As a perspective student athlete, the most important thing you need to know is that it is up to you to get a sports scholarship.
Your local coach isn’t going to get you a scholarship.
Your parents aren’t going to get you a scholarship.
And, unless you are a rare prodigy, no scouts are going to come knocking on your door!
So how do you get a sports scholarship at an American college? It is all about making your presence known to coaches, and then convincing these coaches that you are right for the team. Here, we will talk about some of the best methods for promoting yourself to get a sports scholarship.
1. Athlete CV
Just like how you would make a CV to apply for a job, you also need a CV to get a scholarship on a college sports team. However, an athletic CV is going to be a lot different than your standard job CV. It will focus on your sports achievements. Some of the things you will need to include on the CV include:
- Personal Information: Your name, nickname (if you have one), height/weight and other physical stats, contact info, a photo, and an action photo (optional)
- High School Athletic Information: High School Coach contact info, number of games played, and stats
- Club Athletic Information: Club Coach contact info, position, and stats
- Highlights: Suh as conference wins, top wins, team or individual wins, etc.
- Academic Information: High school name and address, year you will be graduating (Class of 20XX), Grade Point Average, SAT or ACT scores, Academic honours
- Other Activities: Extracurricular activities (such as non-athletic clubs you participated in), leadership & community service activities (such as volunteering as a coach), and employment
All of this information is very important to coaches so they can quickly get an overall idea of your abilities. The academic and other activities are just as important as your athletic stats. If, for example, you were able to hold down a job, edit your school newspaper, and get a 3.8 GPA all while playing sports, they will see that you are mature enough to handle the pressures of being a collegiate student athlete.
2. Highlights Video
Also called a recruiting video, a highlights video is a short video which showcases your athletic abilities. To make one, you will need to have someone film you playing and then edit the best shots into a short video. Ideally, the video should be in HD and shot from various angles.
Your highlights video is your greatest shot at getting a coach’s attention. If you are serious about getting a sports scholarship, then consider hiring a professional to shoot and edit your highlights video. Considering that a good highlights video can mean the difference between having lots of scholarship offers or not, it is worth the investment.
Here are some notes about highlight videos:
- Keep It Short: A highlight video should be under 7 minutes. Coaches don’t have that much time to look through hours of footage.
- Don’t Add Music: This is a sports video, not a music video!
- Make a Strong First Impression: You better lead with your best shot. Coaches often won’t watch past the first 30 seconds if they don’t think you have promise.
- Show All Your Skills: It isn’t enough to show your jump shot if you play basketball, or your putt if you are a golfer. Your highlights video should show a wide range of skills.
- Note Your Position: You should also use arrows and circles on shots to mark your position on the screen. This makes it easier for coaches to follow your movements.
- Include Contact Info: Include your name and contact info, as well as contact info for your coach.
- Put the Video Online: It used to be common practice to mail coaches DVDs. Now, you put the video online. You will let the coach know about the video URL when you write an email or letter.
3. Online Profile
An online profile is where you can put all of the info about yourself in one place. It makes it easier for coaches to keep track of you. Or, maybe a coach sees your highlights video on YouTube and wants to know more. The coach could just click to your website. Having an online profile also shows coaches that you are serious about a career as a collegiate student athlete.
There are a few ways to make an online profile. One is to make your own mini website. You can keep it as simple as a single page with your stats and video. Another option is to make a profile with a site dedicated to athletic profiles. If you sign up for services with a sports recruiting consultancy, you may be able to make a profile there. For example, United Sports USA hosts profiles of all the athletes they represent. College coaches can visit the website and browse through athletes.
4. Presenting a Good Image
This aspect of the recruiting process often gets overlooked. Yes, it is important to show that you are a talented athlete – but coaches also want to know about your maturity and attitude. This is why it is so important to present a good image.
You will need to dress nicely for when you meet coaches. There is no need to wear a suit and tie for a campus visit, but you should be wearing your “Sunday best.”
Your clothes are just the tip of the iceberg though. You must show that you are respectful by following proper etiquette. Make sure that you arrive on time, that you are friendly and respectful towards anyone else at the visit, and address the coach thoughtfully. Coaches will be looking at how you treat your parents and talk to other people to determine how well you will work as part of a team. Politeness matters!