So it’s February 1st, 2012–national signing day, the first day for the 2012 signing period, and for some it is possibly the happiest day of their lives. It’s the culmination of everything student-athletes have been working towards for the past 4 years of their lives if not more.
Counting Down the Days
For the young men and women who aren’t signing today, they might be counting down the days until April 11th when sports that don’t sign February 1st open their signing periods. Many more could be hit with the realization that the time to be recruited has officially caught up with them. No matter what your situation, it’s likely you just fell into one of those three categories and are looking into what your next move should be.
The Real work Starts
For those of you who’ve made your visits–unofficial and official–committed, and are signing in the next few months, congratulations on getting this far! Now the real work starts, and you’ll find yourself getting prepared for your college experience and either enrolling immediately after you graduate or enjoying your final summer as a high school athlete. This is no time to slack off as the coaching staffs are expecting you to enroll in their school in prime shape to excel in the classroom and in your sport.
Don’t Give Up
If you’re a student-athlete who is not signing on the very first day your sport’s signing period opens, but are close to getting an offer, keep on those coaches so that you don’t lose out on an opportunity to a more persistent student-athlete. You want to keep these coaches informed that you are the student-athlete they are going to want to be around and the student-athlete they need to make an offer to!
Remember if you are planning on D1 or D2, pay close attention to your sport’s specific signing periods because once that signing period passes you cannot become a scholarship athlete that season; you will have to walk on.
Take it Up a Notch
Many of you might not be sure what schools are even interested at this point. You might have made some initial inquiries but never heard back and never followed up. My advice isn’t to panic, but I would ask you to amp up whatever recruiting efforts you’re currently taking part in. This is not the time to sit back and blast impersonal emails to coaches around the country but instead a time to accompany quality, resume-filled, emails with phone calls to every coach you are able to contact. A phone call to a coach can sometimes be that separation factor coaches are looking for in student-athletes. If you were looking at 10 schools try 50, 50 schools try 100, 100 try 200. Don’t be afraid to go out and MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN.
Continue to Grow
The exciting part in recruiting is that no matter which stage you’re in there’s always work to do so that you can continue to grow as a student-athlete and a person. The skills that you have learned or will learn as a recruit will benefit you far beyond your college years. It is my hope that by the time you enroll in a school you have learned what it takes to get something you really want, the importance of networking, an understanding of marketing and selling yourself as well as gaining employment (finding a scholarship is similar to finding a job). And hopefully an ability to feel the satisfaction of success.
Have You Thought About Walking On?
Unfortunately for some, your scholarship dreams won’t be realized. Instead what you will find is that you have grown from this experience likely more than those who didn’t see the same fate. It takes a lot of character to continue to try at something even if it didn’t work the first time. Remember when Thomas Edison invented the light bulb he was famously quoted saying,“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Take that quote to heart–if college sports are truly your calling then find a program and see about walking on!