Tips for High School Athletes to Prep for College Sports
As the high school year comes to a close, there are a number of things for high school student athletes to think about – especially upper class students who wish to one day play college sports (AHPS). Of course, the odds are long for most kids wishing to play college sports (only about 5-7% move on from high school to college sports), but there are still a number of tips sport psychologists suggest that can help increase the chances of playing at the next level (even if it’s DIII).
- Of course, the #1 (and most obvious) thing high school student athletes have to do is play their sport very well. While the rest of the tips below may help your son or daughter’s chances of playing college sports one day, none of them will be a substitute for the athletic talent needed to compete at the college level.
- Assuming your child has the athletic potential needed to play beyond high school, you will need to think early and often about “marketing” your child to colleges. Keep in mind that while college coaches are limited to when and how often they can communicate (recruit) with potential student athletes about their athletic program, families can do a number of different things to help their chances. Some of these ideas include developing a portfolio that highlights athletic, academic, and social activities; creating a sports video of his or her in action; and attending specific camps and clinics to raise visibility of your child’s athletic abilities.
- Speaking of camps and clinics, be sure to target the ones that make the most sense and commensurate with your child’s athletic abilities and potential. For example, if your child is a borderline DIII student athlete, it might not make a lot of sense to sign up for elite-level DI camps where his or her talents may not be a fit. Similarly, if your child is a potential DI student athlete, your son or daughter might be “over-qualified” for a DIII college camp.
- Aside from athletic responsibilities, potential college student athletes need to also stay on top of academic grades, extra-curriculars, and other leadership-type experiences. College coaches invest a lot of money in athletic recruiting and scholarships these days, making it even that much more important that they choose kids who are responsible with their decision-making and life choices.
- Think about having your child take the SAT or ACT early, if possible. Some kids postpone taking these tests until their senior year, and by that time limit their opportunities to re-take these tests if their first scores were not quite as high as they would have liked. Of course, make sure that your child has taken the right courses ahead of time in order to sit for these exams — if you are not sure of this, call your child’s school counselor for assistance.
- If your child is serious about playing college sports, he or she will also need to get registered with the NCAA clearinghouse – again, see your school counselor for assistance with this process.
While there may not be many things to “substitute” for a lack of athletic talent and potential when it comes to playing college sports, there are a number of things families can do to help improve the chances to play after high school (including the tips provided above). Do your homework and leave no stone unturned — good luck!
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