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Step 7 – Drive To The Goal!

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Drive, determination, perseverance

The previous chapters have helped you get the attention of multiple coaches.  Hopefully now you are on several recruiting lists, enabling you to engage in the recruiting process and ultimately get offers from colleges that would be a great fit for you.

The first step in getting a coach’s attention can be difficult, but if you are successful there is still a lot of work to do—which is good news.  As the recruiting process continues, you need to be yourself, but would like to share some helpful tips and best practices that will help you make a good impression on coaches:

  • Be Respectful
  • Be in Shape When You Meet Coaches
  • Dress Professional
  • Negotiate Offers and Take Control of the Process
  • Don’t Be Rushed
  • Honest Communication
  • Create a Bidding War
  • Go with Your Gut

Be Respectful

This might sound like a no-brainer, but make sure you are respectful to everyone you meet at a particular school.  This includes Coaches, Players, School Staff, etc.   Not just because you should be, but also because anything can get back to the coaching staff or the person who will be making the decision on whether or you get an offer. You want all feedback about you to be positive, and the one way you can do that is to be polite and show respect to every individual you meet.

Being respectful also means responding to coaches promptly during the recruiting process. The absolute longest amount of time you should ever take to respond to a coach’s email or voicemail is 24 hours. Anything longer shows the coaching staff at that school you are not ALL IN and being recruited by them doesn’t mean that much to you.

Also, if you make a decision on a school, you should contact all the other schools/coaches that were trying to recruit you and invested time with you to let them know of your decision. You owe them that, and if you don’t and the school you chose is local or in the same conference of the school you did not pick, rest-assured that information will get back to your future head coach. Coaches within conferences not only talk, most are good friends. Finally, you should be the one making the call or sending the email.  You owe it to those schools and coaches who put the time and effort into trying to recruit you.

My final piece of advice on being respectful is to mail hand written thank you notes to every person at a school who sits down to spend time with you to give you more information about the program, team, school or the recruiting process.  It is a very thoughtful and respectful thing to do that shows individuals that their time meant something to you and was appreciated.  Showing a sign of appreciation like this can can individuals talking positively about you and can only help when coaches are trying to make a decision on who will receive an offer.

Be in Shape When You Meet Coaches

When you meet with coaches it is very important that you are in great shape.  If you are an athlete looking to get an offer to play college sports, there is no excuse for you not to be in shape. If you appear overweight or unfit you are giving the coaches the perception that you do not take your sport seriously, and the Coaches will not take you seriously.  If you are in excellent physical condition, you will leave a great first impression.   Bottom line, you if you want to play college sports, you need to be in the best shape of your life.  No excuses.

Dress Professional    

Any opportunity to meet a member of the coaching staff or school official is an opportunity to make a positive impression. Do not ruin it by dressing unprofessionally.  Different situations call for different attire, but there are some things that you should not be wearing while meeting during the recruiting process.  Do not wear hats, tank tops, flip flops, worn sneakers or ripped clothing.  Khaki pants and button up shirt are fine.  Skirts, sweaters, slacks, boots for girls are appropriate.

This is your chance to play college level sports.  Remember, it’s the little things that can make the difference of them choosing between you and a similar recruit.  The goal is to get multiple offers, so take every part of the process seriously and with professionalism.

Take Control of the Process

The focus of this book is to get the attention of college coaches at schools which are a good fit for you, and  to engage in a recruiting process with multiple schools on your target list. As you get deeper into this process, it is important to remember that your sole mission, and the reason you are putting in so much time and effort into your recruiting strategy, is so that you get the best offer at the best school for YOU. The best way to do this is to enable yourself to be in a position where you have interest from multiple schools, and this is why you need to continue to be proactive, persistent and relentless in your strategy with the schools on your target list. This will give you more leverage and control in this process and enable you to receive the best offer possible. If you only have one school interested, it really limits your power to negotiate and get a better offer from a program.

Some athletes might be offered a 2-year scholarship and try to negotiate to get a 4-year scholarship, while others might simply try to negotiate getting their books paid for in full. Every situation is different, but YOUR situation is the most important and you want to get the best offer for YOU.   If you want the best offer, you must have a BUSINESS MENTALITY and not take it personal.  Having a business mentality means being honest and transparent with the coaches, but at the same time not letting your emotions get in the way. It means being thoughtful about the right actions to take and making the best decisions for you, but not worrying about what coaches may think of you.  This is not the easiest thing to do. This decision is a big one, and you and your family have so much invested and at stake. It is essential, though, for you to take on a business mentality  and be professional in order to get the best offer for YOU.

Don’t Be Rushed

There are a couple of different ways that an athlete can feel rushed during this process. First, a coach may have great interest in you and do everything right in the recruiting process to show you how much they want you to be a part of the school and program. You could start to “feel the love.” When I say, “feel the love,” I mean you start to build a relationship with that particular school and program, you really like the fact that they really want you, and you feel like this might be a place you would really like to go. When most coaches “exhibit this behavior,” they are genuine and want you to be a part of the program. They then may make you an offer to be a part of the program. Many athletes, because they are “feeling the love,” jump at the first offer made to them without counter-offering or talking to other schools and programs. This is not the worst thing in the world, but if you are going to put in all this time and effort to get coaches’ attentions, you owe it to yourself to be patient and identify all the opportunities that might be available to you.

A Recruit can also feel rushed if the coach or program puts an expiration date on an offer. For example, a coach might make you an offer but say, “We have to make a decision by next Monday or it is off the table.” Now if you are not talking to any other schools, you may feel rushed to make a decision. In most cases, if the coaches really want you, the timetable will not matter. It is a strategy to try to get you to commit to the offer. The coaches have every right to do this. They have things to do to get the right student-athletes within their allotted budgets and resources to build the best team possible for their programs. They are using a BUSINESS MENTALITY to build their programs, and since they are using a business mentality you should act and negotiate accordingly to get the best offer possible for you. This may mean countering, asking for more time, or just letting them know you are going to think about it and talk to other schools at the same time.

Honest Communication

As I mentioned previously, you must try your best to take your emotion out of it and be upfront and honest throughout the process.  Don’t be afraid to tell coaches about other offers you have on the table and ask them if they can do better.  Always be respectful, polite and professional.  Don’t be afraid to ask for more time.  Don’t be afraid to counter offer.  You have earned being in the this position and must use it to get the offer you want.

Be honest with coaches.  Don’t lie about other offers.  If you gave a coach your word that you would make a decision by a certain date, stick to your word.  If you counter and say that if the program can make that offer then you will accept, then stick to your word.  If you commit to a school, stick to it.  You are only as good as your word.  All coaches will have more respect for you if you show respect and are upfront and honest with them throughout the process.

 Create a Bidding War

As I mentioned, your goal when implementing your Recruiting Strategy is to get the attention of college coaches at schools which are a good fit for you, and to engage in a recruiting process with multiple schools on your target list in hopes of receiving multiple offers.  These offers will give you more leverage in the process in order to make the best choice for YOU.  After you have executed the strategy, the ideal situation would be for you to have created a bidding war among multiple schools, allowing you to receive the best offer for YOU.

Go With Your Gut!

When it is all said and done in your recruiting process, the best advice I can give you when trying to accept an offer is “Go with your gut.” Don’t let your priorities get lost in the shuffle.  Make the decision that feels best for you and no one else. Don’t let your parents, coaches, teammates, or friends influence your decision in a major way. This is your life; this is a big decision. Go with the one that feels best for YOU.

Do you have what it takes?

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