Archive for the ‘Coach’s Tips’ Category

Pursue your dreams before it’s too late!

By:Natalie Pedersen

What are you doing to proactively pursue your dreams?

The phrase “don’t wait until it’s too late” can have many different meanings. Student-athletes might wait too long to reach out to coaches and miss out on scholarships. Some athletes make the mistake of waiting until senior year to start the recruiting process and then find out that all the top schools have made their offers and are finished recruiting their graduation class. And, in one extreme case, a student-athlete was diagnosed with an untreatable disease.

Recently, NCSA learned that one of our student-athletes has been diagnosed with brain cancer and tumors that will ultimately end his life before hi s upcoming high school senior year. Not only is it a tragedy to lose a young life, but this athlete will never be able to achieve his dreams of playing Big Ten football as a Michigan Wolverine.

When I say “don’t wait until it’s too late,” I’m simply implying that you never know what is going to happen tomorrow. And, if you put something off for tomorrow, who’s to say you won’t put it off again once tomorrow is here?

So, what are you doing to pursue your dreams? And, what are you waiting for?


To start your recruiting process and get evaluated by a scout, click here or call 866-579-6272.


Negative Impressions Could Cost Your Recruitment

By: Natalie Pedersen

Student-athletes don’t realize that athletic ability alone is not enough to get recruited, and this applies to ALL colleges. Yes, athletic ability is important, as well as strong academic scores, but there is one more key element that is important and should not be overlooked: making a good impression on a coach. Not just a good first impression, but a lasting impression that continues each time you not only talk to a coach, but anytime a coach hears or sees your name. What do I mean by that? Read on, my friends.

First, let’s start with the less obvious ways to make a good impression on a coach, or rather, how to avoid portraying a negative image to a coach. All of your social media pages are public and can be viewed by coaches at any time. This means you should not have any pictures or posts portraying yourself in a negative manner. “Sure, they understand that you are just a teenager,” says one former Division I Recruiting Assistant. “But, anything vastly inappropriate can greatly diminish the chances of a certain coach recruiting you.”

Another former Division I coach says “everything an athlete does is under a microscope,” meaning you never know where or how a coach will evaluate your character and determine if you are a fit for their team. “No one wants a bad apple dragging others down with them.”

You can also make a good impression on a coach through your letters and emails. Show the college coach that you are smart and a good student by having good grammar and writing skills. Remember, you are not sending a text to your best friend, so use complete sentences and pretend you are writing a thesis paper for your favorite teacher that accounts for 100% of your grade.

Next, take a minute to think about any phone conversations that you’ve had with college coaches. Did you present yourself in a professional manner? If you haven’t talked to any coaches on the phone yet, then think about how you can make a good impression every time you do. First, be prepared when you call coaches by knowing what questions you’re going to ask. Don’t call from a cell phone unless you know you’re going to have a good reception, and make sure there isn’t any background noise that could interfere with your conversation. You don’t have many opportunities to talk to coaches, so take advantage when you get them!

You should also be prepared to receive calls from coaches. Make sure you know the NCAA rules about making and receiving calls and know when the date comes that college coaches can start calling you! Have a list of questions you want to ask near the phone at all times. If for some reason you can’t talk at the time the coach calls, schedule a specific time that you can call the coach back. And, if you miss a phone call from a coach, make sure you have a professional and appropriate voice mail message. This is a key element that many student-athletes miss and one that could hurt your image if your voice mail is inappropriate in any way.

Now, what about talking to coaches in person? Whether you meet a coach at a camp, on an unofficial or official visit, or in your own home, you should always look presentable and act respectful. Shake the coach’s hand, use “Sir” or “Ma’am” when addressing them, and don’t swear. If you’re attending a college camp, make sure you come prepared with your own equipment because this is something coaches will notice.

As one former DI college coach puts it, just being respectful is still not enough. “Those who ask the coach questions will make a more lasting impression. Keep in mind that coaches are having the same conversation over and over with hundreds of prospects, so a little back-and-forth [sport] talk with a student-athlete who looks you in the eye and knows what he’s talking about will truly help that coach remember who you are in the future.”
In one article from the South Bend Tribune, Head Football Coach Pat Fitzgerald from Northwestern University talked about the professionalism of his coaching staff which can also be applied to recruits.

He said “At one of our first staff meetings, [Athletic Director Jim Phillips] said, ‘The “N” never comes off. That’s the guiding principle. In other words, NU coaches represent the school seven days a week, 365 days a year. If you don’t operate that way, you’re making a huge mistake.”
So, think about how you can impress coaches and put your best foot forward at all times. Prove to each college coach that you will be a good representation of their college and will wear their colors with pride.

How Should I Dress For A College Visit?

