Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

CRH Blog Post #11, Advice to Parents, cont’d

Posted on: January 18th, 2013 by admin No Comments

Now that we’ve established the principle that your behavior and words as a parent matter in the recruiting process, it’s time to attach some specificity to this general rule of thumb. So, beginning today, we’re going to review some common parental mistakes that college coaches see as red flags.


College coaches hate it when you as a parent start complaining about your child’s high school coach (or club coach). First of all, it makes you seem like a know-it-all, since you’re not qualified to judge your child’s high school coach in the first place (and being a former player doesn’t make you “qualified” as a coach any more than being a private in the army qualifies you to be a general). Second, it makes you seem like a difficult parent (which, if you’re in the habit of talking poorly about your child’s high school coach, you in all likelihood are). But above all, you are openly undermining your child’s coach to a person who might one day be your child’s coach.


Now, it’s fine to be a difficult know-it-all with a habit of undermining your child’s coaches. However, with your child’s recruiting future at stake, we can not for the life of us figure out why you would want to confess these unfortunate personal traits to any and every college coach who calls.


College coaches don’t like know-it-all parents. College coaches don’t like difficult parents. And college coaches certainly don’t like parents who are in the habit of undermining their children’s coaches. So, given that college coaches don’t like parents who exhibit these personal traits, does it not make sense to keep your feelings about your child’s high school coach to yourself?


Thank you very much for reading. We will cover more advice for parents in tomorrow’s entry.

CRH Blog Post #10, Advice to Parents

Posted on: January 16th, 2013 by admin No Comments

Smart college coaches don’t just recruit based on athletic ability.  They look at everything, from academics to character to coachability to fit to attitude to family situations.  You name it, they look at it.  And with that in mind, parents need to start understanding how regularly they hurt their own children in the recruiting process.


Tomorrow, and moving forward, we’ll cover some specific types of words and behavior that turn college coaches off.  However, for the first post on this topic, we need to establish the framework of this discussion first.


If your child is a high school All-American with extraordinary productivity and athletic gifts who dominates against high-level competition, you as a parent can be a lunatic-fringe axe murderer and your child will still attract plenty of recruiting attention.  However, for 99.9% of all high school athletes who aspire to play in college, parents can make a big difference in the recruiting process (positively or negatively).


Here’s a good rule of thumb that college coaches live by: a kid’s talent has to be bigger than his or her problems.  And you had better believe that many parents get discussed in recruiting meetings under the sub-heading “problems.”  So, if your child is obviously better than anyone else on a given school’s recruiting board, that school will likely be willing to put up with you, even if you’re perceived as being difficult.  However, if the talent gap between your child and the other children on that school’s recruiting board is narrow, or if there is no gap, some other well behaved parent’s child will be the one signing the scholarship.


We can not think of a parent who would deliberately hurt their own child, and yet parents ruin their children’s recruiting options all the time.  So, moving forward, if you’re a parent, please keep a low profile and stay on your best behavior (especially when college coaches are present).  Remember the old recruiting-decision adage: when the talent is a tie, the scholarship goes to the problem-free kid.  We would like to amend that adage to say: when the talent is a tie, the scholarship goes to the kid with non-difficult parents.


Thank you very much for reading.  We hope these comments are helpful.

CRH Blog Post #9, 2 Worst Reasons to Choose a School, cont’d

Posted on: January 15th, 2013 by admin No Comments

As previously discussed, it’s important in the recruiting process to have a sense of not only what to do, but what not to do.  Yesterday, we covered the reasons why it’s a terrible mistake to allow a relationship with an assistant coach to drive your decision about where to go to school.  Today, we’ll cover the other very common (yet misguided) reason that kids allow to factor heavily into their decisions.


Way too many kids will choose a school based in large part on the quality of the school’s athletics facilities.  At first glance, this is quite understandable.  After all, you’ll be spending a great deal of time over the next 4 years in and around your college choice’s overall athletics facilities, so why would you not want to spend your time in an environment that’s modern, clean, and nice looking?  Additionally, quality of athletics facilities is a good indicator of a school’s commitment to athletics, and it’s tough to win championships at a school that lacks administrative commitment and support for athletics.


That having been said, remember the 2 kinds of recruits: those who are and are not likely to earn enough money to retire comfortably playing professional sports.  So, assuming you’re in the second group, you should ask yourself how important the niceness of the locker room will be 40 years from now, and how impactful the gorgeous new stadium will be on your future.  Obviously, if you’re choosing a school based on a 40-year plan, it’s horribly short-sighted to allow athletics facilities to govern your decision making process.  Now, in a perfect world, you’ll be able to attract attention from an outstanding academic school that also has beautiful athletics facilities.  But, if you’re in a situation where you’re forced to choose between a big time school and a big time athletics program, please choose the big time school.


