Archive for January, 2015



We at SportsForce would like to congratulate Ethan Widoff for his commitment to Southwestern University on a baseball scholarship.  Here is Ethan’s recruiting story and interview from after he committed.  We wish Ethan the best as a Pirate.

1.   Share your recruiting story and status (ex. what was the process like? when did you commit/sign?)

My recruiting story started somewhere around 18 years ago when I first fell in love with baseball.  My parents like to tell the story that my first word was “ball,” and that I could throw a baseball before I could even sit up.  Needless to say, it has been my dream to play collegiate baseball since I was a little kid, and I always kept pushing towards that goal. I first began visiting colleges casually as a freshman and attended my first college showcase my sophomore summer.  After my team and I won the State Championship that summer, I sent out an email with my athletic, academic, and philanthropic stats along with a skills video to nearly 100 college coaches and waited to see what kind of response I would get.  It was around this time that my family and I made the choice to join the SportsForce team based off of a recommendation from my high school coach, who has been coaching for over 40 years now, and our initial conversation with my future SportsForce advisor, Andrew Beinbrink.  Being the first child in the family, my parents and I had never dealt with any sort of recruiting since my parents were in high school, and so we knew that joining SportsForce was a necessary step to reaching my dream of playing collegiate baseball. At that point in time, I traveled around the country, participating in showcases at DI, DII, and DIII colleges, while visiting as many campuses that I could. I began to make initial connections with coaches that became very valuable down the road. After a strong spring season, I entered the summer heading into my senior year ready to find a home for the next four years.  Among other places, I headed to Sacramento, CA for the Head First Honor Roll Showcase, which was an incredible event that focused on getting strong student-athletes seen by as many equally strong academic schools as possible. While playing collegiate baseball was my dream, going to a strong academic school was my number one priority, and this showcase was a great event to find schools that fit the bill for my athletic and academic abilities. After this event and the end of my summer, I headed into the fall with my list narrowed to 5 schools- Macalester College, Washington University in St. Louis, Southwestern University, The College of Wooster, and Centre College. I was able to take official visits to all of these schools in just three weekends! I got very accustomed to long plane rides and little sleep.  At the end of the day, the official visits were a lot of fun, but I was ready to make a decision.  I think from the moment I stepped on campus, I did know what school was right for me, but I wanted to consider all of my options and make an educated decision.  I remember getting ready for bed one night about a week after all of my official visits, looking in the mirror, and thinking to myself, “You know where you want to go; Southwestern is going to be your home for the next four years.” I sat my parents down and told them that I had made my decision.  It certainly wasn’t easy because I truly did believe that all five of the schools that I saw would have been great fits, and even more importantly, the people at those schools all treated my family and me with more respect and kindness than I could ever ask for.  It was tough having to call the other four coaches and tell them that I wasn’t going to be going to their school, but I will never forget the phone call with Coach Thomas when I told him that I was going to verbally commit to Southwestern University.  I thank my parents, family, friends, coaches, and the entire SportsForce Team for helping me reach my dream.  Without them, there is no way I would be signing this coming Wednesday and realizing my childhood dream.

2.   What school are you going to, and why did you choose them?

I will be attending Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX.  In the end, I chose to be a Pirate because it felt like home.  I have always loved Texas, the country music, BBQ, and big trucks.  My parents both went to our rival school, Trinity University in San Antonio, TX, so I have spent a lot of time in Texas, and many of my parents’ best friends whom I have grown very close to still live there.  My grandparents, aunt, uncle, and two little cousins live in Austin, only about 20 minutes from my campus. But most importantly, everyone at SU, from my admissions counselor, Mara Weidmann, to Coach Thomas and the rest of his coaching staff, and all of the students on campus made me feel wanted when I was on campus.  I felt like I would have the opportunity to go there for four years and accomplish some great things on and off the field because of the support system that I had built there, and this, in the end, was why I chose SU.

3.   How did SportsForce help in the process?

SportsForce was instrumental in my recruiting process because my family had never dealt with something like this before, and so SportsForce was there every step of the way to guide us through the whole process.  From late night calls or text with my recruiting coach, Andrew Beinbrink, on when I should call coaches, what I should ask, and how to make my decision, to the team putting together my recruiting video, they were there for us every step of the way.  The recruiting process is an overwhelming, and even scary time, but SportsForce was always there to give me the confidence that I needed to eventually reach my childhood dream of playing at the college level.

