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The Final Countdown

By: Natalie Pedersen

Seniors – this is your year! This is your last shot! This is your year! If you haven’t been recruited to play sports in college, now is the time to get proactive and ramp up your recruiting efforts. College coaches have already been in contact with some of your classmates, some for the past 2-3 years even! If you haven’t been communicating with any college coaches, now is the time to start building relationships. Start reaching out to more college coaches across the country looking for roster spot openings and potential scholarships. Remember, just because you may want to play in your home state, that doesn’t mean there are coaches in that state who need or want you. Keep your options open and look everywhere! Even if you don’t want to go to college in Illinois, just keep in mind that an offer you receive from one college can be used to leverage opportunities at the schools you are interested in. When you are communicating with college coaches, be sure to ask if they are still recruiting your position and your grad year. As hard as it is to believe, some top level colleges have filled most or all of their roster spots and have finished recruited seniors. Ask coaches what they need from you in order to fully evaluate you and be sure to have your transcripts or game footage ready when they ask for it! College coaches at every level have no restrictions on calling you at any time during your senior year. So, why aren’t they calling? Because you have to let them know you are first and that you’re interested! Senior year is the time to start taking official visits to college campuses, but remember they have to be offered to you first! Get those offers for visits by getting in front of college coaches and again, building those relationships. Even if you aren’t offered official visits, be sure you’re taking unofficial visits and talking to the college coaches while you’re on campus. Here are a few recruiting dates to be aware of (but be sure to check for specifics on your sport): • The Early Signing Period starts the second week of November for basketball and a few other sports • For football and a few other sports, the Regular Signing Period starts the first week of February • The Regular Signing Period for most sports starts in April and ends August 1 Since November is right around the corner, now is the time to work your hardest at getting recruited and receiving offers so you can sign your National Letter of Intent alongside your classmates. Don’t get left behind! If you feel you’re behind in contacting coaches and want help finding colleges who have roster spots open in your grad year and position, then contact an NCSA National Scout today and find out how they can help you find the right fit and a scholarship offer. Call 888-333-6846 or go to

Stand Out in a Crowd

By: Natalie Pedersen

Only a small percentage of high school student-athletes go on to play collegiate sports. Less than 1% go on to play Division I athletics. So, what are you doing to help yourself become part of that small percentage of athletes?

Here are a few ways that you can differentiate yourself from other student-athletes fighting for the same rosters spots and make a college coach notice you.

At Camps or Combines

  • Carry your own equipment, never let mom or dad carry it for you
  • Shake the hands of the coaches and introduce yourself

On College Visits

  • Show up on campus with film and transcripts!
  • Don’t let mom or dad take the lead; make sure you do all the talking


  • Find coaches on Facebook and send them a message
  • Don’t tell the coach how good you are
  1. Talk about why you are interested in a school and why you would be a good fit. Let the coach evaluate you via video and transcript
  • Call rather than email a coach
  1. Coaches are getting hundreds of emails from recruits interested in their program. Stand out by having a conversation with them.

During Competition

  • Go above and beyond on the court. Coaches are watching, so do something to make them want you
  1. Shake the opposing team’s coaches’ hands
  2. If you’re taken out of the game, cheer on your teammates and take a coach/captain’s role even if you’re not a captain – show your teammates you’re still there for them

Social Media

  • Be professional and appropriate – don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your grandma to see
  • Show school spirit by sending shout outs to other teams or athletes when they do a good job


  • Be prepared
  1. To answer questions, ask questions, etc.
  2. Anticipate anything you could need or want to bring to camps or on college visits
  • Do your research
  1. Research the college program you are interested in so you can tell a coach why you want to attend their college
  2. Make sure you know something about his/her team, such as their record, their star player’s name, etc.
  • Be creative


This Summer, Go Check out Some Colleges

By: Natalie Pedersen

The summer is a great time to take unofficial visits to college campuses since student-athletes are out of school and have more free time for travel. The only downfall is that school is out of session for the college as well so you won’t get a true feel for how booming the campus is during the year.

Just remember, if you like one campus a lot, you can always visit it again during the school year and when your sport is in season. Many student-athletes don’t realize they can take unofficial visits to college campuses at any time throughout their high school career, freshman through senior year.  In fact, you should be taking several unofficial visits every year throughout your high school career. Then, as you begin to narrow down your list of choices, you can always visit a campus again if need be, or, you might be offered an official visit.

So, what is an unofficial visit?

