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Student Life

Seven Myths About College Sports

Laura Mitchell

June 03, 2008

Myth: College coaches will find me and contact me if I am good enough to play on their team.
Truth: College coaches cannot possibly know about every one of the thousands of student athletes good enough to play college sports. There are far fewer coaches than there are athletes. There’s not a recruiting budget on the planet big enough for a coach to know about every qualified athlete.
Myth: If I’m not being recruited, I should forget about a future in college sports.
Truth: There can be a successful college sports experience in the future of most varsity athletes. It’s up to you! Of course, this may mean that you compromise and go to a school that is not on your favorites list. If you are determined to play, you can find a way. Start planning early, get a little better each day, and you’ll be surprised at how your dreams can come true!

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Myth: Playing my sport at high school and in summer tournaments will get me noticed by the right school for me.
Truth: Get yourself on coaches’ radar screens and recruiting lists by sending out your information before you attend competitions. Send a simple e-mail to coaches at colleges you like and where you fit the profile. Make sure coaches know your jersey number and your team’s schedule. Only a small percentage of recruiters from any given college will be present at the tournaments you attend. Pre-market yourself to make sure you get noticed.
Myth: It is against NCAA rules for me to make calls to college coaches.
Truth: You can call college coaches just about any time. It is very difficult for a student-athlete to break the recruiting rules unless a college coach knowingly helps you break the rules.

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Why haven’t you called a coach already? Fear of rejection? Don’t know what to say? Call and tell them who you are, and the coach will take it from there.
Myth: I should pay a recruiting or scouting service, video company or sports résumé company to help me get a scholarship.
Truth: You can accomplish these tasks on your own. Often, college coaches toss the mail from recruiting services into the trash. Coaches prefer to receive mail directly from student-athletes. Fancy promotional materials or videos are not necessary to attract the attention of a college coach. Your skill is what matters. Your money is better spent paying a private coach to increase your skills.
Myth: It is my high school coach’s job to help me get a scholarship.
Truth: Your high school coach probably does not have the time to properly market each athlete on your team. He or she may not know what college coaches want or how to properly market you. Few high school coaches have college contacts. Your high school coach’s job is to field calls, give you mail you receive at the school, and be a solid reference if you are deserving of it.
Myth: I just received a letter from a college coach. This means they’ll offer me a scholarship soon.
Truth: Schools send out hundreds—even thousands—of these letters. An offer of a scholarship will nearly always follow an offer for an official paid visit as a high school senior and an offer of a home visit by the coach. Ask the college coach specifically what their level of interest is in you as an athlete for their program. Or have your high school coach make a call to find out. One letter—or even a few—is not an indication that a scholarship is forthcoming.
Defy the myths Defying the myths about college sports is easy. A bit of planning and persistence can lead to success. Prepare a plan for yourself. Here are five suggestions. 1. Believe you have what it takes. You must start with a big dream, and then plan the steps to reach it. Your big dreams are the ones worth striving for.
2. Write a simple letter that describes your strengths, graduation year, contact info, academic GPA and SAT or ACT score. Include your times statistics, position, height and weight if relevant.
3. Look up college coaches’ addresses or e-mail addresses online and send out your letter to at least 25 coaches (approximately eight coaches at each level).
4. Follow up with an e-mail and a phone call until you get an answer about all of the coaches’ levels of interest in you. Keep marketing yourself until you find a school that will be a good fit for you.
5. Tell your high school coach your intentions. If your coach is not supportive, find someone who will help you in your quest to take the next step in your athletic career. Big dreams require a bit of support.
Article reprinted with permission from Next Step Magazine.

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