A Parent’s Guide to Eligibility Requirements for the College-Bound Athlete

A Parent’s Guide to College TestsNCAA Eligibility

To be eligible to play at the NCAA or NAIA collegiate level of sports your student-athlete will have to have more than athletic skills. Student-athletes will have to meet all academic requirements that each athletic governing body has set forth for all incoming college athletes.

Getting Started

Get familiar with high school core courses. It is also helpful to understand standardized tests like the SAT and ACT and the minimum scores it takes to meet college eligibility requirements.

The Sliding Scale

NCAA Division I and Division II have different testing criterion that must be met by student-athletes in order for them to play college sports. Division I utilizes a “sliding scale”, which means that if a student has a high GPA they can have a lower SAT or ACT test score.

This also works the opposite way–if your child is a great test taker he will still be able to meet eligibility standards with a lower GPA (grade point average cannot be lower than 2.00).

What About Division II?

The NCAA Division II has a different set of standards for academics. Students are required to meet a minimum SAT or ACT score along with a minimum GPA score of 2.00. Students wanting to play in Division II will have to score a minimum of 820 on the SAT. If your child chooses to take the ACT they will need to meet the minimum score of 68.

Which Test is Best for You?

The ACT is an achievement test. It is content-based and measures what a student has learned throughout high school, including English, Math, Reading, Science and Writing. The SAT test is an aptitude test consisting of three components: critical reasoning, math and writing.

The NCAA scores the entire total of the ACT test. If your child chooses to take the SAT then she should know that the NCAA only counts the “critical reading” and “math sections” and discards the total for the “writing section” of the test.

How Much Does it Cost?

It is important to note that your child does not have to take both the ACT and the SAT, but will have to take at least one of the tests to meet academic eligibility for both the NCAA and NAIA. Your child will be able to take each test as many times as she wants. The NCAA will take the highest score of each section from all test attempts.

Keep in mind that each test costs a fee. The SAT is $49 while the ACT will cost $34 per test. For each test you will have to pre-register and pay for specific test dates.

Score Reporting

Student-athletes will have to input the NCAA or NAIA score codes when registering for each test in order for the official test scores to be sent directly to each eligibility center. Each test allows for a certain number of free score reports. The NCAA and the NAIA require that scores are sent to them directly from the testing source–they will not accept copies or online printouts.

Make sure your student-athlete enters the specific codes when registering for the test so that they will not have to pay additional fees later when the eligibility center requests test scores. The NCAA test code is 9999 and the NAIA code is 9876.

If you have any questions or comments about NCAA eligibility or testing please use the comments section below or you can connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.


Why You Shouldn’t Count On Your High School Coach To Get You A Sports Scholarship

My Coach College Recruiting

Will My High School Coach Get Me Recruited?

If you are relying on your high school or club coach coaches or anyone else to get you recruited you are going to end up disappointed with missed opportunities. Your high school and club coaches can be great resources and sometimes guide you and your family through the recruiting process but they will not do the work for you, nor should they.

Your Recruitment is Not a Priority for Your Coach

Coaches are very busy with their current team’s schedules, administration, management, and coaching. Most of the time they have a full-time job on top of coaching. They don’t have time to build your resume, film your games or practice, then send it out to your target schools and talk to coaches for you. Their job is to coach you–not to get you on your next team.

This is a Test

While they can help collect stats for you and discuss what level of competition you would be best suited for, the bulk of the recruiting process will fall to you. It’s important to be proactive and take control of the process for yourself. As an athlete if you don’t have the drive and the confidence to manage the recruiting process yourself, you will never make it in college as an athlete.

What Every Coach Can Do

Your coaches may or may not have contacts in the college coaching world. But every coach should be able to talk with you about your athletic skill level and see where they see you playing in college. Use their expertise in the sport and knowledge of your abilities to help give you direction through the process.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Ask your coach for any video from games or practices. If it’s not enough to make a complete video have someone else film you as well.

