In September we launched a new section aimed at helping you step up your game. In two short months, The Edge has already explained how to land a scholarship, how to work out your core for basketball season, how to work out your entire body and how to step up your lunches.
But there's still so much to address. So we took your questions and went straight to the experts in our first mailbag for The Edge. If you have any questions, e-mail them at email@example.com, and we'll do our best to answer them anonymously.
Question: I want to know how to land a scholarship offer. I did everything I possibly could. I went to the combines and camps, I e-mailed coaches and filled out questionnaires. I have good stats to earn a big offer, but I think I don't get looked at as much because I am in a small school. Can you help me?
Tom Luginbill, national recruiting director for ESPN's Scouts Inc.: The first thing you have to do is make sure there is film available on you for college coaches to evaluate. You and your coach can put something together and send out or have for coaches to evaluate. Make of list of schools that interest you and make them a priority. Also, it is important that you keep your college options open. Look to the Division II, FCS and FBS levels for possible opportunities and try and be as honest with yourself as you possibly can when it comes to evaluating which level of college play you think you are capable of competing at. If you want to play college football and you are seeking a scholarship, keep your options open.
Question: I am 6-foot-4 and a sophomore in high school. I play center in basketball, but I am not really strong enough to play the position. What should I do?
Alan Stein, owner of Stronger Team and head strength & conditioning coach for Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) boys' basketball program: You need to participate in a year-round, progressive strength-training program. You should aim to strengthen all of the major muscle groups on your body: legs, hips, core and upper body. Keep in mind you are not an Olympic lifter, power lifter or bodybuilder, so you need not train that way. A safe, time-efficient and productive program can take as little as 30-40 minutes twice a week. The primary purpose of a strength-training program is to reduce the occurrence and severity of injury. Basketball is very demanding physically. Making the muscles, ligaments and tendons of the body stronger will lessen the occurrence and/or severity of an injury (such as a pulled groin or rolled ankle) and keep you on the court. Further, you will improve your performance. The stronger you are, the more force you can produce. The more force you can produce, the higher you can jump and the faster you can run, which will really help you in your new position. There are as many different strength-training methodologies as there are ways to run a fullcourt press or a fast break. Regardless of what you choose, safety, time efficiency and intensity should be the backbone of your strength training philosophy.
Question: As a freshman last year, I was MVP of my school's freshman basketball team. Everyone I speak to about my game says the same EXACT thing: SHOOT THE BALL, BE SELFISH. Me being me, I'd rather give a simple assist than score two points. That's just me, but my team being a solid .500 team needs an offensive threat. Varsity coaches have told me I have the offensive skills to average at least 15 a game, but I never shoot. I'm known for being too unselfish. I have a 3.1 GPA so far throughout high school and was wondering if you have any advice for a young kid putting all his effort into getting good grades and being the best he can be on the court.
Brandon Hancock, ESPN RISE analyst: I completely understand your desire to be a consummate team player and to fill the role that is asked of you. However, you should never limit yourself on the court if such limitations prevent you from performing at the best of your ability. If your coaches and teammates have confidence in you, then display your confidence in yourself by taking more shots. Believe in the tools you have been blessed with and use them to lift your team above and beyond the .500-win mark. You believe in yourself, so don't shy away from offering up 100 percent of yourself to your team. The better you play, the better your team will perform, so step up and become the leader you are destined to be. Not only will it increase the number of games in the win column, but it will also increase your chances of earning the scholarship that you and your family so desperately seek. I wish you the best of luck, so rise up and let it rip!
Question: I was just reading the latest issue of ESPN RISE and came across your college scholarship process. I am in my junior season and wondering about summer camps and which camps (or other things) should I attend or to try and get my name out there to more schools.
Brian Stumpf, ESPN RISE Senior Director of Event Development: ESPN RISE has many top events, including the Nike Football Combines and Training Camps, that are free to participants and a great way to test yourself against your peers and get exposure to college coaches. We also recommend trying to go to three or four college camps in your immediate area at schools you have a realistic chance of playing for. A great way to gauge this is to send out 2-5 minutes of highlights plus a game tape to schools you're interested in after your junior season and see the response this elicits from those schools and their coaching staffs.
Question: I am a senior outside backer and I want to know how I can get better than I am so I can get a scholarship.
Brian Stumpf, ESPN RISE Senior Director of Event Development: The best thing to get noticed as a senior already in season is to make plays on the field and work with your high school coach to get game film and highlights that colleges will want to see. Then get it out to schools you and your coach agree you might have the chance to play at with your current skill level and abilities.