For any high school student-athlete who wants to play up at the collegiate level, trying to figure out where to go to college can be a challenging and often difficult decision to make. I’ve seen and spoken to a number of student-athletes who are so worried and anxious about getting a college coach to recognize and recruit them that they’ll talk to anyone, and put themselves out there on social media without really thinking about who they are and what they want.
Before you begin contacting colleges and college coaches, you need to step back and ask yourself 3 questions – Why do I want to be a college student-athlete? – What do I have to offer a college coach that adds value to his or her sports program? – What kind of college will give me the best opportunity to enrich my life and the lives of others at that college?
Think about this. Finding the right college that fits your needs and goals as a student-athlete is like a company that wants to successfully market its product or service to the right customers – customers who need and want that product or service. So, the company needs to make sure that it knows what value or benefit that product/service can offer to meet a potential customer’s needs or interests. In similar fashion, a student-athlete needs to be clear about what he or she wants and has to offer a potential college and college coach that meets their needs and interests.
To “make your mark”, you want to know why you’re doing what you are doing. If you don’t know why you’re doing what you’re doing, then how do you know that what you’re doing right now is the best thing for you? So, be clear with yourself about why you want to be a college student-athlete. Next, take stock or an inventory of all your personal strengths and interests, and how they could be applied to identifying the right college environment or experience for you – like what you want to study or major in, the size and type of college campus you will feel most comfortable with and what area of the country you want to live in. And, don’t forget to do your homework or research on the college coaches and their sports programs. What is their coaching philosophy? What are their goals? What kinds of players are they looking for?
Over the next four weeks, we will talk about some of the most important things that you can do as a high school student-athlete to put yourself in the best position to find the right colleges that meet your goals, interests and needs, and that will help you successfully market yourself to those coaches.
Anthony Lanzillo is a mental skills coach to athletes and writes about the mental game for various sports websites. You can check out his work at www.thementalpeak.com.