The ego is only an illusion, but a very influential one. Letting the ego-illusion become your identity can prevent you from knowing your true self. Ego, the false idea of believing that you are what you have or what you do, is a backwards way of assessing and living life. --Wayne Dyer
A little over three years ago, I walked away from college coaching to give my kids and wife the father and husband I knew they deserved. It is never an easy decision when you give up one passion to better fulfill the promise of another, but it was and still is a simple choice. Family will always come before career in my mind and my heart; even though, I still greatly miss the joys of overseeing a college basketball program and still very much hope to be in that situation again down the road.
As I look back at the last three years, I recently became aware that I have evaluated over 2000 student-athletes and their families during that time. "Wow!" That was my response to that number. I couldn't believe that I have had that many conversations and have advised that may student-athletes on their future. As of next month, over 1500 of those young people will have put their faith in me and my colleagues to help them create exposure, find the right schools and get coaches from around the country excited about them. Most of that 1500 has either already committed to play in college at the school of their choice or are presently choosing between a multitude of opportunities to do so.
I am extremely blessed to have had those opportunities, and I am very thankful that so much good has come from them.
With that said, I still find my career as a scout and consultant terribly frustrating. If you have seen the movies Sully, Tom Hanks' character was not content with anything he had just done until he knew every passenger and staff member was alive and well after the landing. If one person would have perished in that landing, I'm not sure he would have been able to live with himself.
Now, the quote about ego above is just as much a self-critique as it is to the families I work with every day. I am not saving lives. I am not doing anything close to landing a plane that has lost it's power. I get that. However, I still feel a huge obligation to help young people and their parents get out of their own way, so they don't have years of regrets and thousands of dollars of debt that they never should have been in a position to accrue. It is ultimately my job to keep families from making mistakes that in no way should they ever be in a position to make.
So, what is the biggest mistake families make?
They get done with my consult with them and say to themselves, "We can do this on our own!" Houses across the country are filled with kitchens and bathrooms that look like a blind man did the install. You know that guy. [I've been that guy!] Why pay a contractor $2000 to tile, paint, and install my toilet, sink and tub when I can do it for $500 on my own? What's the answer? The contractor actually has the tools, experience, and time to do it right, so you don't end up spending $4000 to correct your $500 mistake.
I have families who are spending $3000-$10,000 every year on clubs, AAU, travel ball, showcases, and camps for the sole purpose of creating college exposure and opportunities for their child to play in college. When I ask them what they have to show for it, they say "not much." Yet, this family will not invest anything for the opportunity to communicate with every coach in the country, have their film edited properly, be matched with the top fit schools and coaches that fit their child better than anyone else, and then be coached on how to maximize those opportunities to be in a position of leverage to maximize scholarship. The greatest gift we can give our kids is the power to control their destiny.
Unfortunately, ego gets in our way of happiness. Money gets in the way of reason.
What have I learned from 17 years of coaching and teaching and 3 years of scouting and consulting? We all have to make decisions that are best for us. We are constantly put into value propositions. It is the way our economy works. If you don't risk your resources, you never have a chance to increase your resources. With a 3-2 count and the bases loaded, you can let the bat stay on your shoulder and let someone else determine your future OR you can swing the bat knowing you gave yourself the opportunity to determine that fate.
So, to the parents who will be meeting with me in the near future or for those who are simply dealing with their own value proposition as it pertains to their child's future, I leave you with this free advice:
"Your child only has ONE opportunity to get recruited in their life and find the right school that will ultimately impact their next 40 years. Is there ever a better time to ask for help and let an expert do their job?
Whatever you choose, I wish you and your children the very best in their journeys, and I am ALWAYS available as a resource no matter that choice.
Coach Matt Rogers
Phone: (312) 610-6045
Matt Rogers is a 20-year high school and college coach veteran. He has led two teams to the NCAA National Tournament and one team to 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. He has helped numerous players continue their careers at the professional level. He currently is the Head National Scout/Recruiting Specialist for NCSA - Next College Student Athlete where he has helped thousands 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 19 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.