Reputation Ruined by a Press of a Button

This week’s tip about social media is very important. So, here’s the tip: coaches pay attention to how athletes present themselves on social media. 

Recently, All-Pro NFL superstar J.J. Watt lectured students on this very topic.  Watts’ wisdom was this, “A reputation takes years and year and years to build, and one press of a button to ruin.” You can find the article here.

Here’s an example of the harm that can’t be undone. Recently, I spoke with an athlete that was kicked off his team because someone in a picture with him was holding an illegal drug. One stupid mistake has sidelined this stellar senior athlete and jeopardized his future. Please, don’t let this happen to you.

Make wise choices to avoid costly decisions.
Make wise choices to avoid costly decisions.

Social media is a tremendous way to interact with people all over the world and express ourselves in any way we choose. But with great opportunity comes great responsibility.  Here are some important things to keep in mind before you send your message into the great global conversation.

  1. Anyone, anywhere can see your post
  2. Your post speaks for your personality and character
  3. Pictures can speak for the company you keep.
  4. Posts are nearly impossible to erase once its out in cyber-space

To close, I’m not saying don’t use social media. I’m only suggesting that you use it to your advantage. Used properly social media really can make a difference with your recruiting.  So before you press ‘send’ think about the consequences. If you have any reservations for what your about to send, by all means don’t send it!

Be smart with social media.

Coach Mike Woosley

Coach Mike Woosley is a National Scouting Director 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. Comments and questions are always welcome.

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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!

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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.

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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.

Poise over Panic: Prepare for the Unexpected in Recruiting

I’m a big Ohio State fan. No matter where I’ve lived across the country my Buckeye allegiance has always run true. So, obviously winning the National Championship this season is a great accomplishment, especially considering the tremendous amount of unexpected events that this team had to overcome to achieve their goal; injuries, expulsions, even death to name a few!
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I see a lot of similarities between the recruiting process and the recent Ohio State season. There are lots of unexpected events that can happen to throw you off track. But with the right preparation, teamwork, and a little luck, the unexpected can be overcome to reach your ultimate goal of playing sports at the collegiate level.

 

Anticipate the unexpected

Let me give you an example of what’s happening now for seniors who didn’t anticipate the unexpected. Right now, many senior athletes are scrambling to sign with a college. Many of them didn’t have a recruiting strategy going to start the process so now they are panicking to find an available roster spot. Last minute panic for athletes is never good. Here are a few reasons why.

  1.  Last minute panic doesn’t always assure the right fit.
    • Many athletes settle for a college because they need both athletic and academic scholarships to afford colleges. As a result, a student -athlete signs with a college without doing adequate research on the available positions he/she can compete for or looking into the quality of academic programs offered. (Athletes- never compromise and sign with a college that doesn’t have the major you want to study! Always seek academics first and athletics second!)
  2. Last minute panic doesn’t always get you adequate scholarship money.
    • Be aware colleges will take advantages of desperate athletes. There’s only so many scholarships and only so much scholarship money to go around, so schools will do what they to get the best deal possible.
  3. Last minute panic may result in not getting a scholarship.
    • Athletes know that every play ends, every game times out, and every season concludes. The same is true with every recruiting period. Time will eventually run out.

 

Poise, not panic

We all know that its nearly impossible to avoid the unexpected, it is possible however to avoid panic. In fact, the opposite of panic is poise. Athletes that have poise are able to perform under pressure and adversity.

So, how can you avoid the last minute panic? Simple. Be prepared, work with a team, and hope for a little luck. Follow these simple tips and you’ll be poised for success.

  1. Be prepared for recruiting by designing a game plan.
    • Like all good coaches, develop a winning strategy before the game begins and make adjustments accordingly.
  2. Teamwork is necessary for recruiting.
    • Games are not won by individuals; teamwork in games! This team may include parents, coaches, school administrators, counselors and recruiting coaches. Please, don’t fool yourself by thinking that you can get a scholarship all by yourself. Every one of your recruiting teammates will have a crucial role in helping you get to the next level.
  3. Luck is defined as success or failure brought on by chance rather than one’s actions.
    • Like unexpected events, luck sometimes luck brings you unexpected opportunities.  From time to time athletes need a little luck.

 

A Great Plan Makes for a Great Celebration  

29906170001_3968751245001_Screen-Shot-2015-01-02-at-8-12-13-AM To wrap up, look at recruiting like this. Ohio State didn’t win the championship because they had a great player.  No, they won because they had a great plan, great team of players and a little luck to help them along the way.

Finally, the recruiting process is supposed to be an enjoyable experience. It isn’t supposed to be stress-filled panic. And most definitely the final months of recruiting shouldn’t be a scramble, but a celebration.

 

Coach Mike Woosley is a National Scouting Director at CSA-PrepStar. As a professional collegiate cropped-main_logo-12.jpgsports 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.

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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.

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.

Time Left on the Clock

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Image provide by http://www.pacificlegal.org/page.aspx?pid=4621

Social media has been lit up announcing hundreds of high school senior student athletes signing their letter of intent. What you need to know is that there are many more athletic scholarship yet to be filled.  Despite the early signing period arriving today, if you haven’t signed a national letter of intent (NIL) there is still time for you to get a college athletic scholarship.

Don’t be offended, but to be honest, most of the students signing today are the top 5%. These are the athletes that have been heavily recruited since their sophomore year (or earlier). Colleges have spent a lot of time and resources on these athletes. And these athletes and their family have spent a lot of time and resources on getting college exposure.

The good news, however, is that these athletes take up only fill a small percentage of the available scholarships. College coaches now have to focus on filing in the gaps with players they need. So your goal is to be one of these players!

There is still time left to be recruited. The next NIL signing day is in February. So, don’t give up. Don’t sulk because you didn’t sign. Stand up straight and go do something about it!

If want to be signing your NIL in 2016 here’s 4 things you need to do if you want to enjoy that glorious moment next Spring.

1. Increase your exposure to college coaches. Exposure is all about connections.  Use the NCAA regulations to help you know what you can and can’t do.
2. Update your video footage. Use the most recent footage. This highlight video should showcase your athleticism!
3. Start a recruiting campaign. Show coaches why you are the athlete you are looking for. Build a profile with all your stats, metrics, grades, pictures and video footage.
4. Get help. Ask your coach to make some calls. Find a recruiting organization like PrepStar to you get connected with college coaches.
5. Keep working hard! Do not slack off. Work out, get faster, get ripped, stay in shape. Be ready to show the coach who are interested in you why he/she should recruit you.

If you don’t know how to do any of these things, take to your phone and contact me. I’m glad to help you. It’s what I do!

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.

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