Many talented high school football players do not get the opportunity to receive scholarships offers from big DI schools, but luckily, they still have the ability to try and be a walk-on to their dream school such as University of Alabama. The term walk-on is used in sports; this usually happens in American college athletics, to describe an athlete who becomes part of a team without being recruited beforehand or awarded an athletic scholarship. This results in the differentiation between “walk-on” players and “scholarship” players. This process is more laborious than the recruitment process because you are trying to sell yourself to the coaches and prove that you’re good enough to play at the highest level, whereas recruits at the DI level are usuallly sought after by the coaches. These athletes most likely have been on the coaches radar during their high school football career. The number one question players have “How do I go about becoming a walk-on?” It is a hard process with a lot of uncertainty.
Alabama football player, Michael Collins, completed his walk-on process last year and is now a member of the #2 ranked football team in the nation, Alabama! Michael states, “The most important part about becoming a walk-on is being confident. Do not be afraid or timid; go into the process trusting in yourself. This process is arduous for some, so being confident and trusting in your ability will help you through the process and make it a bit easier for you in the long run. Also, keep a positive attitude throughout the entire process. Things may get difficult, or they may not go your way, but if you stay positive, you would stress less and ultimately perform better.”
Michael was very persistent when it came time to get ready to become a walk-on to one of the greatest football teams in the nation. The first step was for him to figure out who to get in contact with so he could begin the walk-on process. He advises players to, “Get in contact with the college player personnel, however, the easiest way to get in contact with the right people is calling or visiting the athletic facilities at the school that you are looking to play for. From there, the faculty can put you in contact with the right people and they can give you the information that you will need to start. It may be intimidating to try to get in contact with coaches and staff at bigger DI schools, but as I’ve stated earlier, you have to be confident and do what you have to do.”
Having the confidence to step foot on the field is a feat in itself. Knowing that you need to have the endurance, strength, flexibility, mental toughness, and the overall stamina to be able to keep up with some of the best college football players in the country. Understand that before you waste the coaches time, you better be in top physical condition. If you are not in shape, you will not make the cut. You should be working out at least three to four times a week, and you should be running long distance, agility work, and doing sprints at least four times per week. Michael recounts that “During the tryout, you usually run a 40 and do football drills that are combine-like, so you need to prepare accordingly.” He also states, “You will be evaluated in the weight room, conditioning, and most importantly how you play on the field. .” During the tryouts, it is imperative that you do the best that you possibly can and try your best to stand out. Make your performance memorable so the coaches will remember you once they begin making their decisions. Guys rarely make the team after the three-day tryout process due to guys not having the abilities needed, not being confident, or just not being ready, but if you are to make it onto the team, the work has just begun.”
You did it, you made the team, so now what? When you make the team, you will be evaluated based on your ability to play the game so make sure you continue to keep up with the A team, hit the gym, and you are practicing your position. Now that you made the team your mental toughness has to kick in, stay confident, and find a way to stand out. You might be sitting on the bench for a while but his will depend on how much work you put into your sport, the hours’ count, so put them in. Be prepared for when the coach calls your name to go out on the field because you never know when that could be. Be prepared; it’s a must!
Lastly, everyone wants to know if a walk-one can receive scholarships. The answer is yes, they do. If you work hard enough and play well, coaches may reward you with a scholarship. However, everyone does not receive them. Michael’s advice for walk-ins who are trying to get a scholarship is, “You have to be perfect and cannot mess up if you want a scholarship. Be patient with them as well; it takes time for coaches to give walk-ons looks.” All in all, if this is the route you want to take, make sure your confident, hard-working, team player and prepared. It is imperative that you show the coaches your best self.
When doing research in the recruiting process for my daughter I came across the LRT Sports website. I was immediately intrigued as this was another dimension of the recruiting process that many people don't even consider. My daughter and I could "short list" schools based on the education she was looking for, as well as the opportunity to play her sport. LRT Sports not only gave us pertinent information into the recruiting process with different interviews of coaches and players, it also gave us insight into current and/or former players' opinions on the coach of that school in her sport. We could use this information to re-prioritize my daughters list of schools based on this feedback. I have many friends that are, or will be, going through this process shortly and I highly recommend using LRT Sports as part of anyone's recruiting process.
The college process presents a myriad of challenges. Factor in athletics and it becomes even more daunting. Now, add the fact that you have zero experience with sports. What is a the mother of a college bound student-athlete to do? LRT Sports has truly lived up to its promise. It has kept "the college recruiting process honest and easy by providing first hand information about coaches, schools and the recruiting process." Their interviews with current students, coaches, and professional athletes have provided realistic guidance. I am much more informed because of LRT Sports! The coach ratings are the most helpful. LRT Sports interviews allow us to hear from students as to how the adults are impacting not only their athletic experience but also how they are helping to shape their adult self.
The C.A.L.C. was thrilled to have Keirsten Sires come and speak to us on multiple topics relevant to high school athletics today, including recruiting. Keirsten reached all of our students and left them with great strategies that will not only help on the fields, courts, and mats, but also in the game of recruiting. She was a true professional and delivered a wonderful message.
Now that the recruiting process and the related stress is over, I wanted to thank you for your guidance. You did so much more than we had expected. Once you started the process by matching the best academic schools first, not the best sport programs, I knew you were the one. The way you laid out a timeline of contacting coaches, visits, and camps completely took any guesswork out of the plan for us. All of the student athletes that you put us in touch with gave us a look from the inside, and made us more comfortable knowing what was coming. Finally, using your website as a resource for knowing what to expect from different coaches based on former recruit reviews gave my son confidence before our meetings. There is no way we could have figured this out on our own, you really put us in a great position when decision time came.
I think hearing from other athletes is very beneficial. To be able to learn from people’s mistakes, and to be able to have access to those voices is really helpful; especially voices that have been there and done that. It’s very important for people to have access to information that could benefit them, and in this case there are many voices that can help the next wave of athletes.
If you have something that’s going to spell [the recruiting process] out for you… it’s so valuable. I think what everyone at LRT Sports is doing to spread the word and help advocate and educate athletes on the recruitment process is incredible.
Without question would have used LRT Sports. It would have probably been one of the most valuable tools that I could have had. If you want to know what these coaches are really like then I think this is the best tool out there. I’m really glad you are allowing recruits to have a resource like this moving forward.