May 31, 2023

Football – Sophomore – March

What You Can Do In The Off Season To Get The Jump On The Recruiting Process

Most of you haven’t, as yet, seen much varsity level playing time.  The Junior season will be the breakout season for most of you, so what can you do to really make it the best season possible?

Looking forward to spring practice, what can you do to help your recruiting chances during the off season?

 If you are a really stand-out athlete, you may be invited to one or two Junior Days even though you are a Sophomore.  If you are lucky enough to be invited, do accept.  Attending one of these events will give you and your parents a great look at what a college football practice really looks like and it will also give you a leg up in the recruiting process as most players will not be invited until they are actually Juniors.

Focus on improving in speed, strength and stamina by visiting the weight room often and making the track your second home.  You want to show up at combines, summer camps, and spring practice at the peak of physical condition.  Keep picturing in your mind where you want to be physically and measure and note the benchmarks of your success.

Shaving  even a tenth of a second off your 40 yd. dash, for example, is substantial as some college coaches use it as a way to eliminate potential athletes from recruiting consideration.

Start selecting summer camps where you want to attend.  If would be a good idea to attend one or two at Division I schools so that you can see what your competition looks like.  These camps give you a real opportunity to showcase you talents, but they also can be great opportunities to pinpoint your weak areas and the learning camps are a great way to help you improve as a player.

 If you get an invitation, a  Nike Combine experience will pit your skills against all the prep players in your area, and like the summer camps will give you a good idea of your athletic and playing ability.  It is important to do your best at these combines as they give verifiable measurables (40 yd dash, bench, etc) which must be included on your recruiting profile.  You cannot just say you do a 4.6, you must be able to prove it.

Fill out and return all questionnaires from all coaches regardless of  the division level.  Keep a record of all correspondence from coaches and make a folder in your recruiting notebook for each school.  Once you have returned a questionnaire, you will be on that school’s radar and you can send update information as to your accomplishments.

The Difference Between Unofficial College Visits and Official College Visits

The difference is mainly in the way the visits are financed, however official visits are governed by the NCAA as to number of visits  and when they can be made.

Unofficial visits – are visits where you and your parents pay your own expenses to and from the college, the visits are in no way paid for by the university.

Unofficial visits – are paid for by the university and cannot be taken until the athlete starts his Senior year.  Most potential recruits take their five allowed official visits after their Senior season is over just because they have more time.


Composure Under Fire

It is a fact that during every game or in most practices there are many opportunities for someone to make a mistake that causes someone to lose emotional control.  Either your coach, the referee, one or several of your teammates or even you will at sometime do or say something that may make you apt to blow your stack.

So what can you do to keep your composure when things get heated?  That has been a question that sports psychologists have been working to solve for years.  The experts have come up some simple steps that anyone can use to stay calm under fire.

  • First, in order to keep maximum composure, you must recognize that mistakes are going to happen if you play sports.  You must accept that they are inevitable.  Everyone makes them no matter how skilled a player they are, and you will make them too.
  • Next, you need to develop a strategy to deal with mistakes when they happen, and you should have this plan to regain your composure in mind before you engage in any game or practice.
  • Then, you need to identify the things that cause you to lose it on the field.  Knowing before hand what causes you to lose your composure is a big step in the right direction.


Here is a list of mental errors that can help you identify your particular loss of composure buttons..

1. Failing To Perform Perfectly – When you set high expectations for your play and you feel that you are not playing to those elite standards that you have set for yourself. Doing this will cause you to focus on your errors instead of the next play at hand.

2. Loss Of Social Approval – This happen when you imagine what others are thinking about your performance. When you worry about how others are judging your play, you are distracted from the next play up.

3. Irrational Beliefs – When you indulge in irrational beliefs like “I will never catch a pass”, or “I’m going to throw an interception”, you are really bringing to pass that which you dread.

4. Fear Of Failure – When you are afraid you will lose or fail, your play is iffy and defensive rather than clearheaded and decisive.

5. Focusing On Mistakes – Athletes that are unable to get past mistakes are unable to regain composure quickly, their dwelling on errors causes them to get frustrated preventing them from keeping their heads in the game.

An easy way to start calming down when you start to boil is to remember the three R’s for regaining composure. Recognize-Regroup-Refocus.

Recognize First you must become aware that you are dwelling on the error, this keeps  you from  focusing on the next play.

Regroup – Next you have to break the debilitating circle of thought, you must challenge your emotions and convince yourself that your thinking is irrational.  For example, say to yourself, I’ve trained for this and I’m good at it, just wait until the next play.

Refocus – Last, ask yourself, “what do I need I need to focus on to be successful in the next play, this will take your mind off your mistake and get your head back in the game.


Goal Setting and Academics

A goal is something you want or need to achieve. Goals can be short term or long term depending on how much time it takes to achieve.  For example,  long term goals might include improving your GPA or taking more challenging classes in high school.  Short term goals might include getting a better grade on an upcoming test.