Use Your Coach as a Reference

One of the best ways to use your coach is to list them as a reference when talking to college coaches. College coaches appreciate being able to speak with their peers when researching a recruit. This allows the college coach to verify your abilities as well as speak to someone who has worked with you to find out your strengths and weaknesses.

High school coaches are there to help and support you, but they can’t do all of the work for you–make sure you get their help, but you need to take the lead in your own recruiting!

If you have questions or comments about recruiting please use the comments section below or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.


7 Things Parents Need to Know About College Sports Recruitment

Understand Your Child’s Skill Levelparent college recruitment

As a parent who is raising a successful high school student-athlete you have probably been thinking of ways to get your child noticed by college coaches. Encouraging your child is great, but knowing and understanding their skill level is most important when helping them find the right college and division level that is the best fit.

Teach Your Kid to be Proactive in his Recruitment

When going through the college sports recruitment process your child needs to realize that college coaches don’t want to speak to a student-athlete’s parents. Coaches will not be able to get a sense of who the athlete is when they deal primarily with the parents.

Some coaches may take a parent’s persistence as a negative warning sign and dismiss the athlete who is not personally taking part in his own recruitment. College coaches may stop recruiting a student-athlete they believe has pushy parents. Don’t let this happen to you.

Let Them Do it Themselves

You may feel you’re helping your busy child by doing some of the recruiting legwork for them. The truth is, though, that you may actually be hurting their chances at a scholarship by limiting the development of relationships with coaches. If your student-athlete is dedicated and willing to spend time on their own recruitment they will be fine contacting college coaches on their own.

Get an Outsider’s Opinion

To get a better understanding of how your son or daughter matches up in their sport have them ask to be evaluated by a non-biased coach (preferably someone you don’t have to pay). Attending sports camps and showcases can also help athletes improve their skills while getting advice from college coaches.

Have an Open Mind

Be open to obtaining lots of advice. Use the evaluation wisely and understand what your child will need to work on in order to make it to the college level of play. Be there to coach and encourage your child on the work (athletically and academically) that will have to be done early in order to play sports in college.

Be Involved, But Not Too Much

It is good to be a parent who is involved in your child’s sports recruitment. But he will benefit the most in the long run when you play a supportive role and let him be the star.
As a parent it may be hard to let your child be in charge of his own recruiting, but it is his life and will essentially be his decision where he attends college.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Opportunities

Most questions that surround higher education are about money. Setting the standard early in terms of budgeting and what your family can afford to spend on your child’s education will help in athletic scholarship negotiations.

If a college is interested in your child they will find a way to accommodate them the best they can. Don’t disregard colleges because of the financial aspects. Be aware of the costs up front so you know what to expect.

Athletic scholarship money changes from year to year–making sure that your child asks the right questions when developing relationships with college coaches will help them gain the most out of a possible scholarship opportunity.

If you have any other questions about what parents should know about sports recruiting please visit us on Facebook or Twitter you can use the comments section below.


Why A Parent Should Help You Pick A Travel Team

A Daunting Processparents college recruiting

Parents need to take the time to research the team, the benefits, and the competitive level of their child’s travel team. Again, it may take some time, but in the end the investment will be well worth it.

What Does the Team Have to Offer?

Experienced travel teams should have websites where they post players’ statistics and contact information for potential college coaches and recruiters to view and request as needed. Having an updated website will assist players in gaining access to potential college coaches and recruiters who are interested in knowing more about competitive players.

Athlete Expectations

Is being a part of a competitive team what your child wants? Competitive teams are a great way for athletes to make new friends and to build self-confidence while, on the other hand, club teams are an expensive way to play sports.

Make sure your child is ready to make the commitment to a club team and that they understand the time and sacrifice that goes into playing on a club team. Educate your student-athlete about the sacrifices (weekends, hanging out with friends, down-time).

