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Being Different in an Ocean of Great Players
by Avi Stopper, November 27th, 2008 10AM

TAGS:  youth boys


By Avi Stopper

Every young player knows the feeling. You're playing in a big game and there are college coaches on the sidelines. Every time you do something good, they seem to be looking the other way. Every time you mess up, they're looking right at you.

The question is, how do you get them to pay attention to you long enough to really see what you're capable of? The answer is that you have to be different; you have to do something to stand out from the mass of other players around you.

Don't take this the wrong way. The point isn't that you have to do something miraculous while coaches are watching you. You don't have to have a three bicycle-kick hat trick. Instead, you should focus on "playing your game," doing things the way you normally do them. The time to be different is when you're corresponding with coaches.

Think about it, college coaches are constantly being inundated with emails from prospects. There are only so many emails that they can read that say, "Dear Coach, I really want to play for your team. Really, really, really badly. Sincerely, Mercutio." Yawwwwn. The key is to do and say things that are different. Be honest, but avoid the obvious lines that everyone else is using.

An example might be to say in an email that "My family just got back from Yellowstone National Park. Old Faithful is the best! And I just created a 'Save the Yellowstone Wolves' group on Facebook." Granted, it's a goofy example, but it's something different, something that college coaches haven't read 239 times already today. You might also do something really out of the ordinary, like create a collage of pictures of yourself and the college team and quotes from your friends and coaches saying why you'd be a good fit.

Brainstorming stuff like this is fun. Sit down with a piece of paper and just start writing the goofiest ideas that come to mind. Don't do them all, but do some. Why is this so important? Because college coaches will remember you when they are at your next game. They'll remember the funny card you sent them or the camel-riding picture from when your class went to the zoo. And they'll be more inclined to keep watching you to see what you're really capable of doing as a player.

(Avi Stopper is the founder of , a software company that walks high school players step-by-step through the college recruiting process.)




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