The College Sports Dream & Covid19

Today I want to touch base on the college sports dream & COVID-19. It seems to be all the conversations are about, and understandably, but what I really want to touch on is, what does this mean for your athletes college sports dream? First, what I want to start with is, if your athlete is still quite young, the journey should remain the same as first planned. What you need to ensure is your athlete’s not putting too much focus on the news and they are still focused on moving forward at all times, going toward the college sports dream, and hitting those small achievable steps along the way.

Don’t Freak Them Out

We don’t want them to start freaking out about uncertain times because that can really start to affect their mental health. It’s really important right now that you look at the college sports dream the same as you always have. There are still so many options and different experiences, that will help your athletes strengthen their campaigns. Even though things look different, there’s still things they can be doing to work towards that same end goal. It’s an opportunity to continue practicing, improve, and gain new skills and experiences, that are going to look good on their sports portfolios, resumes, and college applications, and will help them during their interviews. If your athlete is due to start in 2021 or 2022, there are still options for your athletes.

Consider A Gap Year

What I’m finding a lot at the moment is many students are deciding to take a gap year, which it really depends on personal circumstances, but I think it’s not such a bad option at this point. If that’s something your athlete is considering, you are going to need to check with their chosen college or university, around rules and regulations and what they’re going to need to be doing throughout that gap year to ensure they remain eligible. Anything they do from this point forward is going to be added to their resumes, sports portfolios, and applications. There’s nothing they can do that is going to hurt their college sports dream, except stopping, giving up, and not continuing to practice and improve.

Help Them Continue Moving Toward The College Sports Dream

The only thing that’s going to be detrimental to your athlete’s college sports dream, is to give up. Everything is uncertain, but it is what it is. There’s nothing we can do about it except improvise. We have to help our athletes continue moving forward. They can get out in the community, do special jobs like delivering groceries to the elderly or, helping with charity work. Encourage them to help people out during these crazy times. If they work a minimum amount of hours over consecutive amounts of weeks, they can put that on their common application forms. Everything  they do is going to help boost their campaign and applications. When this all started, the one thing I kept saying over and over is that this is a gift of time.

The Gift Of Time

We have time to get it right, to gain new skills and experiences, and get prepared and be ready. They want to be involved in jobs that are going to build on organisation and phone skills. Both organisation and phone skills are a positive on applications. Another thing they should continue practicing are the standardised tests. While I’m on the subject of standardised tests, and this is why I ask you not to be so consumed with the news because if your athlete is starting 2021, and they listen to all the talk surrounding standardised tests such as them been optional or taken off the table altogether, they may find themselves unprepared. The current situation is temporary. It can change at any given moment. The worst thing that can happen is your athlete not being prepared and be caught out when things return to normal.

Standardised Tests & Exams

Encourage your athlete to continue practicing standardised tests and exams, no matter what! If they introduce them as optional and your athlete chooses to do those exams, they are going to be looked upon more favourably than those that didn’t. When they resume as compulsory again, those athletes who decided not to continue practicing, will be evident and they’re not going to get the scores they want. Your athlete however, who continued to practice and improve, who decided to go against the timer and do everything they can, will have an application that shows 100% there’s no doubt about the fact they have worked their butt off to ensure their journey and college sports dream remained the same, they continued chasing that ultimate goal.

They have done everything they need to achieve smaller steps to get there, and haven’t just given up or taken a holiday. Standardised tests and exams have not disappeared. They may be optional or paused, but they are going to be back. Don’t let your athlete be caught out or unprepared. Take this time to ensure they get it right. When they do come back, your athlete will probably only need one or two attempts and they’ll have nailed it. They won’t need to sit them numerous times to better their score.

Essays/Personal Statements

Now they can move on to their next step along their path to success. Encourage them to take up new activities. Activities they can write about in essays, things they are interested in, activities they have wanted to try in the past and never did, something they’ve wanted to learn. Do remember though, your athlete needs to be interested and passionate about it, enough to be able to write about it. Use this time to find those things that are really exciting and interesting to put into words, to write about in their personal statements, and talk about at their in person interviews. There’s nothing that can hurt an essay when your athlete is extremely passionate about it. Your athlete can show they felt so strongly about this topic that they decided to go out and experience it then write about it.

