Ahhhhhh, the overnight, or official, visit for athletes. Possibly the single most polarizing piece of the recruiting process. I have been on a few of them myself, so I do understand them. You might have heard of some overnights that did not end well. This has forced the NCAA to enforce some strict regulations when it comes to how collegiate programs approach their overnight guests. When taking an official overnight visit, there are several do’s and don’ts of your time there to make sure it is a mutually positive experience for both you, and the coach who invited you.
Bring something nice to wear
Don’t look like a bum! Wear something decent. A shirt with a collar, nice jeans or khaki pants, and some suitable shoes. If you don’t have any, buy some. If you can’t afford them, borrow some, but try to do your best to look presentable. It helps to make an excellent first impression. Avoid flip flops, don’t have holes in your pants, or wear a hat on backwards. Present yourself as if you care! Also, bring a couple of different styles of clothes. Be sure to be prepared for dinner with the team or a social gathering with other teams so that you can give yourself a full experience.
Pro Tip: Do not forget to pack workout gear, in case they want you to practice with the team.
Have an open mind and meet as many new people as you can
Whether or not this is a school you’re seriously considering, you need to give the school and the people you meet a chance. Be open to meeting new people, smile, and ask them questions! Ask them how they like it at the school, what are their favorite parts, their least favorite parts, and everything in between. How’s the food? What are the professors like? What are the weekends like on campus? All sorts of things that you wouldn’t necessarily get from the coach or a Google search. What better resource exists other than the people who live through it every single day? There isn’t one. Take full advantage of the time you’re on campus to get to know the people and the vibe.
Be smart with how you handle yourself with your actions and your social media
Other than getting to know the athletes and the students you meet, there is a flip side to the experience that the people you meet are also meeting you! Be smart with what you say and how you act and what you decide to do with your time there. If your host athletes decide to show you around on a weekend night, be smart with whom you choose to hang out with. Also, don’t post everything all over your social media. The first thing that happens when you leave is the coach asks the athlete’s host what they, and the team, thought about you as a person and how your stay there was. Make sure they have positive things to say!
Don’t be “that” recruit
There are certain things on a college overnight visit that you might not have experienced yet in your life. Be prepared to be exposed to some things that are out of the ordinary. The one piece of advice that i can give you is, don’t be that recruit. The recruit that ruined their recruiting process by getting sick, going overboard, or not thinking before you act. It is possible that you could no longer be considered as a potential recruit if the overnight visit does not go well. Just as you’re taking the visit to understand the program, and meet potential new friends and teammates, the coach wants to get you on campus to see what you are like and get a better gauge on your personality and how you would fit into the dynamic of the team. Regardless if you think that the school is the right fit for you, coaches from other schools communicate amongst themselves, so be on your best behavior.
In closing, use your head, be professional and enjoy this experience. If you received an offer for an overnight, this means that the coach who is recruiting you have enough interest in you and might want to make you apart of their program. They want to get to know you better as well as let you get to see the school in a way that someone who doesn’t take an overnight wouldn’t. Enjoy the experience, have fun, but be smart.
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