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