Don’t Take It Personal

One of the tougher parts about advising young girls through the college recruiting process (and even college grads who come back to me for advice on internships and job interviews) is the rejection and disappointment of not being recruited or offered a scholarship or position on the team. Not having the scores is usually a pretty obvious and understandable reason that can somewhat easily be accepted by a young golfer. But when a young golfer finds out that a friend of theirs, or rival player, or someone whose scores weren’t as good as theirs, ends up getting recruited or offered then it can be very difficult to not take it personally and wonder what you did wrong.

Well after almost 14 years of working in this industry, I wanted to share some of the reasons and insight into why this might happen and how you can learn to not take it personally but also reflect on what happened and hopefully learn from it.

Coaches are PEOPLE

Coaches have gut instincts, personal preferences, and compatibility types. Just as with life, dating, friendships, and job interviews you are going to hit it off with some people and some people you aren’t. The same applies to the recruiting process.

Can you imagine spending almost every day for 4 years with someone that you didn’t feel a good vibe with or just didn’t mesh with their personality?

Some coaches put more of an emphasis on this type of personality match and team chemistry, while others don’t as much, so just keep that in mind as you may have some coaches who decide it’s not a good fit for you even if your scores are good enough, but they may feel differently about someone else.

Coaches have BOSSES

Coaches have bosses they have to answer to with decisions they make and how they run the program. Sometimes they have to follow administration orders to maintain a certain roster number or academic standards.

Sometimes they have alumni demands or requests that they are obligated to fulfill. Golf is not a sport that generates a profit in college so fundraising, endowments, and donations are a HUGE part of what keeps the program thriving so in some cases a coach needs to make a decision based on factors that aren’t always in their total control nor made public.

Coaches have SALARIES

In some cases, a coach may feel pressured with their contract renewal or new administration or alumni pressure to produce results and they may have to choose the player with the better scores over the player who “fits” better or that they “like” better.

There is quite a bit that goes on behind the scenes, which sometimes may seem unfair or confusing but it is just part of the process and just part of life in general. Everything is not always as it seems and decisions are not always made based on what may seem obvious.

You can only control what you are doing and what you are giving them as the type of athlete, student, and young lady that they are going to be spending 4 years coaching.

Scholarships are TRICKY

A lot of coaches have been in this business for a long time. They have seen a wide variety of recruits and learned how things typically go given different scenarios and variables. Even if a program is fully funded with 6 full scholarships, it’s not easy to decide how to divide up scholarship offers among the potential recruits.

At times there can be quite a bit of consideration given for who they make offers to and how much they plan to offer. And once again it doesn’t always make sense “on paper” for what you may see publically.

There are many other examples and reasons why decisions are made that don’t always make sense but these are just a few that I see happen through the process.

Recruits bring their A-GAME to the process

Coaches who have been in their positions for years have seen their share of what happens when the recruits actually get to college. They know that recruits are going to say a lot during the process that may not always end up being the case a year or two later.

Recruits are going to talk about working hard, getting better, not being drama, not being a party girl, and whatever it takes to get the opportunity to play for that program. It’s up to the coach to read between the lines and do their homework (or go with their gut feeling) on who really is going to fit the program and their expectations once they actually get on campus.

So what can you do about being rejected or not offered to turn it into a positive? First of all, don’t take it personally! Don’t let the first thing you do is take it personally and let it hurt your confidence, feelings, or self-esteem because you really may not know the real reason why you weren’t recruited or offered a spot. There could be much more to the story than you will ever know or understand.

But you may need to consider what you can do better and if there is a reason that you weren’t the one selected.

  • Did you prepare well for conversations with the coach?
  • Were you engaging and excited?
  • Did you make a good first impression on the coach?
  • Did you show gratitude and appreciation?
  • Did you initiate and stay proactive thru your communication?
  • Were you genuinely interested in the school, coach, and program for the right reasons?

Were there some red flags you may have unknowingly displayed?

  • Do you have a bad attitude on the golf course?
  • Are your goals for playing college golf not in line with how you talk about yourself and your game?
  • Were you too dependent on your parents both at tourneys and thru the process?
  • Did make excuses about your game or try to hide your bad rounds or WD too often?
  • Was your social media a good representation of who you said you were as an athlete, student, and female?
  • Are there rumors (true or not) about you that the coach may have found out about?

There are so many things that can be learned throughout this process to better prepare you for both college and life. If you choose to take everything about the process personally or worry about what is happening with everyone else then you will have a very difficult time finding a good fit and also making the transition into college golf.

Begin by not being afraid to put yourself out there and accept the rejection that is probably going to happen at some point, especially if you aren’t truly realistic about programs. Rejection and failure are two of the best blessings in life. They are how you learn what you can do in order to be better and get better. You don’t learn nearly as much from acceptance and success.

So take the opportunity as a young female who has a long life ahead to learn from your mistakes through this process and make any adjustments. This doesn’t mean you need to change your goals or anything about yourself that makes you unique or who you are, but it does mean that you may need to consider some aspects of your life, golf game, personality, communication skills, personal maturity that need some refinement in order to reach the goals you have for yourself.

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