There is no question that Covid-19 (aka Coronavirus) has changed the dynamics of how athletes train, communicate with their coaches/teammates, and stay motivated. Joining Zoom meetings, or training with an app like Techne Futbol is the current norm, but chances are that our new habits will extend beyond the end of the current crisis. How we train will never be the same.
The college recruiting process has also been affected, leading to all in person recruiting cancelled. Due to the lack of in-person contact, effective e-communication with college coaches is more important than ever. Coaches (just like you) are sitting at home, hopping on video calls with their team, planning summer workouts/fall training sessions, and recruiting their future classes. There is more time than ever for coaches to recruit via email, phone, and Twitter (or any online channel), so it's the perfect time for you to ramp up your follow up hustle and reach out to coaches (new and old alike).
With all in person practices cancelled, you have to find the motivation within yourself to keep improving and to stay in shape. Soccer players can download an app like Techne or watch YouTube videos to continue to hone their skills. All athletes can do cardio/body-weight circuits to keep up their fitness. With all the free content and technology available, there is no excuse to lose everything you've worked so hard for up to this point.
Set aside at least one hour everyday to train, no matter what it is. If you keep iterating and improving, you will come out the other end of the Coronavirus a better player.
With school also cancelled, you need to make sure your brain doesn't fall behind. Yes, your sport is your first love and something you are more passionate about than anything, but academics should also be a top priority if you want to call yourself a student-athlete.
You don't necesarily have to read textbooks or do math homework - you could watch game footage, call your coach and talk game management or tactics, etc. Essentially the point I want to make is do something besides just sports, and don't just sit around and watch Netflix or play video games.
As much as you don't want to believe it, the recruiting process is a grind. It doesn't have to be so hard though. It just takes organization and motivation to power through and come out the other side committed to your dream school. The recruiting process is like a job application process - you have to sell yourself to coaches on why they should pick you to play for their program. Similar to job applications, recruiters normally don't just find you (unless your a top top talent). You have to do the dirty work yourself and reach out so they know who you are, can watch your game film, and determine if your a good fit.
This week, I challenge you to reach out to at least 5 college coaches via email, Twitter, or phone. Make it a habit to continue to follow up with coaches throughout the process until you get confirmation that you are not a good fit for their program.
Do you normally reach out to a college coach once, never hear back and then assume that they don't want you? Even if you haven't experienced this, not hearing back from a coach does not mean that they don't want you or that you are not a good fit. It could be that they cannot legally respond due to NCAA rules, or that they just forgot to reply or get back to you.
After you email a coach, you need to set a reminder to follow up (in a week, month, etc) at a later date in the case that they do not reply. This is a given if you are still a Freshman or Sophomore because coaches cannot reply to you anyways, but if you're a junior or senior you really need to commit to this strategy if you want to keep all of your options open. Tools like Productive Recruit can remind you to follow up and really help keep all your communucation, tasks, and notes organized in one place. However, if your club doesn't offer a platform like this (or if you don't have the budget), you can always use a spreadsheet or another tool to help.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. You can reach out to me on twitter @colingmcatee or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org - happy recruiting!
Colin McAtee, founder of Productive Recruit, is a former college soccer player for the University of Michigan. At Michigan Colin was a first team all Big Ten player, team captain, and team MVP. Colin resides in Chicago, IL where he runs Productive Recruit, works as a software developer, and is pursuing his masters in Computer Science from DePaul University.
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