Decisions for Parents

Many parents question what would be the right age to start their children in club sports. Some parents enroll their children as early as five years old while others wait until middle school or high school to start at the competitive travel level.

It all depends on what the athlete is ready for. If your child is dedicated to their sport and wanting to play competitive travel competition then it would be beneficial for them to gain the experience when they feel ready.

When is it Too Much?

Too much play in specialized sports can lead to overuse and unwanted sports injuries. It can also lead to burned-out and apathetic athletes. As parents of student-athletes it is important to be aware of the amount of strain that playing at a competitive level means to young athletes.

The opportunity to play on a travel team can be challenging and rewarding. Make sure your family does the research and learns the expectations of playing at a higher level. This will help in choosing the perfect team for your athlete.

If you have questions or comments about travel teams please use the comments section below or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.


15 Questions That Will Help You Choose The Right Travel Team

WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW travel club team college recruiting

Choosing the right club, select, or travel team is an important aspect of a young athlete’s career. Finding the perfect team will benefit your child in developing his sports skill and increase his confidence. Eventually, it may provide an opportunity to play in front of college coaches.

DECIDING FACTORS

Perhaps the most important factor in finding the perfect club team for your child is the experience of the coaching staff. If the team is successful you will be able to sense it immediately from its players, player’s families and from the team record. Teams that have been established for a long time will be proud to show their accomplishments and records to anyone interested in joining.

DO THE DETECTIVE WORK

Check the coaching staff’s references. How long have they been coaching at this level?
What other teams have they coached? What is their coaching philosophy and how will they help in developing your child’s sports skills?

Another good idea is to see where past players may have gone to college or if they advanced to professional levels. This information is not always readily available so some digging may be required.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

Travel team costs for a season can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. If finances are a factor in choosing a club team check to see if there are fundraising opportunities to assist with covering costs.

Find out up front what your family is looking at spending. This will help you avoid sticker shock when your child makes the team. Don’t forget to consider extra expenses too, including fuel, lodging, food, and free time.

UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE GETTING IN TO

How will the time be spent? Ask to take a peek at the team schedule in order to get a good grasp on the travel involved.

Find out how many big tournaments the team will be attending. If your child is expecting to gain college exposure from the club team have them ask if the team will be attending any major events or showcases where they will gain exposure to college coaches. Most families choose to join club teams due to gaining college exposure so if that is your child’s goal make sure the team can provide it.

THE SELECTION PROCESS

Find out how players for teams will be selected. Does the coach actively recruit top players from a large region or is it mostly players’ parents getting the word out and inviting their child’s friends to join the team? If players are being recruited without having to try-out how high will the level of competition be?

PLAYING ON MORE THAN ONE TEAM

See what the team’s policy is about playing school sports–some teams prefer athletes who play on only one team, especially during the same season. Find out what the schedule will be and if it will interfere with other sports.

Travel teams are a great way to bond as a family since joining will involve lots of traveling and lots of weekends spent on the ball field. Do the research and take your time to find the team that will be the best match for your child and most importantly make sure that your child and you are ready to make the commitment.

If you have questions or comments about travel teams please use the comments section below or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.


Why Contacting The Coach Before You Attend His Camp Is So Important

contacting college coaches

Stand Up and Be Noticed

Many athletes and their families make the mistake of going to showcases and combines knowing that there will be college scouts there and thinking they will simply get noticed if they play well. Sometimes this happens but more often than not the athlete gets overlooked.

Get on the List

Showcases and combines are amazing ways to demonstrate to college coaches your skills and abilities–but they can only watch you if they know you are going to be there.

When scouts and college coaches go to these events they go to check out specific athletes they are already aware of. They have a list of names and a schedule of events so it is important to be on that list.

There are several steps you’ll want to take to ensure that you are getting noticed and your time and money is not being spent in vain while at these events.

Research Who is Going to Be There

A lot of the time you can get a list of the scouts and colleges that will be at certain events. Take this list and research the schools, find out which of these schools you’re interested in, then write or call the coach to introduce yourself to them.

