Being recruited is like going through an interview process. College coaches are listening to what you say. They are trying to determine if they want to spend 4-5 years with you. Coaches choose who to invite and who to pass over. They are not obligated to invite you to be part of their program.
With that in mind here is a list of some things you should never say to the coaches who are recruiting you. All the things on this list are from conversations I had with recruits. Unfortunately these were not rare mistakes. I heard them frequently, and often stopped recruiting the athlete.
How much scholarship can you give me?
Over the course of the recruiting, coaches don’t mind having discussions about scholarships. It is an important part of the process. However, opening up with “How much can you give me?” gives a poor first impression. This is not a conversation for the first couple of phone calls. After a few conversations with the coach be tactful in how you bring up scholarships. “How do you see me fitting into your program?” followed by, “When will I know if you will offer me a scholarship?” Never have these conversations before a coach has seen you play, at least on video.
Yes. No. I don’t know.
Kids who cannot communicate with an adult are one of the biggest issues coaches face. Coaches ask questions and get one word responses. There are a lot of athletes to recruit. Coaches will choose kids who are able to carry on a conversation. Train yourself to add an additional piece of information to your Yes/No answer. If a coach says, “Did you have a good Thanksgiving?” Say “Yes,” and then add, “We went to my grandparents house…” Notch it up another level by asking a reciprocal question (when appropriate), “How was your Thanksgiving?” This is how adults communicate.
Say nothing and let your parents do the talking.
Parents all think they can communicate better than their children and often they can, but the coach is not recruiting the parent. An overbearing parent is one of the biggest red flags for a coach. Coaches are going to spend the next 4-5 years with you, not your mom or dad.
“I prefer to see parents that offer advice and help guide their child to a sound college decision, but do not make the college decision for them. I think parents are certainly entitled to ask questions during the recruiting process for the sake of offering sound guidance…but the athlete should dominate their side of the conversation with the parents asking questions on anything the athlete missed or on any answers they didn’t understand.” Coach Rick Hammer, Edinboro University
Avoid these three mistakes like the plague. If you want to be remembered by a coach and stand out from a thousand other prospects, see my definitive list to keep you from disappearing, going unnoticed, and being forgotten: How can I get a college coach to notice me?
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P.S. This post originally appeared in our email series where I included 7 things you never say to a coach. If you want to receive emails like this and other exclusive content, sign up for our email list. As a bonus you will receive a free PDF, “6 Reasons a College Coach Won’t Give You a Scholarship”