We focus so much on what to say or do to make a good impression with coaches, it can be hard to remember that every conversation with a college coach is a two-way street.
Knowing what questions to expect from a college coach and how to answer them is important, but you should also prepare the questions you want t0 ask. This is a chance to find out whether you'll excel on this coach's team.
The key is to know the right questions to ask to maximize your short time with a coach.
Before we get into specific questions potential recruits should ask a college coach, let's go over a few basics.
What to keep in mind when you're talking to a coach.
Although you might not know the exact time a coach will call, you should recognize that phone conversations are, or will be, a significant component of your recruiting relationships. Write down a list of 15 questions you want to ask a coach, and keep it handy!
The conversation should flow naturally, but it can only help a potentially nervous student-athlete to have a set of questions to ask a coach ready ahead of time.
Unless a coach brings up the subject, a prospect should never ask if he or she will receive a scholarship during an initial conversation.
The questions you ask will depend on your situation and what's important to you, but no matter what you ask, they should be questions only a coach can answer. "How many students attend your school?" or "What dining hall will I eat in?" are probably answered in the materials the school sent you or posted on their website. Make the most of your opportunity to develop a real relationship with a coach, and to determine if this school is a good academic, athletic and social fit.
Another point: Don't be afraid to ask coaches about themselves. Often, recruits only ask questions that pertain to their life and neglect to find out anything personal about the coach. It's important for a recruit to get to know a coach.
What you should ask a college coach on the phone
Check out a few topics that should be covered while you have a college coach on the phone, and some sample questions from each:
Academics are the most important part of the process. Here are some potential questions to get you thinking about what you could ask a college coach:
- What are the admission requirements for an athlete?
- Can the application fee be waived for athletes?
- What are some of the most popular majors for athletes on your team?
- Will my specific major interfere with the athletic schedule?
- Do your players graduate in four years?
- Does your team have a full-time academic advisor?
Athletics and Recruiting
These two topics overlap in many ways. An athletic evaluation will determine how heavily the coaching staff will recruit a prospective player.
- What is your recruiting timeline? Have you offered scholarships to others in my class? Have any other athletes in my class accepted the offers?
- How many players will you be recruiting at my position?
- Where will you be recruiting this season?
- What does the training program consist of at your school?
- Is there a good time to for me visit your school?
Please remember, it's never appropriate to ask whether you'll receive a scholarship offer in an initial phone conversation. But you can still gauge scholarship possibilities at that school:
- How many scholarships do you have available for my class?
- What types of academic scholarships are available? What about other sorts of grants and aid?
- Would an athlete need to apply before a scholarship is offered?
- What would happen if an athlete with a scholarship offer got injured?
- Are the players on your team close with each other?
- What is the housing situation like? Do teammates typically live together?
- Do student-athletes stay on campus during the summer?
- Is it possible to work part-time in addition to playing a sport and studying?
How to finish the call with a college coach
You won't have time to ask all of these questions in your initial phone call with a coach, but they can help you get a good first impression of the school. When you're done, be sure to thank the coach for his or her time.
You can also ask about next steps: "When can we speak again?" or "Is there anything I can provide you that will help you further evaluate me?"
Recruiting is all about building relationships. It doesn't happen overnight, and it involves a number of different situations in which a recruit communicates with a college coach. The earlier you start that relationship, the more time you will have to make the best decision possible.