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  • Writer's pictureShaylan Ahearn

BP #5: How to Deal with the Pressures of Recruitment

I want to start by saying, the times have changed since my personal recruitment time period and the rules for recruitment have as well. For me, we could be recruited whenever, wherever, and by whoever. Now, I couldn’t talk to the coaches in person unless I was visiting their campus, but I could call them any time of day and have a full conversation if they picked up. To be honest, with the old set of rules for recruitment, I could have committed when I was 5 years old! Now, even though I knew I was going to the University of Maryland at age 5, I did not end up committing until I was about 13, the fall of my freshman year. Before I had touched a lacrosse stick for my high school team, I knew where I was going to college. Although this is no longer allowed for some sports, there is a lot about the recruitment process that has stayed the same from 10 or so years ago.

The first thing that has stayed the same is the ability to contact coaches back and forth after September 1st of your Junior year. This is a rule that has not changed. When I was being recruited I could commit as early as I wanted, but I could not have back and forth communication with my future coaches through text messages or in person, unless on their campus, until September 1st.

The second thing that is the same is the way the coaches recruit the athletes. This normally happens through the coaches lining up on your sidelines and taking notes on your play. This could also be done through attending one of the University’s prospect camps or tournaments.

Lastly, the feelings of excitement, elation, nerves, frustration, embarrassment, and anything else you have and will experience, are all the same thing I felt, and the same thing other athletes have felt since the beginning of sports. I have been on a field and looked at the line of coaches in the stands and gotten butterflies in my stomach. I also remember feeling the pain and embarrassment of making a bad play in front of the coach that I wanted to eventually play for. With that being said, I have also felt the excitement in seeing those coaches at my games giving me and my teammates an opportunity to show them what we are capable of. I have felt the elation of getting a message from my club coach saying that the college that I was most interested in wants to set up a phone call. Lastly, I have been fortunate enough to feel the absolute best and most indescribable feeling of committing to the school I have dreamed of going to since I was a little girl.

Now yes, I understand that not everyone will be given that opportunity, but that is all a part of the process. The recruiting process is all about finding the best fit for you and that means that you need to find a school that wants and values you, just as much as you value them. This process can be scary, it can be painful, but it can also be exciting, and rewarding. Like I said, emotions will be at an all-time high and that is okay! At times you will feel overwhelmed and stressed but know that there are ways to get through the process. There is no right or wrong way of approaching the recruitment process and it will look different for each athlete. With that being said, there are some tips that I can give you to make your experience a little bit easier. Read below!

5 tips To Aid You In Your Recruiting Process

Tip #1

Do your Research:

My first tip for you all is to do your research! Go online and research different Universities. Go through online tours and University websites and see what catches your eye. Look at what majors they offer, where they are located, what their sports programs look like, etc. This will help you start to get some schools on your list and will also help you in taking some schools off of it.

Tip #2

Reach Out :

My second tip is to reach out to the schools you are interested in. It is good to reach out in the beginning of your first recruitment year summer so that coaches are aware you are interested and begin to look for you. When you reach out, include important information like your club team, number, and tournaments you are attending. As you receive interest back, schedule phone calls and meeting times so that you can talk about possible visit dates or future moves.

Tip #3

Keep a Positive Mindset & An Open Eye:

The recruiting process can be long and taxing. Whether that be because you are not being given interest by your top schools, or that you are overwhelmed and do not know what school to pick, the third tip is to try and stay positive throughout it all. Use positive self-talk and engage in positive self-beliefs both on and off the field. When you do not get a response from the school that you wanted, use reframing to turn the “negative” into a positive. “This school not being interested gives me the opportunity to expand my interest and discover a place best fit for me, a place that wants me the same way I want them”. Be flexible in the process and know that when one door closes it can give light to another opportunity. Keep an open eye, the top choice in the beginning may not always be the right choice by the end. Keeping an optimistic and positive mindset can go a long way!

Tip #4

Celebrate the Little things:

Like I said, the recruitment process can be long and exhausting, so it is important to use tip 4 and celebrate the little things. Celebrate you having a good game with some coaches on the sideline. Celebrate you getting contacted by a new coach. Celebrate the scheduling of a visit with a new school. Lastly, celebrate you even being in a position to go through this process in the first place. Less than 3% of high school students play a sport in college. You have worked hard your whole life to give yourself this opportunity, live and celebrate this moment.

Tip #5

Remember your Why:

My last tip is to stay present. Do not let yourself get caught up in the recruitment process and forget why you started playing your sport in the first place, because you love your sport. When you feel yourself getting taken away from your why, take a second to think back on your past years. Think back to when you first started playing and think about how you could play for that little girl or boy. Remember your why and never let the moment get bigger than you.

All these tips are great ways to attack your recruitment process, but sometimes more help and structure is needed! If you are going through this process and are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or like you need help do not hesitate to reach out and schedule a meeting with one of our sports therapists at EPP and remember, you always have other athletes in your corner.

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