My clients often ask what are the best questions to ask college coaches when they are going through the recruiting process. questions. Whether you are a “blue chip” NCAA Division 1 athletic recruit, or whether you are hoping to play in the NAIA, or whether you’re interested in a NCAA Division 3 team, these questions can help you determine whether this team, this coach, and this athletic program are right for you.
Why are these questions important? Because they help you stay in control. Often high school athletes are in awe of the college coach. This is especially true if the coach is recruiting the student heavily. What young athlete wouldn’t feel great to know that a coach in a far-off university was interested in having her play for his team? It’s flattering. It’s exciting.
But you don’t want to be star-struck or tongue-tied. You want to be ready to gather the information you need to be sure that the coach, the team, and the university are a right fit for you. So be ready with questions to ask in those conversations you have with coaches.
Here is a list of questions that will help you prepare for those discussions.
Questions to ask college coaches about your athletic career
1.) What position will I play on your team?
2.) Have you personally watched me play? If so, why do you think my skills fit into your program?
3.) Describe the current players competing at the same position. What skills do they possess?
4.) How many freshmen are being recruited for my position?
5.) Where do you see me fitting in the program this year? Years 2, 3 and 4?
6.) What chance do I have to win playing time as a freshman?
7.) I know you have a list of potential recruits for this position. Where am I on that list?
8.) Can I “redshirt” my first year? Under what conditions do you typically redshirt players?
9.) What are the physical requirements each year? (training commitments, weight, etc.)
10.) Will I receive a written contract or tender?
11.) What are your expectations of me as a player? As a person?
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Questions about the coach and coaching staff
1.) How would you best describe your coaching style?
2.) Where do you place your emphasis (offense, defense) during training and games or matches?
3.) When does your head coaching contract end?
4.) What is each of the assistant coaches responsible for?
5.) How does your team treat walk-ons?
6.) What is the typical year like for your student athletes? (off-season training program)
7.) What is the typical day like for your student athletes during the season? During the off-season?
8.) How important is this particular sport to your school’s athletic director?
9.) What is the current status of the college’s relationship with the NCAA (or NAIA)?
Questions to ask about sports and academics
1.) What percentage of your players on scholarship graduate in four years?
2.) What is the team’s GPA from last year?
3.) Describe the typical class size.
4.) What do you do to academically support your players? (Tutors, study hall requirements, staff, class load)
5.) Am I allowed time to make up classes and tests missed because of the competition schedule?
6.) Are tutors provided for athletes?
7.) How do students compensate for time out of the classroom?
8.) What are your policies for missed practices or being late due to class commitments?
9.) Do you have a solid academic advising center? How many players take advantage of it?
10.) How many credits are required for me to be eligible to compete?
11.) How many credits are required for me to keep my financial aid?
Questions to ask college coaches about the team
1.) Do the players on the team all live in the same dorm?
2.) Will I be required to live on campus all four years?
3.) Where state/region do most of your players come from?
4.) Are there any unique team-building activities you do in your program?
5.) How many games/matches are there in a season?
6.) How much travel do you have in a typical year?
7.) What are the most impressive accomplishments of your program in the past five years?
8.) What tournaments do you play in?
9.) What are your team conduct rules? Are they the college’s minimums or are they tougher?
10.) Am I expected to stay in town during the summer?
11.) When does the season begin? End?
12.) What are my off-season responsibilities?
Questions to ask about finances and scholarships
1.) Specifically, what expenses does the financial aid and/or scholarship package cover? (Tuition, room, board, books, special assessments, supplies)?
2.) Is financial aid available for summer school?
3.) If I’m injured, what happens to my financial aid?
4.) What are my opportunities for employment while I’m a student?
5.) What conditions are used to determine annual renewal of scholarship?
6.) Do I need medical insurance? What medical expenses does the college cover?
The most important thing to keep in mind as you formulate questions to ask college coaches is that you are in control. Playing sports in college is a big commitment. When you are signing a contract for a scholarship, you have to do your due diligence. In essence, you are trading your athletic abilities for a college education. Your experience playing your sport in college should be a fun and rewarding one.
You want to make sure that the coach is someone you respect, and someone who can train you to be a better athlete and team member. You want to ensure that your teammates have a similar approach to the sport and that you will find your place among the other players. Moreover, you want to be confident that the university whose uniform you wear will provide you with the educational opportunities you want and need, both during your four-year undergraduate experience and well beyond graduation.
So whether you are talking to a coach on the phone or in person during an official team visit, be ready to ask questions that will help you discern whether this is the right athletic–and educational–opportunity for you. Use this handy reference of questions to ask college coaches to help you get the information you need to make the right decision.