3 THINGS TO CONSIDER DURING THE RECRUITING PROCESS
"Choose a school that will allow you to do what you love. Play."
As National Signing Day just recently passed us by, thousands of athletes have recently made the decision of where they will spend the next 4-5 years of their lives.
Thousands more are now realizing that they will be asked to make that same decision in just a few short months or years.
From a former D1 Scholarship Football player that has gone through the process of receiving scholarship offers, taking official visits, committing to a school, transferring schools and everything in between, here are the my top 3 things for athletes to consider when picking a school:
As athletes we often have the tendency to think in the short-term.
The most heavily weighing items on our minds are often things like how to get faster or how to earn more playing time. Although these things are keys to excelling in sports, it is essential for athletes to take the time to think about where they will be in 5, 10, 15 years. As cliche as it may sound, sports eventually will come to an end and athletes will be required to rely on other life skills to be successful.
Picking a school that has strong academic programs is the first step in preparing for life after sports. Athletes should compare the strength of the academic programs that they are interested in pursuing between schools and heavily factor this into their college decision.
It is also important for athletes to compare how much of a priority the coaches at different schools put on academics. Without coaches that encourage academic success, it will be too easy for athletes to lose focus and not get what they need out of their college education.
Think long-term. It will pay off when being an athlete comes to an end as it does for all of us.
The social life of a college athlete is very limited in comparison to a regular student.
That being said, choosing a school that an athlete enjoys socially can make a world of difference.
Being a college athlete will present some very difficult times. Having a strong social network to support an athlete during these times and having social activities to enjoy during time off from sports will make the stresses of college sports much easier to cope with.
Choose a school that gives you the opportunity to participate in your non-sport related hobbies during times off. Whether that's being out in nature, shopping in a city etc., go somewhere that gives you the ability to have some time doing things you enjoy with people that you enjoy being around.
Considering the fact that college athletes are given such little time to enjoy life outside of sports or academics, it is necessary for athlete's mental well-being to be somewhere they can enjoy with the right people around them. Get to know the people at different schools. Get to know the campus and what there is to do there and in surrounding areas.
Find a place that fits who you are as a person, not just an athlete.
Opportunities to Get Playing Time:
Red-shirting as a Freshman can be a great way for athletes to develop physically and mentally. That being said, multiple years of not getting sufficient playing time can be exhausting.
Working hard every day for years without the opportunity to play has been enough to make thousands and thousands of athletes hang up the cleets.
It is key for athletes to have an understanding of the current team roster, changes that will happen to the roster in the near future and how he or she can fit into the scheme.
Choose a school that will give you the opportunity to play early in your career and have success while doing it. This is not to say it is necessary to start as a true-freshman, but picking a school that will allow athletes to see the rewards of their hard work within the first couple of years on campus will significantly increase the chances of them having a long and happy career.
Do not get caught up on going DI, DII or any other division for that matter.
Choose a school that will allow you to do what you love. Play.
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