Welcome to Interview #9. Part 2
Following is the second part of an interview with Division 1 Quinnipiac Women’s Rugby Coach, Becky Carlson. Yesterday, we focused on women’s rugby. Today, however, Coach Carlson is giving us incredible recruiting advice to all athletes.
You will notice this interview is not quite like the others. It came about as part of an email conversation. I have added questions in that were not there initially to make it easy to pick out Coach Carlson’s great information.
Whatever your sport, this is amazing information about navigating the recruiting process you don’t want to miss.
Read on. This interview is full of priceless information!
How do players get on your radar?
Our staff attends tournaments and typically gets schedules from individual recruits and coaches.
We encourage all recruits to send in game film or links to online game film. Highlight films are often disregarded by our staff in our pursuit of recruits. We prefer full games to get an accurate measure of the player’s on field endurance and full game decorum.
What are a few of the most common mistakes that prospective-student athletes make in the NCAA College recruiting process?
Mistake 1: Being Seen
The assumption is made that non-revenue sports athletes are recruited in the same Hollywood fashion as NCAA football or basketball players and that the school will “pursue me.”
While top college coaches pay attention, the best way to be seen is to put yourself out there and initiate contact with your schools of choice.
Mistake 2: Scholarships
The assumption is made that scholarship translates to “full ride” or that all scholarships offered are athletically related.
Athletic Scholarships are not always “full rides”. Depending upon the division and sport, while an institution may be funded with a max allocation of scholarships, some programs can divide up their scholarships.
Mistake 3: Asking about scholarships as your introductory question.
Coaches receiving one liner emails asking if there are scholarships available are less likely to take interest in a student-athlete. Without any information about you as an athlete or even providing some evidence that you are interested in the institution from an academic standpoint, your scholarship inquiry may not receive an email of returned interest.
Mistake 4: Waiting days or even weeks to respond to emails from coaches.
During the process, as a prospective student-athlete, you will need to be diligent and consistent in responding to college coaches. Many athletes are involved in a variety of athletic activities outside their sports and have busy schedules, if you are unable to complete and return a request for completion of a questionnaire from a college coach, you may be left out of the process.
Tip 5: The recruit is less engaged than his or her parents in the recruiting process.
Given the pressures and anxiety leading up to arguably one of the most important decisions of your young adult life, choosing a college can be a very daunting process. However, these are also your first steps into adulthood and the start of one of many opportunities to handle things that traditionally have been handled by Mom and Dad or other family members. As a coach, the prospects who have their parents take care of all the correspondence are not the strongest candidates.
Often our staff hears that the prospect “is very busy” or “shy” so Mom and Dad would like to be the contact. While financial questions concerning attendance, loans and some academic inquiries are certainly family matters, the recruit who takes the initiative to correspond with the coaching staff will take priority.
This initiative not only speaks to your ability to adapt to change in responsibility and accountability but, is your first test in the recruiting process to prove that you are enthusiastic and self-motivated. Utilize your resources outside your family including your coaches, guidance counselors, teachers and even consulting services that are specifically in place to assist you in negotiating the process.
What are some ways in which a player can be seen by a college coach?
The best recruits are not necessarily always the absolute most talented in their particular sport. We look for athletes that are well-rounded academically, who demonstrate a commitment to the sport and are prepared with as much information about themselves as possible.
- Send the coach game film. Some coaches may be fine with a highlight film but certain sports that require an analysis of endurance will be looking for full game films to see what the overall performance of the student-athlete is like. Make an effort to find out which version the coach prefers.
- Send the coach your competition schedule
- Call the coach or write an email. Note: If the program is NCAA, depending on Division, those schools will be limited to contacting prospects until after July 1st of conclusion of their junior year. However, it is still extremely imperative to get on a coach’s radar early.
What types of information are helpful to you as a coach?
For our staff, the recruits that get the most attention are those who are organized in presenting their information. A resume of both your academic and athletic achievements is extremely helpful if the institution does not already maintain a specific prospective student-athlete questionnaire.
Include any stats such as height, weight, strength, speed, primary and secondary positions, and accolades in both their sport and others if they play multiple. List basic information like your graduation year at the top of the email. Coaches having to search long emails for the most basic information such as determining the prospect’s year in school, are less likely to respond favorably or in some cases, not at all.
How does social media impact my ability to be recruited?
Social and electronic media can both help and hurt; be aware of your social media presence. YouTube and Vimeo are great for uploading game films and can be among the healthy tools used to spread the word on your talent.
While social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are certainly ways to connect with friends, family and express your likes and dislikes, remember that if your profile is public, a college coach can see this.
Twitter and Facebook feeds littered with foul language or inappropriate content can give off a variety of different red flags to a college coach. Even an inappropriate email address; ex. firstname.lastname@example.org, can send conflicting messages if you are not mindful that not just your friends can see this.
Our coaches will look at every achievement and link about you out on the web. If you have to question whether a post is appropriate or not, it probably isn’t. Social media can be a positive thing, but do not let it limit your opportunities.
In Carlson’s fourth season at Quinnipiac, her team has appeared in 3 national tournaments and ranked in the top 5 in the nation 3 out of 4 seasons with a record of 34-14-1. This past season, Carlson’s Bobcats fell in the Final Four against powerhouse Penn State for a third place finish nationally.
Carlson was named the 2014-2015 College Coach of the Year. Carlson is the NCAA’s first female D-I head coach in the sport.
Carlson has been at the forefront of the women’s rugby movement over recent years. As USA Rugby’s Emerging Sports Program Manager, Carlson conducted research and developed plans for more than 30 prospective NCAA institutions who would potentially add women’s rugby to their athletic program.
Also the co-founder of her non-profit varsityrugby.org, Carlson is an advocate and lobbyist for the women’s rugby game at both the high school and NCAA level. After seven years of working alongside the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) Carlson and her co-founders of VarsityRugby.org successfully achieved the bylaw development and implementation for Colorado to be the first state in the US to add rugby at the state high school association level.
Carlson also used her extensive multimedia background in developing promotional materials to be used alongside the NCAA national office, the NFHSA and to NCAA athletic directors. Also, while at USA Rugby, Carlson leveraged a key marketing campaign for a funding program to assist high schools in elevating their club teams to varsity status. Carlson was instrumental in 2008 in assisting Sebastian River High School in housing the first varsity high school girls program in the nation.
Carlson is currently an advocate in many areas of women’s athletics and gender equity and is a proud member of the Alliance of Women Coaches. Her experience in multimedia development has allowed her a handful of appointments as an A/V specialist for events such as the Huddle, and the NCAA Women Coaches Academy.
From 2004 through 2006, before joining USA Rugby, Carlson was an assistant coach with the Eastern Illinois University women’s rugby team. She previously worked at Ferrum College as a women’s lacrosse, softball and soccer assistant coach in 2004.
Carlson graduated from Eastern Illinois with a bachelor’s degree. She earned a master’s degree in physical education/sports administration from Eastern Illinois.
Next, take a look at Interview with University of Illinois Springfield Women’s Soccer Coach.
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