April 14, 2024

Football – Sophomore – April

 Picking Summer Camps

Since college football coaches are prohibited from sending anything other than camp invites and questionnaires until Sept 1st of your Junior year, even if you’ve had some varsity experience, which most of you haven’t had, you will not know which if any coaches are actually interested in you at this point.  So, what can you do to help your recruiting process when you don’t really know where to focus your efforts?

 One very important thing that you can do during the upcoming summer is attend a summer camp or two, but which camp is right for you this early in your high school football career?  There are huge advantages to attending good quality summer football camps:


“Summer Camp Advantages…”

  • You get to see first hand how you measure up against the other players in your area.  Attending a Nike camp or one held at a state university will bring out the top talent, and you can get an idea of what your competition will be like. This is experience lets you evaluate your skills in the real world of football recruiting.
  • The benefits of being coached by college level football coaches at these camps will most certainly elevate your play. You can see for yourself what the teaching and coaching style is at your dream school. Check out how the coaches teach and how they treat the athletes. Is this program you could play for?
  • If you have real talent, it will give you an opportunity to show case your playing skills. Word tends to get around about a good prospect. Coaches from other schools will also hear about your talent even if they are not coaching the camp.
  • It gives you an opportunity to visit your dream school, see the campus, and give you a feel for the area.


Every school that you have contacted will send you an invite to their summer football camp.  They send these camp invites out by the thousands. While an invite does mean that you are in their computer base, it does not necessarily mean they are recruiting you.  Anyway,  you can’t attend them all, so how do you narrow down your choices?


“Tips For Picking Summer Camps…”

  • Ask the Junior and Senior athletes on your team where they have attended summer camps. A good recommendation from someone is often a good indication of whether the camp is a good one or not.
  • As a Sophomore athlete, you should attend a camp that is known to be a teaching camp. You want to attend one that will help you improve your playing abilities. As we said above, there are many other advantages, but top on the list is that you want to improve you playing skills.
  • Choose a camp at your dream school. This may actually be a good reason to attend a certain camp. It will give you all the advantages mentioned above, and it will either solidify or eliminate the school from your list of dream schools.

Go to the camps with the idea that they will help you become a better player and not to land a football scholarship.  Why?  While you do hope, of course, that the coaches will notice your talent, your focus, at this point, is to do everything you can to improve your  playing abilities.  The better football player you are, the better your chances to sign on the dotted line of an athletic scholarship offer when the time comes.

National Underclassmen Combines

Don’t forget to attend one of the National Underclassmen Combines which are held Feb through July across the country.  Check for information and to register for the 2012 events here.  Some states only have  one combine so check now for the event that is closest to your home.

Contacting College Coaches

If you had a great Freshman football season, then you should have contacted the coaches where you  would like to play via email so that you could get on their database, if you didn’t contact them and you did have great Freshman stats, do so now.

Very few of you had that kind of playing time, but looking forward to this coming season, try to do everything you can do to get some great varsity stats so you can write an email introducing yourself to the coaches (sample in resource section). When you do contact the coaches, attach your athletic profile (sample and tips in the resource section).

This introductory email will get you on the radar of the coaches so he can send you questionnaires and camp invites.

Things To Do This Month

   Keep up with your academics.

   Work on identifying the list of schools that would be a fit for your academically, athletically, and socially.  Sit down with your parents and start chatting about where you think you might like to attend.  At this point nothing is set in stone, but start thinking about where you would like to attend.

   Make use of  the weight room as often as you can.

Pay attention during spring practice bearing in mind that how you perform in practice determines how much playing time you will get during this coming season.


Improving Concentration While Studying

One of the keys to doing well on tests and making good grades is the ability to concentrate.  The same way you need to concentrate in your sport.  If you are finding it difficult to concentrate on your studying, here are some tips that may help.  Most of them should also be familiar since you use them all the time in athletic competition.


“10 Tips To Improve Concentration…”

1. Study in a quiet place where there are no interruptions and distractions.

2. Make a study schedule to show what you need to study and any deadlines.

3. Study at a time of day when you work best. That may be early morning or late evening.

4. Make sure you’re not hungry or tired when you study.

5. Don’t try to do two things at the same time. You need to focus on one thing at a time.

6. Break large tasks into parts. Concentrate on each part and then put them together.

7. Relax. Take some deep breaths or do some stretches to loosen up.

8. Clear your mind. Worry or daydreaming will not help you study.

9. Develop an interest in what you’re studying. Relate this to your own life in some way.

10.  Take breaks when you feel tired.  Then get back to work refreshed.


Ten Things College Financial Aid Offices Won’t Tell You

1. You waited until April? Sorry we gave your money away. Many students miss out on financial aid because they miss deadlines. Yes, each school seems to have its own set of deadlines but you have to keep track or face the consequences.

2. Your mistake, your problem. If you make a mistake on your FAFSA form, the computer will spit out your form and return it to YOU, rejected. It will not be sent to colleges which may delay any action on your application. It is better to use the online form because it asks you to check on blanks you left and some obvious errors.

3. Our lower tuition means lower financial aid. Less expensive public schools tend to award less financial aid. You might get more at the more pricey private schools than you think.

