Gabe Armjo Commits to University of Houston
Last month hundreds of athletes across the country signed their National Letter of Intent and committed to some university. To all those that signed already, congratulations on finding your home for the next four years. For the others that haven't yet to find their home or are very unsure about the recruiting process then this article is for you.
Many young athletes struggle with the recruiting process struggle with the recruiting process and are unsure on how to go about it. Having gone through the recruiting process myself and having many friends who have also gone through it, I'm here to offer some tips for all those unsure.
When a college or university is recruiting you, it is always important to do some research. The coach may be an excellent salesman for their school and that can be very enticing for you. None of that matters though if the school is constantly in the bottom at meets or their conference. So, research the program, look to see if the runners that go there improve consistently, are runners going backwards in their abilities and most importantly do they have your planned major. Looking at the runners' improvements or decline is important because for many runners once you stop getting better it becomes hard to want to stay in the sport and may cause you to quit, something I've seen happen to many of my runners.
Don't Be Afraid
During your contact period with the coach don't be afraid to ask the coach some basic questions. Some questions you can ask are, what is the school environment like, what are the class size, or even ask some questions about the training that happens during the off season. Hearing what they do in the off season can tell you a lot about the program. For example, if a coach says have my runners do some tempo runs and strides a few times a week. That can be a good sign as they obviously focused on improving your lactate threshold for the upcoming season and keeping you in touch with a faster turnover. When discussing workouts, it is best to write them down or remember them so you can discuss them later with your coach as they can explain the workout to you and its benefit. The example I give is a basic answer so be sure to ask your current coach what are some things to look for when discussing off season work.
Girls Start Pack At Big 12's
I encourage all runners to ask if they can also talk to some of the current athletes on the team or go on a campus tour if possible. You maybe asking, "Why do I need to talk to a member of the team?" The simple reason for this is that you will be spending most of your time with the team and it's important you can get a long with them. You don't want to head to go to the school only to realize you and the team don't mix and you spend your time at practice alienating yourself from the team. Running is very much a team sport and being close with the team is important, that closeness is what encourages you to continue when everything gets tough in a race. Not wanting to let down your teammates can be a huge motivator but if you lack that feeling of being close what is going to stop you from giving in to the pain.
D1, D2, D3, JUCO, or NAIA
Finally, the tough decision whether to go D1, D2, D3, JUCO, or NAIA. Obviously going D1 is a big attraction, I mean who wouldn't want to run for a school like NAU, Colorado, Oregon, or Standford but for many that may not be an option, that's where the other divisions come in. For runners who are getting recruited by mid to low tier D1 it is important that you do your research and ask questions because sometimes other lower divisions have better training. With that said if you are an athlete that likes a smaller class size then D2, D3 or NAIA maybe the way to go. Class sizes in these divisions can average below 40 students so in a class of this size you won't be a random face in the crowd but someone with a name. The only problem with D3 is that it can't offer athletic scholarships, but they do offer lots of academic scholarships because to Division 3 universities academics is the most important thing. You maybe wondering why even go JUCO then, well the answer is for athletes who aren't quite developed yet or wanting to save some money. Junior colleges can be cheaper then many universities so it's a good way to save money on your first two years. On top of that going to a junior college gives you two more years to improve on your times which can help you get better scholarship offers that were not available to you when you were in high school.
South Plains Alumni Hassan Abdi winning Big 12's
A lot of these tips are to help runners in the recruiting process because I think it's important to find a place you feel at home so that you are happy. If I can give any other words of advice it would be don't be afraid to start the communication by sending an email or submitting a questionnaire. To all those still talking to a coach I wish you the best.