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Continuing the Dream: How to Pursue College Athletics

posted Apr 16, 2014, 6:21 PM by Unknown user   [ updated May 14, 2014, 10:22 AM by Knight Writer ]
Nichole Miller

        For many students at Van Buren, sports play a huge role in everyday life. Along with that, some students hope for sports to be a part of their everyday college life. The process of narrowing down colleges is overwhelming as is, let alone searching for an athletic program that fits you as well. Although this process has stresses, it can be easier if you know the direction you want to go.

        
According to former Black Knight and Mount Union volleyball player, Rachel Adolph, the recruiting process is different for boys and girls and also varies person to person.

        Former University of Findlay softball player and current varsity softball coach, Stacy Sharp agreed the recruiting process is different for girls and boys. “A lot of girls really have to show interest in colleges in order for colleges to show interest in them. They have to put their name out there. Guys have to do that too, but I think guys have a little easier time getting attention because it seems there are more avenues out there for them,” she said.

        Even though Adolph admitted that she didn’t do as much in the recruiting process as she could have, and Sharp stated that the process has probably changed since she has done it, they both offered valuable tips and information.

        Adolph played travel volleyball and attended prospect camps in which college coaches came to see possible future players, and fortunately for her, she was one of them. Taking part in these camps and doing what you can to make yourself stand out is a big part of the recruiting process according to Adolph.

        No matter what sport or what size college you want to attend, college coaches are looking for athletes that have a little more edge than the player next to them. If you want to have a wider selection of schools to choose from, making a name for yourself becomes a huge part in the recruiting process.
        Sometimes girls have to advertise themselves which can take a lot of extra work. Sharp suggested putting together a skills video which highlights an athlete’s abilities. This can include clips of game film or a brief practice session featuring the skills required for the sport.

        When struggling to find a school that fits you, Adolph suggested putting academics first, “You get four more years to play the sport you love, but in the end, the most important key is your future career. You need to make sure you choose a school that has the major/majors that you are interested in. College is expensive and academics should be your number one priority, not necessarily just where you want to play.”

        Sharp added, “You are recruiting the school and programs just as much as they are recruiting you. Ultimately you are the one who will be there going to classes, practices, playing. You have to be happy with everything about it.”

        The most important factor in all of this process is ending up at school you enjoy. Sharp advised going into things with an open mind and not ruling out options before you hear what they are about. Adolph continued urging students to go with their gut feeling because it’s usually right.

        Sharp struggled during the recruiting process simply because she didn’t know what she was looking for. A big part of figuring out what you want is taking visits to different schools, meeting the teams and coaches, practicing with the teams if possible, and asking questions.

        Each sport is different, but Sharp gave a few basic steps to take:

- Put together a skills video and profile to send to different colleges

- Compete in travel sports and hand out your profile to prospect coaches there

- Take lessons and go to showcases where college coaches are in attendance

-Complete NCAA clearinghouse information forms

- Go on college visits, attend or participate in collegiate practices

- Meet with coaches and be prepared with specific questions about the program

- A website with several helpful tips is http://collegerecruitingcenter.com/

        Although there are differences in the steps you would take in the recruiting process depending on the sport, the list above provides a general idea of some things that would need to be done in the process.

        Talk to your high school coach about being a reference for you and use websites to help guide your steps along the path to collegiate level sports.
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