HIGH PERFORMING ATHLETES: COMMON CHARACTERISTICS- “HAVE TO”

This week I continue to outline major characteristics of high performing athletes (HPAs). For this week, the  characteristics  is one of those easily identifiable traits. It’s one that is so obvious that it makes other athletes (and often their parents) envious. I would further go on to say that this characteristic is one that can be learned. Its is like a match struck and put to a fire, smoldering then suddenly bursting into flame. 

This week I want to outline a characteristic in high performing athletes that is best described as “want to”. This characteristic is often partnered with words like passion, desire, drive and determination.  HPAs with this characteristic understand that “want to” means willing desire. It’s as if the putting in the work is a privilege and the pain of pushing the limits is actually enjoyable. In contrast, to “want to” is “have to”.  Athletes who “have to” require an amount of compromise and external motivation to put in the work. 

Photo by Ruben Leija on Unsplash

High performing athletes with “want to” are uncompromising. They put in the time for work outs. The do it because they love it, not because coach says to, or because their parents say so.  Instead, HPA’s with “want to”  put in the work because of the passion for the game. Further, they love to compete against others and against their personal personal records.    HPAs with “want to”  don’t have to be dragged out of bed. And they don’t have to rely on motivational hype to get started. No, instead they are self-motivated and self-driven. 

HPA’s with “want to” passion also realize that the externals of the game matter. The externals of the game make a difference so they put in the work in the gym, in training, in practice, outside of practice and in the film room. In their free time, they study the game to improve their sport IQ. With a critical eye, HPAs study themselves looking to evaluate and critique personal preparation, practice and performance. They also pay attention to what they eat, how they sleep, and who they hang out with.  Because HPAs with “want to “ recognizes that all of these things impact passion and performance. 

But as mentioned earlier, the “want to” characteristic can be learn. It is not exclusive only for a small group. No, with encouragement, confidence and focus new habits and routines can be develop that change “have to” athletes into “want to” high performing athletes.

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.

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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!

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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.

3 Tips to Defeat to the Fear of Not Being Recruited

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The scariest thing about recruiting is not being recruited.  Beware, waiting for some coach to come knocking on your door is not the way to get recruited. If this is your plan, then I’m afraid that your chances of signing that letter of intent on National Signing Day are pretty grim!

But you’re not afraid. You’re an elite athlete determined to succeed! You’ve put in the hard work, extra reps, aches and pains…sweat…blood…tears. Now its time to get your reward in full.

Here are three tips to keep away that scary thought of not playing at the next level.

1. Start early
The sooner you begin the recruiting process the better. Most D1 caliper athletes are identified by the end of their sophomore year! That means recruiting starts in 8th or 9th grade. Get noticed by starting early.

2. Be proactive
Don’t be afraid to take control of your recruiting process. Do your homework. Learn the recruiting timelines. Find out about contact dates. Keep good stats and up to date film.  Don’t fret, instead make something happen but taking control.

3. Get help
College recruiting can be confusing so you’ll want help to help you navigate safety through the process. There are a number of different avenues to explore to get assistance, advice and increase exposure. Use coaches, and contacts as well as websites and recruiting organizations to help you get noticed.

So, don’t be scared by the recruiting process. Get in there and get going! Start a plan towards success today!

Have questions? Need help. Contact me to set up a time to talk or use the comment section below.

 

Coach Mike – Email: mwoosley@csaprepstar.com   Phone: 805-622-STAR

Top 10 Recruiting Myths & Mistakes

Collegiate sports recruiting has changed significantly over the years. Things are done differently than they used to be…don’t believe me? If you have a parent who was lucky enough to play college sports, ask them how they got recruited. I’m certain that every one of them will admit that the way they were recruited then was much different than how recruiting is done now.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of out- dated ideas about recruiting. They may have worked 20 or more years ago, but they are not as effective today. Here are 10 of the most common recruiting myths and mistakes. Consequently, placing all your hope in these myths and making mistakes can be the difference between earning a scholarship and paying for your scholar-ship.

scholarships

1. I am being recruited because I am receiving letters from colleges

Hate to break it to you but thousands of other kids are getting the same exact letter as you are. You are in their database which is cool, but that does not qualify as being recruited. When you get a real recruiting letter (not just an invite to their camp) you will know the difference.