Let them know about your talents and that you will be at the event and you would like them to check you out. Make sure to give them a schedule of the times you will be competing so they can fit one of your performances into their schedule.

Tell Them Where You’re Going to Be

If you’ve sent your resume or made contact with coaches you will want to provide them with an update on the games, meets, tournaments, camps, combines and showcases you will be attending. Not only does this allow coaches to schedule a time to come see you in action, but it also allows you to keep in constant communication with a coach while they can see you compete.

Let Coaches Know You’re Interested in Their Programs

A lot of the time these combines, camps and showcases are held on a college campus. If you’re interested in going to that particular school let the coach know beforehand so they can keep an eye out for you.

Depending what year you are in high school the coach may not necessarily talk to you or pay you any special attention, but they will be watching you. Seeing a recruit in person is much more valuable to a coach than a good resume or highlight tape. They can get a sense of your style, abilities and character much easier while watching you.

Be Sure to Update Coaches

If you did well at the event make sure you update coaches and scouts after the fact. If they were not able to see you compete they will appreciate the update on how you did.
This is also a great way for them to get a certified stat on you. Coaches are much more comfortable taking stats on a recruit that can be confirmed by a third party so use the combine or showcase as a third party.

If you invest the time going to these events make sure you are going to the most out of them. You can’t expect to be seen if you don’t tell them you’re there. Always be proactive in your recruiting to ensure the greatest success.

If you have any questions or comments about contacting coaches please use the comments section below or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.


The Stress of College Athletes vs. Other Students (Infographic)

The Stress of College Athletes vs. Other Students is an infographic that highlights the special challenges college student-athletes face.

What is the top concern for college athletes?  It’s time-management.  This is an important fact for high school student-athletes and their parents to understand.  It’s never too early to help your kids learn good study habits and time-management skills.

The freshman year of college can be the biggest time of adjustment for the freshman student-athlete.  As the infographic illustrates much of this added pressure comes from the increased academic load.  And again there is a time-management component here as well.
It is curious that finances concern less than ten percent of the college athlete population.  This is particularly interesting in light of the fact that increased scholarship compensation for college athletes has been a major news story in recent months.

Did you know that stress can be a motivating factor for up to ten percent of male and female college athletes?  It is unclear whether non-athletes respond to stress in a similar way, but it’s encouraging to note that student-athletes have developed a positive coping mechanism to deal with stress.

One of the most effective ways for college athletes to deal with this stress is by simply dealing with and completing tasks one at a time.  Seven out of ten college athletes use this tool to relieve the stress.

Why is completing tasks one by one so powerful?  For one thing–unlike other coping mechanisms–it deals directly with the issues and doesn’t take time away from them.  For instance, talking about stress problems and participating in recreational exercise can work well, but they also take time and can add to time-management issues.

Finally, this infographic can be used as a resource and talking point for parents and their student-athletes to anticipate and head off any problems that may lead to stress in college.

If you have any questions or comments about student-athletes and stress please use the comments section below or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.


What Every Parent Should Know About Sports Training For The College-Bound Athlete (Part 2)

Get Your Kid’s Name Out There College Recruiting Parents

If your child wants to compete in college sports he should send an email expressing his interest  to the programs he likes.  For some bonus points your child can ask about what they should do to stay in shape during the off-season.

In the best case scenario a college strength and conditioning coach will send your student-athlete a copy of the college’s conditioning and/or strength routine. By making the initial contact with college coaches it will open up the door for further relationship building between athlete and coach.

Seek Professional Help

Not all sports training programs are created equal. Keep in mind that a college sports workout is not always the best workout for a high school athlete.  If your child is thinking about stepping into a college routine have it looked at by a professional trainer first. A professional trainer will be able to better judge how suitable a workout is for an athlete in the beginning stages of his career and possibly be able to adapt the workout to best suit an individual student-athlete.

