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The huddle

February 22, 2019

YOUR COACHES ARE LEAVING! The Athlete’s Guide to New Coaches

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The NCAA is continuously changing, especially for recruits. The coaches are not so concrete in their positions as some might think. Whether the coaches are Division I, II, or III, there is always a chance they could be leaving the following year. I put together an athlete’s guide on what to do when the coaches who recruited you are no longer at your school of choice.

You just committed to the school of your dreams; the facilities are fantastic and the coaches – aside from the apparel you will be getting – are the best part. The decision was difficult, but your future coaches made it a lot easier for you. Your dazzling personality and skills impressed them so much that they recruited you heavily and they did everything they could to land you.

You are counting down the days to every milestone ahead of you, signing your National Letter Intent (NLI), getting to know your team, move-in day, and even the first team practice. You are set to sign your NLI in a week or two, and then out of the blue the coaching staff calls to let you know they will be leaving, and a new coaching staff will be taking over. You are in shock, and then you start to feel all different emotions run through your body. What do you do? The truth is, this happens more than you would think and many athletes have been stuck in this precarious situation. The one question that comes to these recruit’s minds is what do I do now?

Some athletes choose to stay at their respective schools, ignoring the impact the original coaching staff had on their decision and they end up loving their college experience. For most athletes, this is the best-case scenario, but this does not always happen. A new coaching staff means an entirely new group of people you will have to impress, this will be like going through recruitment process all over again. Should you give the new coaches a gamble and stay at your dream school or follow your original coaches potentially giving up your dream university? What if the new coaches bring other potential recruits that they have hand-picked themselves? How are you supposed to feel? I put together something that I thought could help; A former “switched-coached” athlete’s guide:

BREATHE

You have worked the majority of your life to get where you are now which is a massive accomplishment, so pat yourself on the back for that one. Let’s just say.. only 7% of high school athletes (about 1 in 14) went on to play a varsity sport in college and less than 2% of high school athletes (1 in 54) went on to play at NCAA Division I schools. The new coaches do not know you as well as the others did, but your talent, hard work, and passion is something they know you possess because you would have never made it this far. Good news is.. you have options, so you can breathe.

COMMUNICATE

The first thing on your new coaches’ agenda is meeting and talking to their future team. Your new coaches want to know you just as much as you want to know them. Some things that the new coaches might be interested in is what made you stand out to the previous coaches, what makes you tick as a stand out athlete. What you need to do is communicate with your new coaches and ask questions. You have already been through the recruiting process so now let’s put that experience into motion again. You should make it a priority to ask them what they look for in a recruit and a teammate, every coach’s take on a quality recruit is different. The more open and interested you are, the more receptive they will be to you.

ACCEPT

Realize and accept that if you stay with the school that you have committed to, you have new coaches. You cannot do anything to change it. Do not be rude or defiant to them especially if they do not treat you like your previous coaches did. Every coach has their own style of communicating so do not expect them to do everything the same way as the previous coaches. You should be open to the way they communicate and conduct their team.

RESEARCH

Your new coaches will be doing extensive research on you, so why do it on them. Your coaches will be doing their diligence right off the bat, they will be reviewing the paperwork and notes that the previous coaches left, reviews from your club and school coaches, grades and social media. You should also be doing your research on the coaches. Research what schools they have coached, what position they played in college, their accolades, and even interviews. You can also check out their rating on the lrt-sports.com website. You can see what current and former athletes have to say about the head coach. Because you have not developed the relationship you had with your previous coaches, research is an excellent way to learn more about their skill set, expectations, how they manage and develop their team.

PERFORM

In addition to the research your new coaches will be conducting on you, they will also be attending your games and competitions to evaluate your level of play. The new coaches need a general idea of who you are as a player, and they need to see if you will be a good fit for the team that they are trying to develop.  You probably thought some of the pressure was over once you committed, but impressing new coaches again can be intimidating but remember, you were talented enough to be offered a scholarship in the first place.

EXPLORE

You should continue to explore your options. If you decide to leave school, you will need to think about what you want to do next. The questions you can ask yourself could be, “Would I enjoy being at my previous coaches’ next school if they extend me an offer?”, “Are any of my previous offers still on the table and if so where would I like to go out of those offers?”, “Will there be new options if I reopen my recruitment?”, “Did I fall in love with the coaches or the school?” and “Could I give the new coaches a chance and transfer if it did not work out?”

At the end of the day, the decision is up to you. Coaches are a huge aspect of picking a university considering you will be spending almost every day with them for the next four to five years. Recruits usually have developed a relationship with their respective coaches and want to feel confident in their decision, a change in coaching staffs could cause doubt in an athlete. Speak with your previous coaches, the new coaches, and your parents before deciding. It’s a big one, and you do not want to make the wrong choice of superficial reasons and temporary discomfort.

YOUR JOURNEY STARTS HERE