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Why You Need To Understand The Evolution of Role Players in College Sports
The reason I wanted to describe the evolution of role players (last page) is because college coaches NEED them desperately to build and maintain a successful program. They are their program’s lifeblood and coaches are searching for them constantly. Coaches also value role players differently. Some coaches want a great leader who is selfless and will do anything for his teammates, other want players who are extremely coachable and will follow the systems and strategy to a T, another might need an impeccable student, while others might be looking for a player who does one thing really well (even if they lack heavily in other areas). You really never know unless you ask. So make sure you leverage your personal connections and find out as much as you can about the mentality of the coach and the culture of the program. Finally, even if you do not have a personal connection you can find a way to connect with current or recently graduated players to find the answer to these questions. If you can’t get a phone number or email, send a friendly note via Facebook or Linkedin and tell them who you are and what you are looking to find out. People like helping people, especially athletes and as I have said before it will only give you more information, build new relationships and broaden your network.
“College coaches NEED them desperately to build and maintain a successful program. They are their program’s lifeblood and coaches are searching for them constantly.”
Most of you might be thinking, “I am going to be the GO TO PLAYER in college as well, not a role player!” I hope you have this mentality. It shows that you are a competitive person and have great pride in your ability. I hope you join a team and are the best player or athlete they have ever seen at the program. I hope you win Team MVP all 4 years and become an All-American.
The focus of this guide, though, is to be as relevant as possible to coaches and schools you want to target and get their attention in your recruiting. This is the primary goal: joining the program at the school you want. I could be wrong but I don’t believe telling coaches how great you are is the best strategy. This is what everyone else is doing and you need to differentiate yourself, be relevant to the coaching staff and send the proper messages to get their attention. In addition, putting in the extra work in the beginning to find out what a specific coach is looking for will help you find a better match for yourself which increases your chances of being happy in a program and wanting to play all four years.
The Evolution and Your Career
The evolution I mention above is something you should keep in the back of your mind. I hope that you are ultra-successful right out of the gate as a freshman but for most this is not the case and for the first time in their life some athletes realize they are not one of the better athletes and can’t handle it mentally. It happens every year, at every program in college sports and some players give up on a season (sometimes a career) because they can’t handle this new situation. They start making excuses, blaming the coaches and their work ethic and focus suffers. This is what separates many college athletes from the people that don’t make it. The character to realize that this is not going to be easy (nothing worth anything ever is), that you may have to change your role and stay as positive as possible no matter where you stand on the team or how much playing time you are getting. Understand your college career is a marathon and not a sprint. There will be ups and downs, day to day and month to month but the ability to remain focused, work hard and smart everyday and maintain a positive outlook is crucial to being successful.