The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner, Playced.com.
Just the thought of talking to a college coach can be intimidating. No one wants to say or do anything that might hurt their chances for a scholarship. We all know that college coaches take the process of handing out scholarships seriously and they want to make sure you are the kind of student that will represent their school in a positive manner. That said, you really need to be prepared before you get that first call from a college coach. Here are the three most difficult questions a college coach might ask and some advice on your answer.
“How are your grades?”
Many times this will be the first question asked. Academics are a priority for most coaches. They don’t want players who are going to struggle to stay eligible. If your grades aren’t great, let the coaches know that you are taking steps to improve them. Find a tutor and/or consider taking an ACT or SAT review course to improve your academic standing. There have been many athletic scholarships lost because the recruit’s grades and test scores don’t meet the academic requirements at the school making the offer.
“What are your strengths and weaknesses as a player?”
This is not the time to be modest. Be confident, but not boastful about your abilities. Give specific examples of your strengths, but don’t overdo it. For example, if you were selected First Team All-District, say something like “I was lucky enough to be selected First Team All-District although there were many other deserving athletes.”
College coaches want self-confident, respectful players that will represent their school in the right way. If a coach asks about your weaknesses, answer the question, but don’t dwell on the topic. College coaches know you aren’t perfect and much prefer an athlete that recognizes areas to improve.
“What sets you apart from other recruits/players?”
The answer to this question is different for every athlete, but a strong answer can go a long way toward separating you from the competition. Give this question some thought and consider things like academic achievement, attitude and commitment. Explain how you will be an asset for their program. Also, before you talk with a coach know a little bit about their program. If you do, it will show the coach that you have genuine interest in playing there.
Here’s the deal
When a college coach calls, you need to be ready to answer his or her questions. Think about what they might ask, give some thought to your answers and be ready with some questions of your own.