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What College Coaches Look For In Athletes: Part III

what coaches look for in college athletes

(Flickr – Luke Jones)

We’re almost at the end of our A-Z of what college coaches look for in athletes. You can check out part 1 (Academics – Game Plan) and part 2 (Hitting the Gym – Persisting) here.


Take time to think about what’s important to you in a school or program. It’s always okay to get questions answered about a college or coach. At the end of the day, it’s your future that’s on the line and you are dividing on the place you will live for the next four years.

Ask the right questions to be sure you’ve found the right fit.

Realistic Expectations

One of the most important – and sometimes hardest – parts of the process is setting realistic expectations for yourself both academically and athletically. Playing basketball at Duke or softball at UCLA are incredible dreams, and also incredible feats. Seeing where you realistically qualify to play and going after schools you maybe never even considered (or knew about before) is where your scholarship opportunity lies.

Be realistic. (Parents, this especially means you, too!)


Surround yourself with people who believe in you and are willing to listen and help you fulfill your dreams. Whether it’s family, friends, teachers, or coaches, confide in and seek guidance from those who want the best for you and leave the naysayers at bay.

Trust Your Instincts

The recruiting process involves talking to coaches, visiting campuses, and getting a feel for student life at different schools. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore your gut.


There’s an important difference between acting with urgency and acting frantically. Just like you’re hustling on the field, make sure you’re being proactive about your recruiting. Junior football players are learning this lesson right now, during the Spring Evaluation Period. (Hint: Tomorrow, we’ll reveal what we’ve learned about the volleyball recruiting timeline from college coaches.)


I. Can’t. Stress. This. Enough. Coaches want to see video. If you’re reading this and don’t have a reel together, make a plan TODAY to get some highlights up for coaches to get a feel for how you play. (Don’t have video in an online recruiting profile? Don’t worry; we’ll help you get started.)

Work Ethic

Few things in life overshadow a strong work ethic. At NCSA, an all-in attitude and all-out work ethic is not simply a motto thrown around; it’s one of our core values as a company. A strong work ethic can take you anywhere you need to go in life. It doesn’t mean always being the best; it means wanting it more than anyone else.

Xylophone-like Praises Sung From Your High School Coach

Okay, so the phrasing was a stretch. X’s are hard! It’s not like I wanted to talk about x-rays.

But move past my awkward wording because this is important. Without your college coach fully endorsing you as a person and player, it will be very, very hard to get recruited. If things aren’t as great as they could be between you and your coach, make it right.


Yes, you should get your high school and travel coaches to play the xylophone for you. But your coach can’t get you recruited. It’s not their job.

Neither can your parents can’t get you recruited.

At the end of the day, you have to want it badly enough, and you are the only person who can ultimately make it happen for yourself. Be proactive and be the captain of your own team.

Zero in on what you want.

The beautiful thing about life is that every day brings a new chance to live passionately and start working for what you want the most. Some of you may find that doesn’t mean a college athletic career, but for those of you who find that you’ll stop at nothing to get an education while playing at the next level–we’ve got your back.

We’re always here to help. The best first step is to create an online recruiting profile.

About the author
Laura Chmiel

Laura Chmiel is a marketing coordinator and a lead writer for NCSA Athletic Recruiting. As someone with a passion for athletics and education, she graduated from Indiana university with a B.S. in Elementary Education. After school, she gained first-hand experience helping student-athletes and their families get to college.