Hunting for an NCAA scholarship is hunting for big game.
A couple years ago I was taking my nephew out with my brother in law and teaching him to set up for the annual deer hunting season. He was excited, and seemed to listen intently.
When we got out into the woods though, my nephew appeared to forget his hunters training, and all that we had tried to teach him before entering the woods. He was loud, impatient, and that first year he didn’t see anything but squirrel’s.
The second season he was a little better, a little quieter, a little more patient. The third year it got much better and he learned more of the details concerning preparation. In his fourth year, he actually saw a deer, but didn’t shoot it because he knew it wasn’t the right one, and wanted to be patient. In year five, he shot a trophy deer and had a great story to tell about how he did it.
There are many things to look for when you are hunting for an adviser. Not only are there communication details that need to be covered, but there are details within details that need to be covered.
Let me first say that you get what you pay for, or at least you should if you do your homework.
If you’re hunting for a bargain, you usually get something cheap. You can not expect first class service when you are paying for stand by tickets. If you cant afford a professional, wait another year, save your money and then hire one before shopping the bargain basement prices.
When talking to, or going through the interview process with Advisers, ask the right questions. Experience. That is your key word. Real life practical experience. Experience getting players to school. If they say they have experience, ask them to prove it.
Experience over long periods of time means absolutely nothing if the Adviser doesn’t actually have real experience in getting players to NCAA hockey. You don’t get that experience by reading a book, or by going to a seminar.
There are far too many of you not asking the right questions. You have a bad experience because you tried to save money, and then I usually get the call.
The calls usually start out the same way; “Hey Joe, not sure if you remember me but we spoke about a year ago….” They go on from there. Explaining how they went with someone else, trying to save money, but found there was no service with the savings.
Just because someone says they are an Adviser does not make them an Adviser. Just because someone says they know the rules does not mean they really do.
There is a player culture, a coaching culture, and a scouting culture that is unique to hockey. Understanding that culture, and how the system works is critical.
Be careful. When you go hunting, you are not the only one in the woods, but you are the only one hunting the big game you were meant, or not meant to bag. In the end, you are the one who ends up taking your own path. The Adviser is only meant to help you find your path.
If we were to use one final analogy it would be this;
When traveling to Africa to hunt the Cape Buffalo, an animal that kills people regularly, are you going to hire a rookie or inexperienced guide? After spending thousands of dollars on travel, permits. After learning how to hunt in your local area for years. Are you willing to risk your life to someone who is new to guiding hunters?
Do you want to be the inexperienced hunter going into the woods making all kinds of noise? Are you the impatient one? Is your Adviser making all kinds of noise? Is he the impatient one? Do you have four or five years to learn from that inexperience and lack of preparedness?
If the answer to that is “no”, why would you risk your NCAA scholarship hunt to an inexperienced guide?
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser