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19 Questions College Coaches Hate the Most

19 Questions Coaches Hate Blog

One of the most important things to do when looking to compete in your sport in college is to form relationships with college coaches and continue to build them throughout the process. 

A great way to make a coach less interested in you? Asking the wrong questions.

We talked to six former college coaches and athletes to determine the questions that they do not want to get from recruits in their initial communications. The coaches included:

Avoid asking about scholarship money early in the recruiting process

All the coaches unanimously agreed that nothing makes them less interested in a recruit than when they ask about scholarship money in an initial email or call. Here are a few examples of questions they’ve received on this topic:

Timing is everything when it comes to asking about scholarships. Coach Pete Kowall explains that athletes should never ask about scholarships in their first few calls and emails. As a coach, he says, it’s easy to tell which athletes are “scholarship hunting” and which ones genuinely want to compete for his school. Don’t bring it up until the coach has watched you play and has stated that he or she is interested in recruiting you.

What to ask instead: When you’re first getting to know a coach, there are plenty of questions that should come well before you start inquiring about scholarships, such as:

Questions about the school that you could have researched on your own

At NCSA, we talk a lot about the importance of research in the recruiting process, and there’s a reason we do. College coaches expect recruits to have a basic understanding about their program and their school. Here are some questions that indicate you don’t:

As a general rule, if you can Google it, you should. Coaches want to recruit athletes who show that they are knowledgeable about their team. This signals that the athlete took the time to do their research, which indicates they are actually interested in the program.

What to ask instead: Focus on questions only the coach can answer. Such as:

Asking favors of the coach or demanding that they do something for you

This category of questions is a little tricky because your tone and how you phrase the question make all the difference:

These questions don’t seem too inappropriate at first glance. But each of them is essentially telling the coach to do something that will benefit the athlete. Instead, consider how to phrase the question in a way that puts the burden of the work on you, the recruit.

What to ask instead: Rather than telling the coach to come to your next tournament, ask them what tournaments and showcases they’ll be at or if you can send them your schedule via email. Then, you can plan your schedule around theirs, rather than the other way around. Similarly, avoid telling the coach to call you back. The better approach is to let the coach know when you’ll be calling them. Remember: You’re still trying to show the coach why they would want you on their team. 

The final question in this grouping might be the biggest head scratcher of them all. But Coach Ellen Brown points out that asking what a coach looks for in a recruit is too broad. Instead, focus on asking what the coach is looking for in your position.