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LEONARDTOWN, Md. – Playing at the college level is a dream come true for many student-athletes. But getting recruited can be a daunting process, and it can be challenging to know where to start.
In the two latest episodes of the “Student Athlete Spotlight” podcast, Leonardtown High schoolers discuss tips and share their recent experiences with the college recruitment process.
Lake Dawson is a football player in his junior year of high school, while Megan Gray, also a junior, plays lacrosse. Although they play different sports, they share similar hurdles for standing out amongst college recruiters.
Here are some of Dawson and Gray’s tips for preparing yourself to play college sports:
Take Care of Yourself
Dawson kicked off the episode by mentioning the importance of eating right and getting enough sleep. Caring for your body and practicing healthy living is the first step in achieving any physical goal.
“I’m a lineman, so I don’t have the greatest history of healthy eating. I switched up some things. Instead of fast food, my mom has been making me great meals recently, and I’ve been feeling a lot better and more energized,” Dawson explained.
Find a School That Clicks
Dawson and Gray touched on finding a school that makes you feel welcome and excited to represent. While sports are a huge part of the college experience for student-athletes, you should also consider academics and campus resources when choosing a school that best fits your needs.
“I think one of the most important things is if I would go to this school if it wasn’t for lacrosse. I also look at the people on campus, like would I surround myself with these people every day? Would I be friends with these people? I also care about the majors they have and what I can study because lacrosse isn’t forever. I need to find a job in the future,” Gray added.
While joining events where college coaches will be in attendance is important, you should also be proactive in reaching out to coaches. Don’t wait for coaches to come to you. Instead, connect with them on social media and send them your resume, highlight videos, and transcripts.
“Be consistent and get on Twitter as soon as possible. Get your highlight film out, send it to as many coaches as you can, and just find one person to contact you. Have one person strike interest in you because that will cause a chain of effects and have other coaches follow,” expressed Dawson.
Be sure to follow up with coaches after you’ve contacted them, and keep them updated on your progress and achievements. This flow of communication shows that you are serious about playing at the college level and are willing to put in the work to make it happen.
Start Early & Attend Camps
The college recruitment process can start as early as your freshman year of high school, which means making your mark as soon as possible. List colleges you are interested in and research their athletic programs. Attend college fairs and camps to showcase your abilities.
“If you’re going to go to their camp, and you’re going to spend time there, make sure they know who you are because there are so many kids,” Brady suggested, “I would tell student-athletes to make sure you communicate with the coaches. If they are not getting back to you, there is probably a reason. If they’re not interested, you need to move on.”
Focus on Academics
In addition to being a talented athlete, college coaches also look for students who excel academically. While maintaining good grades is essential, you should consider taking advanced placement (AP) courses or dual enrollment classes to show you can handle college-level coursework.
“The higher your GPA, the more academic scholarship money you can get. That’s something I wish I worked on,” Gray mentioned.
Finally, staying committed and persistent throughout the recruitment process is essential. Getting recruited can be a long and challenging process. However, the right opportunity will come if you stay focused and determined. Keep working hard, improving your skills, and reaching out to coaches. Don’t give up if you don’t get recruited by your top choices. Stay patient, and remember that the most important thing is finding a program that is a good fit for you both athletically and academically.
“You have to motivate yourself, and motivation isn’t always constant. Discipline is key. Just keep going at things so you can get better and achieve your goals,” Dawson encouraged.
Getting recruited into college as a student-athlete is a highly competitive and challenging process, but it’s also a rewarding and fulfilling experience. By starting early, being proactive, focusing on academics, and staying committed, you can increase your chances of getting recruited into the college of your dreams.
A message from your host Aaron Brady, “Good luck and keep working hard!”
From lifting weights to ways you can stand out, hear all of Dawson’s advice in Episode 11: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3XEff67gII
For a joint discussion with Dawson and Gray, plus a one-on-one interview with Gray for everything lacrosse related, check out Episode 12: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJc41A9BERo
Student Athlete Spotlight features interviews with local high school sports coaches and students.
ABOUT THE HOST: Coach Brady has been coaching since 1999 after a brief cup of coffee with the NY Giants in the NotForLong League. During the last 22 seasons, he has spent 8 years in the college ranks at Duke, Georgetown, Mansfield, and Clarion University, respectively, and has been a head high school coach for 14 seasons. As a high school scholar-athlete, he garnered 10 varsity letters in football, basketball, and baseball and was All-State in two sports. Over the years, Aaron has coached baseball, basketball, girl’s soccer, women’s football, and men’s football.
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