college rowing

10 Tips for Recruiting

Athletes and parents of athletes ask me a lot of questions, but nothing seems to garner more questions than the recruiting process. It can be very confusing, frustrating and I encourage every athlete to make sure she/he really wants to row in college before embarking on the process. I aim to write a few blog entries talking about recruiting, but am starting with some high level tips. These tips are assuming that you have already done the necessary “soul searching” to make sure you really want to row in college AND THEN the soul searching that you want to pursue the recruiting process. You do NOT have to be recruited to row in college. Schools still have a walk-on tryout period so do not try to get recruited if you are feeling pressured to do so, but aren't really sure what YOU want to do. If you are recruited, you have made a commitment and you need to take that seriously. So… assuming you feel strongly that you want to row in college AND you want to pursue recruiting…

  1. Do remember that this is similar to signing your first business contract - even if you do not sign an LOI, your word is on the line as is your integrity so do not continue in the process if you are not taking it seriously. And be honest. Do not verbally commit to a program if you are not 100% sure you will attend.

  2. Rowing in college is going to be like a job for you. Be sure you are ready for that type of time commitment and you are prepared to devote part of your life to the team. Time commitments range from DI-DIII and Club, but everything is going to be at least the amount of time for an additional class, if not significantly more.

  3. Do your homework - do not just write to every single coach out there. You should contact the coaches for the programs and schools you are genuinely interested in. Remember, the process of recruiting takes time so do not waste your time or Coaches’ time.

  4. Try not to take everything so personal (easier said than done I am aware). But if a coach tells you that you are not what they are looking for, realize that this prevents you from wasting your time on that program. Say thank you for their time and move on to the next program you like.

  5. Get the best grades and 2K time that you can. Remember that they are evaluating you on several metrics: 2K time, size (height and weight), grades, athleticism, attitude. If a school tells you that you are “not fast enough for them” you need to pull a faster 2K time and if they tell you that you need to retake your standardized tests, then you should do that if you really want to go to that school. Need help getting your 2K down - come to a RSR Clinic! Coach Holly is also visiting Park City November 3 and New York City December 2.

  6. As you start to explore programs, schools and potentially visit campuses - be wary of posting your process on social media. (Your social media profile will be the topic of another article so stay tuned). Coaches are researching you and looking at your social media. Every coach wants YOU to want THEM - if it looks like you are excited about every school you go to then they will be less inclined to pursue you. No one wants to aggressively convince you to come to their school. They want YOU to WANT to come so be careful with how you are advertising your process.

  7. When visiting a school - officially or unofficially - remember that it is your time to evaluate and consider a program and school, but that the coaches AND their current team are evaluating you as well. Use good judgement. They are listening to what you say, how you act, what your priorities are etc. This is great practice for a job interview.

  8. Stay in touch with the coaches that you are interested in - especially if you have a positive academic and/or athletic update. Any faster erg times should be sent to them as should standardized tests or awards that demonstrate dedication and drive.

  9. Make sure you are conversing with coaches - not your parents. You will be rowing in college and you need to communicate directly with coaches.

  10. Try to make a list of what you really want in your college experience. Recruiting coordinators plan official visits to make sure you have a great time so be sure you know what YOU want before you arrive. I direct all my athletes to the Sparks College Database to start filtering down programs. It is a tremendous resource.

If you have any questions for Coach Holly - you can CONTACT US.

For any male and female athletes who are looking to improve their 2K time and their mental game - join us at a 2K Clinic!

RSR College Blog Series - A DIII Perspective: "Reach over to the girl next to you"

A RSR Alumna who is currently rowing DIII read my previous post, "Try Not to Be Afraid of Failure" - an interview with another RSR Alumna also racing DIII and wanted to give another perspective. I am grateful for her time and happy to share it with you all. I hope it will help the thousands of you who are currently thinking about collegiate rowing. 

Holly: What has the culture been like at your program?

Athlete: Coming into this school I didn’t know what to expect. We had been turning up great results at NCAAs for the past few years, but it is also a DIII school and I did not know what that combination had in store for me. Turns out - it's the best of both worlds. The women I am with are infinitely more supportive and uplifting than any other team I have been a part of. Everyone is in the erg pit pulling together or in lift spotting for one another. We have a practice of doing shoutouts at the end of each practice/workout and to be able to sit back and hear your teammate tell the whole team that she noticed you were working super hard on a tiny technical change is a wonderful feeling. To be able to tell your teammate that you succeeded in a workout because she was there next to you is wonderful as well. It is a culture of extreme hard work and competition, yet immense kindness and support.

