The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner, Playced.com.
Last week, we talked about your parent’s role in recruiting. This week let’s talk about your coach’s role. Coaches can make a tremendous impact on an athlete’s search for a scholarship, but unfortunately not all coaches are comfortable in that role. Some don’t have the time and some just don’t have the experience in recruiting. Your coach’s role in your recruiting process really depends on three main factors: (1) your relationship with the coach, (2) his or her familiarity with the process, and (3) how much time they have to help.
Don’t expect a coach to find a scholarship for you; that is not in their job description. In fact, here are the three levels of expectation you should have with respect to your high school or summer coach.
What you should expect
Your coach should be responsible for teaching you the fundamentals of the game. This might include how to field a ground ball, make a tackle or shoot a free throw. He or she should also teach you the rules of the game and how the game is played. Finally, your coach owes it to you to be objective and fair. This is really all you can expect from a coach, but it should give you a foundation to build on. Expect the basics, no more, no less.
What you hope to expect
If your coach wants to see you achieve your dream, you should hope they will make themselves available when a college coach calls or emails. You can also hope that they will reach out to a few schools that are a fit for your abilities. Simply highlighting your positive character traits to interested college coaches will make a difference. Leadership, work ethic and sportsmanship are examples of attributes your coach can mention to colleges.
Finally, you can hope your coach will give you an honest evaluation of your abilities. If your coach is honest with you about where you stand (and you accept their assessment), your recruiting process is more likely to be successful. Understand that delivering an honest assessment to a player can be a difficult conversation to have at times. Consider yourself lucky if your coach cares enough to shoot straight with you.
What you might expect
If you are lucky and your coach wants to be involved with your recruiting efforts, there are many things he or she can do to help, in addition to the items discussed above.
It would be ideal if your current coach would take the time to help you identify appropriate colleges to pursue. That kills two birds with one stone: (1) You know the colleges on your list are appropriate, and (2) your coach should be comfortable contacting those schools on your behalf.
If your coach is willing to be this involved, then you should feel comfortable asking them to proactively reach out to the college coaches at all the schools you want to attend. If they are willing to do that, college coaches are likely to listen. A recommendation from your coach speaks volumes about how that coach feels about you.
Finally and ideally, a coach may end up being a life-long friend and mentor. What a great result for the coach and the athlete. It is a fact; Coaches can have a profound effect on the lives of their players. Some coaches have incredible lifelong relationships with their players. Be thankful if you have this type of coach in your life.