An unofficial visit is any visit to a college or university campus that is not funded by the institution. Unofficial visits have no NCAA restrictions on when high school athletes can unofficially visit a college, which is why it’s a great idea to start early.

During an unofficial visit:

  • Take a tour of the college campus

This is important so you get a feel for the campus that you could potentially be calling home for four years during your college life.

  • Meet with the coaching staff

Be ready to ask and answer questions! Come prepared with knowledge about the athletic program and a list of questions you have for the coach. This will show you’re interested in the program and that you are responsible.

  • Try to talk to some of the players

If possible, talk to some of the athletes and find out how they like the college, the coach and each other. Some of these student-athletes could be your future teammates, and you want to get a sense of how they get along with each other and their coaching staff.

  • Attend a game or practice if possible

This may be hard during the summer, but if the team is still on-campus, you could try to attend a team workout. If you take visits during the school year, then use this time to evaluate the coaches and the competition level of that program.

If you have any more questions about visits, check the NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete.



NFL Star Reminds Athletes What Athleadership is All About

Athleadership; a term invented and embodied by author of Athletes Wanted and founder of NCSA Chris Krause. Athleadership means to empower leaders through sports, Chris Krause is a strong believer in Athleadership, he sees sports as a vehicle to drive you for the rest of your life. The core values behind athleadership being team first, education, all in attitude , all out work ethic, making your mark, and leading by example.

A story that was recently released to the press about Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford reminds us all what the term Athleadership means.

The Detroit quarterback attended the Griese-Hutchinson-Woodson Champions for Children’s Hearts weekend to benefit the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.  Stafford was seated with the family of Faith , a patient at Mott Children’s Hospital. Faith’s brother Will was amazed to be sitting next to the NFL star and continued to chat with him for the remainder of the night. At some point will had let Stafford know how much is family loved the Lions, and visiting Chicago. It just so happened there was a package at the auction for a Monday Night Football game, a trip to Chicago for a Bears-Lions game, including tickets that had been donated by Stafford himself.

To the surprise of everyone in the room when the package came up the Detroit QB began fiercely bidding on the package as to which he partially donated to and for a game he was to be playing in. As the bid ran up Stafford continued to put in his bid as well, finally winning the package at $15,000. After it was announced that Stafford won the package, Stafford turned to Will and his family to let them know the package was all theirs and to enjoy their trip to Chicago. The most amazing thing about this story was that Stafford did not make this jesture for any media attention or a pat on the back. He simply wanted to give a special family something to look forward to.

That is the true definition of Athleadership. Matthew Stafford took some of the fortune he has earned through sports and was able to give back to a family in need.Stafford didn’t expect anything in return for his act, and the only reason it made headline news was due to the attendees discussing it afterward. Not only can aspiring athletes look up to Stafford for his leadership and skill on the field, they can look up to him for his willingness to give back when no one was looking.

Now I understand not all of us have $15,000 to donate to people in need, but Athleadership goes beyond just financial giving. You can be an Athleader in many different ways. For the younger athletes, simply by being a leader on your high school team, helping others who need extra help. Most importantly by setting a good example for your teammates through not only your words, but also through your actions. You could also have your teammates get together to participate in a local community service project that cost no money only your time. A majority of Athletes are born with a special quality of natural born leadership, so as an athlete it is your job to continue to spread your leadership and empower other to give back and lead.




Importance of Academics

Talking to student athletes on a regular basis I often hear that grades do not matter in the recruiting process. This is simply no longer the case. Former Stanford football player and NFL alumni Tunde talks about the importance of academics in the recruiting process.

Academics are crucial from the time you enter high school until your senior year. As a 9th grader it is crucial to understand the NCAA core course requirements that make student athletes eligible to play at the next level. It is important that student athletes are keeping on track with these requirements through their senior year so they do not get to graduation and realized they missed something that made them ineligible.

As well the NCAA has different minimum grade and test score requirements for athletes to be eligible to play at different division levels. Student athletes need to meet these minimum requirements to be eligible through the NCAA Eligibility center. Furthermore beyond meeting the NCAA requirements, each individual school has its own admissions requirements. While student athletes will receive slightly lower standards from the admissions office than non student athletes but there is still a minimum requirement that is necessary to meet.

Lastly coaches will often look at your academic performance as an indicator of your on the court/field work ethic. How hard you are willing to work in the classroom can show coaches what kind of athlete you are. If you and another ahtlete have similar athletic abilities the scholarship opportunity can often come down to the student athlete with the higher academic performance.

Student athletes make sure to stay on top of your grades!


