As clubs, leagues, schools, training facilities and other organizations announce the cancellation of group activities for at least the next few weeks, student-athletes around the world are suddenly finding themselves with quite a bit of free time on their hands.
Like most challenges in life, we can choose how we respond – and there are many proactive steps student-athletes can begin today to adapt to the current circumstances and enhance their recruitability. For example, game analysis can be a great way to keep your recruiting momentum moving forward. Here are 4 activities you can try during the hiatus.
1. Grab your list of target schools – you know, the one you created a few months ago (here’s a refresher on how to create your list). Watch games from each of your target schools, paying attention to their style of play, formations, offensive and defensive strategies, and any other unique features. Be prepared to talk to college coaches about what you’ve observed and, most important, get clear on how you see yourself making a contribution to each program if you were to be offered a spot.
2. Watching professional matches can be a powerful way for young players to learn how the game is played at the highest level. Although most professional competitions have been cancelled for the next few weeks, there’s no shortage of recordings available for you to watch. Whether you tune into broadcasts of past games on TV or access videos on social media, studying the pros can offer insight and help you set goals for your own development.
3. As important as it is to evaluate how college and professional games are played, gaining a realistic view of your own strengths and areas for improvement is critical to your ongoing development. In the absence of regular practices, games and real-time feedback from your coach, reviewing your own game videos can provide valuable perspective as well as help you create a new training regimen.
4. After you’ve gathered your own game videos for analysis, you can use that same footage to compile a highlight reel to send to coaches. The NCAA announced a dead period for in-person recruiting due to COVID-19, but you can still communicate with coaches via phone and email. Why not use this as an opportunity to email coaches an updated reel that showcases your evolution as a player since they last saw you?
While you can’t control how the next few weeks unfold, you can still take concrete steps that will support your recruiting efforts. Your development plan may look different than you expected, but you have many resources at your disposal that can help you move in a positive direction.
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Chris Bart-Williams is the founder and owner of CBW Soccer Elite. After an extensive career in the English Premier League, Chris now uses his vast soccer knowledge to assist families throughout the college recruiting process and prepare players for the mental and physical challenges of collegiate soccer. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.