Signing-Off to Play at the Next Level

So far, seven seniors will stay student-athletes

Nyah Moustakas ‘22 and Erica Sledge ‘22 sign to 
continue their athletic careers at their respective schools.

Nyah Moustakas ‘22 and Erica Sledge ‘22 sign to continue their athletic careers at their respective schools.

By Kaitlyn Nichols

For many high school athletes hoping to continue their athletic career at the collegiate level, the process of college recruiting can seem very daunting. Contacting coaches, gathering film, finding the right place for you, can all be a little intimidating. However, there are certain necessary steps that can be helpful to you in order to complete this journey successfully, as multiple of our very own athletes have. 

So far this school year, several Marian Catholic Spartans have officially signed to further their athletic careers at their respective schools, including Sarah Johnson, Erica Sledge, and Nyah Moustakas of our women’s volleyball program, Alexander Las and Richard Redding from men’s baseball, and Isaiah Johnson and Akinwande Oluwibe from Spartan football. Their great accomplishments show not only their impressive talent and drive, but also that success is very much within reach for those willing to put in the work. 

       Grab. Their. Attention. 

Reaching out to your future potential coaches is a vital component of the recruitment process. Beginning to contact coaches as early as freshman year is encouraged, although you may receive minimal responses due to rules prohibiting coaches from contacting you until later in your high school years. Senior Sarah Johnson, who will be attending Radford University playing Division I volleyball in the fall, says, “I used the website SportsRecruits mainly to send emails and message coaches because on that website, I had access to a ton of programs and the emails of the coaches, instead of having to individually research schools and find the coaches’ emails.” 

It is important to remember that they get hundreds of emails just like yours, so it is a good idea to do what you can to stick out to them a little more, compared to the others. An eye catching subject line may be a useful element to implement, since it is possible they may look no further than that. Offering the basic, essential information you would like them to know in a striking way helps them to remember both you, and your qualities they may be looking for. Short and sweet (and persistent) truly may be the way to go. 

       Show off your skills. 

While including statistics and a highlight reel when contacting coaches is not all it takes, being able to evaluate your play will definitely help to peak their interest. Include a link to a highlight video in every contact you have with a coach so they can easily see you in action. It is a good idea to put your best, attention-grabbing plays toward the beginning of your video, since most coaches know pretty early on if they are interested or not. Be sure to display the diversity of your athleticism, not just what you have to offer within your specific position. Show them you are a player that can greatly contribute to the game as a whole. 

       Find the right fit. 

Remember that sports will not be your entire college life. You must take into consideration finding a school that fits your personal future plans, just as how you will fit into the team. Keeping an open mind to the schools you consider is vital in succeeding in this process. Your goals for your college career may change over time, and unfortunately you might just not fit the mold of what your dream school is looking for, so it is important to keep all possible opportunities in mind. If you are willing, there is a place for you somewhere, you just have to find it. 

       You’re more than your athleticism. 

Your performance in the classroom is just as important as in the game. There are academic requirements that must be met to maintain eligibility for many college athletic programs. Coaches don’t just want to see a high level athlete, but an accomplished student as well. Keeping up with your academics just adds to your overall appeal and is among many of the small differences that might actually end up being the deciding factor between you and another equally talented athlete. 

       Take advantage of available resources. 

Multiple benefits come from participating in a traveling sports program outside of your school, from playing in widely attended competitions, to gaining access to camps or other events where college scouts are present. This may differ depending on your specific sport, but it is beneficial to inquire with your travel/club program about what they can offer to assist you. 

Build your game. 

Sometimes, athleticism alone…just doesn’t cut it. It truly is the little things that have the biggest impact on your performance. One of these valuable qualities is coachability, which is equally as important as play. Establish and demonstrate a willingness to accept changes in order to succeed. Coaches like to see an athlete with a high “sports IQ.” Putting in the work to perfect your technique, decision making in games, and situational awareness really does make a difference in your appeal as a player. 

       The recruiting process for collegiate sports is highly competitive, but the sky’s the limit for those inclined to put forth the necessary effort. Ultimately, you are in control of your future, and there is a new home waiting for you somewhere.