Thank you very much for reading.  We hope these comments are helpful.

CRH Blog Post #8, 2 Worst Reasons to Choose a School

Posted on: January 14th, 2013 by admin No Comments

Now that we’ve covered some information about how to get yourself recruited but also about choosing the right school in the recruiting process, it’s time to cover 2 common reasons to choose a school that make absolutely zero long-term sense.  We’ll cover the first of the 2 common mistakes today, and the second tomorrow.


The single stupidest reason for a recruit to choose a school is a relationship with an assistant coach.  For starters, recruits and their families must understand this about assistant coaches: they all want to be head coaches.  And this means that they tend to follow a career path that includes a vagabond lifestyle, always seeking the next step up the ladder until they reach their goal.  As such, the odds are quite high that the assistant coach you developed that bond with won’t be around for 4 years.  In fact, if you were a player with a lot of options, and the perception is that you signed with that school because of him, he probably won’t even be there by the time you arrive on campus.  Given the statistical reality of the off-season game of musical chairs that takes place in the college coaching profession (especially in football and men’s basketball), wise prospects largely discount the likability and social skills and even the perceived character of the assistant coach who is leading the recruiting process.


So, not only is the person you liked and trusted the most not there, but now you’re in the position of falling victim to the “My Guy Syndrome” (from a previous post, see below) in terms of playing time and opportunities.  In short, a relationship with an assistant coach shouldn’t even be one of your top 10 reasons to choose a school, and you’d be a fool to allow a relationship with an assistant coach to drive your decision.


Thank you very much for reading this.  We hope these thoughts are helpful.


* The “My Guy” Syndrome (from an earlier post): An assistant coach will regularly describe a recruit as “my guy” if that assistant is the lead recruiter for that particular prospect.  Once a recruit is on campus, that assistant coach will work hard to lobby and manipulate the head coach to ensure that his “guy” is receiving every possible opportunity for playing time, etc, because the assistant coach believes that post-season awards (all-rookie team, all-conference, etc) for his “guy” will advance his coaching career.  So, what if the assistant coach who recruited you leaves to go to another school before you even set foot on campus?  Now, you’re nobody’s “guy” and no one is fighting for you behind the scenes.  So, what’s the answer?  Choose a school where you’re the head coach’s “guy.”

CRH Blog Post #6, Choosing the Right School, 3 Pieces of Advice, cont’d

Posted on: January 10th, 2013 by admin No Comments

After understanding the importance of choosing a school first and an athletics program second, and consequently trying to find a school where the academics and the post-graduation career and alumni networking opportunities are bonafide, the second key pieces of advice in choosing correctly amongst your recruiting options involves the head coach.


One, choose a school where the head coach is likely to be there all 4 years of your playing career.  It’s important to realize that many new head coaches, particularly coming into a program that has not been winning lately, will assume that the talent remaining in the program isn’t good enough, and will therefore have the pre-determined intention to clean house by revoking scholarships and bringing in a whole new roster.  Sometimes, of course, head coaching changes are great for remaining student-athletes (in 1981, for example, basketball player Zambalist Frederick of South Carolina famously went from a little-used reserve to the leading scorer in the country after Bill Foster took the reigns of the Gamecocks); but most of the time, head coaching changes do not benefit the returning team members.  As such, it makes sense to choose a school where the head coaching situation is as stable as possible.


Two, if possible, choose a school where the head coach was personally involved in your recruitment.  In college athletics, a horrible sickness exists called, “The My Guy Syndrome.”  An assistant coach will regularly describe a recruit as “my guy” if that assistant is the lead recruiter for that particular prospect.  Once a recruit is on campus, that assistant coach will work hard to lobby and manipulate the head coach to ensure that his “guy” is receiving every possible opportunity for playing time, etc, because the assistant coach believes that post-season awards (all-rookie team, all-conference, etc) for his “guy” will advance his coaching career.  So, what if the assistant coach who recruited you leaves to go to another school before you even set foot on campus?  Now, you’re nobody’s “guy” and no one is fighting for you behind the scenes.  So, what’s the answer?  Choose a school where you’re the head coach’s “guy.”


