Beyond High School Basketball, Part II - Your Freshman Year
by Anthony Calderon, publisher
Blackboard Media Group, Inc.
Imagine taking one of the most important tests of your life without ever reading the book. Are your chances based on skill or luck?
The recruiting process is a lot like that test - it is a critical part of your academic and athletic future. Don't rely on luck to
determine the success of your future. As an athlete, you are will aware of the preparation it takes to be successful on the court. It is
no difference when talking about other aspects of the game – like getting recruited to the college of your dreams.
One of the biggest frustrations facing student-athletes today is the lack of information provided to them in the early stages. The college recruiting process officially begins your freshman year! Some athletes begin marketing to college coaches in the 7th grade! If you are not one of the smart ones who start early, you will watch the other 600,000 high school basketball players dribble right past you.
The first thing you should do is pick up a copy of The Ultimate Sports Recruiting Guide for Men's and Women's Basketball, www.blackboardmedia.com
It is the book that has all the answers to the big test - the same one that could make the difference between playing college ball and
watching from the stands. It breaks down the recruiting process with a series of monthly checklists. So all you have to do is turn the
page and see what to do next.
The most important thing to remember is DO NOT put your future in the hands of anyone but yourself! Coaches, counselors and even your parents are there to support you and guide you along the way. However, it is ultimately up to you to make sure the necessary requirements are met throughout your high school years. Remember, this is your life, your future and your goals. You need to be responsible for the outcome.
GRADES! From the very first day of school, your academics need to take precedence over just about anything else … including basketball. Sit down with your parents and your school counselor and map out your next four years. It is important that you make yourself attractive to college admissions by striving to take the most challenging classes available. Most schools allow you to take college credit courses your junior and senior year. In order to be ready, you will have to avoid basket weaving classes your freshman and sophomore years.
On the flip side, you do not want to take classes you are not ready for. The idea is to keep a steady mix and maintain a 3.0 GPA or above. Anything lower and you might find yourself forced into alternative choices. If you think you'll have trouble packing everything in during the school year … take a summer course. Before you roll your eyes, think about it. Summer courses are more compact, take less time and are more relaxed than any class you will take during the school year. It is a perfect solution in making sure you are ready when the time comes to hand over your grades.
INVOLVEMENT! Admission officers love to see involvement in activities other than sports. This doesn't mean you have to intern for the UN, but you can become a regular volunteer at a local shelter, run for school counsel, or be a tutor. The point is to do more constructive things with your time off than play video games or surf the net. Talk to your school counselor about what is best for you.
SPORTS! The best thing you can do this year is improve. The best way to improve is to practice. Spend 30 minutes every day developing your fundamentals; increase your free throw percentage or watch game video of John Stockton or Lisa Leslie. The idea is to develop a solid foundation so that you make the most of your regular practice. Conditioning Tip: Jumping rope is a great way to stay in shape, both on and off season. It quickens your reflexes, builds your stamina and can be done in a small space. As with any equipment a quality jump rope will make a difference. The best ones I've seen can be found at www.jumpropestore.com.
DIET! As part of your sports training, make sure you maintain a healthy diet. Regardless of how many times you've heard it … it still stands true. A healthy diet creates a healthy individual. A healthy individual will make a better athlete. Lay off the fast foods; find something else to snack on besides chips; and for goodness sakes, stop drinking sodas! Your body's primary ingredient is water. When you sweat, you sweat water (and salt). Your body can survive without food a lot longer than it can survive without water. IT IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT CHANGE YOU CAN MAKE IN YOUR DIET. As an athlete, you should be drinking between 6 and 10 large glasses of water a day - more during workouts and summer. For every soda you drink, you deplete your body of one glass of water. Drink one soda a day and you will need to add one more glass of water. Drink two … and you get the idea.
Talk to a sport's intuitionalist and ask them how to improve your performance level. If one is not available, drop into a local health food store and talk to someone there. People are willing to help if you just ask.
COLLEGES! There are nearly 1,000 NCAA men's and women's basketball programs in the country, 300 plus NAIA and a Junior College in every city. How many you choose to pursue will greatly increase your chances of finding a program and school that's right for you. Although it may sound like a lot, start with 100 schools that meet your criteria. It shouldn't be hard to do, but it will take some time. That is why you are starting NOW … as a freshman. Look at schools outside your comfort zone; schools that cost a lot of money (we'll talk about how to find money for that school later); military programs; Division I, II, II, NAIA and JCs. Whatever you do, DO NOT limit yourself to schools in your back yard, schools on the California coast or the single school you've dreamt about since you were three years old.