For goal setting to be successful you have to know what it is that you need to accomplish and when it needs to be done.  Then you need to set appropriate and clear goals. Last, write your goals down so you have a record of them.

To help you write goals, keep these words in mind:  WHAT and WHEN.  Each goal needs to clearly state what must be done and by when.  It is also helpful to start with the words “I will”.  This makes it clear that you are determined to complete the goal.  For example:  I will complete the research phase for my term paper by December 1.

Below are some characteristics of clear and achievable goals:

Goals should be:

1. Within Your Skills And Abilities – Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting goals that you can’t achieve.  You can’t write the essay in Spanish if you don’t have enough Spanish skill.

2. Realistic – Get real!  That paper cannot be done in two days no matter how much you want it.

3. Flexible – Make sure there’s some wiggle room on deadlines.

4. Measurable – If your goal is too vague or has no deadline, it will not help you.  Not: I will have some of it done in a few days.

5. Within Your Control -If someone else is involved, you cannot be sure that achieving the goal is possible.


Forms, Forms and More Forms

Understanding all of the forms you may encounter in finding  financial aid for college may seem like an impossible task.  Just when you think you have a handle on it another dozen or so new forms with new terms will be needed.  Below is a list of common forms and what they mean.  It is not meant to be an exhaustive list – after all it wouldn’t be any fun if new forms didn’t pop up from time to time.

1. CFAA: College Financial Aid Application

2. CSS Profile Application: Form to order CSS Profile

3. CSS Profile: Financial Aid Application used by private colleges and universities

4. CSS information return sheet: Forms showing all data placed on CSS Profile

5. FAFSA: Processes student and family financial aid data for SAR

6. Renewal FAFSA: Processes financial aid and family data for returning students for SAR

7. SAR: Student Aid Report that determines family’s contribution

8. Corrected SAR: SAR where estimased income figures are replaced with actual income figures

9. Final SAR: SAR with actual income figures that generate your final EFC

10. State Loan  Application: Document requiring questions to be completed for State loan funds

11. State Loan acceptance/denial: Form stating amount eligible for or reasons why denied

12. SEOG Grant: Grant recipients with lowest expected family contribution

13. SSIG Grant: State Student Incentive Grant given to student as additional financial aid

14. PELL Grant: Grant, need based for families with low incomes

15. State Grant Application: Application requiring certain information to determine eligibility

16. State Grant acceptance/denial: Letter stating amount and disbursements or reasons denied

17. PERKINS loan: Perkins Loan acceptance form (loan application handled by college)

18. STAFFORD loan application: Student signature only application to receive Stafford funds

19. STAFFORD acceptance: List amount minus P & O fees and dates funds to be dispersed

20. STAFFORD loan denial: Document stating specific reasons you are not eligible for Stafford

21. School financial aid award letter: Financial aid the school determines student qualifies for

22. Parent PLUS Loan Application: Form requiring family and student data and amount required for the year

23. PLUS Loan acceptance/denial: Tells amount of loans and disbursement dates or reasons denied

24. Supplemental STAFFORD Loan: Unsubsidized Stafford loan given to student when PLUS Loan denied

25. Verification Form: Colleges require this form to verify family and student information is correct

26. Forbearance Form: Form to request loan payments be deferred 1-3 years due to financial hardship

27. Financial Aid appeal letter: Letter sent questioning and asking for Financial Aid consideration

28. Special Circumstances form: Letter requesting explanation of and reconsideration of awarded aid

29. Deferment Form: Request loan’s interest and/or principle be suspended for a period of time

30. Tuition Prepayment plans: Normally offered by colleges during late spring for upcoming year.


NCAA Upholds Multiyear Scholarships

According the NCAA’s press release:

“Multiyear scholarship legislation, one of several measures the Division I Board of Directors adopted in the wake of an August 2011 presidential retreat, was upheld in a membership override vote that concluded Friday.

As such, Division I schools will have the option to offer scholarships guaranteed for more than one year.”

This new rule by the NCAA will no doubt be a huge recruiting tool in years to come with schools that offer multiyear scholarships having a distinct recruiting advantage over those that don’t, but you should remember that more that 62% of the member schools voted to override this new rule.

This means that while some D-I programs may offer guaranteed multiyear scholarships, you and your parents should comb the fine print of the contract to look for loopholes that will let the schools out of the contract if you become a liability to their program.

As marketing specialists like to say, “What the bold print giveth the fine print taketh away.”

As examples, what if you become a disciplinary problem, or if your conduct off the field becomes an embarrassment to the institution, or if you perform poorly as an athlete or what if you get injured, can the school terminate the scholarship?

College football coaches will insist on ways to address these potential problems.  Look for well-written contracts that will allow the individual schools the discretion of terminating the scholarships should the athlete fail to live up to expectations in any of these ways.


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