Many of the top Level 10 gymnasts are getting ready to travel to Mississippi this week for Nationals and NIT. The big question is ……how important is this meet in the recruiting process?

I remember twenty years ago, recruiting at JO Nationals was extremely important. It might be the first and only time you would have to see the athletes you are hoping to recruit. We did not have access to video footage online and had to wait for gymnasts to mail us eight track tapes of their routines. Nationals was sometimes the only opportunity to see the best Level10’s all at once. Hitting at Regionals and making it to Nationals was crucial to being recruited and there was no NIT. So all those great Level 10’s that had a rough Regional meet were scrambling to be seen in person.

When internet and youtube came alive, it changed everything. Especially for the coaches who did not have the budget to travel to clubs all over the country. Today, coaches have many times watched all your meets, highlights and skills your working on in the gym before you ever get to Nationals or NIT.

So what are the coaches watching while they attend these meets:

*They are excited to watch the seniors that are coming to their teams in a few months

*They are looking for new recruits to fill in spots that may have opened up

*They are watching your attitude. Do you help others, how do you work with your coach, how do you respond when things don’t go your way, are you a team player

*Coaches are looking for “heart” and “passion” for the sport

It was always fun as a college coach to think you may come across that one gymnast that nobody knew about, but thats not the case so much anymore. Many times the coaches see this meet as just another opportunity to watch you do your routines, but in reality they already know who you are and what you can do. I believe it takes the pressure off this meet being so crucial. If you have a great meet, it solidifies you. If you have a rough day its not going to make or brake the coaches decision, because they have seen your scores and routines probably for the last year or two.

Try to enjoy the meet! You have worked hard all year and this is your chance to compete with the best. Its your reward for your dedication and sacrifice. Oh yes and try to have fun!!!

We don’t need more strength or more ability or greater opportunity. What we need is to use what we have. -Basil Walsh