financial assistance you will receive, it also means the amount of money you will have to finance to pay back after you graduate.

Fit– who you to help you will have an affect on fit. By this I mean whether or not you fit in athletically and academically at your new college. Fit is more than going to a school you “like”.  Fit is knowing the answers to questions like these. Does the college you want to play at have a the major you want to study? Is that program top notch? What are the values of the college? Do you like the community where the college is located? Will going to that college prepare you for a career after you graduate? What kind of athletic program are you going to be a part of? Do you have a good repore with the coaches? Do you like the offensive or defensive schemes? Is your position already filled or will you have a fair shot a earning a spot on the depth chart and seeing playing time as an underclassman?

So, what’s your recruiting strategy? Who are you relying on to get you noticed by college coaches?

Need help? Want some advice? Use the comment section to ask me questions.