Finally, and most importantly, choose a school where the head coach is likely to treat you with respect, during and especially after your career.  It’s important to understand that a head coach is going to have a great deal of authority over your life in college, and you’re going to spend countless hours of time with your head coach.  Given this fact, we’d recommend choosing a head coach who metaphorically resembles Arthur Shelby, not Simon Legree (use Facebook to ask former players what the head coach is really like – you can find kids from previous rosters online rather easily).


Thanks very much for reading.  We hope you found these comments helpful.

CRH Blog Post #5, Choosing the Right School, 3 Pieces of Advice

Posted on: January 9th, 2013 by admin No Comments

Other than decisions about marriage and/or starting a family, choosing the right college or university is perhaps the most important decision a college-bound young person makes.  With that in mind, here are some rules of thumb to guide you in that process.


First and foremost, let’s distinguish between 2 different types of prospective student-athletes: kids who are realistically likely to earn enough money in professional sports to retire comfortably, and kids who are not.  So, if you’re in the first group (you’ll know this because you’ll have 5 or more full scholarship offers from powerhouse, legendary programs like Alabama and Notre Dame for football or North Carolina and Kentucky for men’s basketball), we think it’s completely logical and acceptable to choose a sports program first and a school second.  However, if you don’t have 5 or more offers from powerhouse programs, then the free market is telling you that you’re not likely on a trajectory to sign a lucrative contract with a professional team.  So, if you’re like 99.9% of collegiate student-athletes, and you’re ultimately going to enter a career outside of playing sports professionally, we would like to strongly urge you to choose a school first and a sports program second.


What does this mean?  Simply put, if you fall in the second group of kids, you need to choose a school based on a 40-year plan for life after college and after your playing career is finished.  So, rather than asking questions about facilities and style of play and player development, you should instead research and inquire about the school’s academic reputation.  You should also want to know:  What is the school’s job-placement rate?  How large is the school’s endowment?  In what kinds of careers have previous graduates flourished?  Is there an existing, tight-knit group of successful alums eager to help you find a rewarding career after you graduate?  How are former student-athletes from the program I’m considering doing?  Did they graduate?  What is the likely life path of the kids currently on the team?  Will they be a positive or a negative influence as a peer group?


Tomorrow, we will write on another good rule of thumb for navigating the recruiting waters successfully and choosing the right school.  Thanks very much for your time.

CRH Blog Post #4, Following the Big 3 Rules, Rule #3

Posted on: January 8th, 2013 by admin No Comments

Once you’ve attained and accepted a realistic evaluation of yourself, you’ve started doing your work early (academically, skill/athleticism development, and communicating with college coaches), and you’ve cast a wide net, you’re ready for the final rule to get yourself recruited:


Be persistent.  I can’t say this any better than Calvin Coolidge already has, so I’ll just steal his quote:


“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.  The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”


Persistence is, of course, a major “secret” to living a successful and productive life, but to specify it’s applicability to recruiting, it simply means that no matter how many times a college coach tells you “no,” if you are relentless and if you absolutely refuse to give in and allow yourself to get discouraged, you’ll eventually find a college coach who will say “yes.”


Thanks very much for reading.  We hope you find these posts helpful.


CRH Blog Post #3, Following the Big 3 Rules, Rule #2

Posted on: January 7th, 2013 by admin No Comments

After being realistic, the first rule of helping yourself get recruited is to do your work early (aka be proactive).  Today, we will look at rule #2.


The second rule is to cast a wide net.  What does this mean?  Simply put, we know that your dream is probably to play for a major university that competes for NCAA Division I national championships and has a ton of alums in the professional ranks.  That having been said, everyone else has pretty much the same dream that you have, and powerhouse programs are limited by the NCAA in terms of how many scholarships they can award.


Does this mathematical reality mean that you should abandon your dream?  Of course not.  All we’re trying to say is that the more statistically unlikely your Plan A is, the more important it is to have a Plan B, a Plan C, a Plan D, etc.


Here’s a quick story about a young man named Robby Delaney.  Robby wanted to play D1 basketball very badly, and many D1 schools took a look at Robby, but at the end of the day, Robby didn’t attract even a single D1 offer.  However, recognizing the importance of casting a wide net and having a solid set of backup plans, Robby was smart enough to treat all D3 and D2 coaches who called with the utmost respect, and he was smart enough to initiate the application process at dozens of schools, from D1 to D3.  At the end of the day, Robby’s D1 dream did not materialize, but that didn’t matter, because Robby had cast a wide net and kept his options open and not let his ego get in the way of reasonable thinking and solid planning.  So, when Williams College offered Robby a chance to join their program (Williams is a D3 powerhouse, and Williams is one of the elite academic schools in the country), Robby accepted.  And while Williams wasn’t Robby’s dream school, Williams is a tremendous program and school, and had Robby not cast a wide net, Williams would have never been an option because they have a January application deadline (again, Robby applied everywhere, understanding the importance of a Plan B).


