Dad: "Coach, my son is really good. I think he is one of the best point guards in the state. A lot of people compare him to Chris Paul around these parts. He has played against three kids who have signed at the Division I level and has completely held his own if not out-played every one of them."
Scout: "Great. How many coaches are recruiting him?"
Scout: "What are his grades and test scores?"
Dad: "2.4 GPA and a 17 ACT"
Scout: "How big is he?"
Scout: "How big were those three D1 kids he played against? What were their grades?"
Dad: "6-0 to -6-2 and I don't know their grades"
Unfortunately, this is the type of conversation I have every day. A lot of families think their son or daughter's talent increases through osmosis; and therefore, their son/daughter's recruitment should be the same as their "contemporaries".
He played on the same floor of this great player. Doesn't that mean he is equally as great?
We live in a big old diverse world of questionable facts and knowledge.
I talked to Johnny's dad, and he told me that Johnny got 10 offers after going to one of those Elite Showcases. We should probably do the same thing?
When we make decisions about things we don't understand based on other people's experiences and abilities, we end up wasting effort, time, and money. If someone with chiseled abs and a 6-pack looks great in a tight t-shirt, that doesn't mean that shirt is going to look good on you, too.
Recruiting is very individualistic and a very unscientific process for many coaches. There are thousands of coaches who each have their own diverse opinions, perspectives, processes, and obstacles. There is no such thing as a round peg fitting into every round hole. At the end of the day, each parent must help their child with a concrete plan to maximize their specific ability and opportunity.
In Parent Plan Part I of this 3-part series, I talked about maximizing financial aid to help pay for college. In Part II, we will focus on maximizing your child's talent to give him or her the best opportunity to reach their own specific potential. For every 6'3" D1 point guard, there is a thousand 5'7" to 5'10" good high school point guards who have the potential to play in college. Those can be daunting if not depressing numbers if you are of the 5'7"-5'10" variety.
How do you take that smaller frame or lesser athleticism in a sea of bigger, stronger, faster to separate you from the pack?
1. Make sure your child, and not you, is the one committed to playing in college. Sit your son/daughter down and ask them if they just would like to play or if they are COMMITTED to playing in college. If the answer is "just like to play", stop right here. They have no business thinking about playing in college. You are on the wrong path. If the answer is "committed", move to step 2.
2. Your son/daughter should go to their high school coach and/or club coach and ask this very specific question: "Coach, I want to be a varsity starter next year" or "Coach, I want to be All-Conference next year, what do you want to see from me this off-season to become that player for your program?" Your high school coach controls a lot of your child's destiny. If your son/daughter is not asking that specific question, they have no idea what that coach expects from them. Don't speculate or guess. Get the facts. You might not like the answer, but at least you'll know that coach's expectations. That coach also NOW knows how driven you are and knows your goals. That's a huge way to get your coach to start paying extra attention to you, and you know the things you need to be working on right away.
3. Work to be in the best shape of your life. Running, strength training, speed/quickness development have to be a part of your daily life if you want to be recruited. Go run a mile right now as hard as you can and time it. Your goal for the end of the summer is to trim that by 1 minute. Know who you are today and set goals to be better in the next 3 months.
4. Develop your routine. You wake-up, you go to school at a certain time, you move from class to class at certain times. Make your off-season regimen the same. Plan out your days for conditioning, playing, skill development, sleep/rest, eating, and having fun. Stick to the routine and you will be amazed at how quickly you improve.
5. Develop your skills. Repetition is great, but the quality of the repetition is everything. Make sure you are practicing and training the right way. Ask for help from those who know your sport very well. If you can afford it, consider hiring a trainer or sport specific trainer. We always work harder when someone is pushing us, especially if we trust their expertise.
6. Get on the same page. Too often mom and dad are outside observers. Even if you never played the sport your child plays, you can still rebound for them or turn on the ball machine so they have tennis balls to hit. Do it together. Show them how invested you are in them, so they know they are not alone in this journey to accomplish their dreams. It would do you good to workout with them too. Get yourself healthy while your son/daughter becomes world class!
Contact me directly if you have additional questions or would like to discuss the specifics of your child's training in more depth.
Coach Matt RogersTwitter: @madcoachdiary
Matt Rogers is an 18-year high school and college coach veteran. He has led two teams to the NCAA National Tournament and one team to a High School State Championship. His teams hold numerous school and one NCAA record. He has mentored and coached players at every level while serving as an athletics administrator at the high school and NCAA levels for 9 years. He has helped numerous players continue their careers at the professional level. He currently is the Head National Scout for NCSA Athletic Recruiting where he has helped hundreds of young men and women from around the world achieve their dreams of playing at the college level. Coach presently lives in the Denver, CO area with his wife of 17 years and his two children.
To request Coach Rogers to speak at your school or event, you can reach him through any of his contact information above.