Social Media & Recruiting

Whether you like it or not, social networking sites have transformed the way young people act. How they portray themselves, how they connect with others, and how they engage with their favorite brands or celebrities has all been influenced by social media.

It is also hard to keep track of the amount of social networks there are: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, Vine, Pinterest, and probably several more. As young athletes share more and more of their lives and interests on social media, it is important to take a moment and reflect on how their choices could affect their recruiting process.

Athletic recruiting is tough – you are competing with countless other talented and bright high school students for a limited number of opportunities. Finding ways to stand out is an important trait that prospective student-athletes need to foster.  An easy way to stick out, but in a negative way, is with social media use. Making questionable decisions on social media can severely hinder a prospective student-athlete’s chances at a scholarship.

College coaches of all sports are regularly discussing prospective student-athletes that are being considered during the recruiting process. Coaches will go through the pros and cons of that student’s athletic ability and educational background along with their personality and how they would fit on the team. One aspect that is always discussed is social media presence. Any showing of illegal activity or irresponsible behavior serves as an instant red flag and almost always nullifies the student from consideration.

When used properly, social media is a valuable tool for expressing one’s self. Each platform can be a great vehicle for people to express thoughts, interests and creativity with one another. There is, however, a line of which to remain conscious.

The ability to tell the world your thoughts in 140 characters or in a few motions of a keyboard disengages the ability in many people to stop and think. Inhibitions like heightened emotions often lead social media users to express frustrations and opinions publicly, often resulting in a troubling situation. The better way to approach social media is to take the time to stop and think through your activity.

The ability to stand back from the immediacy of social media and give appropriate consideration for the words we use is an important skill to have. Once you enter college as a student-athlete, the scrutiny and microscope only gets stronger. You will be representing a school and a team, not just yourself.

Our biggest words of advice is to think of your social media presence as a personal brand. Think about whether or not your posts are contributing to the brand you are trying to establish.

Collegiate Golfing: Turning a Long Shot into a Sure Thing

Golf not only offers lifelong opportunities for fitness and fun, it also offers college and career prospects for talented, disciplined golfers. While obtaining a college golf scholarship may seem like an improbable prospect to many, with the right mentoring and golf training, students with the right skills and focus can earn valuable college scholarships while playing a sport they love.

As declining state support and other factors put pressure on colleges to increase tuition, the cost of college and student indebtedness after college continues to increase. According to the Wall Street Journal, the average student exiting college with student loan debt will leave school owing about $33,000. Nearly 70 percent of all college students will graduate owing some student loan debt to the U.S. government or to private lenders. Private loan debt can be financially crippling to students, as the interest rates are higher and there are often fewer flexible repayment options available.

Getting scholarships can reduce the amount of money students must borrow to attend school, putting them in better financial shape as they leave college and pursue careers. For talented athletes, golf scholarships can play an important role in funding their education.

According to the NCAA, more than 1,300 colleges and universities in the U.S. sponsored varsity-level golf teams in 2013. More than 12,000 men and about 6,400 women at these schools played golf for those schools that year, and only a handful on each team received a scholarship.

The average scholarship award for a male was $13,747 at an NCAA division I school. For females, the average was $14,833. At NCAA division II schools, the average award for men was $5,711, while the average award for women was $7,007. At the junior college level, the average NJCAA award for male students was $1,746 while the average award for female students was $2,048.

There’s no doubt that even getting on a college team in the first place can be tough. There are about 153,000 male high school golfers and 71,000 female high school golfers. Only about 8 percent of male high school golfers and 9 percent of female high school golfers go on to compete in college. High school golf athletes who work hard at academics and golf training stand a much better chance of getting on a college team and obtaining scholarships, and that’s where the right academy for you can help.

Physical Conditioning

Contrary to the popular belief that specialized training is only for dancers and those who yearn for a lean, slim waistline, Pilates, yoga, plyometric, and performance-based isometric training is reaching heights in many sports. Gone are the days of unsophisticated “beach body” training. Now, athletes are working smarter on their performance by using feedback from lots of different technologies.

From torquing the body to flexing and extending the spine, hips, and legs, the body is in a constant pattern of repetitive movements. As a result of these biomechanical movements, overuse, imbalance, and injury can develop much sooner by simply not understanding what muscles are capable of doing. A little education and a knowledgeable coach goes a long way in keeping your body prepared for the vigorous pounding junior athletics implies over the long run.

In sports, we understand the importance of symmetry, proprioception and dynamic movement. To use golf as an example, a tight hip makes a big difference in a person’s swing because each phase of the swing is broken down into specific angles and torquing of the whole body. In turn, the smaller muscles (such as the wrist flexors) take the load of the swing instead of the big muscles like the gluteus, hips, and core.

Many professional athletes incorporate pilates-themed exercises as part of their fitness training. For these professionals, coordination, control, flexibility, strength, and focus all play a unified role in a complex combination of joint mobility and stability. Playing a sport depends on a balanced composition of a kinetic chain of movements from the toes to the crown—a missing link in this chain can have a disastrous result like serious injury.

Being physically prepared to play a competitive sport requires constant training. We have to know how our bodies move, and then we have to understand how to prepare our bodies for those aggressive movement. This obliges us to work smarter rather than harder.

Purposeful Routines

The athletes of IJSA are becoming increasingly aware of how effort is a critical resource to utilize along their path to success. We look to highlight the use of purposeful routines as a way of balancing effort and recovery throughout a competition.

Effective routines allow an athlete to manage his or her effort and attention for specific periods of time. A pre-action routine encourages “turning the dial up” on effort and attention while a post-action routine allows the individual to consciously recover and recharge between bursts of action.

Regardless of sport, properly channeling our energy resources will directly impact our productivity. A constant drain of said energy will ultimately wear down the athlete, both mentally and physically, and deter the path to success.

IJSA encourages all athletes to please reach out to us for further information regarding individualized training to maximize the performance. We continue to pursue our mission with each student-athlete in mind: “to assist the long-term development of our student-athletes by creating a mindset of continuous improvement through preparation, competition, and self-evaluation that results in a community of excellence!”