What do you call a teenager with the wonder of a child, the ambitions of Michael Jordan, and the structure of a doctor? A recruit. The possibilities of a recruit are, at first, overwhelming. First your coaches are rattling off about how to get recruited, and how much you need to progress before you can even think about college. Next, are the expectations we set for ourselves. What do you think you are capable of? Where do you see yourself succeeding? All these ingredients make up the recipe for stress- it suddenly feels like your under more pressure than you’ve ever known- but stress is exactly what fuels the recruiting process. The stress is there because going to college is important to you, and as athletes, we want the best for ourselves.
I remember my freshman year of high school feeling like everyday a new book was piled on top of my head, and by the end of the week I couldn’t take in any more information. It can be difficult to remember to perform and compose yourself well on the field on top of understanding the steps you have to take as a recruit. Everywhere you look it seems like someone is getting signed, someone else is hustling more, and crowds are going wild. Meanwhile, your fourteen-year old self finds a nice spot on the bench behind the juniors and seniors until it’s your turn. Well I’m here to say that if college athletics is what you want, you have the opportunity to make your own opportunities.
It sounds like a lot of pressure, when really it’s a wonderful thing. For the first time in your life, it’s your chance to paint the future. What are your interests? What schools do you like and why? I am not minimizing the importance of coaches, mentors, or contacts, because they are there to help you meet your goal. Rather, I am emphasizing the possibilities there for the taking. As a recruit, you are free to do all the researching and practicing you want to make the dream a reality.
The disappointments may come, perhaps your dream school isn’t recruiting your position that year, or maybe your perfect school is difficult to swing financially. But if you persevere in the process and work hard to make the best things happen for yourself then you will end up exactly where you needed to be. The good news is that there is a place for everyone and it’s important to be flexible and have a lot of options while keeping in mind what’s best for you. Perhaps you dominate athletically but require a little more time to grasp what’s happening in the classroom, there is a school and a major for that. Maybe you want to be the next generation’s rocket scientist but have worked hard at a sport your whole life and wish to continue, there’s a school for that. Or maybe your both a decent student and decent athlete, there is indeed a school where you can be the big fish. Whether you want to go to the next level with hopes of being an All-American, or just love being a true team player, the right dedication and perseverance, coupled with practice and individual work, you have the power to meet the goal.