Sports are a fun outlet for kids and professionals to accomplish their dreams as individuals and teammates.

However, the numbers work against high school athletes looking to get to the next level and beyond. Then when you get to that next level, the professional leagues are that much harder to reach.

As a former athlete up until high school and intramural college participant, I have seen it firsthand. I see it now more than ever, with our lives filled with social media and people who guide these young athletes in many different directions.

The recruiting process is not easy especially for those athletes that haven’t been noticed. The problem that many kids don’t realize is that college coaches want the top athletes, the ones who project 2-3 years down the road as a true asset. Plus a lot of other things.

Coaches want guys who are consistent in and out of the classroom. They want guys that stand out for the right reasons. They want guys that don’t get rattled easy. They want guys that will lead by example.

With all that being said, there is plenty more they look for hence making this entire process difficult.

No matter what your goals are with sports, make sure you have a plan in place if it doesn’t work for you.

The classroom will always be there. Books to read and study will always be there.

If you are studious, then continue being studious. If you find your passion early then follow that.

A lot of people in your life will say don’t follow your passion because perhaps it won’t make you enough money, it won’t work out or you won’t be happy.

What do I say to that?

I say don’t listen to anything but your gut when it comes following your passion. If that is sports or a particular study in school, then go with that. Your parents and guidance counselor will be there to help the process, but at the end of the day it comes down to your happiness.

I’m beyond happy that I stuck with my path. I earned my B.S. in Sport Management and from the large group of people I graduated with in May of 2013, I’m one of the few that fought through to be where I’m at in sports, my biggest passion.

I’ve been a writer dating back to 2008 at Bleacher Report. I have grown into a scout, reporter and a guider in the life of high school athletes when it comes to recruiting and life.

In conclusion, when you are in the moment celebrating a huge touchdown, dunk or goal, don’t forget about your path ahead. Have a vision.

In this day and age, it is more important than ever to have a plan in place just ask any professional or collegiate athlete.

Trust me.

Jake Perper is the founder of Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.

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