Begin by identifying goals you want to accomplish during the summer. I suggest you break these down into 5 key areas: Athletic, academic, evaluation, campus visits and communication.
Athletic: Every passionate and driven athlete has the next “brass ring” lined up ahead of her. Make every effort to grow your skill on each event to the highest level and never relent. Whether they are event specific skills, core conditioning or enhanced mental imagery, these goals should be backed up with a diligent plan of action that should be shared with the college coaches. Don’t be afraid to put yourself on the line, but be prepared to follow through! College coaches will expect nothing less.
Academic: School may be out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sharpen your academic tool! Remember, standardized testing and core classroom performance are the most significant factors in meeting the NCAA freshman eligibility standards and determining your “likelihood” in college admissions.
You most likely know your upcoming fall class schedule and you should be able to access the syllabus for each course you plan to take. Familiarize yourself with your upcoming academic challenges and you will hit the ground running in the fall.
In addition, half the battle with standardized testing is “test strategy.” Bone up on testing procedures and take advantage of complimentary online testing tools or local community workshops that can help position you best.
Evaluations: You have access to critical information that will be helpful to your cause in the college search. 1) Provide the college coaches with your meet and showcase schedule and invite them to observe you in action. 2) Regularly provide coaches with video updates that are significant and show progress. 3) Forward your updated high school transcripts and test scores to the coaches. 4) Have your club coach speak directly to the college coaches on your behalf.
Think of evaluations as progress reports that can be updated regularly. But remember, college coaches are looking for significant progress in prospects and it will serve you best to spread the updates out to coaches every 3-4 weeks and with information that has “grip.”
Campus Visits: If you are serious about a specific grouping of colleges on your list, there is no better time for a casual visit to campus than the summer. These visits might not have the same feel and energy as a fall visit when school is in session, but if they are well-planned, you have the opportunity to walk away feeling well-informed and more confident.
Summertime is an ideal time to connect with college coaches on campus, but don’t just show up and count on a chance meeting. E-mail coach 3 weeks out and let him know your tentative visit plans and let him know you and your family would be excited to meet with him and inquire about the program. Be sure to let coach know you will follow-up by phone to confirm the office visit. Remember, in most cases, college coaches are not permitted to return phone calls, so remain persistent!
Communication: I am a firm believer that when cultivated, effective communications skills can position a prospect best in the eyes of college coaches. The recruiting process is very competitive and realizing that invaluable opportunities to stand above the rest of the recruiting pack are within your grasp. It just requires a little courage and effort.
Communication is a broad term, but when whittled down to its basic components it becomes less complicated. Simply remember to:
- Be proactive in every area of communication (e-mail, phone calls etc.) and remember that for the most part, coaches are bound to strict NCAA contact rules.
- Remain clear and crisp with your updates and re-caps and as one-sided your effort may appear, remain persistent. The coaches want you to initiate contact!
- If your communication requires either a voice to voice of face to face element, prepare well and practice to a fault. Make every effort count, and leave nothing to chance.
The summer presents us with the opportunity to use every day to maximize the college search for athletes. Develop a positive “sense of urgency” in your effort to plan and organize best to grow your skill as an athlete and share your accomplishments with the college coaches on your list. 100 days may seem like a lot of time to reach your goals, but as we all know, time flies when you’re having a good time!
About Tom Kovic:
Tom Kovic is a former Division I college gymnastics coach (Penn) and the current director of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he provides individual advisement for families on college recruiting. Tom is the author of “Reaching for Excellence”, an educational guide for college athletics recruiting. For further information visit: www.victoryrecruiting.com
Editor's Note: Publication of this article is not an endorsement of any recruiting service. Always check with the NCAA or your school's compliance officer for any questions regarding recruiting rules, the latest timelines, or other issues.