- Adjust Your Expectations: Rule No. 1 is to realize that if you’re “very lucky,” you’ll receive a scholarship offer that covers 15% of your college costs. Full rides are astoundingly rare and even they do not cover living expenses.
- Be Versatile: In sports like track or baseball, if you can prove to recruiters an ability to excel in a variety of events or positions, you up your chances of earning a scholarship (and the amount of dollars that scholarship entails).
- Practice: Obviously you need to keep up your skills by practicing and staying in peak condition, but you’ll be expected to practice at least 20 hours a week when you get to college on that scholarship. So you’d better be prepared to balance that with school.
- Read: There are some great books on the subject, for both parents and athletes. Buying two or three would be well worth the investment if the advice in them pays off.
- Don't Be Discouraged If You Aren't The Best: You don’t even have to make the college team to win some athletic scholarships; all it takes is a commitment to play, whether in intramural or club teams.
- Build Your Character: Don’t overlook the fact that coaches take into account an athlete’s work ethic, ability to play with a team, and level of respect for authority.
- Strength Train: Many young athletes focus too much on camps or tournaments and let their strength training suffer. Strength training helps prevent injury and increases athleticism, both huge factors in scholarship determination.
- Don't Limit Yourself To Division 1:Getting a Division-I athletic scholarship is extremely hard. Though it’s not as high profile, in Division-II there is significant athletic scholarship money to be had.
- Learn How To Network: Never ignore a chance to make a contact with a coach or a school official. It never hurts to have friends helping you promote yourself.
- Be Prepared For Any Meetings: Just as in a job interview, if you can display a knowledge of a team’s recent history and an understanding of their culture, coaches will be more inclined to view you as a fit.
- Know The Rules: As you may have heard, the NCAA can be a tricky bureaucracy to keep happy. Make sure you learn all its rules for scholarship eligibility so you don’t accidentally disqualify yourself.
- Don't Depend On Your Parents!: Coaches tolerate parents, but they really want to deal with you, the player. In high school, start taking the responsibility of dealing with your coach yourself so that you build the maturity college coaches want to see.
- Quiz Yourself!: Asking yourself why you love the game and why you’re interested in a particular school prepares you to answer those questions when they come from a prospective coach, and they’re also good reminders to keep at it.
- Eat Right: It’s amazing how even professional athletes can ignore the fact that the fuel you put in your body will determine how well it runs. Give yourself one more athletic advantage by eating healthy.
- Stay Out Of Trouble: Rest assured: a sure-fire way to void a verbal offer or keep anyone from offering you one is to get in trouble at school or with the law.
- Get Adjusted: Many pro athletes swear by chiropractors to stay in tip-top shape. Regular visits to a sports chiropractor might make you the little bit faster or more flexible that you need to impress a coach.
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