Steps to avoid being stressed out by the athletic recruiting process – Part One

It always seems that when Signing Day nears, the stress levels for entire families continue to rise.  Making that final decision is never going to be easy regardless of the situation.  But there are some ways that we will talk about that can help with reducing your overall stress level and making things easier for your entire family.

Again, these steps are not going to be a magical list that makes the athletic recruiting process a breeze.  What these will do is help you get things in line and ready so that when coaches come calling and visiting, you won’t be scrambling and struggling to get your information in line.

The first step, by far, is start everything early.  The later that you wait, the tougher and more stressful it is going to be on you.  I spoke with the owner of www.highlight-videos.com and one of the biggest things he told me is that everyone needs things turned around quickly.  The turnaround is needed because coaches are asking for the recruiting tape and now the family is stressed because they need to get it done.

Like I have said before in other articles, if you are seriously considering playing college athletics (especially football), then you need to get a highlight video produced shortly after your junior season.  And if you are smart enough to work ahead, you should use time during the football season to contact highlight video companies and find one that you trust and feel good about.  The hope will be that this company comes through and allows you to get things done early.

The same is said about getting information out to coaches.  You would be amazed how many athletes continue to think they are better off waiting until the season comes around and then the real recruiting will start.  It is vital that you market yourself to college coaches and the earlier you have varsity experience, the better it is to do that.

After you have everything done early, the next thing you need to do is keep track of all the recruiting attention.  You can use an excel file, a manila envelope, or anything that works for your family (and especially your son/daughter who will hopefully be fielding the calls).  You want to keep information about letters, calls, what was discussed, visits, and anything else that may be important.  The more information, the better down the road when making a final decision needs to be made.

Time may be tight but it is very important that you continue to reevaluate where you sit with the recruiting process.  This may get a little old but you need to have a good feel of where you sit with colleges.  You may have gotten two letters from your dream school but realistically, you need to be realistic and continually reevaluate where you sit with the programs that are after you.  You can use your recruiting attention log and figure out which schools are contacting you the most.

This evaluation process of the schools should be done as a family because it gives a great opportunity for parents to figure out where your children want in a future college.  And parents, realize that the answers you get from your child are likely going to change by the month, week, and potentially day.

You also should make adjustments based on this overall evaluation.  For example, say that you contacted all of the Division I-A coaches in your state and the surrounding state.  I wouldn’t recommend this but it was something you did so that you could play at the highest level possible.  In that contact, you included a link your website and highlight video.  A number of coaches contacted you back at the time but few have been in contact since.

When this happens, you need to start being realistic and setting your sights a little lower.  It may be a tough pill to swallow, even if State University is your dream school, but broaden your search to programs that fit you academically that may be at the Division I-AA/FCS, Division II, and Division III levels.  In the end, you want to have a lot of options on the plate to be able to choose from.  You can eliminate schools late in the process but the more options you have, the better for you in the long run.

Look for part two soon!

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