The initial phone conversation is a big step in developing a recruiting relationship with a college coach. Unfortunately, many prospects have no idea what to expect from that phone call, so it’s important to shed some light on how prospects in all sports can prepare for a phone call from a college coach. Before we get into what a recruit can expect from a phone call from a college coach, here are a few important ideas to keep in mind:
The first day a college coach can call a prospect is not always the first time they have spoken on the phone.
As we have pointed out many times in the past, prospects are able to call college coaches at any time. The prospects that are farther along in the process might have already made phone calls to college coaches and spoken with them prior to the initial period, which makes it permissible for a college coach to call the prospect. In cases like this, the phone call might go a little differently than for the prospects who are speaking with a coach for the first time.
By the time the first day a college coach can call a prospect rolls around, many student-athletes already have offers!
This is very important to realize. DI college coaches in just about every sport have already begun to offer scholarships to juniors…and some might even be finished recruiting the next class. This has all taken place and coaches haven’t even been able to call them yet in some sports! This should be a strong indicator of how early college recruiting takes place and why freshmen and sophomore year are so important in the process.
Know the dates for your sport!
The first thing every recruit should do is to learn when a college coach is able to call them for the first time.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about some of the most common questions prospects can prepare for when speaking with a college coach. Obviously every staff will ask different questions, but many will have an actual script of questions and topics to assist the coaches in their phone call…It might be a good idea to have a script of your own, or at least some answers prepared in advance. Here a few of those questions as well as some advice for answering them:
Q: How are you doing in school? What is your GPA, test scores, etc?
Advice: Make sure you are always aware of your current academic standing. Always know your GPA (both core and cumulative), class rank and test scores. Even if your GPA or test scores are lower than you would like, be honest with the coach and let them exactly what you are doing to improve. Tell them you are receiving extra tutoring or taking a SAT / ACT prep class to raise your scores. The worst thing a student-athlete can do is simply not know their academic information. If you don’t know your GPA, what do you think a college coach will assume?
Q: What are your strengths as a player?
Advice: Do not be modest here! This is your chance to shine and tell the coach what you do best. Be informative and honest. You have been working your whole life to develop these strengths; be proud of them and communicate their value with answers that consist of more than one word.
Q: What areas of your game are you working to improve?
Advice: While this can be a tricky one, it is important to be honest. Do not spend too much time discussing your weaknesses, but rather let the coach know how your off-season workout is going to address those areas and how you are going to turn them into strengths.
Q: What are your goals for the upcoming season?
Advice: This is something every student-athlete should think about. We encourage student-athletes to set measurable goals and write them down to hold themselves more accountable. Make sure to mention both team and individual goals.
Q: Do you think you are capable of playing at our level?
Advice: Always yes! Explain why you think you can compete at their level or what you are doing to ensure you would be an asset to a team at any level of play.
Q: What improvements have you made over the past couple of years?
Advice: Focus on things you have done to improve your game over the years. Do not be afraid to tell the coach how much better you are now than a year or two ago!
Q: What type of scholarships are you looking for?
Advice: This is your chance to bring up financial issues if they will be a determining factor in your decision making. Be open to options and always ask about other types of aid besides athletic scholarships. Never directly ask for a scholarship, but rather let the coach know what sort of impact that need will have on your decision.
Q: What are your interests or hobbies? Do you have a girlfriend, boyfriend, etc.?
Advice: This is the coach’s attempt to get to you know you on a personal level. Remember, in many cases, these coaches are many years older and they are doing their best to relate to the prospect. Let the coach know more about you! This will help you connect on a more casual level and also give the coach something to ask you about next time you speak. Have some fun with this question!
Q: Who is going to help you make your college decision?
Advice: Let the coach know who will be a part of the decision. Will your high school coach play an integral role? Will the decision be made by you and your parents? Are your parents involved? This information will greatly help the coach understand who needs to be included and involved.
***This is the million dollar question***
Q: What other schools are recruiting you?
Advice: Let them know who else is interested…and be honest! If the coach finds out that many other schools are recruiting you then you will immediately look like a better recruit. Try to let them know about schools that are similar to the one you are talking to. For example, if you are speaking with the coach at Yale and you have heard from four other Ivy League schools, make sure you go into detail about their interest. No coach wants to lose a recruit to a rival school.
This is your chance to show off how wanted you are by other coaches with the hope that it motivates the coach you are speaking with at that time to take action. If you have offers, let the coach know. In order to create this type of leverage, you must have a number of options. If you are concerned about the number of options you currently have, be sure to expand your search and let more coaches know about you.
Q: What questions do you have for me?
Advice: Be sure to check back next week when we explain what sort of questions prospects should be asking when they have the opportunity to speak with college coaches. This is your chance to find out valuable information…don’t pass it up!