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The huddle

November 22, 2017

Why You Should Research A Coach Before You Commit

Save to my locker

We spoke with a former collegiate soccer player who played at the Division I level about an unpleasant experience he had at Western State. Before committing and attending Western State, he felt like he had done his homework. He is a well-rounded kid and would be an asset to whatever school he decided to go to. This prospect ended up choosing Western State, as he thought it worked out best for him academically, athletically, and financially.

Throughout the entire recruitment process, his coach seemed to be a modest man.  Every time they spoke on the phone, he appeared to be pleasant. The coach would go overboard with his concerns and sounded a bit too polished with his questions. It started to feel fake, but there was no real way of telling. When my friend went on an official visit, everything seemed normal; the coach talked about the school and the team and made my friend feel welcome. My friend was excited about the school, coach, and the opportunities that the coach had guaranteed him.

Unfortunately, things did not go as expected. From the very first day of preseason, it was an unsettling experience. Usually, on the first day, the team would get their equipment and team gear in the equipment room. The bags would contain cleats, runners, training tops, etc. The coach stood behind the counter and hand the athletes their bags, and of course, he should know their names or at least acknowledge them. He didn’t seem to care or call any of the new players by their names or even acknowledge them. The athletes talked about this with one another in the locker room and were surprised at how cold and uncaring the coach was.

Sadly, this behavior from the coach continued for the next two years. As a Division I player, my friend knew he would have to fight for his time to play. He would continuously speak to the coaches about what he needed to do to get some playing time. He was not bothersome by any stretch of the means; he is a nice guy who was just looking to better himself or get advice on what he should be doing. Since my friend reached out to other coaches for advice, only then did he start to see some playing time. He got valuable playing time, which in turn, lead to goals and assists. He was beginning to prove his value to the head coach.

Even though my friend worked hard and proved himself as a player, it was not enough for the head coach. Without warning, the coach stopped playing him and would not give him any answers as to why. Unfortunately, a lot of coaches ignore athletes and their concerns because they do not want to confront athletes. Coaches need to communicate better with their athletes and be honest. My friend ended up transferring and playing for a coach who respected his players.

Q: What have you taken away from this experience?

A: This was a learning experience for sure. I learned that I should have researched the coach more. During the recruiting process, we seem to get caught up in the hipe. My advice would be to ask questions and use a site like Locker Room Talk to see what other athletes are saying about their coaches. This way, at least you have all the information in front of you so you can make the best choice possible for yourself.