Suddenly, however, the Williams coach who had recruited Robby decided to leave Williams for a D1 job.  This put Robby in the unenviable position of re-evaluating everything in early May.  Fortunately for Robby, he had applied to every Patriot League school already, because he was a firm believer in having a backup plan and a backup to the backup.  So, when Robby called Lafayette College to inquire about a walk-on position, it was easy for Lafayette to say yes because a) Robby was a very good basketball player and b) Robby had already been admitted to Lafayette.


Robby Delaney worked his way into the lineup, eventually becoming a 2 year starter for the Lafayette Leopards.  Additionally, Robby made a ton of great friends and had an outstanding overall experience.  And none of it would have been possible had Robby not cast a wide net in the recruiting/college application process.  Our advice to you is that you follow Robby’s lead.


Thanks very much for reading.  We hope these thoughts are helpful.

CRH Blog Post #2, Following the Big 3 Rules, Rule #1

Posted on: January 4th, 2013 by admin No Comments

After the over-arching principle of being realistic about your athletic talents, 3 keys stand out as far as maximizing your recruiting exposure and college options, and we will cover the first rule today.

The first rule is simple: do your work early. This means be proactive, and it applies to academics, skill preparation, and communication with college coaches. Academically, at most public schools, all a kid needs to do is turn in all assignments on time and be nice to his or her teacher, and it’s nearly impossible to make less than a B. So, rather than putting yourself in a situation where you have to scramble as a senior just to meet minimum eligibility standards, why not do what you’re supposed to do (when you’re supposed to do it) as a freshman, sophomore, and junior? Additionally, many kids lose out on scholarship opportunities by refusing to take the SAT until some time in the Spring of their senior year. At a minimum, a college prospect should take the PSAT as a sophomore and the SAT as a junior. By being proactive academically and with the SAT or ACT, the odds increase dramatically that no doors will slam in your face based on academic factors.

In terms of skill development, again, this isn’t something you should wait to start until it’s too late. Regardless of your sport, you must hone your craft, and it’s never too early to start. Additionally, it’s helpful to work on improving your athleticism, and this means strength and agility and speed training as well. It’s important to keep in mind that no matter what college coaches might say (many will claim to value character above all else, etc), what they’re primarily interested in is skill and athleticism. With that in mind, you should (obviously) work as hard as you possibly can to improve your skills and to maximize your athletic ability.

Finally and especially, Rule #1 applies to communicating with college coaches. It is always amazing to watch how many college prospects sit around waiting for the phone to ring. It’s like an unemployed person who refuses to apply for jobs, instead believing that a job will appear magically. If you’re a college prospect, and you aren’t currently being recruited by schools that interest you (or you’re not being recruited at all), it’s time to get off the couch, turn the Playstation off, and get to work on your own behalf. Put simply, if the college coaches aren’t calling you, you should call them. If the college coaches aren’t coming to see you play, you should send them video clips and a transcript and a copy of your schedule and you should invite them to come see you play. But if you wait until March of your senior year to finally start working on your own behalf, you’re doing your work late, not early, and it very well could be too late.

This rule of thumb is particularly applicable to non-scholastic (club or “AAU”) events and to recruiting combines, where hundreds of college coaches congregate in one location to get a first-hand look at a bunch of players without having to pay for a bunch of plane tickets. For some reason, prospects (and their parents and inexplicably even their coaches) seem to think that college coaches at these events stagger about aimlessly looking at random kids, hoping and wishing to find some kids they like, having done no homework whatsoever. This is, of course, preposterous. College coaches do a ton of homework ahead of non-scholastic events, and college coaches follow a carefully mapped out schedule based on a pre-determined list of specific kids they intend to evaluate thoroughly.

But here’s the good news: it isn’t that hard to get on a college coach’s “list” of kids to see at a non-scholastic event. All you need to do is send an email to college coaches with your transcript, some video clips of you playing, and your non-scholastic schedule, and simply invite college coaches out to see you play in person. If the clips look good (again, being realistic is the most important piece of the puzzle), then college coaches who find the clips intriguing will make specific plans to see you play. This is, of course, a radically and completely superior approach to the standard alternative of doing nothing ahead of time whatsoever to promote yourself, instead relying on the statistically unlikely hope that you will be “discovered.” Again, most college coaches (particularly at schools that offer athletics scholarships) attend non-scholastic events to evaluate, not to discover, so you must be proactive and do your work early.

