College sports are not simply an extension of high school sports
Have sports been a fun part of your high school career? Now you're looking at colleges and think it would be fun to play at the college level? If so, there are a few things you need to consider.
First, it is important to become familiar with the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association). There are specific academic requirements a student must meet to be eligible to play sports at the college level. Check out their website (www.ncaa.org) for specific New Hartford courses that meet their requirements.
Second, talk with your high school coach. You need to get a realistic idea of what your skill level truly is and where you may be able to play at the collegiate level.
Third, talk with your counselor. Determine what you want in a college (outside of athletics), i.e., academic major, location, size, etc. Now look to see which colleges have the sport you are interested in playing and at what level they compete (Division I, II, or III).
Fourth, once you have a manageable list of potential colleges that meet your athletic and academic interests, you should do the following:
- Let college coaches know you are interested in playing at their school (call or email).
- For students considering Division I and II level of competition, be sure to register with the NCAA Clearinghouse at the start of your senior year. Forms are available online at www.ncaaclearinghouse.net
- Visit the college for a tour.
- Consider making a highlight video that you can upload or send to a coach.
- Send a copy of your game schedule to coaches.
- Meet the coach(es) and find out...
- What is their game plan? (find out what offense/defense they use, how many players does the coach use in a game, where does the coach see you fitting in, etc.)
- How many available spots are there for next year?
- How many athletes are being recruited (especially for the position for which you think you will be trying out)?
- When does pre-season start?
- What are practices like?
- What is the time commitment during the season?
- What are the off-season commitments?
- Are you able to go home during breaks? If not, what are the accommodations in the dorms and dining halls?
- What are you physically expected to be able to do the first day or week of pre-season practice?
- Where is the athletic trainer located?
- Meet players and find out their perspective on most of the questions that you asked the coaches. In addition, ask about...
- What is the hardest thing about being a student athlete?
- Are you easily able to get to the dining hall for meals? Are you rushed once you get there?
- Once you have been accepted and decided where you will be attending college...
- Contact the coach to make sure they know you will be attending their college and that you are still interested in playing for them.
- When you receive summer workout plans from the coach - DO THEM!
- Go into pre-season with a positive attitude! Remember, you will be surrounded by other students who were outstanding competitive athletes at their high school, just like you were.
A Note to Spring Athletes
By the time you are into your spring sport as a senior, you will already know where you have been accepted to college. Therefore, you need to do some "leg-work" as a junior and then again in the fall of your senior year. As a junior you want to make sure you have some "highlight" information (video or stats depending on your sport) by the end of the season. That way in the fall of your senior year you can use that information when talking with college coaches. You should also let your high school coach know you are interested in participating in the sport at the collegiate level since he/she may get calls from college coaches during the fall and winter.