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How To: Ace Your First Conversation With A Coach

What To Expect

These conversations with coaches are there for the coach to learn as much as possible about you in order to figure out whether you are a good fit for them and if they are a good fit for you.
This will be a genuine conversation of getting to know one another and the institution; very straightforward and no trick questions.

Below we will discuss the four things you should or shouldn’t do to ace your first conversation with a college coach.

Be Prepared

Practice

Before your first conversation with an interested coach, role play with a friend or family member. Have them play the part of the coach, and make sure they ask you tough questions (for potential questions, see below) you might have to answer when talking to the coach; if you can’t role-play, practice in front of a mirror.

Questions College Coaches May Ask

– How are you doing in school? What are your GPA and test scores?
– What majors are you interested in?
– What are your strengths and weaknesses as a player?
– What are you currently working on improving?
– What kind of training have you been doing?
– What are your goals?
– Why are you interested in my school and/or program?
– What are your interests or hobbies outside of your sport?
– What other schools are you interested in?
– What other schools are recruiting you?
– Why do you think you can play at this level?
– What makes you a good fit for the team?

Research

Do your research about the school and program before your conversation, so you have a few key facts at hand to show that you are genuinely interested in their program. You can visit the school’s website for information about the school and its academic programs and its athletics website to learn more about the coaching staff and the team. Check their current record and read the latest game recaps or press releases if the team is in season.

Some questions will likely arise during your research; write them down. If you need help coming up with questions to ask, you will find some example questions throughout this article.

During your call, have a couple of different tabs for reference open, i.e., the school’s website, some articles about the team and the team roster, as well as your phone call script and your list of questions for the coach. However, suppose the computer poses a distraction. In that case, it’s best to prepare your thoughts by writing them down or with additional practice.

Location

If your first conversation is a (video)call, find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.

“Coaches want to have a good, personal conversation. If your family wants to listen, that’s fine, but make sure that you aren’t distracted.”

Christopher Sartorius (division 1 men’s and women’s basketball coach)

If you feel more comfortable taking the call alone, let your family know you need to be in a quiet room without distractions and fill them in on the call afterward.

Athletics

When the coach introduces their program, take notes and ask the questions you have prepared as needed. If you need help coming up with questions to ask, check out a few below.

Questions to Ask College Coaches About Athletics

– What does a typical day/week/season look like?
– How often & where does the team practice?
– What’s the atmosphere like (practice/gameday)?
– What are your expectations of your student-athletes in the off-season?
– Does the team travel? How does the team travel? Will I travel with the team my freshman year?
– What goals do you have for the team?
– What’s your philosophy/goal?
– Where do you see me fit in?

Questions to Ask College Coaches About the Recruiting Process

– How is your recruiting class looking for my graduation year?
– What’s the best way to update you on my progress?
– Are there any camps, combines or showcases you’d recommend I go to?
– Where do you typically evaluate recruits?
– Are athletes on your team allowed to participate in more than one sport?
– If I come to your school for an unofficial visit, would you be able to meet with me?
– How many players for my position will you be recruiting in my graduation year?

School

When the coach introduces the school, take notes and ask the questions you have prepared as needed. If you need help coming up with questions, check out a few regarding academics, cultural fit, and social fit below.

Questions to Ask College Coaches About Academics

– Do you offer majors I’m interested in?
– What are the most popular majors for athletes on your team?
– Are there any specific majors that would interfere with the athletic schedule?
– Does your team have an academic advisor and/or tutoring available to athletes?
– Are team study halls required or recommended?
– What are academic goals I should strive for to meet the criteria of your university?
– What is the typical class size on campus?
– What are the admissions requirements for the school and/or for student-athletes?
– Do most of your players graduate in four years?

Questions to Ask College Coaches About Cultural/Social Fit

– How do the athletes on your team interact with each other?
– Does the team hang out together outside of practice and games?
– What is housing like on campus? Is the housing situation different for athletes?
– Are student-athletes required to live on campus all four years they attend school?
– Do teammates typically live together on or off-campus?
– Do athletes stay on campus during the summer? What about winter or spring breaks?
– Is it realistic to have a part-time job, volunteer, or get involved with other clubs during the off-season?
– What are the biggest challenges your student-athletes face at school?
– What is campus life like?
– Are there any religious requirements that I need to meet?
– Does the school offer meal plans for athletes?

Scholarships

Do NOT bring up scholarships!

Some coaches don’t like talking about the budget during the first conversation.
However, if the coach brings it up, feel free to talk about it and ask your prepared questions. If you need help coming up with questions to ask, check out a few below.

Questions to Ask College Coaches About Scholarships and Financial Aid

– What does it take to earn a scholarship with your program?
– How many scholarships do you have available for my graduation year?
– What happens if I get injured? Will I lose my scholarship?
– If freshmen aren’t eligible for scholarships, will I be eligible for scholarship money next year?
– Are there work-study programs I can sign up for? Is it possible for student-athletes to have a part-time job or work-study position on campus?
– What type of academic and athletic scholarships are available for student-athletes? Are my GPA and test scores on track to qualify for a merit-based scholarship or grant?
– Does the school offer additional financial aid?
– Who is the main point of contact in the financial aid office that my family can talk to if we have more questions about paying for college?

Things To Avoid Asking College Coaches

We have already discussed questions you can and should ask college coaches during your first conversation. However, as we have already mentioned earlier, there are topics you should avoid when starting to talk to a coach.

Scholarships

As we have already mentioned, you should avoid asking for a scholarship. Instead, you need to develop a relationship with the coach before you start asking them for money. A way to ease into the conversation could include asking questions about academic scholarships, financial aid, and what it takes to earn a spot on the team or qualify for an athletic scholarship.

Questions You Can Research on Your Own

Avoid asking anything you can figure out with a quick google search, i.e., what division a program is or what conference they compete in.

⬇️ Check out the video below for more questions to avoid ⬇️

Be Yourself and Have Fun

While this may seem a lot, the coach will often carry the conversation and tell you all about their program, so don’t worry, be yourself, and enjoy the ride!