USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from Fred Bastie, the owner and founder of Playced.com. Playced.com is an industry leader in college recruiting. Their technology-based recruiting software identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and their recruiting advisors provide a recruiting experience that is trusted by college coaches and backed by a money-back guarantee.
Have you ever been in line at a grocery store and the person checking out in front of you doesn’t even start looking for their credit card until every item is scanned and bagged? It’s almost as if they don’t realize they have to pay! Or, how many times have you missed making it through a stop light because someone in front of you doesn’t know when the light turns green because they’re texting, emailing, or doing something else besides paying attention to the road? These are currently my top two pet peeves.
The definition of a pet peeve is “something that you find especially irritating or annoying and have no control over.” We all have Pet Peeves and mine change every so often.
I’m sure you have a few pet peeves and I know college coaches do, too, especially when it comes to potential recruits. That said, the last thing you want to do is irritate a college coach unnecessarily because you’re guilty of one of his or her pet peeves.
This is Volume III of my list of college coaches pet peeves. If you’re an athlete looking to play in college, you want to avoid these at all costs. Remember, you don’t get a second chance at a first impression. Don’t be that recruit who annoys a coach right out of the chute.
Pet Peeve No. 1: The Sports Agent Parent
Believe it or not, some parents actually contact college coaches themselves on behalf of their kids. That’s right, they call or email college coaches and introduce themselves as “Hunter’s dad.” I guess they go on to explain how good Hunter really is and why he might be a good fit for that coach’s team. I’d like to see the look on a coach’s face when they get that call. Although a parent making phone calls is better than no one reaching out to coaches at all, the best approach is for the athlete to initiate the contact with coaches.
Parents need to understand that at least initially, college coaches only want to talk with two people (other than their own coaching staff) about any recruit: (1) the athlete and (2) his or her high school or select coach. That’s it. No one else’s opinion matters, especially a parent, whose opinion is biased. When the time is appropriate for a coach to have a conversation with the parents, they will initiate it.
Pet Peeve No. 2: The Stalker Recruit
There’s a fine line between being persistent and being rude. Tone and frequency can go a long way toward hearing back from a college coach. Sending a follow up email a few weeks after your initial email while expressing an understanding of how busy college coaches are will be much better received than sending multiple emails and leaving voicemails demanding a response.
Everyone likes their space, especially when it comes to someone you don’t know very well. While I truly understand an athlete’s desire to land that college scholarship, you can’t be overbearing or overanxious. If you continually contact a college coach, don’t you think he or she might think “I wonder what’s wrong with him/her?” Also, won’t you appear to be desperate? Neither one helps your bargaining strategy.
Pet Peeve No. 3: Student-athletes who are rude to their parents
When it comes to their children, we all know how parents can be. They ask way too many questions, they act like their athlete is the best player on the planet and typically they are more critical than the coach. All these actions might irritate and/or embarrass you if you’re a high school athlete. That said, they are your parents. They’re your #1 fans and there is no reason to be distant, rude or disrespectful to them.
College coaches notice this type behavior and take note of it. It’s not impressive. We’ve all been at a grocery store or mall when a 4 or 5-year-old isn’t cooperating with his or her parents. It’s embarrassing even when your talking about a toddler, but at least they have an excuse!
Pet Peeve No. 4: Athletes showing up for a visit unprepared
Knowing a little bit about each team you’re interested in will pay big dividends, especially when you talk to a coach or show up for an on-campus visit. You don’t need to know every detail about the team, but you should know things like the conference they compete in, their record the prior year, any current events and certainly a little about the institution.
It shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes per school to do some reconnaissance about the teams and coaches on your list. A quick read of the team page on the college website will give you all the information you need. If you prepare yourself before a visit, it will be much more successful.
Pet Peeve No. 5: Athletes who are under-achievers
There is nothing more frustrating for any coach than to work with a player with great athletic ability who doesn’t reach his or her potential because they are lazy, or they have a bad attitude. Neither is acceptable, and neither is going to work at the collegiate level.
Once you get to college, all the players are extremely talented. The ones that work the hardest and have the best attitude are usually the ones who succeed. College coaches know this and it’s a factor in the college recruiting process. College coaches can recognize under-achievers from a mile away. Don’t expect a to be recruited if you aren’t willing to do things the right way from freshman year forward.
Here’s the deal
College coaches are watching. If you’re guilty of one or more of the pet peeves described above, or one of them in my previous columns your chances for a successful recruiting experience are diminished dramatically. As a potential recruit, you need to be mindful of your actions and behavior your entire high school career.