Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Separating From the Pack in the Summer - Written by Alexis Kantor ’14, Softball

Alexis KantorI came home one evening after a typical day of just hanging out with my friends. I was in the doldrums of summer. My father told me that I had a doctor’s appointment the next day to meet with a surgeon about my umbilical hernia. In my case, this hernia was no life-threatening situation, but it was something worth examining to make sure I could keep playing sports. I’ve always had a knack for science and medicine, so the next day when I was in the doctors office, I was very excited to meet the general surgeon. We talked all about the different kinds of hernia’s and procedures, and I was so fascinated that I couldn’t resist asking if I could observe him in a real live surgery. He took me over to meet with his secretary, and with patience and a positive attitude, my wish was granted. 

Being in the operating room with a surgical team is analogous to team sports. Whether you are out on the playing field or in the hospital saving lives, you have brought yourself to a higher level, have distanced from the everyday crowd, and are working alongside others who share a common purpose and goal. Like a softball team who whips the ball around the infield for a double play so they can get back on offense as soon as possible, the surgical team communicates, has each others best interest, and work in accordance because it’s the concern for the patient that matters, just as it’s the success of the softball team that matters. Success does not always mean the big win, nor does a successful surgery mean an impeccable one. In both cases, it’s about communication, patience, and working together. Frustration, jealousy, and selfishness suddenly become petty and fall to the wayside when a more important matter is on the line. That matter is the patient who has trusted the doctor with their life, or the team, who supports and trusts each other to overcome any obstacle that may occur in the game.
Getting the chance to observe general surgery, and be completely integrated into the hospital scene made me refocus on what I deem important, and what I could still work towards even when I can no longer play sports. People who work in the hospital, among many other sectors of careers, are very professional, focused, hard-working people, and as an athlete, that is one of the best possible environments to be in.
What I have gained from my experience is to use the quiet days of summer to research your interests and don’t be afraid to do something bold. Because of my experience in the hospital, I am so inspired to work hard and focus on what I love to do. I can see that everyday, people are out there working towards something important and are generally unconcerned and unburdened by social pressures, so to speak. We are all still so young in high school, so there is nothing to lose by sampling what could be a future passion. And as athletes, it’s a reminder to stay focused on your passion, because no one is really stopping you except yourself.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Building Your Athletic Resume

In high school you hear people all the time saying “Oh, that would be great on your resume”. For student athletes, it’s tough to add more activities outside of academics and your sport. However, making the effort to give back outside of these two commitments can really boost your resume as well as make you feel fulfilled and successful, not to mention help others! I would recommend committing to a volunteer group or club at
school that you feel passionate about. Does your church do mission trips that don’t interfere with your season? Are you passionate about the environment and your school has a Sustainability club? These activities bring balance into your schedule and give you an opportunity to give back to your community. Being involved in clubs or volunteer groups also shows that you are a leader outside of school and off the field.

Of course, as an athlete, it can be difficult to make time for countless other opportunities. When writing your resume think about the langauge you use and feel free to use athletic accomplishments to show your level of commitment, leadership, or hard work. You can include a section for Athletic Achievements or add to your Extra Curriculars by including things like “Newcomer of the year by the Sunset League in 2012″ or “Four time Player of the Week in the Horizon League”.  In your resume make sure to always use action verbs. For example:
Leadership Experience
Highland Park High School Women’s Lacrosse Team, Captain 2011-2012
  • Lead the varsity team to a State Championship
  • Dedicated 8 extra hours a week to plan team events and review goals with coaches
Building your resume can be challenging, highlighting your participation in events that  make you stand out and using the correct language will make your resume stronger. I encourage you to think about your volunteer and club opportunities this school year. Giving back is an important aspect in becoming an Athleader and continually learning and helping others. Your sport is a vehicle for success in and after college, and volunteering can be a great way to stand out to college coaches, administrators, and even potential employers.

Friday, August 16, 2013

NCAA Eligibility Blunders

If you are a potential NCAA DI or DII recruit, one of the most important things you need to be aware of is your NCAA eligibility status.
The NCAA uses a sliding scale that says, in order to be eligible to compete at the DI level, you need to have at least a 2.0 GPA and a cumulative 1010 SAT/86 ACT score (or a 2.3 GPA and a cumulative 900 SAT/ 75 ACT if you are a 2016 grad or younger). The DII level is a minimum 2.0 GPA and a cumulative 820 SAT/68 ACT for all grad classes.
But knowing your grades and test scores is the easy part…
Where most families run into trouble is with the core course requirements. Along with your minimum GPA and test scores, you are required to complete 16 NCAA approved core courses in your first 8 semesters of high school. Any class deemed ‘non-traditional’ by the NCAA because it fails to meet a specific set criteria will not count and can threaten your eligibility.
I’ve seen top talent student-athletes who were ineligible just because of a simple miscommunication.  Most recently, a men’s basketball player who was a senior in high school. He was registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center, had grades and test scores well above the minimum requirements and he had a scholarship offer to a DII program. He completed the core courses his high school offered like he was supposed to, but was unaware that some courses weren’t approved by the NCAA. Being a senior, he had no time left to make up any classes and was’t deemed an NCAA qualifier, so he had to turn down his offer to that DII program and start looking for an alternate program as a high school graduate.
When you register with the NCAA, your eligibility status will be ‘Pending’ until they receive your final transcripts and test scores after your senior year. Which brings me back to my original point, if you’re a potential DI or DII recruit, make sure you know your eligibility status. Even though your official eligibility status won’t be determined till after your senior year, there are some things you can do so you don’t get caught off guard.
Meet regularly with your high school guidance counselor even as an underclassman. Make sure your counselor knows your college goals so that he/she can make sure you’re where you need to be academically. When you register with the Eligibility Center your junior year, make sure you take advantage of all the resources they provide and contact them directly to go over your core courses. If for some reason there is a conflict, you want to give yourself time during your senior year to make up any core courses you’ll need to be eligible.
No matter which division level you’re looking to compete for, the recruiting process is full of surprises. Don’t get caught off guard!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Breaking News

Vantage Sports Worldwide

For Immediate Release

Carter Aimes
Real Time Athletes

New recruiting tool will revolutionize College Softball Recruiting for both athletes and scouts!

