There are a lot of can’ts in the world right now: can’t go to school, can’t have any sort of social gatherings, can’t touch your face, can’t practice with your team, can’t go play pickup, can’t even go shoot hoops at the park by yourself because the rims are covered. While all of these things are absolutely necessary, that doesn’t make it suck any less. I’m fairly certain most athletes and sports fans will agree that we miss sports, and we are willing to make sacrifices to get them back (ie. games without fans, shortened seasons, etc). As we wait for the verdict on sports in 2020, it is important to keep the bigger picture in mind, because life is valuable above all other things. The opportunity to play any sport, to be physically able to play, is a blessing that should be cherished by every athlete because you truly never know when your last game, practice, or workout could be.
For high school athletes this can be a difficult and stressful time, especially if you are trying to go play at the next level. Instead of worrying about what your season could’ve been, how you were going to tear up the summer circuit, or all the other ‘what-ifs’, try and focus on what you can do right now and be grateful for that! For the high school athletes stuck in recruiting limbo, here are some things you can do to help yourself out in the process while in-person recruiting has been suspended by the NCAA.
If you have a highlight tape or game film, send it out! If you don’t, try to get some from your high school / AAU coach. Here are some tips from college coaches about what they look for in a video:
- “Remember your audience: this is a highlight tape for a college coach, not your social media followers. Nobody misses in a highlight tape so you need to show a variety of skill sets based on your position. Dunks and flashy plays are great and should be included, but make sure to show your ability to dribble, read a defense, create, finish, pass, and shoot as well. Highlight your strengths while showing that you can do more than just that!” – Jeff Slanovec, Head Coach FDU-Florham Basketball
- “Start with your best plays first. You need to convince the coach to watch the entire film. Circle yourself clearly before the play starts. They don’t want to see the sack, they want to see how you got there. Don’t waste time on music, our speakers are off. Show a variety of skills. You may play a different position at the next level. Show off everything you can do to make yourself more marketable to a college program.” – Anthony Caljean, Assistant Coach Ursinus College Football
If you have been in contact with coaches, keep up communication with them. Let them know your individual workouts or routines, how your online classes are going, etc. If you haven’t been in contact with any coaches, reach out! Connect with coaches via social media or email. Make sure to send them a thoughtful, personalized message that shows your interest in their program and doesn’t seem like you just copy/pasted, changed the name, and sent it to 100 coaches.
If you have been in contact with coaches and have access to your transcripts, don’t be afraid to send them. If your grades dipped for any reason like your school being closed, lack of access to a computer, etc. do not worry. In response to concerns about Pass/Fail classes and eligibility, the NCAA Eligibility Center has declared that all “Passing” grades in Pass/Fail classes that would traditionally be considered a “D” or 1.0 GPA, are being considered as a 2.3 GPA which is the minimum requirement for NCAA Eligibility.
Any other questions about eligibility can be answered here: http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/eligibility_center/COVID-19_Public.pdf
Keep working out!! Wherever you are stuck at home, take time each day to get better. Whether that be doing workouts, individual drills, whatever you can do, do it. Improve yourself physically and mentally, so when this is all over and you have a chance to show your talents, you are ready. If you do nothing else, work on yourself both on and off the court.