By Tom Kovic
Many believe the summer is a time where college coaches switch to lower gears. The regular season is complete and the student-athletes have headed home for a welldeserved break. Nothing can be further from the truth! Opportunity is eminently knocking and if there is a prime season for recruiting, it is during the summer. Below are some auxiliary tips prospective student-athletes can consider in an effort to move your college recruiting effort to a higher level.
Whether you had that “magical season for the books” or one where you hit a brick wall at the end, now is the time to “ferret out” your past season and put it into lucid perspective. The young prospect that has the ability to be honestly introspective in her approach to the past season and pull significant learning points from both positive and negative experiences is well on her way in developing self-awareness and effectively plotting the next target in the college search.
Don’t just muddle forward through your summer. Face it as the ultimate challenge in “rising up” to a higher athletic level. Determine the skill set you want to achieve and ask yourself two questions: 1) Are these aims reasonably within my grasp? And 2) Am I selling myself short? Once you have done a fair “reality check,” clearly identify your summer goals and place them at the vanguard of your priority list.
Include your club and/or high school coach in reviewing your goals and helping you build your plan of attack. This approach shows respect for coach and your willingness to reach to him for advice. Second, it demonstrates a mature approach in utilizing a team effort and in this case, with an individual who wants to help!
By including your coach in the mix, he now has a vested interest in the final product and with that interest; he becomes a potential key player in the overall recruiting effort. A good college coach will always reach to club coaches for specific information about a potential candidate. Not only are they looking for a snapshot gymnastics analysis, they also want to know about the person, and strength of character you potentially offer.
Whether you intend to provide the college coaches with your latest SAT score or with an improved look to your progress in the gym, the rule of thumb is to give it “grip.” Coaches are simply swamped, even during the summer, when their travel schedules accelerate. Keep your updates simple and crisp and the college coaches will appreciate the effort.
As soon as you have compiled your academic progress records (past year grades, standardized testing and academic awards), forward them along in a clean and easy to read format.
Next, re-cap your past season in a bullet format that includes any significant regular season highlights along with details about your advancement through the championship portion of the season (state, region, JO Nationals). Let Coach know where you will be attending camps and showcases and as these events draw nearer, send more personal and descriptive information about each event.
Finally, update your personal profile, video stream and share it with the coaches. Keep it clean and crisp and inform the college coaches that you will continue to keep them posted with significant updates moving through the summer.
Take a Road Trip
A successful college road trip can be your “backstage pass” in the college search and taking unofficial visits to several of your top schools of interest is a great way to get a “look under the hood” to determine if the institution is a potential “match.”
The campus visit is extremely important and requires careful planning. Coaches are like hot potatoes during the summer and it can be very difficult to track them down without proactive communication. Contact the office of admissions and determine when campus tours and information sessions are offered, but you also want to make every attempt to schedule a meeting with coach.
Contact the college coaches 4-6 weeks prior to your planned trip and determine their schedule and availability to meet. Remember, college coaches are bound to very clear NCAA contact rules and you will need to remain persistent in your effort to contact them! You will be pleasantly surprised with how these campus visits can jump-start your recruiting quest!
Summer vacation provides prospective student-athletes with a break from school and a wonderful time to “lighten the schedule.” That said, athletes and families who are willing to use the summer to make proactive efforts in executing key areas of their recruiting plan will position themselves best for personal success in the college search.
Tom Kovic is a former Division I college gymnastics coach and the President of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he provides individual advisement for families on college recruiting. For further information visit: www.victoryrecruiting.com