Recruiting Column: High school coaches' biggest pet peeves, Volume II

Recruiting Column: High school coaches' biggest pet peeves, Volume II

Recruiting Column

Recruiting Column: High school coaches' biggest pet peeves, Volume II


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 software identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and their recruiting advisers provide a recruiting experience that is trusted by college coaches and backed by a money-back guarantee.

When’s the last time you were in a big hurry at the grocery store, needed only two items and the little old lady in the express lane in front of you had a shopping cart full of merchandise? This is a “textbook” example of a pet peeve. Something that irritates the crud out of you, but you really can’t do anything about it. We all have pet peeves. Right now, my top 2 pet peeves would be someone who is texting while driving and someone who thinks it’s ok to take up two places in a parking lot.

It goes without saying that all coaches have pet peeves when it comes to their athletes and 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. With this 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.

Over the last few years, I’ve written several columns on college coach’s biggest pet peeves. Well, here’s Volume II of Your High School Coach’s Biggest Pet Peeves.

Athletes who don’t work hard

For the most part, the first negative warning sign a coach might notice about any athlete is laziness. College and high school coaches want hard workers on and off the field. You really can’t compete at the collegiate level unless you’re willing to work hard and every coach knows that. If you don’t give 100% effort in every practice and every minute of every game, your coach is going to have a hard time endorsing you to a college coach. How would you like it if your high school coach told a college coach something like “Johnny’s a gifted athlete, but he’s not the hardest worker in the world?” I’d say that’s a scholarship killer!

A wise man (my dad) once told me, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” You can’t fake work ethic and your current coach isn’t going to say you’re a hard worker if you aren’t. Also, if mom or dad is carrying your equipment to and from practice and games while you’re staring at your phone, your high school coach isn’t going to be impressed.  That’s just not how it works at the next level.

Athletes with parents who coach from the stands

High school coaches generally don’t look forward to dealing with overbearing parents. And, if a parent meets the definition of “Sideline Coach Parent,” it’s even worse.  The Sideline Coach Parent is probably the easiest parent to spot in a crowd. They typically sit on the front row and “coach” their athlete the entire game. In fact, they might even show up for practice and offer their “expert” advice. Listen, I’m not talking about an occasional word of encouragement, or reminding your athlete about what they might have worked on in practice recently.

Almost all parents have been guilty of coaching their kids, but a parent who coaches from the sideline and ignores the status of the head coach is out of line. And, when the athlete acknowledges his or her parents’ advice and reacts to their suggestions or comments, it really becomes a problem. This kind of behavior will drive your high school coach crazy and that’s why it is on this list of pet peeves.

Athletes who expect their coach to find them a scholarship

I’m pretty sure that landing your college scholarship isn’t in your high school coach’s employment contract. This isn’t your coach’s career, this is your college career. Once you realize that, it’s much easier to accept the fact that your current coach isn’t responsible for finding your college home, you are.

Most high school coaches are happy to help, but if you expect them to handle your entire recruiting process then you might be sorely disappointed, and your coach isn’t going to be happy. There are many ways you can help your coach help you, as long as you have the right mindset. Finding your college scholarship is primarily on you. It’s about you making the decision that no matter what happens, good or bad, easy or tough; you’re in control of the outcome, not your coach.

Athletes who aren’t good teammates

It’s easy for a college coach to spot a selfish player or someone who isn’t a great teammate. Selfish players are not team players and are not good teammates. They’re all about themselves and are more worried about how their uniform looks than how the team is playing. They also don’t encourage their teammates, tend to blame everyone else for mistakes and don’t respond to coaching. Keep in mind that it only takes one time for a coach to be turned off by the way you interact with your teammates to ruin their impression of you. For every talented kid who isn’t a team player, there are two other talented kids who are and those are the athletes a high school coach will really want to help.

Athletes with an attitude

Good or bad, attitude dictates your entire approach to life. Is the glass half full or half empty? An athlete with a bad attitude will completely frustrate any coach. Every coach can smell a bad attitude from a mile away and they would like to stay away from those players if at all possible. If you have a bad attitude, I can guarantee you that your high school coach isn’t going to promote to a college coach you as much as an athlete with a great attitude.

In addition to having to deal with a bad attitude, your high school coach knows that as a college athlete, you will go through some difficult times: early morning workouts, late night traveling, sleepless and homework-filled nights. Your attitude is an indication of how you will deal with those difficult situations and how successful you will be playing at the next level.

Here’s the deal

If you want to play your sport in college, you need your high school coach in your corner. Avoiding these pet peeves will go a long way to making sure that happens.


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