Discipline. Maturity. Self-mastery.
Those three qualities define a college student-athlete. However gifted, they must cultivate those qualities in order to realize their potential.
Being a standout on the field, on the court, or on the ice is a small part of what being an NCAA Division I Student Athlete is all about.
There are ways to achieve the goal of becoming an NCAA Division I Student Athlete though, and here are a few of them:
Attitude is everything
One of the most important aspects a coach looks for in a player is to make sure they are coachable.
Be ready to learn more about the game in a physical and mental way. You cannot be a know-it-all.
Remember that getting to the top doesn’t happen overnight and takes a lot of hard work:
- Want to win every game, but if you lose, know that you have to lose in order to appreciate the victories;
- Be more willing to lose all of your games and learn, than to win them all and get nothing out of it.
Have a good relationship with your current coach, because your coach is your connection to getting into college as an athlete. He or she is the person who will help make your dreams come true.
With this good attitude and positive relationship, on and off the field, it will help make a future college coach remember who you are and help in his or her decision to recruit you.
This positive attitude will also decrease your risk of getting cut or kicked off the team in the future.
Play with 120 percent effort
Your current coach will be recording and videotaping games of you playing. Be consistently great.
College coaches want to watch a team player, not just a sprinter or someone who never runs out of energy.
Be the player who plays with passion and love, not just talent and the player who makes sacrifices for his or her team.
Be a champion, even if you lose: the vision of a champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat to the point of exhaustion, when no one else is watching.
Awards or honors?
What makes you, as an athlete, stand out?
Awards will help. College coaches look to see if you are a top athlete in your town, county, state and/or country.
These will help you get noticed by a majority of college coaches and this will be the extra points on your athletic experience to get scholarships.
Have you ever been named as the team captain?
Did you ever get the MVP award?
Were you ever a scholar athlete?
Maintain good grades
A college or university coach wants to see what you are made of off the field and in the classroom, so remember that you are a student before you are an athlete.
You need to keep up your grades in order to partake in any NCAA sport.
The minimum grade point average is a 2.3, but under some circumstances the athletic department will make coaches and the athletic/academic advisers require a higher GPA for the student-athlete.
It doesn’t matter if you are the best player on the team, it can still be detrimental if your grades are not up to the standard.
Research the schools you want to represent
There are almost 300 NCAA Division I schools. Some programs are at the very top of the charts, while others are not as renowned, so pick the level you want to play for.
You also have to keep in mind that the “big schools” give their programs more funding. As an example, most university athletic departments fly their athletes to away games, while other schools take buses.
- Take a visit, meet the team:
It is a good thing to know what region of the country you want to be in, so check out schools where you would want to live for the next four-years or more; choose a college you want to represent, not just play for.
- Keep your options open:
If you do not get into the first college of your choice, remember, like I said before, there are more than 300 Division I school to choose from and at least one of them want you.
When you achieve your goal, you’ll realize that it won’t be about getting a scholarship, making it famous or being on TV—it’s about representing yourself, your team and your school.
Britney Milazzo is a Contributor for Bleacher Report.
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