Sometimes it's easy to forget that the top high school athletes in the world are still just kids.
Oftentimes people think of student-athletes as more athletes than students when the reality is that even the most mature high school seniors still make bad decisions. These decisions as well as poorly run high school programs can hurt an athlete's chances of receiving an athletic scholarship. In fact, it is very common for talented athletes to miss out on opportunities because of moments of adolescent stupidity.
Let's take a look at the most common mistakes that high school athletes make that can cost them their collegiate sports careers.
Inappropriate Social Media Content
In many ways, social media platforms like youtube, Instagram, and Twitter have made it easier than ever for athletes to get exposure.
A well-edited and distributed highlight reel can go viral overnight and change the life of a student-athlete. Just ask Mikey Williams who is already set to make millions off his fame as a sophomore high school Basketball standout.
But as much as these platforms can boost these athletes, they can also quickly ruin a reputation with college coaches.
At this point, no program, or any job for that matter, does not conduct a social media background check on potential recruits. So if a student-athlete decides to post any content that shows immature and reckless behavior, such as alcohol or drug use, chances are a college scout is going to see it.
This will immediately give the impression that the student could potentially be a problem and cause issues for the program.
Not Keeping Up Your Grades
At the end of the day, student-athletes are still students, and in addition to their physical abilities, schools still want to see that they can be successful in the classroom.
Schools have an obligation to keep their average acceptance GPA as high as possible. To avoid gaining the reputation of a bad school. That means if you are an athlete and have not been keeping up with school, the university you are applying to must decide if your athletic talents are worth taking the hit to their stats.
Poor grades also tend to reflect poor work ethic or discipline. Which can make any scout hesitant to vouch for your addition into a program.
Focusing On The Wrong Colleges
One of the most common mistakes high school athletes make is devoting all their attention to the wrong schools.
For many athletes, a scholarship to a top Division I school may just not be possible. Yet they still insist on only contacting and attending those universities.
More often than not, this means that they never get the chance to connect with a school that actually has an interest in recruiting players. It is important to be realistic or at least open-minded about your options for playing at the next level during the recruitment process.
Maintaining A Poor Diet
It is very common amongst high school athletes, and all teenagers for that matter, to have bad eating habits. This can greatly reduce the benefits of proper training and hold you back from being your best.
Most schools do not implement any kind of nutrition program to help their athletes maximize their potential. After extended periods this can lead to injuries and poor performance.
Not Thinking About The Long-Term
The most important thing for players to realize is that most likely the role they will have on a college team is not the same one they had freshman year on the JV squad.
High school programs are filled with players who think they are destined to be stars only to find out they are not tall, fast, or skilled enough to keep that role at the next level. This results in them not having the specific and oftentimes specialist skillset that coaches are looking for.
It's important for athletes to begin thinking about what role they can fill on a college team and begin preparing for that as early as possible.