Summer is almost here! Between summer ball and athletic camps most student athletes will probably be pretty busy, however summer can be a great time for student athletes to take a few unofficial recruiting visits.Unofficial visits can be a crucial part of the recruiting process, student athletes needs to see every aspect of a school before they decide that a school is right for them. Athletic aspects such as the facilities, the coaching staff and the team are all important but all those things can change during your career. Athletes should also look at the academic aspect of the university, do they have your major? Are the professors good? What is the professor to student ratio? Past even academics unofficial visits can be a great time for student athletes to see the culture of the campus, does a big campus feel right or would the athlete feel better at a smaller school? Is it a college town or a big city ? It can be hard for student athletes to make such a major life decision such as choosing their college at the age of 16,17,18 years old, therefore researching and visiting the very best option for that athlete is important. A common question that athletes ask before taking a visit is “what should I wear?”. This is a crucial part of the visit, below Coach Bob Chmiel thirty year college coaching veteran explains why!

If you need more help in the recruiting process call NCSA at 866-577-6272 or visit NCSA at

A Lack of Exposure in the Recruiting Process

A majority of student athletes think that college coaches will just come to them. However most of the time that is not the case, unless an athlete is in the top 100 in the country, finding a college that is right for you will be up to you. A large problem is that student athletes do not realize that college coaches do not have the time or resources to find student athletes. It is the student athletes job to stay proactive,and reach out to coaches themselves. Start by emailing coaches, filling out questionnaires and calling. Depending on your age and NCAA rules coaches may  not be able to contact you back, but it is never too early for you to start reaching out to them.Make sure to get your information online both academic and athletic resumes should be posted with verified information, along with your professionally edited highlight tape!

Do you need more help in the recruiting process?

Call us at 866-577-6272 or visit us at

Offical Visits 101

NCSA’s resident recruiting expert Randy Taylor always says that everything a coach says and does means something. College Coaches will show their interest in you in many different ways through questionnaires, through emails , through phone calls, visits and offers. Each type of communication means something different as far as their interest level in you as a potential recruit and one of the most telling signs that a coach is interested in you is the invitation to take an official visits. Besides receiving a verbal or written scholarship offer the official visit means that a large majority of the time you will be receiving the scholarship offer.

What is an official visit?

An official visit is a visit to a college campus by a student and a parent, the student athletes expenses will be covered by the college.

What Should an Athlete Bring on an official visit?

The student athlete should ask the coach what they should bring to the offical visit. It is important to note that the student athlete needs to send a copy of his transcripts to the school before taking the official visits and be registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center.

What should student athletes know before going on the official visit?

Student athlete need to be prepared to answer questions from the coaches. Coaches will ask a lot of different questions, from your level of play to who else is recruiting them. Remember to talk about the bigger schools or schools on the same level that are recruiting you as well, this will only help the student athlete increase their scholarship opportunities and have the leverage to do so.

Student athletes should also be prepared to ask questions themselves. An official visit should be taken very seriously by the student athlete, this is their time to decide if this could be the right school for them, if they could see themselves there. Make sure to ask all the right questions, from academics to college culture to athletics. Walk around the campus, meet the professors, make sure to imagine yourself walking around that campus for the next four years.

Know the Rules

You can only take 5 total official visits if you want to play at the division one level so make sure you aren’t taking more than that between division one and division two. Also remember that because you only get five, choose wisely make sure those are really the schools you want to visit on an official capacity.

Good Luck!


By:Natalie Pedersen

Theme music is great for adding drama to movies. Inserting animations and effects to a PowerPoint can help engage your audience. However, when it comes to creating your highlight film, college coaches don’t want to see any of this.

College coaches want straight-forward information without the distractions of glitz and flare getting in their way. The purpose of your highlight film is simple: evaluation. Your highlight film is the first chance college coaches have to start evaluating you as an athlete. Adding dramatic effects to your tape won’t make a coach think you’re a better athlete, so what’s the point? Your skills and ability should be enough to captivate your audience, so focus on what’s really important: you!

Think about the movie The Blind Side when S.J. submits video footage to Tom Lemming’s office. The film shows Michael Oher taking his opponent to the bus because, “it was time for him to go home.” The video doesn’t include any special effects because the jaw-dropping block was the focus; it was its own effect.

On another note, college coaches have a variety of mediums to get to know you as a person. They don’t need (and also don’t want) to watch an interview at the beginning of your highlight tape. Your tape is your first, and possibly only, chance to impress a college coach with your ability, so show off your athletic skills and focus on those crushing blocks, mad ups, killer spikes and out-of-the-park grand slams.

Take the advice of this former college football coach: “In the initial evaluation stage, we want to see how an athlete is going to help us on the field. We want to get directly to the tape. There will be plenty of time to learn about the athlete through phone calls and emails as opposed to sitting through an interview. Slow motion or effects also pull coaches away from your athleticism. One question I would ask recruits is ‘Why do you want to ever slow yourself down on film?’ For music, we typically are listening to our own music during eval sessions.”