A Common Myth Disproven

A Common Myth Disprove

By: Natalie Pedersen

A common myth that many student-athletes and their families believe is that a high school coach or athletic director is responsible for helping their athletes get recruited to play sports in college. They believe it is part of their job requirements to connect colleges with their kids.

Unfortunately, this just isn’t true.

A few high school coaches do the best they can to help their deserving student-athletes. NCSA Athletic Recruiting even has a new High School Relations department dedicated to helping H.S. coaches find colleges that would be a good fit for their athletes. But, the truth is most high school coaches just don’t have the time or knowledge of recruiting to truly help their athletes with the entire recruiting process, and they don’t utilize the tools and resources available to them.

First of all, many high school coaches have full-time jobs that take up a lot of their time. Also, many of them have families and children of their own.

While high school coaches may know several college coaches in their area, most high school coaches don’t have connections with college coaches across the country. So, unless you want to stay local and have limited options available to you, then you need to take the recruiting process into your own hands and start reaching out to college coaches on your own.

You also should remember that there are many other student-athletes on your team, and your coach cannot possibly dedicate his/her time to everyone. Your coach will not be able to give you as much attention as you deserve, so you need to be proactive. Remember, the recruiting process is like extra time in the weight room. If you put the work in now, it will pay off in the end.

Finally, if you are looking for scholarship money, your high school coach will not be able to help secure scholarship money for you. You need to be reaching out to college coaches on your own, building relationships with them, and then leveraging scholarship money after a coach shows true interest in recruiting you.

It’s great if your coach can help you, but don’t rely on him! Take the recruiting process into your own hands and contact a Scout with the NCSA Athletic Recruiting Network to see how you can start connecting with college coaches.

Do you need more help in the recruiting process?

Call 866-579-6272 or get started at

Learn more at


Importance of Sportsmanship to College Coaches

By: Natalie Pedersen

Coaches not only look for high level athletes with good athletic skills that will help them win games, but, did you know that coaches also notice your attitude during competitions? Having good sportsmanship and being a team player shows college coaches that you are not only going to perform individually, but you’re also going to help motivate their team, which will also help them win games. If the opportunity presents itself before a game, slap hands with some of the players from the other team and wish them luck. Fire up your own teammates and show leadership before, during and after your games.

During competitions, make sure you aren’t picking fights with your opponents, trash talking during the game or making any kind of inappropriate gestures. College coaches will notice these negative aspects of the game and will make them think you are not the best recruit to bring to their college or university. If you play an aggressive sport, it’s great to be aggressive during a game, but don’t let your temper flare if you make a mistake or if your opponent gets in a good shot at you. Brush it off and move on. The way you react to your competition is something college coaches will notice, and they don’t want someone on their team with a negative attitude or an easily aroused temper. On the other hand, if you make a good block or slam dunk over your opponent, don’t rub it in the other team’s face. Lend a hand and pick the other guy off the floor. This is a small gesture, but it shows coaches that not only are you an amazing player, but are humble with good sportsmanship.

After a competition, win or lose, shake hands with the other players and tell them ‘good game’. Go up to the opposing team’s coach and shake hands with him as well while making eye contact. Even when you’re not playing, keep in mind that coaches keep track of you through social media, so don’t talk smack about your competition (or especially your own teammates) on Facebook or Twitter.

Finding the Right Fit and Being Realistic in Your Choices

By:Natalie Pedersen

Many student-athletes know they want to participate in athletics in college but are unsure where to start. The biggest advice I can give right off the bat is to keep your options open. Remember, it’s all about playing the numbers game:

The more colleges you reach out to = The more relationships you’ll build with college coaches = The more opportunities you could receive = More offers might be extended to you and ultimately = The more leverage you’ll have to negotiate scholarship money.

Finding the right college is important, not just so you pick the right team, but so you enjoy your college life and receive a good education. Also, don’t forget picking a college is not just about four years of your life; it’s a decision that will affect the next forty years!

To find the right fit, start by asking yourself some of the easier questions, such as if you want to try to stay local or are open to playing anywhere in the country. The more open you are to travel, the better your chances will be of finding a college who will want to recruit you and that fits all of your needs and wants.

Do you know what you want to major in yet? If not, that’s ok. But if so, then make sure the colleges who are recruiting you offer your major. Your education should take priority over athletics, so if a school is recruiting you and they don’t offer your major, then you should research your other options.

What size school would you prefer? Do you want a large school or are smaller class sizes more appealing to you? Do you know what division level you want to play for, but more importantly, that you would be qualified to play at?

