By Chad Zimmerman
"It's a game. Know the rules." This is the recruiting mantra of Jack Renkens, founder of Recruiting Realities. He counsels athletes across the country about the best way to make the jump to the next level.
One of your first opportunities to show that you know the rules is with the initial phone call from a college coach. "The call should be all business," Renkens says. "I feel very strongly that the athlete should take control of the conversation and not let the coach get into a sales pitch about the program."
Here, Renkens provides more insights about handling phone calls and determining the actual interest level of a program.
1. Find out who you're on the phone with
First, find out if you're talking to the head coach, recruiting coordinator, an assistant coach or a grad assistant. If a grad assistant calls you, that's your first tip-off that you're down on their list a bit. It doesn't mean they aren't interested. But if the head coach calls, you know there's serious interest.
2. Are you going to offer me a paid visit?
Ask, "Will you be offering me an official paid visit?" If they're seriously considering you for a scholarship, they'll say, "Absolutely." If instead they say, "I have to check with the head coach, because those decisions haven't been made yet," that tells you right away that you aren't one of their prize recruits.
3. Will you be coming to my house?
Next, ask whether the coach will be making a visit to your home. Renkens says, "They'll be on their way if you're a serious prospect. It's cut and dry."
Certain Division III conferences don't allow paid visits, and many smaller D-II, D-III, NAIA and junior colleges don't have funds in their budgets to fly out to visit you at home. So if you aren't within driving distance, you might not get a home visit. The coach should explain this when you ask questions.
4. Is there any interest in my signing early?
If they are going to offer you a paid visit and make a trip to your home, ask if they have any interest in signing you early. If they say "yes," then you're one of their top recruit's. If they don't, then you know you're not their number one recruit.
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