Sport Specific Training

Student-athletes will find it beneficial to be evaluated by a professional trainer with knowledge about training for their specific sport. Trainers can give expert advice and teach athletes the proper form and exercises they’ll need to do in order to accomplish their athletic goals. A trainer will be able to evaluate the athlete’s form and posture during sessions in order to prevent injury and strain.

Protect and Strengthen Your Core

One of the most injured places in the weight room is the back. Make sure that your student-athlete is safe when using weights.  Your son or daughter should be practicing the right type of exercises to build up their core muscles in order to help in preventing future sports-related injuries.

Take Time Off

The most important thing to remember when your child is sports training is that they are getting an adequate amount of time off from the weight room.  Training too much can make one just as injury prone as training too little. Check in with your child to make sure they’re not “maxing out” during each workout session and, if possible, have them check in with a professional trainer to go over their workout routine.

A Good Idea: Cross-Training

Another common off-season training tip is to train in a complementary sport or activity. Think football players training in ballet for balance and golfers training in yoga for the mental stability. If your student-athlete enjoys different types of sports or physical activities then having them train for them in the off-season is a great option. Sports trainers recommend cross-training in activities like swimming and yoga because of the benefits of building core muscle strength that is beneficial in all team sports.

A good off-season training schedule will allow your student-athlete to grow and develop into a stronger and more prepared athlete, which will assist them in increasing their chances of playing at the collegiate level.

Read the first part of this article… Sports training.. Dedication and discipline.

If you have questions or comments about sports training please use the comments section below or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.


What Every Parent Should Know About Sports Training

Begin the Process EarlyParents College Sports

If your child is serious about playing college sports then he should begin the recruiting process during the early years of high school. Putting off sports recruiting until the last year of high school is not unheard of, but it may be frustrating for the athlete to build relationships with college coaches in such a short amount of time.

Student-athletes have many items to consider throughout their high school career–one of the most important is how dedicated they are to continually improving their game.

Dedication and Disciplined

Many high school athletes have mixed emotions when it comes to athletic training. Having the motivation to train all year long for a sport that’s only a few months out of the year takes dedication and discipline. Is your child prepared to train properly in order to make it to college level of play?

Learning to train properly is a vital building block for eager young athletes who want to show what they are made of. If your child is serious about sports training make sure she is aware of the ups and downs that can occur from too much or too little training.

As a parent, it’s important to educate your student-athlete about the importance of safety in all areas of off season training, including the weight room and sports they may become involved in during their down time.

Train to Prevent Injuries

An enthusiastic athlete can lose all or a part of a season with incorrect lifting technique or strenuous training that is too much too soon. This can damage a player’s chances of playing college sports at a top competitive level.

Start Off with an Expert

Make sure that your student-athlete is evaluated by his or her coach and preferably a professional trainer or strength coach who is familiar with their sport. Too much sport specialization at an early age can lead to overuse injuries in athletes (think shoulder injuries in volleyball players and knee or hip injuries in football players).

As a seasoned parent you most likely will have experience and knowledge when it comes to weightlifting gone wrong. Remind your child that training is essential, but too much could be damaging to your developing student-athlete.

Be There to Guide Your Student-Athlete

If you’re a parent who has played sports, then you will be better able to stress the importance of training in the off season and the importance of training correctly. Young student-athletes are at times inexperienced and do not know the correct way to lift weights or the right muscle sequences to work on, which will be most beneficial to their growth as an athlete.

The important idea to remember when young athletes are training is that they are training to prevent injuries and strain. Remind your child that they do not have to use the weight room as an Olympic athlete–they need to listen to the professionals and train safely.

Cross-Training Companies

There are many companies out there that claim to have specialized expertise in cross-training for specific sports. A quick Google search will land dozen of companies. With so much competition out there it’s good to do your homework. Ask your child’s coaches/ trainers what they think about your child increasing their sports training. If your child is considering one of these companies, make sure to ask the right questions and to learn the most you can about the company.

