College Athletics: Managing the Balancing Act in Recruiting

Tom KovicCorrespondent IMay 4, 2009

SAN DIEGO, CA- APRIL 3:  Fans of Starting Pitcher Stephen Strasburg #37 of the San Diego State Aztecs look on from the stands against the UC Davis Aggies during their game on April 3, 2009 at Petco Park in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Although college sports prospects are typically young, they must be mature. Today’s society is much different than it was 30 years ago, when I was a prospect. 

Today, student athletes are forced to develop personal management skills to balance their hectic schedules.

Beyond the high school playing experience, now, there are a multitude of private club options. 

Additionally, prospects have the opportunity to participate in a variety of tournaments, showcases, and combines, which are all designed to improve the skill level and visibility of the prospect.

Add these items to the “plate” of the typical high school athlete and you potentially have a sizable pile of daily personal tasks to effectively negotiate!

Managing the load can be a balancing act and is most notable when prospects launch their recruiting effort. What follows are suggestions to help families and their children in identifying, organizing, and executing the “full plate” of daily tasks our kids have, in an effort to maximize their efforts.

Identify Your Tasks

Taking a personal inventory and identifying your “priority tasks” should be the first step in identifying your everyday responsibilities. Begin by listing your daily tasks in a simple “check list” format.

This can include everything from completing your homework assignments, practice and game schedules, and the dreaded SAT prep classes, to your Saturday night gatherings with your buddies.

Divide and Conquer

Once your priority task list is identified, divide your list into specific categories (team training, academic, social, college search, outside work, etc.) and plug your tasks into each “action heading.”

Prioritize the items in these “sub-lists” into “high action” and “moderate action” tasks.  Then, identify them accordingly. Add a little creativity to the project by listing your high priority tasks in red and your moderate priority tasks in blue.

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Seasonal Strategy

Now that you have identified your action tasks and you have organized them into specific categories, I suggest sitting down with your mom and dad and taking a “team approach” to the next step. You have a lot on your plate and it will make sense to distribute your assignments seasonally.

For instance, if you are a lacrosse player and you are planning to take the SAT and compliment this exam with a prep course, it might be wise to schedule these tasks in either the fall or winter season to avoid “overload” during your spring season.


Maintaining an organized approach to your daily routine will give you the best chances in executing your personal responsibilities with success and confidence, while maintaining your sanity!

Whether you work best with a PDA or traditional paper organizer, develop and maintain an up-to-date personal calendar, to which you have easy and regular access. Not only should you list your action items, but input or program “reminders” that will keep you on target to meet your obligations.

Developing an organizing system can be very time consuming and frustrating, especially in the beginning phases of college recruiting. 

However, once the system is in place and the process is understood and practiced to perfection.  It becomes a tremendous tool for you to use in accurately planning and executing your priorities, while increasing your chances in achieving all of your goals.


As the saying goes, “paper doesn’t compete” and the same holds true with your organizing system and the level of commitment you place in executing your tasks.

Begin by reviewing your list to be sure you have your tasks prioritized and your targets neatly mapped out in your calendar. Identify “bottlenecks” and “task clumps,” and rearrange your calendar, if necessary, to avoid a work overload during particular times of the year.

Just as you make a full commitment to give 100 percent on the playing field, take the same approach in maintaining an organized effort in executing your daily routine.

No one should have to be there to lean on you when it comes time to execute your plans, and it is important to take personal responsibility in meeting each task head on and through to completion.

Not only will you successfully accomplish the long list of tasks on your action list, you will develop a strong sense of self-reliance and self-confidence that will be “picked up” by each of the college coaches you meet during your college search.

Tom Kovic is a former Division I college coach and the current director of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he provides individual advisement for families on college recruiting. Tom is the author of “Reaching for Excellence”, an educational guide for college athletics recruiting. For further information visit: www.victoryrecruiting.com.

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