Newbury Park, California - April, 15 2013 - There are 1000 NCAA colleges with school funded athletic programs in the United States. Of these colleges, less than half offer athletic scholarships. Each year only 126,000 athletes receive athletic scholarships. With roughly 7 million high school athletes in the U.S. today, the competition for athletic scholarships is fierce. Athletes’ parents spend between $500-$2500 a year on outside help in order to find these highly prized financial aid packages. The high cost for higher education and the perceived prestige that comes with signing the National Letter of Intent has developed a large demand for college recruiting services. The recruiting industry has continued to grow exponentially due to fierce competition between athletes and tightening college budgets across the country. ENTER REAL TIME ATHLETES!

Intense competition for a limited number of scholarships available nationwide, places a huge significance on unique, personalized recruiting experiences. Most small recruiting firms only focus on the player segment; developing personalized videos and marketing campaigns. On the other hand, big-box online recruiting sites focus on providing a social, profile connection between the college coach and athlete. Although both methods have their definite benefits, no current channel provides a clear connection between all segments involved in the recruiting process; student athletes, college coaches, team coaches, and tournament directors. With such fierce competition in the market, email marketing, social profiles, and even phone calls are simply not enough. An athlete simply cannot be competitive in this market without having robust connections to everyone involved in the recruiting process.

Enter Real Time Athletes. RTA provides robust profiles, calendars, social connections, email marketing, and real time/location tracking and searches for all members of the process: college coaches, athletes, team coaches, and tournament directors nationwide. The Player Module provides detailed personal, athletic, and academic profiles, video and picture hosting, event scheduling, teammate connections, and personalized recruiting advice. The College Coach Module includes detailed profile searches based on a variety of search categories including position, GPA, graduation year, location, etc. The Travel Team Coach Module provides coaches with an easy way to enter tournaments, advertise clinics and events, and includes a free, professional team website. Finally, the Tournament Director Module eliminates the need for paper recruiting booklets, brackets, and player registration. Tournament registration is done automatically when a player signs up for an account. By focusing on all segments of the recruiting market and providing personalized, targeted solutions, Real Time Athletes connects all segments of recruiting process seamlessly and has the ability to scale large databases quickly in real time at no cost to the end user. Also, did we mention that it is currently free!

The primary objective of Real Time Athletes will be to provide a service to help athletes, who constantly fall under the radar, to succeed in the recruiting world. As stated by Tony Rico, a founder of Real Time Athletes, “When Don and I were approached with this new college softball recruiting technology we immediately knew this was the greatest thing to happen to College Softball Recruiting in years. We love Real Time Athletes because it really levels the college recruiting playing field for all fastpitch players! There are so many talented players out there today that just do not get the opportunity to be seen by college scouts. Whether it is because they are not be getting into the marque college softball recruiting events or because their team only plays in small local areas that fall under the radar.” Those qualified players are missing out on possible scholarships for college. With @RTA, college coaches can better research, identify and plan to see just those players that match their needs. They can then find those athletes in Real-Time anywhere and anytime...really easy!” - Tony Rico 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Recruiting Isn’t Your High School Coaches Responsibility

The reality is you cannot rely on your high school coach to handle the recruiting process for you.  Recruiting is simply far too complicated a process. Some coaches do help with the process because they care about their athletes.  Some coaches are very good with the recruiting process.  Some coaches will tell you they are very good with the recruiting process but don’t truly know enough to help maximize your college sports recruiting success. But the fact of the matter is that most high school coaches do not have the time to get a student-athlete recruited, let alone a handful of them.  These coaches have morning workouts, a full-time job, practice after school, film to watch in preparation for their next game, and most of them have families to go home to at the end of the day.  There are 1,700 college

Not only do coaches not have the time, but they don’t have the connections to maximize each student-athlete’s recruiting experience.  A high school coach typically has five or 10 connections at the collegiate level.  Usually these are smaller schools, probably local, or even the coach’s alma mater.  How is a student-athlete supposed to maximize their exposure when they may be getting seen by five or 10 college coaches when they should be exposed to a minimum of 100.
So what can your coach do?
Your high school coach is an important contributor to your development as an athlete, but the coach is also the most important character reference that you have.
College coaches rely on high school coaches to provide honest evaluations of a player’s attitude and work ethic. A college coach may even ask if an athlete’s parents are easy to deal with. Your high school coach’s honest response to these concerns can be a big factor in the recruiting process.
There are several ways to foster an excellent relationship with your coach.
  • Communicate with your coach from day one. Meet with the coach and find out what he/she expects from you.
  • If you have a misunderstanding or disagreement with your coach, ask to meet with them right away to clear it up. Being proactive shows your maturity level and character.
  • Respect your coach. Mutual respect can help ensure positive interaction during your high school athletic career.

Recruiting 101 - lesson #8

Learn how an RTA athletic profile can get a college coach to come out and see you play!

Click the link:

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