The main point in sports training is to give the student-athlete a leg up in regular season play. Making sure that they are safe and practicing good off-season training routines will help in developing an aspiring college athlete.

Read more… How to use sports training to help your child with their recruiting process.

If you have questions or comments about sports training please use the comments section below or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.


Why You Should Not Rely on Your High School Coach to Get You Recruited

Will My Coach Get me Recruited?

So it’s December of your senior year, you’ve had a great season, put up fantastic numbers,coach get me recruited and the phone still isn’t ringing. Why?

I’ve seen this story play out many times in my role as a college recruiting expert. During these conversations the student-athlete or his parent informs me that he was hoping his coach was going to do everything. Never mind that the coach is teaching class, coaching, and possibly breaking down film and doesn’t have time to make personal phone calls and send letters on behalf of a student-athlete.

You Are Entitled to Nothing

The tone here reveals that this “service” is expected, that coaches are supposed to get the student-athlete recruited. Unfortunately for most coaches this is not true–some are good at it while most don’t even know where to start.

Worst Mistake You Can Make

The worst mistake you can make as a parent or an athlete is to lean on someone else to do the “dirty work” for you. Why is this a mistake? It’s a mistake because you’re almost guaranteed to end up with the short end of the stick.

As a parent or an athlete you have to go out and make things happen for yourself. It’s perfectly fine to get help–it’s not okay to depend on another person to handle the entire recruiting process while the player makes no effort on his own behalf.

A Common Misconception

The common misconception is that since a coach is a coach he knows exactly what college programs are looking for in student-athletes, how to prepare athletes for a college program, and have the connections to make it happen. As mentioned before, for some these could all be true statements and please feel fortunate if I just described your high school or club coach.

More often these things aren’t true and a family is left with the burden of their own recruiting.

Limited Reach

In chatting with many high school coaches and parents I’ve come to the realization that most coaches have a reach of maybe 3-5 college coaches who they lean on for recruiting purposes. These relationships could have been built on previous playing relationships, acquaintances, past recruits and recruiting experiences, or camps.

Many families are counting on that small number of schools to get them a scholarship opportunity. In football if a coach knows 5 coaches at 5 different schools–usually all assistants– he knows coaches at roughly .58% of the 859 US programs. Basketball coaches would know .27% of the 1844 programs, baseball and softball is .30% of 1618, Volleyball is .29% of 1,667, and Soccer is .39% of 1,277 programs. Basically, they know such a small percentage that as a family or a recruit you’re placing a lot on very little.

An Often Overlooked Opportunity

Another unfortunate side of this issue is that the small percentage of coaches who do help with recruiting seem to have small windows of focus. Many coaches help only those who they feel will help them personally or make their program look good. Basically, coaches and student-athletes alike cast for big the fish, those D1 or possibly D2 opportunities.

The fact is there are many more spots available outside the upper echelons of college sports that don’t get explored for this very reason. I can remember personally watching my high school coach make a list of athletes he felt were worthy of D1 college football looks, nothing was even mentioned for D2 or below.

Six athletes made that list; we had at least six or seven more that could have played ball at a level other than D1. Needless to say those athletes–including myself–were left on their own.

A Great Asset

Your coach can be a great asset if used properly, make them an ally in your search not your search entirely. Every college coach you come across is going to be looking for a point of reference to verify your stated abilities; this should be the job for your coach. Let your coach talk you up to potential college coaches you have already impressed with your resume and video; college coaches who have reached out to them, not vice versa.
Have your coach work with you, not for you. Make sure they are proofreading information you send to coaches, helping with highlight and skills videos, helping narrow the search of schools that peak your interest. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your coach is going to do all of the above mentioned without your extensive help. If you do I can promise you that you’ll be sharing your stories of misfortune and continuing the circle.  Do your best to break the circle.

If you have questions or comments about the recruiting process please use the comments section below or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.