Academics Athletic Recruiting

How to Make the Most of Your Sophomore Year

set goals to work toward recruiting

(Flickr – Roman Boed)

I know you don’t want to hear about going back to school quite yet. But as my coach would often say (sometimes angrily, if we were running late to practice), “To be early is to be on time.” And while we have the whole summer ahead of us, I thought it’d be worth it to start thinking about the year ahead.

Have you ever heard of the term “sophomore slump”?

You’re returning to school after getting freshman year under your belt. You know what to expect at school, you’re familiar with your team and coach, you’ve had a year to kind of get things down pat and are comfortable.

Let’s just not get too comfortable. During the proverbial “sophomore slump,” things can kind of just plateau. You still have a few years of high school to go, so you’re not really itching with cabin fever yet.

You’re just kind of…in the middle. But the cool thing is, sophomore year can actually be an incredible year to not only keep you on track, but propel you ahead of the game. (If you aren’t sure where you are in the recruiting game, check out this guide to recruiting dates you can download for free).

So. How can you make the most of sophomore year and dodge the slump?

Keep on top of your academics

Seeing good grades move to great, or OK grades move to good – any upward climb – is always going to be more appealing to college coaches and admissions then the opposite.

If freshman year wasn’t as strong academically as you would have liked, sophomore year is the best time to get that upward climb going. Junior year is going to bring more pressure academically because it is such a huge year for your recruitment and college admissions. (Not to mention SAT/ACT scores.) Give yourself some cushion and piece of mind now.

And take this time to get some good habits going. You are familiar with teachers at your school now; stop in and ask for help. Or if your grades were awesome last year, ask how you can best stay on track. Putting in extra effort with teachers will go a long way. Anything exhibiting you are trying and are taking your grades seriously is a great testament to the kid you are and a great base for your high school career.

Focus on your contributions to your team

Anyway you slice it, being a sophomore on the team is really fun. If you’re on JV, you’re already in the veteran group and can act as a huge support to the freshman, and also take this time to exercise some real leadership. You’re also working to get brought up to Varsity, so you have a great opportunity to really hit the ground running when you’re back in the fall and impress from the start.

If you’re a sophomore on varsity, you’re an important part of the team because no matter how often you contribute on the field at this point, you’ve been chosen and are being groomed to be a leader.

Depending on whether there are any freshman on varsity – you’re still kind of the “kid.” Use the comfort you’ve gained from getting freshman year over with to really learn from the older guys and girls around you and your coach.

Sophomore year can be a real breakout for you as an athlete and team staple. Don’t let this time slip by.

Take responsibility for your recruiting

Freshman year is, well, kind of awkward.

It’s awkward for you, as the tiny fish on campus, and it’s awkward for your parents – seeing their son or daughter go off into the abyss that is high school.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s exciting, too, and a lot of fun – but getting that first year down feels pretty good for the entire household. So why not now use your sophomore year to really gain some trust and traction at home?

This is an awesome time to start showing your parents you’re taking school and sports seriously and can be trusted with responsibility. It will take the common high school drama at home out of the equation and will really make for a best core and base to turn the Sophomore Slump into Sophomore Stardom.

Our scouts are here to give you and your parents further advice on your recruiting journey. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.

About the author
Laura Chmiel

Laura Chmiel is a marketing coordinator and a lead writer for NCSA Athletic Recruiting. As someone with a passion for athletics and education, she graduated from Indiana university with a B.S. in Elementary Education. After school, she gained first-hand experience helping student-athletes and their families get to college.