Ellie Pascoe-Long, JaegerFor those of you that have competed at this meet several times, you know what to expect. For the first time qualifier, it may be a little overwhelming. CONGRATS TO ALL! JO Nationals should be a celebration not just for the athletes but also the coaches that have worked so hard to get you to this point. What can you expect from this meet in terms of college recruiting.

1. There will be the majority of college coaches in attendance. Division 1, 2 and 3 attend.
2. Depending on the building, the college coaches will be sitting together behind tables. They usually hang their school banner across the table where they will be located. College coaches may also be videoing your routines.

3. You can not speak to the college coaches unless you are a senior and finished with your competition. This same rule applies to the parents.

4. Your club coach can speak with the college coaches.

5. You will be asked to wear a colored dot on your back that indicates what year you graduate and the fact that you have not committed to a college.

6. Typically the college coaches have a list of recruits they plan to watch ahead of time, but occasionally a gymnast will “jump out” to them that they are interested in recruiting.

7. Yes it is important to perform well at this meet, but no more than any other meet. Remember the coaches have usually seen your videos before you arrived.

8. If you struggle at the meet and it is not your best performance, it is ok! They know many of you are still learning how to compete. You are still developing and growing. They look for many things besides just your hit routine or score. Clean lines, technique, potential and performance quality.

9. Also, be sure to be aware of how you treat others especially your teammates and coaches. Are you clapping and encouraging others? How do you respond to your coach if you fall or struggle? What do you do if you have a bad warm up?

10.  Have FUN FUN FUN!  Did you know that athletes compete better when they are having fun?  It will help you focus, you may stay more relaxed and be able to breathe. This all translates into feeling more like practice, which is what you want rather then being tight and stressed.

These are just a few of the items to be aware of at JO Nationals. Keep in mind these are “general rules” there are some more details involved especially in the contact rules that may apply. Most importantly try to have enjoy the meet and the reward of competing at this great competition.
Jill Hicks Consulting is an advising service to club gymnasts and parents who would like assistance as they navigate the college gymnastics recruiting process. Jill will be at JO Nationals meeting with clients and families. You can reach her at www.jhicksconsulting.com if you would like to schedule an appointment