Norfolk Academy is blessed with a tradition of excellence both in the classroom and on the field. While all of our graduates continue their academic careers in college, many have continued their athletic careers at the collegiate level as well. Perhaps you are considering extending your athletic career at the next level. If so, it will benefit you to learn as much as possible about the recruiting process. Additionally, you can also benefit from learning about some of the “pitfalls” that can occur and determine some methods to avoid them.
For this second installment of Coach’s Corner, we will continue to list the next four “pitfalls” to the recruiting process. These four pitfalls involve the aspects of scholarship opportunities and Division I athletics. nue their academic careers in college, many have continued their athletic careers at the collegiate level as well. Perhaps you are considering extending your athletic career at the next level. If so, it will benefit you to learn as much as possible about the recruiting process. Additionally, you can also benefit from learning about some of the “pitfalls” that can occur and determine some methods to avoid them.
5) I Only Want To Compete For A High-Profile NCAA D-I Team.
If you only focus your search on the country’s top programs, you will be disappointed. While many high school athletes dream of one day competing at a top NCAA Division I school, in reality, very few get the opportunity. Roughly two percent of all high school and junior college athletes who seek to compete at a Division I school will ever get the chance. If you have just finished your junior year of high school, you’ll have a pretty good idea if you are talented enough to compete at that level. Blue chip athletes recruited by these nationally ranked schools are often: All-State or All-American award recipients, spotted early at recruiting/showcase events, solicited w/recruiting calls and letters from numerous coaches. Not just letters, but personal calls.
LESSON LEARNED: If you are not a “blue-chip” recruit, expand your college search and include a wide range of schools on your target list. Do not limit yourself to just DI programs.
6) I’m Only Considering Schools Where I Can Earn a Full Athletic Scholarship.
Full-ride scholarships are not as readily available as most athletes and parents think. Only about 2 percent of high school athletes earn athletic scholarships at NCAA colleges and universities. Only Division I and Division II institutions are allowed to award athletic scholarships, and the NCAA sets sport specific limits on the number of scholarships which can be offered. Only a handful of sports award full scholarships such as basketball and football. Most sports are considered “equivalency sports” which means that coaches will divide the value of their scholarship money between as many players as they see fit. The average scholarship awarded is usually about $11,000 per year which may only cover a quarter (or a fifth) of the cost to attend some out of state institutions.
LESSON LEARNED: Don’t expect that an athletic scholarship will allow you to attend school for free. Financial aid, loans and other merit scholarships may help lower the overall cost.
7) My High School Coach Is Going To Get Me A Scholarship.
Do not rely on your high school coach to contact college coaches, write letters, or solicit offers on your behalf. Most high schoolcoaches are unable to devote the large amount of time required to help their athletes find the right college. Your coach (along with our college counseling office) should assist you with the recruiting process and demonstrate a commitment to help you find a school that meets your needs.
LESSON LEARNED: While you will get help from your coach, it is ultimately up to you to proactively promote yourself in the recruiting process.
8) I’m Regularly Told by my Club Coaches that I Have the Ability to Compete at the Division I Level.
Constant praise from influential people is nice to hear, but it can also be dangerous. Keep in mind that the people that you pay to train you feel the need to constantly tell you how great you are.
LESSON LEARNED: Do not get an inflated sense of self based on what a club coach or personal trainer may say. Always strive to improve your skills. Work tirelessly in the weight room and on the field of play. Good is the enemy of great. The college recruiter will give you the most honest assessment of your ability.
I hope that exploring these four “pitfalls” gives you get a sense of all of the wonderful athletic opportunities that are out there for you. Division 1 is not the “be all end all” in college athletics. Following a one-way street in pursuit of a D1 athletic scholarship may lead to a dead end. Do not limit yourself by saying, “If I can’t play Division 1, then I won’t play sports in college.” Give yourself options at top tier Division 3 schools that offer fantastic financial aid packages and academic merit based aid. Utilize work study jobs and loans to make college more affordable.
By now, I hope that you have reached out to several college coaches via email. I also hope that you have planned your summer and thought about what camps and clinics can give you lots of exposure to college coaches. Be diligent in the classroom, prepare for your standardized tests and be sure to update the college coaches about your academic and athletic achievements.
Our last four “pitfalls” will be posted in the next installment of Coach’s Corner. I look forward to telling you more about the walk-on status and some differences of D1, D2, and D3. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about the recruiting process feel free to reach out to me.
Go ‘Dogs. Win The Day.
Coach Monninger, College Counseling Coordinator for Student-Athletes