Last week we went over some of the most common questions that student-athletes can expect to hear from college coaches when the can begin calling recruits. In case you missed it, be sure to check it out here.
While knowing what questions to expect from a college coach and how to answer them is important, any conversation with a coach also allows the student athlete an opportunity to find out some critical information that will help them through the athletic recruiting process. The key is to know the right questions to ask in order to maximize your short time with a coach.
Every conversation with a college coach will be unique. Since the recruiting process moves at different speeds for prospects and coaches, the current relationship should dictate the type of questions that are appropriate. However, regardless of where you’re at in the process, we wanted to give you some advice that every recruit can take advantage of.
Before we go into specific questions that potential recruits should ask college coaches, let’s go over a few basics to keep in mind while preparing for the conversations.
- First and foremost, PREPARE! While a prospect might not know the exact time a college coach will be calling, every recruit should recognize that phone conversations will be a significant portion of a recruiting relationship. With that in mind, prospects should write down a list of 15 questions that they could ask a coach…and keep it handy! While the conversation should flow naturally, it will only help a potentially nervous student-athlete to have a set of questions prepared ahead of time that they can always ask a coach.
- A prospect should never ask if they will receive a scholarship during an initial conversation unless a coach brings up the topic.
- Recruits should maximize the conversation by only asking questions that they can find answers to by talking to the coach directly. They should not waste this valuable opportunity by asking questions that can be answered through a brief visit to the college’s website. Each conversation serves as a limited chance to develop a real relationship…make the most of it!
- Do not be afraid to ask coaches about themselves. Often times, recruits only ask questions that pertain to their life and neglect to find out anything personal about the coach. It’s important for a recruit to get to know a coach (their interests, their family, etc…)
Now, let’s go over some questions recruits can ask to make the most of the conversation. As we mentioned earlier, every conversation will be dictated the by current recruiting situation, but here are a few topics that should be covered and some sample questions from each…
Simply put, academics are the most important part of the process. If the college coach does not share your academic goals then it might be time to look at other options. Here are some academic questions every recruit might want to ask:
- What are the admission requirements for an athlete?
- Will my specific major interfere with the athletic schedule?
- What are some of the most popular majors for athletes on your team?
- Does your team have a full-time academic advisor?
- Do your players graduate in four years?
- Can the application fee be waived for athletes?
Athletics / Recruiting
These two topics overlap in many cases, as an athletic evaluation will determine how heavily the coaching staff will be recruiting a prospect. Here are some “must ask” questions for recruits at any point in the process:
- Has your coaching staff evaluated me?
- Where do I fit on your recruiting board?
- Have you offered scholarships to others in my class? At my position?
- Have any other athletes in my class accepted the offers?
- How many players will you be recruiting at my position?
- Where will you be recruiting this season / spring / summer?
- What types of off-season activities are expected?
- What does the training program consist of at your school?
- What is your recruiting timeline?
- Is there a good time to come visit your school?
As we noted, it is rarely appropriate for a recruit to ask if they will receive a scholarship in an initial phone conversation, however there are a few questions that will help you gauge your scholarship possibilities at that school…
- How many scholarships do you have available for my class?
- Am I under consideration for a scholarship?
- What types of academic scholarships are available? What about other sorts of grants and aid?
- Do I have to apply before a scholarship is offered?
- What happens if I get injured?
College Life Questions
Even though athletics will obviously play a major role in the life of a collegiate student-athlete, every recruit should make sure they are going to be happy on campus even when they are not with the team. Make sure to ask about some of the following:
- Are the players on your team close with each other?
- What is the housing situation like? Do teammates typically live together?
- Do student-athletes stay on campus during the summer?
- Is it possible to work part-time in addition to playing a sport and studying?
- What is a typical “day in the life” like for a member of your team during the season? What about during the off-season?
Important Final Questions
While there are many directions that a conversation might take with a college coach, one key goal should be to find out what comes next:
- What are the next steps in this process?
- When is the next time we can speak / meet?
- Is there anything I can provide you with that will help you further evaluate me?
Hopefully this list will provide recruits a starting point for the types of questions they should ask a college coach. By no means is this list comprehensive, but it should assist a student athlete as they prepare for their first conversation with a coach.
As you can tell, there is quite a bit of information that student-athletes need to gather…This is one of the most important decisions a young person will make in their life. Get as much information as possible! That is also one of the main reasons why recruiting is all about building relationships. This process does not happen overnight, and will consist of a number of different situations in which a recruit communicates with a college coach. Phone conversations just happen to be an important initial step in building that relationship.
If you are prospect, at any age, who has yet to begin developing a relationship with a college coach, you might be falling behind. There are other prospects, starting freshmen year or earlier (your competition), who have already started speaking with college coaches. The earlier you start that relationship, the more time you will have to make the best decision possible.