Holly: What have you learned about college rowing?

Athlete: I have learned that even though people tell you it's academics first, athletics second, you cannot help but feel you are there as an athlete. My school is hard. I think I worked harder my first semester of college than I did my entire senior year in high school. That being said, I was spending even more time with crew related activities. Right now I am waking up at 4:30AM for practice, finishing practice at 8:00, eating breakfast and showering, going to class from 9:50-12:20, eating lunch, going to work from 1-3, then I go to the training room and do my workout - I probably don’t leave until 5 (since I have to do a secondary), and from there it's dinner and homework and getting my butt to bed by 9pm. This means on any given weekday I am doing crew related activities for 5.5 hours and school related work (this includes going to class) for 5.5 hours a day. The other hours of my day are spent at work, eating, showering, or maybe cleaning my room. I’ve learned that rowing is my main identity at college.

Holly: What have you learned about YOU?

Athlete: I have learned how to push my body and my mind like I never have before. This was the first time that I felt like I owed it to my team to work my hardest. We have a saying “Reach over to the girl next to you.” I’ve learned that this has really impacted how I mentally approach training. I also learned that when I make a good goal for myself I am much better at hitting goal numbers than just going out and pulling my hardest. I learned how to develop goals with RSR and I am very grateful for that.  

Holly: What are you most excited about this spring?

Athlete: We have been working so hard every morning getting faster together on the erg and I cannot wait to see how it transfers to the water. I used to think that if my team does well in any race, for instance hopefully a national championship, that it is only the women racing who won the race. I’ve learned that anyone can sit in any seat in any boat and we have all pushed each other to become the best athletes we can be. It is really a shared win.

Holly: How did you decide on your school/program? Was there anything you wish you had done differently?

Athlete: I did a great job of visiting lots of different types of programs early on (starting freshman year). I wish that I had done more overnights. I didn’t have that opportunity because I had a rather tight schedule, but if you can swing it time-wise and financially, I highly recommend doing overnights. I decided on my school by looking at schools I was interested in academically first, and then looked at crew programs. At the end of the day, if you have a career ending injury you need to make sure you like the school.  

Holly: What advice would you give other high school athletes about college rowing?

Athlete: It seems really scary right before you go into it, but know that whether you are a recruit or a walk on there are other people going through the same transitions. You have people to rely on and coaches aren’t expecting you to perform at your 100% best the first day you walk in. They are, however, expecting you to GIVE your 100% best.

Holly: What about advice you would give them about the recruiting process?

Athlete: Reach out to people and talk. Email coaches, schedule phone calls, and reach out to athletes. Do the work on your end and you should see results. Know the loopholes. Yes, coaches can’t contact you until junior year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to coaches. I suggest emailing a coach and say, “Hello Coach X! I would love to give you a call next Tuesday at 3pm.” They can’t call you back if they miss you, but they can try to plan to pick up the phone.

Holly: What did you learn from RSR?

Athlete: I mentioned before, but learning effective goal setting has been something I’ve used a lot in college so far. We do mental training and meditation on my team, but having done it already with Holly helped me use these times more effectively since I already knew what worked for me.

RSR Blog Series: Inside College Rowing

Welcome to our first RSR Blog Series: Inside College Rowing. I will be interviewing several RSR Alumnae who are all now rowing at different programs across the country. Why am I doing this? When I think back to my high school days- I wish someone could have given me more information about their experience, about the different programs, and just any advice on how I can navigate the confusing process! I hope that current high school athletes (and their parents) who are curious about college rowing will find this series informative and helpful. College rowing is hard - but awesome. I want to help you get as much information as possible to make the important decisions: Do you want to row in college? And if so, where? We have three goals with the series: 

  1. Get an idea of what each school, program and culture is like.
  2. Hear how RSR curriculum and programs have influenced the athlete's experience.
  3. Offer any advice to current high school athletes based on what they have learned already.

I will be asking the athletes about a typical day at the school and if she has any advice for all of you who are currently navigating the recruiting process. Personally, I am also just excited to reconnect with all of my former athletes. I truly care about each and every one of them so it's fun to hear about how they are doing. 

If you have additional questions you would like to see included in the interviews- just let me know and I will do my best!