It happens every year where athletes who aren’t particularly great at their sport basically walk into a scholarship opportunity or makes a team at a school. You are spending hours every week on your recruiting and it seems like you are getting nowhere. Why is it so easy for these athletes? The answer is, some schools suck, and making the team or getting a scholarship there isn’t that difficult.
Coaches have to use their scholarship money each year or they will lose it. For some schools this means coaches scramble to fill the roster and give away scholarship dollars. I’ve seen coaches who recruit at the beginning of the school year once students are back on campus. They are looking for anyone with experience, interested in playing their sport at the school. These coaches aren’t really recruiting high school students and they aren’t going to find you, you need to find them. Here’s how.
Know What You Are Getting Into
Whether it is a coach who isn’t working that hard, a school in the middle of nowhere, or just a program with a long tradition of losing, something just isn’t going right for the school and the athletic department. It might sound really unappealing to play for a terrible team or just an okay coach, but that’s the point. If a school has a lot of the other qualities you are looking for, playing for a losing team might be okay.
For certain sports I find these types of opportunities work out better than others. True team sports like football, basketball, volleyball and soccer, sports where you rely on your team within the game it’s self, being on a terrible team can be very frustrating. For sports like swimming, track, tennis and golf, sports where you are essentially competing by yourself and your performance is added together for the team, these opportunities are best. What you are getting is the chance to compete in college and earn a scholarship. As long as the score isn’t going to determine your happiness, then these types of programs might be right for you.
How to Find an Easy Opportunity
Find a school with a history of losing. Go to the conference championship website and look at the results of the last few years of the conference championship. If there is a team that is consistently showing up at the bottom, investigate that team some more. Maybe you really like the school and they have your major but the team might not be highly competitive. It can still be a great college experience.
Find an athletic program that has just moved to a new division level. When a program has just made a jump to a new division level, typically there are several teams that are lacking the athletes to be competitive. These types of schools can be great for an athlete looking to play at a higher division level then they might ordinarily be able to or an athlete looking for the best scholarship deal.
Go where other athletes don’t go. This is a generalization and not always the case, but the facts are there are hundreds of NAIA, DIII and DII programs across the south and mid-western parts of the US and not enough athletes for all of those schools. If you come from a highly populated state or region, it might seem like you aren’t good enough to play in college. But, your typical varsity starter at a competitive large high school can usually find opportunities at schools outside of their region or state.
Don’t Go Only For the Scholarship
I want to be very clear, I am not suggesting you go to a school only for a scholarship, because in the end you will be very unhappy and probably leave the school. What I am saying is, if you are someone who is looking for a balance of college and sports, is open to smaller schools, schools outside of larger states or just the opportunity to play in college, use the advice here to find better scholarship opportunities.
If you have questions about how to do this please feel free to leave them in the comments or contact me on Google+.