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Recruiting 101: How To Prepare For J.O. Nationals

May 4, 2017

For those of you who have competed at J.O. Nationals before, you know what to expect. For a first time qualifier, it may be a little overwhelming. CONGRATS TO ALL!

See our master list of college-committed J.O. Nationals competitors here

J.O. Nationals should be a celebration not just for the athletes, but also the coaches who have worked so hard to get you to this point.

What can you expect from this meet in terms of college recruiting?

1. There will be many college coaches in attendance from Division 1, 2 and 3.

2. Depending on the building, the college coaches will be sitting together behind tables. They usually hang their school banner across the table where they will be located. College coaches may also be videoing your routines.

3. You cannot speak to the college coaches unless you are a senior and finished with your competition. This same rule applies to the parents.

4. Your club coach can speak with the college coaches.

5. You will be asked to wear a colored dot on your back that indicates you are still looking for a college and the color is based on the year you graduate.

6. Typically the college coaches have a list of recruits they plan to watch ahead of time, but occasionally a gymnast will “jump out” to them and create interest.

7. Yes it is important to perform well at this meet, but no more than any other meet. Remember the coaches who are interested in you will likely have seen your videos before you arrived.

8. If you struggle at the meet and it is not your best performance, it is ok! They know many of you are still learning how to compete. You are still developing and growing. They look for many things besides just your hit routine or score, such as clean lines, technique, potential and performance quality.

9. Be sure to be aware of how you treat others -- especially your teammates and coaches. Are you clapping and encouraging others? How do you respond to your coach if you fall or struggle? What do you do if you have a bad warm up?

10. Have fun!!

These are just a few of the items to be aware of at J.O. Nationals. Keep in mind these are “general rules” and there are more details involved especially in the contact rules that may apply. Most importantly, try to have fun and enjoy the reward of competing at this exciting meet.

Jill Hicks Consulting is an advising service to club gymnasts and parents who would like assistance as they navigate the college gymnastics recruiting process. Jill will be at JO Nationals meeting with clients and families. You can reach her at www.jhicksconsulting.com if you would like to schedule an appointment.