So, you heard it straight from the source. Keep the glitz and flare out of your highlight film and save it to impress your teachers!

Ticket To A Better Education

Ask Crystal Smith, a high school track and field athlete from Wisconsin,
about the benefits of athletics, and she will tell you that college would have
been unaffordable were it not for her ability to throw the discus.
“I could have never afforded the $40,000-a-year tuition to Wagner
College,” confirmed Smith’s mother, Cindy. A single mother dedicated to
her daughter’s future, Cindy said that her daughter’s ability to attend college
was entirely a result of her participation in track and field.

According to the Department of Education’s National
Center for Education Statistics, the average student loan
debt among college seniors was a little over $19,000 in
2004. Today, 42 percent of college students graduate more
than $25,000 in debt, according to the Center for American
Progress, and graduate school students have nearly
$46,000 in debt. Adding to the financial stress, one-third of
graduates have more than $5,000 in credit card debt by the
time they graduate. Crystal admitted that she rarely thought of college while in high

“Little focus was put on college, so I never realized how important
furthering my education could be,” she said.

Because Crystal excelled in discus, she earned a full scholarship to
Wagner College in Staten Island, New York. Smith is now a senior with
hopes of graduating on the horizon. After earning her bachelor’s degree in
chemistry with a concentration in biochemistry and minors in math and
biology, Crystal intends to earn a PhD in pharmacological sciences.

How many people in her hometown have a PhD in pharmacological
studies? She will be the first.

While undoubtedly inspiring, Smith’s story is certainly not unique.
Athletes who compete in Division I revenue sports like men’s basketball
also have been unsure of their path to getting an education. Jay Straight
grew up in the Robert Taylor Homes in the South Side of Chicago. During
this time, almost 100 percent of the housing development’s residents were
unemployed, and 40 percent of households were occupied by singlemothers
earning less than $5,000 each year.

Originally intended for eleven
thousand people, the homes’ number of occupants had expanded to nearly
three times that capacity. Gang violence and drug use were commonplace.
Fortunately, Straight was raised by his grandmother, who saw sports as
a way out of the impoverished life. From the time Straight was a young child,
his grandmother found opportunities for him to play, teaching him to ride
the bus across town to attend different basketball practices and clubs on his

By the time Straight graduated from high school, he was among the
best scorers in the country. Recruited by Notre Dame, Marquette, Boston
College, Iowa State, and St. Louis, Straight chose to attend the University of
Wyoming, graduating from college in three and one-half years.
Today, Straight is a professional basketball player who had a seat in the
EuroCup. He has played for teams in Israel, Croatia, Ukraine, France, and

“Not bad for a kid from the Robert Taylor Homes,” said Straight.

For kids like Smith and Straight, attending college is becoming more
and more of an obstacle, unless tuition costs are lessened by scholarships
and aid. The College Board, a non-profit membership association composed
of fifty-four hundred schools, colleges, universities, and educational organizations,
reports that despite an increase in tuition prices, federal student
aid is decreasing, making college seem out of reach for even children of
middleclass families.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the average sticker price for a
typical four-year university is about $16,400 a year—which includes room
and board, tuition, books, and ancillaries. The year-to-year increase in
college tuition and fees is outpacing the general inflation rate.

Aggravating matters, the normal public university student now takes more than six
years to graduate, which means the average public college degree is close
to $100,000. But when compared to the student-athlete average scholarship/grantsin-
aid package of $12,850 per year for those who attend public schools and
$21,266 for student-athletes attending private colleges and universities,
these tuition prices become within reach.

Contacting Coaches

A student-athlete should have a list of questions, as well as a script,
to work from when calling the coaches. The script should include the
following components:

An introduction that

1. Includes the child’s name, city, and high


2. If applicable, acknowledgment that the student received

material from the coach.

3. A request to ask the coach a few questions. Remember

that the coach is a busy person. If he doesn’t have time, the

student should ask when he can call the coach back. If an

athlete calls a Division I or II coach before July 1 or June 15

of his junior year (depending on sport and excluding football

or basketball), the coach is not allowed to return the student’s

call, so if the coach is unavailable, the student-athlete should

ask his assistant when he can reach the coach.

4. A list of questions to ask the coach. Regardless of whether

the student is a freshman or junior, or whether this is the first

or fifth call with the coach, an athlete should always ask two


• What else would I need to do to have a chance to compete

for your program and earn a scholarship?

• What is the next step I should take with you?

Some students don’t feel comfortable being this direct.

Rest assured that coaches want to connect with qualified

student-athletes as much as student-athletes want to connect

with coaches.