First, think about NCAA versus NAIA. Some NAIA schools are very competitive and could compete with NCAA schools, so remember that when you’re weighing your options. NAIA schools also have a tendency to be less-restrictive and generally less-expensive.

As for NCAA, decide what division level you could realistically be eligible to play for, and not just which level you want to play for. This is the most important tip I can give you when going through the recruiting process and reaching out to colleges. If your dream is to play DI and you’re only reaching out to DI coaches, then you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities. Only a small percentage of student-athletes are top level athletes who will qualify for DI athletics. If you’re not hearing back from top DI schools, then it’s time to face the facts. You might not be eligible to play at that level.

Now it might be really disappointing to find out that you’re not a top recruit and won’t be playing with the Andrew Lucks and RG3s of the college world, but at least now you can be honest with yourself and realize that you should be reaching out to college coaches at the level at which you will be a top recruit on those coaches’ lists. Try researching schools on the Division II and III levels and see if you get more responses from those coaches. If so, then at least you found a place where your athletic ability will be a match with your teammates and your competitors. If not, then you might be going about your recruiting process all wrong and I suggest you receive some additional help.

Call NCSA at 866-577-6272 if you wanted to get started on the recruiting process!

Many athletes think DIII athletic programs are not very competitive, but that is a myth! Some high level DIII programs are more competitive that low-level DI programs. So, keep your options open…and not just when thinking about division level, but when thinking about size and location of a school as well. Remember, the more opportunities you have, the more offers you might get, which means more leverage to negotiate scholarship money. So, play the numbers game, and good luck!

How do you overcome a lack of exposure as a student athlete?

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 reusmes should be posted with verified information,

Do you need more help in the recruiting process?

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

What is Your Dream?

By: Natalie Pedersen

I read a book recently called the Dream Manager and learned how motivating people to dream can make them better workers. So, what does this have to do with me, you ask? Well, the point is that anyone can benefit from dreaming and working to achieve their dreams. And student-athletes striving to play sports in college must have tons of dreams! Do you know what all of your dreams are?

In the Dream Manager, the first step towards achieving your dreams is to start writing them down. Get a Dream Book or just write your dreams on post-its and post them around your room, on your textbooks and in your locker. Whatever strategy you use doesn’t matter, just as long you write them down and keep adding more dreams every day.

Some of your dreams can be athletic, such as making the Varsity team or playing at a Division One college. But, other dreams can be focused on school, such as graduating with honors, or family, such as teaching your little brother how to throw a ball and become a Division One athlete as well. You can also have dreams related to your character. Having a good personality will appeal to college coaches and increase your chances of being recruited.

Simply writing down your dreams isn’t enough, though. You have to keep looking at them and reminding yourself of your goals. Then, of course, pursue them and make them happen!  Start with something small and attainable, such as increasing your GPA by .2 points or developing relationships with five new college coaches. Work your way up to the more difficult goals such as making the Varsity team as a freshman or playing for the best club team in your area. Eventually, as you achieve more of your dreams, the farthest-reaching dreams will start to seem more attainable, such as being a starter for the Crimson Tide.

The idea of the Dream “Manager” is having someone who will help keep you accountable for achieving your dreams, such as your parents, coaches or siblings. Don’t rely on them to push you. But, if you tell someone your dreams, they can help by reminding you to push harder in practice, take an extra 10 minutes to study each night or remind you to follow up with the coach from Alabama.

Now, remember that little brother who you wanted to teach to throw and who wants to be just like you? Part of the Dream Manager initiative is being a leader and advocate of other people’s dreams as well as your own. Even if you don’t have a brother, maybe you have a friend who also wants to play sports in college. You can help keep other people accountable for achieving their dreams by just checking in with them once in a while about their progress towards reaching their dreams. Ask your friend how many college coaches he/she has been in touch with. Push your sibling to go out in the backyard with you to practice for an hour, even though he’d rather be playing video games. Remember, being someone else’s Dream Manager can improve your character, and do you remember what I said earlier about character?

Whether you are a freshman or a senior, it’s never too late to start dreaming of your future. But to be successful in achieving your dreams, let me leave you with two tips. First, a dream is not just a goal. It’s something your passionate about and desire. You have to have passion for your dreams otherwise you won’t work hard to achieve them. Second, you need to do some planning. Think about which dreams you can achieve right away and which might take some work. Playing sports in college will take a lot of time, effort and planning in order to research colleges, build relationships with coaches, get noticed and get recruited. Hey, no one said achieving your dreams would be easy!

The Dream Manager was written by Matthew Kelly