4.   What advice would you give to other players and parents with the recruiting process (ex. start early, get a highlight video)?

I think the biggest thing is to be proactive in the entire process.  I have always believed that if you want something that badly, you have to work your tail end off so that you can go out there and take it. On the field, in the classroom, or in the recruiting world- it is no different.  Always call coaches back right away, introduce yourself to as many people as you can, and when you get the opportunity to show your skills, make the most of it.  But at the end of the day, don’t forget to have fun.  Being recruited is one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me, and it only happens once, so I would tell any young kid to never take it for granted. Coaches love to see enthusiasm and character, so just be yourself, play as hard as you can, and leave it all out there.  If you are going to make mistakes- that’s ok, just make them by being too aggressive. Always attack, and never shy away from the pressure.  Have the time of your life, and at the end of the day, always believe that things will work out.  I promise you, they will.

5.   How excited are you for your future in college?

I can’t put into words how excited I am to get to SU next year.  I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to join such a great community, and I can’t wait to get to work there. My clothes, car decals, screensavers, etc. are all black and yellow right now… I can’t wait to be a Pirate and see all the great things we can accomplish there together.

6.    How much money do you anticipate your family saving in college expenses because of you being recruited?

Since Southwestern is DIII, they can’t offer any athletic scholarship, but at a minimum, I have been awarded $96,000 over the four years for academics.

7.   Would you recommend SportsForce to any other student-athletes? Why?Absolutely.  Anyone can tell you to go to a bunch of showcases and send out highlight videos, but what separates SportsForce from the rest is the people there.  They truly care about you the student-athlete.  As mentioned early, the recruiting process can be a difficult time, and there are going to be days where you feel lost and defeated.  The people at SportsForce understand what it is like, and understand how to turn the headaches into smiles.  Their dream is your dream, and they won’t stop working until that dream has been achieved.  I can’t thank the SportsForce team enough for helping me reach my dream, and I would advise any aspiring collegiate athlete to join to SportsForce team so that one day, their dream can become a reality too.

Over the last five years, SportsForce has helped over 1,000 student-athletes and families successfully navigate the college recruiting and athletic scholarship process while saving families on average $50,000 in college expenses.

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Creating a College Target List

Chances are you are overwhelmed by a never-ending list of colleges. There is a lot of stress that comes along with trying to figure out the ONE school which is right for you.

The first step for creating your college target list is to start identifying your Reach, Target, and Safety (or Fallback) schools.  We recommend that each category should have at least 10-15 Schools.

Reach School

These are schools that you just might get into.  These are labeled your dream or reach schools for a reason.  While you may fall short on some of the requirements you could try to make up for it in other areas.

Target School

These are schools that you should feel pretty confident that you will be accepted to.  Your target schools should be places that you really want to go to.  You should meet all or at least most of the requirements and test scores for these schools.

Safety School

These schools you should feel the most confident about: You are going to get in! These aren’t your dream schools, but you should have some interest in your safety schools.  You should be on the high end or exceed all of the requirements for these schools.

The next step in the creation of your personal college target list is to identify what characteristics of a college matter most to YOU.  Some aspects that can affect which category possible college choices include athletics, academics, cost, and location.

Important Factors to Consider:

Athletics:

Academics:

  • What is the academic reputation of the school? Is it competitive or relaxed?
  • What are the entrance requirements – SAT scores, AP courses, GPA minimum?
  • Does the school offer the major or program you’d like to pursue?
  • If you’re unsure about your future, does the school offer plenty of options?

Cost:

  • How much is your family willing to pay for college?
  • Are you relying on athletic scholarships or financial aid?
  • Will you be paying out-of-state or in-state tuition

Location/Size: 

  • How far away from home do you want to be?
    • Do you prefer a big city or a small town?
    • Do you prefer a large, fast paced environment or small, more personalized attention?                                                             Small: less than 2,000 students

                             Medium: between 2,000 and 10,000 students

                             Large: more than 10,000 students

 

Have a question or are looking for some potential help?