4. You’ll pay dearly for early decision. Once you commit to early decision, the college “has you” so to speak. Why should they award you large amounts of financial aid. You may be better off skipping this option.

5. We don’t believe that you are poor. Some parents try to look more “needy” on paper by spending income. That method may not help as much as making sure assets are not in the child’s name.

6. We’ll judge you by your house and your car. Luckily the value of your home is not considered in most financial aid formulas. To calculate amount of financial aid, colleges calculate your expected family contribution from your adjusted gross income and assets. This does not take into consideration your real disposable income (high mortgage amounts, etc.).

7. We’ll let you borrow more than you can afford. Many colleges are not concerned if you will be able to afford to repay the loans you get. If you must borrow exhaust federal programs first since they usually have lower rates.

8. Outside scholarships help us, not you. Federal guidelines require that outside scholarship money (such as local scholarships) be considered as a resource in meeting financial need. That means you may get less from the college if you get local funds.

9. We won’t “negotiate” but we will “review”. Many college financial aid offices will be put off if you question their decisions and try to “negotiate” with them. Don’t use that word. Instead, ask them to “review” their decision and try to develop rapport with the person you are talking to in the office.

10. Think freshman year was expensive, wait till senior year. College tuition keeps increasing yearly. Costs for everything will go up over time.


Do You Have Wild Confidence Swings?

Most athletes that have not reached the ‘best of the best’ ranks experience the entire gauntlet of confidence possibilities. They can go all the way from being a mental marshmallow to being a confident tiger from game to game. Or we often see the evidence of lack of self-confidence exhibited from quarter to quarter within a single game.

How do the sports superstars overcome this problem so common to all athletes? How do elite level stars like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Sydney Crosby continue to display awesome mental toughness game after game and do it seemingly with no effort?

Most great athletes, regardless of the sport they participate in, know the importance of mental toughness. During interviews, they talk about how important this component is to their game, but, if you think about it, how they actually accomplish their calm under fire is not a secret they usually reveal publicly.

So how do today’s ‘mega stars’ achieve the ability to hang tough when the going gets rough? The truth is they have internalized a simple, automatic formula for maintaining extraordinary mental toughness when they are under the gun. This means that the formula is easily available to them, it is really a part of their total game skill set, they do not even have to think about it to bring it in to play. With this formula, their ability to kill fear is silent but deadly.

To see an athlete crumble under pressure is a sad thing to see. The stadium may be filled to capacity with tens of thousands of spectators watching intently as a quarterback folds under pressure. It is so compelling that even the fans get a knot in the pit of their stomachs? Typically, when this happens, the game goes south quickly and the outcome is a loss.

How can you as a athlete hoping to land a college football scholarship master the ability to have amazing confidence when the pressure is on? How do you develop the ability to consistently feel unstoppable instead of being gripped with paralyzing fear?

Change Your Thinking – Begin to be aware of how you are thinking. Your doubtful thinking leads directly to a self-confidence slide, and a lack of self-confidence leads directly to poor performance.

Examples of fearful thoughts are: “What if I screw up?”; “Super, I am up against their best lineman”; What if I get hurt?”; What if I fumble? These are all the kinds of thoughts that put your play in the toilet.

Have Six Positive Affirmations Ready – Create meaningful positive affirmations for immediately turning fear into massive self-confidence. These simple phrases should be written down, and verbally practiced until they are easily available to you at anytime things start getting stressful during the game or at practice.

Examples of positive affirmations that will do a U-turn on paralyzing self-confidence are: “I have trained for this moment”; “I can do this and more”; I am ready, bring it on”; I love taking the ball when the game is on the line”; “I run the plays and focus only on my job on the team”; “Give me the ball, I can run it in”; “I play my best under pressure”.

Having six positive thoughts readily available in your head allows you to fight negative thoughts. It puts you in the driver’s seat. It stops fear in its tracks, but the key to success is you must first be aware of your negative, doubtful thoughts, and then you must quickly toss them out of your mind by replacing them with one or several of your prepared positive affirmations.

These affirmations should be ones that you know to be true about your play or that could reasonably be true. Putting this formula to use is a very simple, quick and effective way to get control over your doubtful, confidence robbing thoughts.


The Importance Of Looking Good On Paper

If you a shooting for one of the top twenty five football programs in the country, you should be aware that these top programs receive around 25,000 athletic profiles and DVD’s from aspiring football recruits every year, and the lesser programs receive about 5,000. Common sense should tell you that the coach does not have the time to either read these profiles thoroughly or view all these videos.

So how does the coach narrow down his recruiting list to the top 25 or so recruits that he may be interested in signing? He evaluates them first on paper in about 30 seconds to quickly see if he even wants to look at their highlight video.

  • This means that your athletic profile must show that you are recruitment material and should include easy-to-see information about your statistics including position you play, weight, height, bench press, 40 yd time, vertical, and squats.
  • You must also show your academic information including your GPA and SAT/SAT scores. The coach does not want to recruit someone that won’t even be admitted to the university.

Coaches use the top page of your athletic profile to see if you meet their minimum recruiting cutoffs. If you don’t, your recruiting information packet gets thrown in the trash. Knowing this ahead of time should let you know that if you want to be considered at all, you need to make sure that your stats and academics are up to snuff and that your profile can be easily read.

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