By Zach Parker, BGGA Senior Coach
The college recruitment process is overwhelming, daunting and the cause of so much undo stress for the average junior golfer. Playing collegiate golf is attainable and an opportunity that junior golfers who wish to pursue should do so with “optimistic”, but also “realistic” expectations. The undo stress often comes as a result of not having “realistic” expectations and a clear strategy and plan in the college recruiting process. One key to creating opportunities and fulfilling dreams of playing at the next level starts by understanding how to reverse engineer the coaches, programs and universities.
Each and everyday college coaches are inundated with emails and thus thousands of students are vying for limited spots. It is not a secret that coaches are looking to fill their rosters with the best available juniors however, in my experience, the average player sends an email and reinforces how they are simply average. It is imperative that the athlete showcase their strengths, qualities and characteristics that make them a “good fit” for the program and coach they are contacting. The junior golfer needs to place themselves behind the computer screen of the coaches to see, understand and appeal to their wants and needs as they sift through all of the resumes they receive.
The college recruiting process shouldn’t start when you think you have the results. It should be a goal that fuels your effort, commitment and dedication day in and day out. Coaches want to see growth, development and a passion to learn in each of their players. It goes without saying that a coach wants to see you posting the scores that would make you an asset to their program. However, the athlete must communicate in a manner that exemplifies who they are and what they will bring to the team and university as a whole. Think of the greats in any sport, business or skill, and each and every one of them have an identity. What is your identity? What value will you bring to the university, team and coach? These simply questions should be at the forefront of all your interactions and communication with perspective programs and coaches.
The message is that a resume isn’t enough! The coach needs to understand, see and feel what makes you different. Attitude, effort, drive and self-awareness are vital to not only succeeding in the classroom and on the golf course, they are imperative to succeeding in the recruitment process. Coaches want exceptional people with a passion to do extraordinary things, to be a good teammate and to excel in their program.
There is no substitute for work ethic, passion and desire. Therefore, if you want an opportunity to play collegiate golf then roll up your sleeves and make it happen. Create a list of the programs that fit your desires and communicate to those programs in a manner that showcases who you are, what you stand for and what you will bring to their institution; own your strengths and acknowledge your areas for growth; be vulnerable and real in your communication; be authentic; be a role model, a leader and be willing to be different. You must put in the work day in and day out to build a resume both on and off the course that makes you stand out from the thousands.