This article was contributed by NCSASports.com, a student athlete recruiting network.
You hear a lot here about what you should do in the recruiting process.
How to talk to coaches the right way, how to turn in all the materials you need for the NCAA eligibility center, how to get the most financial aid.
But sometimes you can learn a lot by seeing what not to do…
I once watched another wrestler eat too much all week. On Friday, he wasn’t where he needed to be for weigh-in, so he put on a trash bag over two sweatshirts and ran laps. He passed out. (The kid made weight eventually, but the coach was not happy and neither were his teammates.) Failure is dramatic, attention-grabbing, and lets you see what to stay away from.
Picking the right school is crucial. Committing to the wrong school is shooting yourself in the foot – even if you meet your “goal” in the short term of signing somewhere, if you don’t find the right fit you may miss out on the full college athletic experience, or on getting a quality education, or on building lifelong friends.
Here are a few sure ways to go down the wrong track with your college selection:
Pick for the name – would you pick your best friend for their name? Of course not. A name doesn’t tell you much about a person, and it doesn’t tell you much about a school. A school may be a well-known name, but maybe their academics aren’t great, maybe they aren’t serious about helping their athletes professionally. Maybe it isn’t where you want to be geographically. There are a million potential conflicts. Maybe there is a big-name school that has everything you’re looking for – but think about what you need, and look at whether each school has it, before you decide.
Take the first offer without thinking – recruiting is competitive and can be nerve-wracking. You wonder whether you’ll get an offer at all, and the first time you do, it may be tempting to just jump on it and accept it. Unless your dream school offers you on day 1, this is not a good idea. The more schools you communicate with and receive offers from, the more interest you will generate with other schools. Momentum is key.
Wait too long – you don’t want to take the first offer, but don’t be too picky – if you wait until the last minute, most of the schools will have filled their roster spots. The last day to sign with a school (for seniors) is August 1, so the closer you get to that date, the more likely that your schools of choice will be filled up. Prepare, think carefully, and then make your choice – but as every athlete knows, indecision is deadly.
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