Did you get a late start or still growing? Here’s how to succeed in recruiting if you’re a late bloomer.

Former San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan started out wanting to be a swimmer. But when a hurricane destroyed the only Olympic-size swimming pool in his homeland in the Virgin Islands, Duncan took up basketball in 9th grade. Four years and nine inches of growth later, he signed to play basketball for Wake Forest. Four years after that, Duncan was drafted by the Spurs, where he won five NBA Championships, the league MVP award twice, was a three-time NBA Finals MVP, and was named to the NBA All-Star team 15 times. 

While stunning growth and development spurts like Tim Duncan’s are rare, many athletes in every sport do see their size, strength, and skill increase notably by their junior or senior years of high school. The problem is, by that point, you may fall into the category of “late bloomer” and thus, may be overlooked in the recruiting process. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to show off your growth, shoot up recruiting lists, and demonstrate that, while you’re a late bloomer, you’ve got the size and skills to be a boon to any team.

Use Your Highlight Video To Highlight Your Growth

If you have footage from your freshman year, compile your highlight video chronologically so that it clearly demonstrates your growth and improvement from 9th grade to the present. Make sure anyone viewing your highlight video can see your progress and growth over time. Doing so can help you go from an overlooked prospect to a prime recruit. If you update your video with more recent footage of you that shows your growth, let coaches know when you do so you can further demonstrate your development.

Have Your Coaches Make Recommendations

No one is more familiar with your growth physically and the development of your skills than your coaches. They’ve seen that growth up close and they’ve seen the work you’ve put in to enhance your skills. Their recommendation will carry plenty of weight with coaches who may have overlooked you previously.

Practice, Practice, Practice

The old adage says that to truly master something, you need to do it at least one thousand times. In other words, practice, practice, practice. Whether it’s shooting a particular shot, pitching, passing, route running, or perfecting a defensive move, nothing will improve your skills more than repetition and practice. It may require hiring a personal trainer, the encouragement of a regular workout partner, or extra reps before and after practice. However it needs to be done, make sure you put in the work and the practice to maximize your skill development potential. 

Make The Grade

If you’ve got good grades, you can be a late bloomer and still get a scholarship… an academic scholarship. In fact, having the ability to earn an academic scholarship will make you a more attractive recruiting candidate to many coaches. While your late bloomer status may make you a risky signing to many coaches, the fact that you can cover your schooling via an academic scholarship reduces that “risk” significantly. Then, if you continue to grow and develop, that academic scholarship might turn into an athletic scholarship. Make sure your grades can make the cut!

Display Your Desire

Is it a game you enjoy or is your sport just a grind? Coaches will look for a positive attitude and a love for the game. However, if you have a bad attitude and aren’t having fun, you may be the late bloomer who gets left behind.

Being a late bloomer doesn’t mean you’ll be left out of scholarship consideration. But, if you brush up on everything you can control now when you do fill out, you’ll be ready to stand out too!

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