Ensure They Are Interested

Encourage your athlete to find those new experiences now while they have the chance, but make sure they are interested. That is the key. There’s no point trying a new activity if they’re really not interested. It will show on paper. The best thing to do right now, three things, teach them number one, to get into the community and help out. Gain work experience, volunteer work, anything out in the community. This will show they are a good fit for any college community.

Encourage Preparation For The College Sports Dream

Number two, you want to encourage them to prepare for their own future, and switch off to negative media. The talk is not applicable to your athlete just yet. Focus on the future, where they want to be, that college sports dream. Switch off from the news, no negative news. There are many seniors who this is a really hard time for, and none of us can relate. None of us can relate because we haven’t been through it. I haven’t been through it. It’s hard because we can’t relate, but these are the things you need to be encouraging your athlete to do, and be really positive and confident about it as parents, so you can help them remain positive and confident. Taking these simple steps is going to help maintain your athletes good mental health and help deal with these challenges as they arise.

Help Them Engage Mentally & Emotionally

Number three, you want to help your athlete engage mentally and emotionally in their journey. Don’t let them get emotional with the news involving everyone else’s journey right now. They need to engage mentally and emotionally in their own journey. Encourage them not to focus on other people, just stay focused on their own college sports dream. Remember, this situation is not ideal, but it is the situation. We need to make what we can of it. If your athlete’s starting 2021, look for scholarships that are not sports related such as academic scholarships, artistic scholarships, prizes and competitions etc.

Different Opportunities Are Available

There are so many different ways to obtain scholarships, without having a sports scholarship. An academic scholarship does not disqualify an athlete from receiving a sports scholarship when college sports resume. It’s going to help them now and have them covered in the interim. When college sports does resume, they will still have that academic scholarship if they are maintaining it and doing what they need to, in order to continue eligibility. That’s more toward their tuition and education. They will have college sports scholarships, academic scholarships, prizes,              competitions and sweepstakes. Approach companies, businesses and organisations that are still willing. There’s still scholarships out there everywhere. If your athlete is looking at starting 2021, or 2022, look at other avenues, don’t be just college sports focused.

Why Not Academics?

Your athlete needs to be a great academic to consider college anyway, so they’ve got to work on that. Why can’t they have academic scholarships? They can! They can have any scholarship they are willing to work for. I can tell you that you can get all the scholarships in the world, but at the end of the day, it is your athlete that needs to do the hard work and be able to maintain that scholarship. We can’t do it for them, but there are so many hundreds of thousands of different scholarships that are still out there right now, that are waiting for your athletes find them. Look at those other scholarships while college sports is up in the air, they will continue to benefit your athlete when college sports does resume. That’s extra funding towards their full ride through college or university.

Extra Funding Toward The College Sports Dream

Look for other scholarships that can carry your athlete through until we can look at college sports scholarships again. Ensure your athlete continues to lay small achievable steps so they know they are getting somewhere. Always have that end goal in mind, but they need to know and see they are making progress. They’re  improving. They’re moving forward as they should be, no matter what else is going on around them. If your athlete is in year 9 or 10, continue working on the preparations, continue training their butts off, studying hard, scheduling, practicing, getting out in the community, and doing all of the things that are going to work toward moving your athlete forward, keeping them motivated, and moving along in the direction they need to in order to get to their end goal.

Keep Up-To-Date But Not Consumed

The journey is the same. The college sports dream is the same. Anything positive your athlete does is going to strengthen their campaign. Giving up, taking a break, or loosening the reigns a bit will be detrimental. I know it’s really hard to keep our athletes motivated and feeling like everything’s going to be okay, but its super important that we do the very best we can to keep them moving as they were before COVID-19. Every country, every school, and every organisation, are reacting differently to COVID-19. It’s important that you watch and keep up to date with what’s happening, but don’t let it consume your athlete’s journey. Just let them know the bits they need to know.

Keep up to date, watch the sites that you need to watch, and the colleges and universities your athlete wants to attend. Don’t let your athlete get consumed with it. Keep them up to date with the bits they need to know, and reassure them continually. This is the way you keep moving forward. No matter what’s happening around us, this is the way we’re going to keep moving. We will take each day as it comes. As soon as we begin focusing on the negative or what might not be, it can really eat us up and start to eat our athletes up, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Hard Work Always Wins

Find areas that have room for improvement and help them improve. Help them improve and get better. By the time all this blows over, your athlete is going to be that athlete that kept working hard. They kept following their college sports dream , and kept doing everything they should. They didn’t let the news consume them. Instead, they kept moving, continually improving and working hard. They’re the ones that are going to be ready to hit the ground running, They practiced so hard. They improved immensely. Their hard work during this whole period, is going to look favourable on their applications, sports portfolios, and resumes.

