Simple conversations with college coaches are an important part of the recruiting process. The coach wants to get to know you. You want to get to know the coach and the program. Whether it’s face-to-face, on the phone, or via email, asking questions is a critical element to the get-to-know-you process. Just remember that the questions you ask, and when you ask them, can have a huge impact on how you’re evaluated by college coaches. Don’t ask college coaches the wrong questions during recruitment!
The recruiting process may be new to you, but for a college coach, it’s part of his or her job (a job that’s gotten more difficult lately). And just like in any job, there are positives and negatives. While different coaches hold different views on recruiting, your job during the process is to ensure coaches leave a visit with a positive view of you.
While there are plenty of questions most college coaches don’t want to hear, you can break them down into three categories; “Too Soon,” “Too Much,” and “Seriously?” These questions may be inappropriate, inopportune, or simply insignificant. But, they can all leave you on the outs with a college coach.
Asking about scholarship money too soon in the recruiting process, whether on the phone or via email, can serve as an immediate red flag to a college coach. Coaches are looking for the best fit. Questions about scholarships, offers, or money too soon in the process can give the impression you’re looking only for the best offer. So, if you and a coach are just getting familiar with each other, avoid questions like:
- Can you offer me a scholarship?
- What are you going to offer me?
- When will you make me an offer?
- Do I qualify for merit money?
- Is there anything you can do to get me more scholarship money?
- Any question (or any statement) that makes it appear you are scholarship hunting.
You can still ask some of those questions, but the key is in the timing. Remember to wait until a coach has seen you play, gotten to know you, and has shown interest in recruiting you.
On the outside, this category of questions might be perceived as harmless. The key is how you phrase it. Just remember that asking questions that essentially ask a coach to do something for your benefit reflects poorly on you. If you don’t want to sound demanding, don’t ask questions such as:
- Can you return my call at (your phone number)?
- Will you get me drafted?
- How much will I play as a freshman?
- When can I schedule an official visit?
- Can you come to see me play?
- How many shoes/cleats/gloves/sticks/windsuits/etc do we get?
A few quick Google searches can answer plenty of questions before you ever visit with a coach, so avoid asking about things you can easily find out for yourself. Remember, if you don’t do your homework at school, you get a bad grade. And, if you don’t do your homework in the recruiting process you’ll get bad bad marks from the coaches. Just as any job recruiter will tell you to research the company and the job you’re interviewing for, do a little homework to research the school and program you’re considering. So, if you don’t want to hear a coach reply “Seriously?’ never ask:
- What was your record last season?
- Who’s on your schedule this year?
- What conference are you in?
- I want to major in (your preferred field of study). Does your school offer that?
- Who’s your shoe sponsor?
College coaches expect questions, but they also expect you to not waste their time. To ensure you don’t ask college coaches the wrong questions during recruitment, ask questions that are worth a coach’s time so that he or she ultimately asks you the most important question; “Will you come to play for us?”
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