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College Sports and Specializing

There are many debates over whether specializing in sports at a young age is the best thing for children. However, many people believe the more developed a child’s skills and techniques are, the more likely they will have a chance to play at the next level. For kids who are active in elite sports, playing at the collegiate level is a goal that many dream to achieve.  That being the case, it is important for the player and their parents to be knowledgeable in approaching the college sports landscape. It is also beneficial to know the facts about specializing in sports at a young age and what college coaches are looking for in high school athletes.

Outlined below are some tips and pointers to share with the parents, coaches and managers in your sports organization to make this process a little more manageable.

Whether or not your child specializes in a sport at an early age does not determine their success at the next level. Truths about specializing:

  • Single sport players are more prone to injury
  • Children who specialize early are more likely to burn out because of stress and lack of happiness derived from participation
  • Multi-sport participators develop better overall skills and can transfer abilities used in one sport to others
  • A majority of college athletes participated in multiple sports as a child
  • Participating in multiple sports helps children develop into more knowledgeable and creative players

Navigating the college sports recruiting landscape can seem difficult and overwhelming, but below are a few tips to consider:

  • Create a list of potential colleges you are interested in
  • Do research, visit the schools and attend their camps if possible
  • Learn the NCAA rules and guidelines
  • Start recording games and tournaments for highlight videos to send to coaches
  • When narrowing the search, make sure you like everything about the school, not just the possibility of playing there
  • Take charge of the recruiting process and contact the coaches at the schools you are interested in

Along with knowing what you want out of a college sports experience, it is helpful to know what college coaches are looking for.  Below are common themes college coaches look for when recruiting high school athletes:

  • Upstanding character and good attitude
  • Good grades and test scores
  • Athletic ability and natural talent
  • Work ethic
  • Athletes that are proactive and reach out to them
  • Leadership qualities

What are your views? Lots to consider. Good luck!