It all starts with an honest NCAA evaluation by an expert who knows what college recruiters are looking for and where you stand, an evaluation of what level of college is right for you.

Learn about scheduling your NCAA evaluation & consultation by following the link provided

http://www.sportsforceonline.com/college-prospect-evaluation-form.php

 

 

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5 Important Exercises

Athletes are always trying to get the most out of each and every workout they complete.  They perform intense workouts not only for personal gains, but to also have an advantage over the competition.  In order to accomplish this they perform exercises which give them the most gain for their efforts.  Listed below are five exercises focusing on increasing the efficiency of your workout routine.  These exercises focus on major muscles such as the hamstrings, quads, and chest which are utilized in every sport.

Front Squat: The main function of the front squat is to strengthen your quad muscles helping establish a foundation for athletic motions such as running and jumping.

With the barbell sitting forward on the shoulders, and the hips sunk back far enough so that the knees are in line with the toe, pressure from the weight is nearly all focused on the glutes and hip flexors thus getting a stronger workout and those with knee problems a better lift.

The front squat demands an upright torso position throughout the full range of motion which places much less stress on the spine. Another feature of the front squat is that it takes pressure off of the knees.

Benefits: Front squats are a great transitional squat workout going into clean-and-jerks and other overhead workouts. Being able to have strength in the frontal plane and anterior portion (back) of the body is a necessity when doing more advanced overhead lifts. The front squat helps build power and endurance in these muscle groups to move onto these types of workouts.

Straight back, Stiff Legged Deadlift: It takes a certain level of flexibility and experience in order to master this exercise, but once the exercise is perfected it becomes one of the best hamstring and glute exercises known today.

Benefits: The hamstrings are not only lifting the weight off the ground, but also are being stretched in the movement therefore the muscle fibers in the hamstrings are increasing range of motion, strength and muscular endurance versus just power.

Commonly, weightlifters and athletes will use wrist straps with this exercise to help increase the load of weight and still be able to put the high stress on the lower extremity.

Crossfit Activities/Exercises:  Crossfit is one of the most highly utilized workouts in the world of exercise.

Benefits: Crossfit is a fantastic full body workout that creates the “overall athlete”. It combines elements of cardio, weight lifting, gymnastics, core training and more to prepare the body for the unexpected.

Crossfit has taken some exercises (such as the Kipping Pull-up) and made rules that cross the orthodox way these exercises are performed thus decreasing the chance of injury.

Sprints and Hurdles:  – When in high school athletics, it seems that sprinting and running around is part of everyday life. During practices, during physical education, or even on a weekend at the park with your friends playing in the grass.

Doing wind sprints is said to be one of the best exercises for fat burning, cardiovascular endurance, and core strength. A big benefit for athletes is that sprinting increases hormone levels and decreases cortisol which helps in muscle building workout regiments and increases protein synthesis.

Benefits: Studies show that sprint training is more effective than steady-state endurance training for improving endurance capacity, maximal oxygen uptake, and time to fatigue. This is because repeated intervals at a high intensity lead to the body using energy more efficiently by increasing the amount of glycogen that can be stored in the muscle by as much as 20 percent.

Since sprints build muscle and target the fast-twitch fibers, they increase your speed and power, leading to a faster running or cycling speed.

Barbell/Dumbbell Bench Press:  The chest press is one of the most universal exercises known to upper body lifting.

It can be done with a barbell, dumbbell, or kettle bells and also can be performed on many different surfaces such as a bench, balance ball or bosu ball.

Benefits: Chest press lends thickness, muscle definition and strength to the chest area. As a compound exercise, bench presses also engage the deltoids and triceps as synergists, or muscles that help other muscles complete a movement.

Additionally, this exercise also works the biceps, which serve as dynamic stabilizers by countering the force of the press. Practicing proper form is a must in order to receive all of the correct benefits.

Have a question or are looking for some potential help?

It all starts with an honest NCAA evaluation by an expert who knows what college recruiters are looking for and where you stand, an evaluation of what level of college is right for you.

Click here to learn about scheduling your NCAA evaluation & consultation

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