Every high school athlete asks themselves a few questions when it comes to playing college sports. Am I fast enough? Am I tall enough? Can I jump high enough? Am I in good enough shape? And of course the biggest question of them all: Am I good enough to play college sports?
We can respond to you by asking, what constitutes enough?
Have you ever thought about the fact that perhaps, just maybe, there are other factors that come into play when it comes to playing college athletics? Factors outside of 40-yard dash times, vertical-jump measurements, quickness, goal scoring ability and other physically based attributes.
What is the word that comes first anytime we talk or think about college sports? Exactly, COLLEGE. College or university is first and foremost an educational institution where students work toward obtaining a degree in a specific area of study. What does this mean for you? You’re right, that academics play a huge role in the college sport recruiting process. For years your parents have been hounding you about staying on top of your studies, they weren’t doing this just to hear themselves talk. Academics can affect opportunities just as much as how many goals or points you scored last season. So now ask yourself, have you worked as hard as you can to achieve good grades in the classroom?
Next, there are other factors that may also factor into being “good enough” to play college sports other than physical ability. Do you have the right attitude? Do you have a positive attitude both on the court and field as well as in daily life? Are you a winner? Do you strive to win both in athletic competitions and in everyday life? Do you have the drive? Do you have a strong drive both in athletics as well as in the classroom and in everyday life? Are you a contributor? Do you contribute not just on the court or field, but also in your family and community? Are you a team player? Can you sacrifice for the good of others? All of these are characteristics that coaches look for in the student-athletes they want on their team.
Finally, we come to the part that everyone seems to think about first. Am I good enough athletically? While you do need to have the athletic ability to compete at a much higher level than in high school, those ability levels can and will vary. This is why there are several different levels of colleges and universities; to accommodate various athletic AND academic ability levels.
When you started reading this, did you think it was going to be a cut and dry list of how fast you have to be, how strong you need to be, or how many goals you need to put on your highlight tape? If so, why now are those other questions all running through your head about academics, attitude, drive, etc. before we even got to the part about being physically good enough?
Because there are far more factors that play into the athletic recruiting process than just how good you are at shooting or kicking a ball.
Now that you realize these things, you have unknowingly gained another valuable characteristic. The ability to look at something from a different perspective and to realize that there are multiple aspects to any one thing or idea. This is invaluable not just when it comes time for college classes but also in life beyond sports.
So tuck in those jerseys, sharpen those pencils and open up your minds because being “good enough to play college sports” is not measured only on a court or field but also by dedication and drive while being improved by knowledge. Coaches focus on the entire person when considering them for their team, and you should always strive to be the best all around person you can be.