The Starting Point
Gaining Exposure
Approaching Coaches
Understanding Athletic Scholarships
Deciding on a School
Applying for Colleges
Starting College
A Final Word

Understand What College Coaches Are Looking For

We have mentioned the important qualities a coach looks for to determine if you are a worthy member of their team. One of those qualities was showing interest in that particular school. 

By expressing the following, a coach will know you have done your homework and are interested in the school itself:

  • Talking about the team’s highlights and past seasons
  • Expressing interest in certain majors offered at the university
  • Asking questions about the team dynamic and what works best for the team

 “Be personal. Know who you are contacting and why. Be prepared to discuss why our particular school is of interest to you.” - NC State Head Volleyball Coach, Linda Hampton-Keith

One question you ask should be about position openings on the team. This will indicate where you are on coaches' priority list. Knowing whether you are being recruited for a certain position or in general is also important. It is not unusual for an athlete to play a new position because the coach thinks it suits them best or because that's where they are needed. If the coach does want you for your position, but that position is not open, you may also have to be prepared to redshirt or not get much playing time when you first join the team. Understanding the role you will play early on and being willing to adapt to the coach’s needs is important. 

We also mentioned bringing character and personality to your game during these showcases or opportunities. Who you are when you win is important, but who you are when you lose is more important. This is why a lot of coaches bring up coachability. Are you willing to make the adjustments they ask for?

“Talent, academics, and coachability, which includes body language.” - Skidmore Men’s Basketball Coach, Joe Burke

And, when we talk about putting your name out there through highlight reels, social media platforms, and emailing coaches, it is because you need to show the coaches you are invested in the process and care about going to that school! Right off the bat, if you play hard to get, a coach may assume you have poor team qualities. 

“Be the driver of your own recruiting experience. Reach out to the places you are interested in, give as much information as possible, and don’t be shy about calling coaches. Again, I prioritize the student-athletes who are the ‘easiest to recruit,’ meaning that I’m not pulling teeth to get them through the process.” - Princeton Heavyweight Rowing Coach, Gregory Hughes

Another thing to keep in mind is that coaches generally want the all-around team player with great skills, a good work ethic, and a fitting personality. Having said that, not all athletes are going to score straight A’s in every category. 

Some coaches are going to put an emphasis on results and your ability to get the job done. Other coaches are going to put emphasis on your coachability. Some coaches may care more about someone who can lead, while others care more about those who follow direction. 

This is why it is important to get to know a coach and the types of players he or she already has on their team. It not only ensures you are a good fit for them, but it will help you decide whether they are a good fit for you.

 
A coach who prioritizes sports over academics will not fit well with an athlete who prioritizes academics over sports. This applies to every aspect of the athlete lifestyle, so make sure the school and coach you fit has priorities aligned with your own.

Contacting the Head Coach

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