 

2. I am the best player on my team so coaches will find me

As recruiting budgets continually get cut, college coaches have fewer staff and financial resources to find you, even more so if you are a little off of the beaten path.  You need a way to stand out among the hundreds of thousands of best players!

 

3. I have got until my senior year to get the recruiting process started

False! Recruiting needs to start early! Colleges can start making offers day 1 of your Freshman year.

Wake up, look around!  How many kids on your team the past three seasons that did not start the recruiting process early in their Freshman, Sophomoric, or early in their Junior year are now playing at the next level?

 

4. If I am not a top player, I can not get recruited

Not true. Lots of great players are affected by parent politics and pressure put on coaches to play upperclassman.

The key to getting recruited is setting realistic expectations on what level you can actually compete at athletically and academically then getting and staying on the staff radar by consistently providing them relevant information like highlights, grades, test scores and stats so they can keep evaluating your progress.

 

5. My coach has a bunch of connections so I am all set

That is great. You should leverage every opportunity you can to get additional exposure. That said, it would not be wise to put all of your eggs in this basket, or any basket for that matter. Ultimately, coaches are charged by schools and organizations to win ballgames and keep the program running smoothly. Truth is, your recruiting future is not necessarily one of their top priorities.

 

6. I am an awesome player so my bad grades are no big deal

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!  The first thing any college coach at any level looks at is your grades to see if you qualify academically before they invest time any amount of time evaluating your athletic ability. You would never invest in a car that couldn’t get you from point A to point B. It would only be a waste of money! Simply put, schools want to invest in students who will finish their degrees, not finish games.

 

7. I do not need a highlight video, my stats are enough

After coaches look at your grades and test scores to see if you qualify academically, your highlight video is the single most important thing a coach needs to see in order to evaluate whether or not you are a potential fit for their program – and the highlight film needs to be short and sweet and create instant WOWs – or they are off to the next kid.

8. Coaches look at the highlight CDs my dad mails out

Back in the pre-Internet days this was absolutely true because there was no other way, besides going to a game, to get a look at an athlete. Sorry dad but time and convenience are the niche now. The Internet has changed the recruiting playing field forever and technology has made it so simple (a click of a mouse) to evaluate 10 times the number of kids in the same amount of time it took to view one.

9. I am doing combines, camps and showcases which is getting me plenty of exposure

This is in fact true if you are placing in the 95th percentile. You will absolutely get additional exposure which will help you get on the radar of more schools. These special opportunities also cost lots of cash $.

That said, the truth is that the majority of student athletes competing at these types of events gain little to no benefit in the recruiting process, in fact, if you do poorly, your times and performance are non-erasable from the Internet.

10. My team plays in a tough division so scouts will discover me

This does not exactly sound like a recruiting plan. Yes, you may in fact get lucky, but the law of averages is not on your side. Too many athletes from top teams in their STATE fall under the radar so why would you wait and hope to happen to be the lucky one who gets discovered and lands the scholarship?

 

If you’re serious about playing the sport you love in college you will need a recruiting strategy with a number of ways to maximize exposure and get you noticed by colleges.  I can help you put together that strategy! Contact me to get started!

Finally, let’s help one another out by keeping  the conversation going. Use the comments section to share other recruiting myths or mistakes.

5 Key Stats that first generation student athletes must know

Nearly one out of five college athletes taking the field, court, pool, or pitch are the first from their family to attend college. According to a recent study published by the NCAA

1. 18% of NCAA student- athletes are first in their family to go to college
2.  Over 80% of students whose parents attended college receive financial help from their family to pay for college tuition.
3. Needs based aids and government loans are required for 64% of first generation students to fund college tuition.
4.  Of first generation college student athletes 53% would not have attended college if it weren’t for athletic scholarships.
5. 55% of first generation students are concerned that high tuition cost will keep them from completing their bachelor’s degree.

 
Athletics are an excellent way to supplement college tuition. That is, if an athlete is good enough to compete at the next level.

  • Every year more than 7,000,000 young men and women compete in high school and club team sports.
  • Less than 6% of high school athletes will ever compete in sports on the collegiate level.

Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, many good athletes go unnoticed. And each year hundreds of college scholarships go unfilled. Recruiting assistance is available for high school student- athletes dreaming of playing the sport they love at the next level. Find out how PrepStar can help student athletes get both athletic and academic scholarship money for college.

Chart provided by NCAA (Sept. 2014)

Contact Coach Mike with recruiting questions at mwoosley@csaprepstar.com

 

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