As young athletes, you will experience several individuals that are influential in your life that help inspire, motivate, and guide you on your path of success. These individuals can be your parents, siblings, coaches, teammates, friends, mentors, etc. Your recruiting journey can often times be stressful, exciting, and confusing, and these individuals can often times help you to arrive at your choice. I have had several gymnasts recently ask me for advice on how to choose between two or more schools that are offering for them to be a part of their gymnastics team. They have explained to me that their parents or coaches want them to go one place, but they aren’t sure how to choose. It is quite common to have difficulty in ascertaining what you want to do with your future, and how to determine that as a high school student (or even middle school). The answer is simple, but can be difficult to arrive at; make the ultimate decision by deciphering the very best situation that suits YOU.
Something that resonated with me in college that was often spoken about on our team, is that everything in life is a choice. Each one of us have the freedom to make choices every day. We make the choice to wake up every morning and brush our teeth, or not, and go through the day with really nasty breath. In making the choice of which college to accept a scholarship offer, or to become a part of a team, it is important that you utilize that same freedom to make the choice that is best for you, and you alone. We are all so unique, which further emphasizes that the best choice for one person, may not be the best for another. So, my advice is, when making the decision between two or more schools, make sure that you are making the optimal and most suitable choice for YOU. Take advantage of all the advice you receive throughout the process, but make sure that when it comes down to it, everything feels right deep down inside of you.
I have provided some tips to help you to arrive at your best choice that will ultimately make the decision a little easier on you.
- Determine whether you want to stay close to home, go far away, or either way.
- Assess your ability with the teams you are choosing between. Where do you fall? Is it important for you to compete all-around? Are you ok with being a specialist?
- What kind of coaching style do you prefer? Positive? Fun? Sarcastic? Funny? Tough? Decide which works most effectively for you, and then I encourage you to attend college summer camps to get to know the coaching staffs better.
- Do you want to be a significant part of building a team to achieve success, or do you want to become a part of a team that has a history of success? What does success mean to you? National Championships? Conference Championships? Qualifying to Regionals?
- Ask yourself what you may want to study, or what you are interested in pursuing for a career. Which school has the best educational program for the field you want to study?
- Does your personality fit with the current culture of the team? This question is also answered easier when you attend college summer camps.
- Do you care whether you go to a really big university or a smaller one? Do you care if there is a football team?
- Determine whether you like the facilities at the school. Do you want a really big training facility? Or would you rather a smaller one? Is the training room facility to your liking? Take advantage of unofficial trips when you are permitted with athletic department involvement (August 1st of your junior year), or take trips to schools on your own to get a feel of the campus.
Once you have answered all of these questions to your satisfaction, make a list of pros and cons for each school you are interested in or deciding between. This will help you to arrive at the best possible choice for you and your future.
I wish each and every one of you the very best throughout your recruiting journey.