Keep Moving Forward Toward The College Sports Dream

Your athlete won’t have a gap where they didn’t do anything. There will be students who thought they could get away with not doing standardised tests. Suddenly the tests return and they haven’t practiced and haven’t a clue what to do. That won’t be your athlete. You’re going to keep your athlete moving as they should be. There is nothing that’s going to be thrown at them that they can’t deal with. At the end of the day, the number one priority is our athletes health and wellbeing. We adjust, we improvise, we stay updated, but don’t be consumed, and we just keep moving forward. That’s what we need to do.

Work Hard, Stay Home, Keep Safe

If we need to keep our athlete’s home to keep them safe, then that’s what we do. However, we don’t just keep them home and keep them safe, we keep them working because they can’t just stop everything. I thought I would talk about where we are with certain sports and COVID-19, but it’s impossible because everywhere is different. There’s so much uncertainty. Organisations are trying to put together systems they’ve never had to deal with before. organisers are working out of their skins to improvise and switch things around and keep things going as normal as possible, while all of this craziness has been going on.

No Netflix Bingeing While Chasing The College Sports Dream

I know it’s hard for all of us, and it’s not easy to say, this is what you need to be doing right now because that’s where you’re going to be. All we can do is treat the journey exactly the same, keep working hard, keep studying and training, and get used to scheduling. Encourage working in the community and doing everything they can to make sure there’s no gap in that sports portfolio and resume. When your athlete is in an interview, they’ve got a lot to talk about because they didn’t just sit around watching Netflix. They’ve got much more to talk about than what series was on such as, their college sports dream.

Take Information & News From Reliable Sites Only

Keep an eye on your athletes sporting organisation,  and applicable websites. They are the ones that have up to date news you will need to know. Whether it’s standardised testing, campus visits, online learning, whatever you need to know about, it’s your sporting organisation or the colleges themselves that are going to have that information for you. They meet radially, they’re doing everything they can to make sure everything stays normal for our athletes, as normal as possible anyway. My number one piece of advice is to make sure you are looking in the right places to keep up to date.

Questions?

If you have any questions or concerns, or you don’t have the time to work everything out, reach out to our team, let us know because we are here to help and support you, your athlete, and your family. We will find out what you need to know and make sure you are kept up to date with the most recent and relevant information. You can book a FREE 30 minute connect call with me and we can have a chat and say G’day. If you would like to book a call, Just click here to be taken to my calendar where you can book a time that suits you.

Folks, if your athlete is still young, just treat this journey the same. If your athlete is starting 2021 or 22, pay close attention to what is going on and keep up to date. Otherwise, please keep your athlete moving forward, keep them positive, keep them confident, and make sure they’ve still got those smaller steps to hit, so that they can see for themselves they are still moving forward.

Keep Chasing The College Sports Dream

There is still so much your athlete can be doing, now. I think the biggest thing is to gain those experiences and new skills. If your athlete can take a gap here, take advantage of the time to gain new skills and experiences, continue practicing the things they need to practice and improve on. That’s what they’re going to need to do to keep the motivation going also. It’s very easy to think “I’m in a gap here. It’s okay. I’ll chill out for a bit” because a bit can turn into a long bit, then suddenly, the time to take action is upon them and they’re totally unprepared.

If your athlete takes a gap year, ensure they continue to learn new skills and experiences. On the other hand, If they are going to start 2021, look at those other scholarships and opportunities that are on the table now that will help get your athlete through until we know what’s happening with college sports. If you need any information on where you can find the different types of scholarships, just let me know and I will send you a few links that you can check out, but there are many, many opportunities still out there for your athlete’s now, today, and in the future. You just need to know where to look for them. And thankfully, we do folks. Come on over and visit us in my private community College Bound Athletes, where you will find everything you need to guide you through the entire process.

What do you find the most challenging part of securing sports scholarships and maximising opportunity from year 9 for your athlete?

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