First, determine your criteria … for example:
Make a folder with 100 sheets of paper and start selecting your schools - one school per page so that you can write notes throughout the year. If you've picked up a copy of The Ultimate Sports Recruiting Guide, you will find listings of every NCAA program in the country, along with DI contact and school information. If you haven't already picked one up, NOW IS THE TIME. It is an easy quick reference that will save countless hours of research.
- 20,000 + enrollment
- Mild climate
- Strong business school
- Minimum GPA requirement of 3.2 or above
- Strong financial aid program
- Basketball program that places within the top 3 within its division
Brenda Frese – Head Women's Coach for the University of Maryland said this … "It is the BEST thing I have seen in all my years of coaching! The Ultimate Sports Recruiting Guide is a MUST HAVE for every high school athlete and coach. People are missing out if they haven't gotten the chance to read it.
PREPARE! Just as you would study for a test or practice your free throw, you will also need to spend time each week researching schools. DO NOT put it off until next week or next year! Grab your recruiting guide and look at which schools and basketball programs fit your needs. Write down the pros and cons of each; go to the school's website and look through their courses, their academic accomplishments and their basketball program. Find your area of academic interest and email a professor or a department head. Talking first hand with people who are on campus day in and day out is one of the best ways you can find out what life is like on that campus.
Don't let the time commitment scare you. For only 10 minutes a night, you can take control of your future and ultimately decide a big part of your future.
RECRUITING! Once you have chosen your top 100 schools, it is time to take action. Dropping a note to a coach via US Mail or email will set you apart from other athletes who are not on the ball. Remember, there are only so many coaches out there with too many athletes to possible see. It is your job to make sure they see you! Things to do:
SUMMARY OF YOUR FRESHMAN YEAR!
- Write an email and express your interest in their school/program. Tell the coach about yourself both on and off court. Finish it off with a picture of yourself to put a face with a name. Make sure to personalize each email with "Dear Coach Hunt" and I am very interested in learning more about the "University of Huntsville". Here's the trick … CHANGE EACH LETTER slightly. In other words, if it looks too much like a form letter, it will get treated like a form letter. Like any one else, coaches want to think that their school is your first choice. If you point out they are number 32 on your list, your chances of getting any interest stand as much chance as mini-me playing center for the Knicks. Send off an email about every other month; once a month during season … just to let them know how you are doing or congratulating them on a recent win.
- Did you know you can phone a college coach anytime you'd like? NCAA rules state that a college coach cannot phone you until after your junior year, but it does not state you cannot call them. Emails are great (and cheap), but they can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Give your favorite programs a call (most will have an 800 number) and introduce yourself. If you had time to watch one of their games, point out a particular play you liked or how you are working on a pass sequence you saw. This will tell the coach you agree with, or at least understand his or her style of play and would therefore fit perfectly within his or her program. Don't call too often and become a telephone stalker. Keep the phone calls to around three per year.
- Talk to your high school coach and let him or her know of your intensions. Although you are ultimately responsible, your coach is an important resource that will be very helpful throughout the process. If they know your intensions up front, they are more likely to be there for you when you need them most.
- Purchase The Ultimate Sports Recruiting Guide – M/W Basketball
- Set up a 4-year academic plan with your counselor and parents
- Talk to your high school coach and let them know of your intentions
- Study and maintain a 3.0 GPA or above
- Get involved in outside activities
- Improve your basketball fundamentals with nightly tasks
- Maintain a healthy and athletic diet
- Choose 100 schools/programs to research
- Contact college coaches via email, US Mail or telephone
- And yes … have fun!
Back to Part One
author: Anthony Calderon, publisher
Blackboard Media Group, Inc.
Our thanks to
Human Kinetics for sending us some excellent coaching books.
You can't beat the price, less than $20.
Buy it, today!
Excellent video with thoughts and drills on organizing your practices. Learn from one of the greatest coaches of the game, Coach "K".
Click here to order
"My son's high school coach gave him a copy of the book and he read it in two days. Now he is leading the effort to get himself a
scholarship. The book is inspiring and effective for high school athletes."
Click here to order