Tiger Woods was playing golf, his father said, by the time he could walk. They say that Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter knew at age seven that he would be a major league. The average, top-50-ranked tennis player (male and female) was juggling school, a conditioning program and a full schedule of lessons by the age of ten. If youre a student athlete, there are some simple steps that you can take to improve the odds of landing an athletic scholarship, but they dont enter into the equation until years and years of hard, grueling work has already been done.
And remember, simple doesn’t mean easy. Climbing Mt. Everest, as I always say, can be explained quite simply: start at the bottom, go to the top. It is not easy, of course, especially when the air thins out. But it is simple to understand, and there is only thing involved in success or failure – doing it.
That said, student athletes go through a lot to get to the point where they can honestly feel confident about getting an athletic scholarship. If they are the best in town, they can set their sights on local and regional colleges; the best in the county can extend those horizons statewide, perhaps even to neighboring states. But the ones who make the All-America teams, get write-ups in Sports Illustrated and Parade magazine and have their game clips shown on ESPN and other sports shows – these rare and talented athletes will be courted by schools far and wide, and wont have to do much work on their own to land a scholarship.
Of course, there are not too many Kobes or LeBrons around, so most athletes, even many great ones, will have to prepare a strategy and pursue it vigorously. Starting at an early age, there will be much thought given by parents and coaches (and, one hopes, teachers) to doing what is best for the student as well as the athlete. Besides the first simple step of staring young, then, the other primary concern is to prepare a plan and follow it.
Another simple (but not easy) step is to be organized. Set up a specific desk or table in the study, or the basement game room, where everything related to the student-athletes training, schooling and scholarship applications will be worked on and kept. A two- or four-drawer file cabinet will be needed for all the tons of paperwork that schools will send (like brochures, forms, applications), and that will be sent to schools (forms, applications, transcripts).
Similarly, one old style and one new style scrapbook need to be created and maintained. The first is the book type, a big scrapbook of press clippings, letters, awards, citations, etc., and the second is a video (or DVD) created by camcorder and/or computer, with game clips, appearances, awards programs and so forth. Student athletes and their family (and school) helpers should be prepared to make and send copies of either, or both, at a moments notice.
Getting and athletic scholarship is, quite simply, a marketing and sales effort. Such an effort is, in its own way, as grueling and time-consuming as the training and practice demanded by the students sport. But if that hard-working student-athlete is you, the good news is that you really can take some simple steps to improve your odds of landing an athletic scholarship. They will involve actions and efforts that are different than what you’ve been doing, but definitely not any harder. Its just one more challenge, one last hurdle, for you to overcome – and you have a lot of practice at that, right?