Important Tips for Interacting With College Coaches During the Open Contact Period

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The reports have been confirmed, deals have been finalized, and press conferences scheduled.

But before Rich Rodriguez settles into his new digs at the University of Arizona, or Urban Meyer makes his Ohio State homecoming, these newly-appointed coaches will spend the next three weeks on the recruiting trail, targeting the current crop of student-athletes that fit best in their systems.

Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer recruiting Matt Elam.

Urban Meyer will be visiting recruits during the Open Contact period.

That's because Sunday, Nov. 27 marked the beginning of the Open Contact period for football recruiting, meaning college coaches can visit student-athletes in their homes, schools and basically anywhere away from campus, from now until Dec. 17.

Coaches are permitted to take in a playoff game, and even observe a prospective recruit playing a winter sport, say for example, basketball or wrestling (Read more about NCAA recruiting rules and regulations related to contact with coaches).

Whether you get a special after-school visit or an impromptu post-game conversation, it's important that you present yourself in the best light possible. You must be prepared to encounter and deal with any kind of  interaction, at any time and in any location.

Express yourself in a proper manner by mastering the art of non-verbal communication. What you don't say—and how you express it—often speaks volumes with a coach.

The handshake is your opportunity to make a positive, and lasting, first impression. Snugly grasp the coach's hand, palm to palm, and wrap your hand all the way around his/her hand. Use a firm grip—but not bone-crushingly firm—pump three times, and release.

Eye Contact
Make eye contact from the start and maintain consistent eye contact throughout the conversation. Coaches want athletes with character, confidence and maturity, and frequent eye contact is a sign of all three.

Stand up (or sit up) straight; don't slouch. Good posture will let the coach know that you are truly interested in playing for him.

Extra Points

  • Do not chew gum
  • Keep your hands out of your pockets. Keep them at your sides, or folded in front or behind your body
  • Do not stand or sit with your arms across your chest
  • Avoid scratching your face, rubbing your eyes, yawning, etc.
  • When prompted, respond using "Yes, sir/ma'am" and "No, sir/ma'am"

Visit the NCAA website to access official recruiting calendars and guides for all sports.


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