Recruiting Column: Your high school coach’s biggest pet peeves

Recruiting Column: Your high school coach’s biggest pet peeves

Recruiting Column

Recruiting Column: Your high school coach’s biggest pet peeves


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 is an industry leader in college recruiting.Their technology based recruiting service identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and their recruiting experts provide a recruiting experience that is backed by a money-back guarantee.

Over the years I’ve written a few articles on “College Coach’s Pet Peeves” primarily for fun, but to also help recruits understand the things that might irritate a college coach. Since your high school coach’s opinion is critical to your recruiting efforts, I think it might be important to talk about your high school coach’s “pet peeves”.

Before you read any further, let’s make sure you understand the definition of a pet peeve. 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 periodically. Right now my top two are: (1) people who text and drive and (2) people in the grocery store line who don’t even think about pulling out a credit card or checkbook to pay the bill until everything is already scanned and bagged.

There is no question that your high school coach can be a difference maker in your college recruiting process. No college coach is going to offer you a roster spot without at least talking with your high school coach. They see you in practice every day and know how you react in game situations. They are the most credible source to vouch for your abilities and character. In fact, their opinion is probably the most important opinion to a college coach other than the coaching staff’s opinion.

With these facts in mind, the last thing you want to do is violate one of their pet peeves and irritate your coach with inappropriate behavior, requests or habits. Here are the top 5 pet peeves I’ve heard most from high school coaches about their players.

Pet Peeve No. 1: Athletes who ask their coach to contact inappropriate colleges

If you’re lucky enough to have a coach who is willing to help you with college recruiting, please don’t commit the mortal sin of asking them to reach out to colleges that don’t make sense for your abilities. That puts your coach in an extremely awkward position. If they don’t reach out to those colleges then you (and your parents) will be disappointed. And if they do, they will lose all credibility with those coaches. Those coaches won’t ever trust your coach’s opinion again.

Understand that there is no combination of words that can convince a college coach you are good enough to make their roster if you really aren’t. So, making that request of your coach does more harm than good for you, your parents and your coach. Before you ask your coach to contact colleges on your behalf, make sure they agree with the level of competition you are ready to face. If you don’t, you and your coach will be in a lose-lose situation.

Pet Peeve No. 2:  Athletes who show up late for practice

At my house, there is something called the “Fred Factor”.  The Fred Factor is the 5 to 10 minutes I am generally late for dinner or other family gatherings. That said, I was never late for practice and my kids haven’t been either. One of the fastest ways to irritate your coach is to habitually be late for practice, even if it’s just a few minutes. Being late is an indication that you don’t think practice is a priority. It’s no different than being late for class or work. Your teacher and/or employer isn’t going to be happy and neither will your coach.

You also need to consider the fact that your current coach will assume your practice habits will carry over to college. How would you like your current coach to tell a college coach something like “Jimmy’s a good kid, except he’s always late for practice.” Yikes, that’s a scholarship stopper!

Pet Peeve No. 3:  Over-involved, overbearing, overboard parents

Everyone knows a parent or two who constantly complains about the coach, the players and the officials. Then, those same parents show up at practice and many times wait outside the locker room or dugout to “visit” with the coach. They want to discuss their athlete’s playing time or standing on the team. I promise you, this behavior will irritate any coach. If you are one of those parents, just understand that the coach is most likely trying to make the best decisions for the team as a whole. His or her job depends upon it. If there are questions or issues to be discussed with the coach, encourage your athlete to have the conversation.

Pet Peeve No. 4:  Athletes who are reckless on social media

Tweeting and posting has almost replaced talking for many young adults. I’m sure your current coach has accepted that as a fact; however, keep in mind that they also feel you are a representative of their team. For that reason, coaches aren’t very tolerant of athletes who are reckless on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any other social media platform. It makes the entire team look bad and it most likely will damage your chances to play in college.

Your high school coach knows that most college athletic programs actually have someone in charge of reviewing and monitoring the social media accounts of prospective recruits. They’re hoping to not find inappropriate posts and if they do, many times they will move on to the next recruit on the list. There have been thousands of recruits deleted from recruiting lists based just on their social media behavior.

You can count on the fact that if you act foolishly on social media, your current coach and every college coach even remotely interested in you as a recruit will know about it. Inappropriate behavior on social media annoys coaches at every level. 

Pet Peeve No. 5:  Athletes who are under-achievers 

There is nothing more frustrating for a 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 on a college team. 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. Your high school coach knows this and it will be a factor in how helpful they want to be in your recruiting process. Don’t expect a glowing endorsement from your high school coach if you aren’t willing to do things the right way from freshman year forward.

Here’s the deal

As a potential recruit, you need to be mindful of your actions and behavior your entire high school career. Make a commitment as a freshman to do things the right way on the field, in the classroom and in your personal life. That will pay big dividends with your high school coaches and ultimately with your college coach.


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