Thanks for reading. We hope these thoughts are helpful.

CRH Blog Post #1 “The Importance of Being Realistic”

Posted on: October 4th, 2012 by admin No Comments

Before getting into the “Big 3 Rules” of helping yourself with the recruiting process, it’s absolutely critical to assess your athletic talent realistically before you get started.  In the recruiting process, you can do everything else right, but if your recruiting goals dramatically exceed your athletic abilities, you will find yourself frustrated and (very likely) empty handed at the end of the day.


So, how can you assess yourself realistically?  Obviously, high school student-athletes aren’t even remotely qualified to assess themselves as college prospects, and they are (often times) delusional about their own talents and skills.  Also, in the VAST majority of cases, parents are not qualified to judge their children, either, and even in the very rare cases where a parent is qualified (like a college lacrosse coach with a son who is a college lacrosse prospect), parents are not exactly an unbiased informational source about their own children.


To complicate matters even further, many of the adults around prospects with sport-specific expertise (high school coaches, club coaches, personal trainers, etc) have a very hard time projecting the right level for their kids.  Not only are many of them biased based on their personal feelings of affection for the kid, but many are also afraid to tell parents the truth.  Think about it.  Most fired high school coaches lost their jobs not because they were doing a bad job, but because principals caved to pressure from unreasonable parents.  And if a club coach or a personal trainer tells the average parent, “I think your son/daughter is a marginal to solid D3 prospect,” then that parent might wonder, “why on earth am I writing checks to this person?”


So, given the lack of qualifications to judge a college prospect, plus the bias, plus the fear, plus the selfish agenda of check-receiving adults, it can be very difficult for a kid to ascertain the truth.  That having been said, finding out the truth is essential, so here are a couple of ideas to help you realistically assess yourself before you get started developing and executing your recruiting plan:


1.  Make sure you stress that you want HONESTY in the feedback.  Most human beings will say anything to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, so you have to address this reality ahead of time.  Two things to keep in mind.  One, tell them straight up not to worry about hurting your feelings, and explain that without brutally honest feedback, you’re going to run around wasting your time and wasting the time of a whole bunch of college coaches as well.  And two, you need to understand that if they don’t tell you YES, they’re in fact telling you NO.  A college coach might say, “well, you’re a terrific player, and I’m sure you can play at our level, it’s just that you’re not quite the right fit that we need at this time.”  Did you hear a YES anywhere in that sentence?  No, you didn’t.  Which means the real answer is NO.  Any time a coach waffles and qualifies and says things like “fit” and “need” and “at this time,” what they’re really telling you is that you’re not good enough.


2.  Attend camps at colleges or universities that interest you.  However, before registering and sending a check, explain to the coaches that the reason you’re coming to camp is to get qualified, unbiased feedback on your prospects to play sports in college.  Sometimes, at larger schools especially, camps aren’t about instruction or feedback, they’re about money.  So make sure the coaching staff at that school will be around and involved, and make sure they know your expectations- you need a realistic assessment of where you stand and what you need to improve.  FYI, the “invite-only” camps (at schools besides the powerhouse programs, invites aren’t too terribly hard to secure), commonly referred to as “Elite Camps” or “Prospect Camps,” are by far better than the day or overnight camps for this purpose.


3.  Reach out to coaches at local colleges and universities (smaller schools recommended) and ask if there’s a time where you can play against that school’s players (obviously, this is much easier in sports where the college players will engage in “pick-up” in the offseason, such as basketball or soccer).  If you choose an NAIA school or a JuCo, the coaches can sit next to the court or field and watch you play, giving them a solid basis for providing qualified, unbiased feedback.  If you choose an NCAA school, the coaches aren’t supposed to watch you play, but you can at least get feedback from the college students you competed against.


4.  You can also go play pick-up at local high schools that feature consistently successful programs, and you can ask that school’s coach for honest feedback (a high school with a program that wins consistently will have a coach who has seen a lot of kids go on to play in college at different levels, giving them relevant points of comparison).


5.  Finally, you can seek feedback from opposing high school coaches in your league.  Simply call that coach’s school and ask for his or her email address, and send them a quick email asking for honest feedback about your athletic abilities and about their projected level for you to play in college.  They might think your request is a little strange, but most of them will answer your email and provide you with unbiased feedback.


Thanks very much for reading.  We hope you found this information to be useful, and we wish you all the best as you begin and/or continue your path toward finding the perfect college fit.