Ever wonder if your child has what it takes to get a college scholarship or even play at the college level? I bet the answer will surprise you. Learn from our expert college athletic recruiter, Tim Ryerson, what it takes.
It is probably one of the most important things an athlete needs to figure out when they start the process before they start.
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You want to use some of the resources that you have available to you, so your high school coaches, your club coaches, and ask them for their opinion on your level of play and your ability.
A really key thing with that is to be realistic about it. We find that most of our clients, most of the kids we work with, have an inflated self-opinion.
Sometimes it is a good thing in athletics because you want to think you can do it, but in the college recruiting process having that inflated self-opinion is one thing that can really set you back if you are not targeting the right level schools.
So ask the people that know, compare yourself with the other athletes. One thing we always recommend our clients to do is to go watch Division 1 games, Division 2 games, Division 3 games, and NEI games in your sport.
A lot of kids never do that. They watch the game on ESPN, which is a high level Division 1 game. Then they just assume what Division 3 is like and they have never actually gone and watched the game.
The other side to that is a lot people think they are not good enough to play in college because they have never seen the different levels.
They just watch what is on ESPN and say, “Well college is for the ridiculously good athletes and I can’t play in college.” For a lot of those kids, they can.
It is just a matter of finding the right school, the right location, the right level of play for them. There are opportunities out there for almost every kid if they are willing to work hard throughout the high school recruit process. Usually they can find a good place for them, if they are passionate about wanting to play in college.
Most college athletes were really good in high school. They were all conference or they were all state or they were the team MVP or the team leading scorer.
When I was a college coach, one of my favorite quotes to say to potential recruits was, when they tell me how many points they scored, every team had a lead scorer. Think of the worst team you played, the worst basketball team out there in the country, somebody is leading that team in scoring.
It is not just about that. It is about all the little things that make up the difference between a high school athlete and a college athlete.
When I say work hard, it’s developing a college level game that means strength and conditioning, nutrition, the little things, the understanding of the game, being a leader, all the things that make a college athlete separate from the run of the mill high school athlete.
A lot of times if a kid is an average high school player but they have all those attributes, they have all those things; they are going to turn out to be a really good or good college player. Another one of my favorite things I like to say when I was recruiting high school kids, “I don’t care how good you are at 17.
I care about how good you are going to be at 21.” A lot of times those little things are what make somebody a really good 21-year old. That is what college coaches are looking for.
Sometimes in high school you can get away with being a, “because you are a good athlete,” or because you are physically superior. You can get away with being pretty good. When you get to college and everybody is a good athlete, it is something like the mental toughness that is going to take that athlete and put them over the top.
They may get by with poor fundamental habits or poor mental habits in high school, but to be a college athlete they’ll need to be keen mentally, as well as physically and nutrition and so on. That is of upmost importance when college coaches are looking at high school kids to recruit. They want to know they are getting a mentally strong kid, because that kid is going to get a lot better.
Tim Ryerson is the President and Founder of STUDENTathleteWorld.com, a college athletic recruiting company that has helped hundreds of high school athletes with the college athletic recruiting process since 2009. Prior to starting STUDENTathleteWorld, Tim spent eight years as a College Coach in Men’s Basketball and Men’s and Women’s Cross Country.
During his college coaching career, Tim worked at five NCAA Universities in four States, including Texas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and North Carolina. He also spent time as a high school coach in Softball, Baseball, Basketball, and Football. Tim has a M.Ed in Sports Management and lives in Raleigh, NC.