Many divisions and colleges in the USA will have set brackets and times and distances for each track and field event. If you are showing times or distances within a certain bracket, you may qualify for some kind of scholarship. The better times and distances you have, typically the better athletic scholarship you are likely to receive. Of course, coaches do not expect you to be the finished article, but you need to show times and distances that are competitive, so they are able to help and progress you further as an individual. There are over 1200+ universities across the United States that offer Track & Field programs, but how does it work?
Structure of the Track and Field season
Some colleges have both indoor teams, some have outdoor teams, and many have both. This means as a track and field athlete you have the possibility of competing in both competitively. The spring semester is where the main season starts for a track and field athlete, the breakdown of the year may look something like this:
Known as the ‘off-season’ where meets happen at the end of November and early December to prepare athletes for the season
January-March: Indoor season will begin
March-May: Outdoor season will begin
The level is very high when you are competing at college in the US, naturally, you will compete with and against some of the best athletes from around the world. You will have regular training during the year to improve all aspects of your performance. The US college system and scholarship avenue allows you to step into a foundation where professionalism is provided and expected.
For many that compete in track and field, the hope is one day to be in the Olympics representing your country. It is a goal that many may have, but only a few have the opportunity of actually reaching. Typically, the trials for the Olympics will be held within the facilities on a college campus. The United States Olympic trial team were intending to host their 2020 trials in the incredible Hayward Field, which is the home of The University of Oregon in Eugene. The Hayward Field holds a capacity of 12,900 with the opportunity to expand to 30,000 for major events that take place. This just reinforces how big track and field is within the US and the college system. Many top athletes across the world have been down the route of obtaining a scholarship to help propel their professional careers.
If your aim to become a professional athlete, it is a great platform for you to begin your journey. If your aim is to use Track and Field as a driving force to your academics and future goals, again, it is the place to be!
How do you put yourself in the best position to obtain a track and field scholarship?
Having good times and distances in your event is an obvious factor that can lead to more athletic scholarship. However, it will depend on many factors in what a coach may be looking for. Some coaches may be looking for a specific sprint athlete or a throwing athlete, whereas some may be looking for an athlete that can-do various events and has more strings to their bow. There is no right or wrong as an athlete as to which one you need to be. If you show top times within 1-2 events this puts you in good stead, but if you are a track and field athlete that falls quite short, having more events to your name could be something a coach is willing to look at.
The best advice we can give for you to put yourself in the best position is to:
- Keep working hard to improve times and distances
- Try to get into as many competitions as possible and keep recorded data/links/URL’s or footage of you competing
- Work hard academically – often having good grades and a good SAT score can lead you to obtain additional or added academic scholarship
- Be willing to start the process a lot earlier than other sports because Track & Field coaches will recruit in advance
- Trust our network to find you the right school for you
To see if you qualify for a Track & Field scholarship in the US, complete our FREE assessment today! Our experts can provide you with information surrounding your specific options and if you qualify for a scholarship!