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  • Writer's pictureThe Mamas

Personality Matters When It Comes to Getting Recruited

As a JH Consultant, I help gymnasts get recruited. I do not, however, only focus on their skill level. I actually came across a newspaper article I was featured in from my days at Penn State. Let me recite the very first paragraph!

“Penn State women’s gymnastics coach Steve Shepard noticed something special about Janae Whittaker during his recruiting travels three years ago. Even though he saw speed, power and a high level of difficulty in Whittaker’s routines, one thing in particular caught his eye--her personality. “She’s always smiling,” he said. “She never lets anything get her down and she loves gymnastics.””

That’s it! That is how I earned a scholarship to a top 10 University. My personality.

You see, I had a pretty late start in the sport and was from a smaller gym. I wasn’t from a typical gym where top 20 ranked college coaches came to. I remember my coach getting ahold of Penn State and they came to my gym. They told me 2 of 3 scholarships were already filled, there was 1 left for the rest of the recruits on their list. They brought me in for a visit along with another recruit they were considering. I remember being more excited than nervous or worried; I was just honored to be there. Penn State was my dream school.

In the end, they chose me. They chose me because of my personality. I truly believe the other girls may have been more accomplished gymnasts. But when it comes down to it...what can separate you from the masses is your good ‘ol positive attitude and love for gymnastics that will shine bright!

credit: The Daily Collegian (Thursday February 12, 1998). Article by Craig Yetsko and Photo by Christa Rimonneau

Janae Ali is an advisor for JH Consulting. As a collegiate gymnast, mental toughness trainer, author and homeschooling mother, I will help you stay balanced and confident in the recruiting process. JHC helps families navigate the recruiting process from start to finish with a proven track record of placing over 80% of their clients to college teams in both artistic gymnasts and Acrobatics & Tumbling. If you would like more information go to


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