One of the most important parts of the college recruitment experience is the coaching interviews prior to receiving and accepting a final offer from a college or university.
This is a crucial stage of the journey for two primary reasons: it allows you to learn more about the school, the coaches, the team, your potential new teammates, and it allows the coach to evaluate how your personality will blend in with the existing squad.
As well as giving you a lot of vital information for yourself, it’s also a crucial stage for your parents or guardians – it gives them the opportunity to meet and learn about the coaching staff, who will likely have a huge impact on you over the next few years.
It’s a good idea to prepare in advance for these conversations. It’s a two-way street, and it’s just as important that you have your own questions ready. Here are some questions you can prepare:
1. "What does a typical day look like for your student-athletes?"
Although at this stage we will have already given you a general idea of what everyday life is like in your sport, it’s ALWAYS a good idea to hear the coaching team put it into words themselves. Again, this is a great opportunity for your parents or guardians to better understand your daily schedule and free time outside of your athletic and academic commitments.
2. "How would you describe your coaching style and how do you think my skills can complement the rest of the team?"
This question can give you a better understanding of how your qualities and core competencies can complement the rest of the team, and generally give you an idea of what role and level of responsibility the coach envisions you to have on the team.
Athletes respond differently to coaching and management styles – if you respond well to a more positive style, a coach who talks about his old-school tough-love approach may not be the best sign for you and is something to consider.
3. "What facilities and resources are available to the team?"
Most colleges and universities boast state-of-the-art facilities and high-level support systems. However, it’s a good idea to ask the coach to describe which facilities and resources they primarily use on a daily basis. What training grounds do they have available? What about their stadium? Do they use an “athletic center” and have both physiotherapists and dieticians as part of their staff? Ask them to describe this in more detail.
4. "How much do you travel during the college season?"
Depending on what level your team plays at and where the school is located, some student-athletes will experience fairly hefty travel times, as the US is generally a large country and the season spans a national level. Every college athletic program in the US competes during the season in a mix of home and away games, which can be longer bus rides or actual flights.
Familiarize yourself with the team, school and their recent achievements.
Another great way to showcase yourself as an exciting candidate is to do some research on the coach and the team’s recent performance. This will show that you have engaged in the conversation and have a genuine interest in the site.
Perhaps they won their own conference last year, so you can ask how they plan to replicate that success in the coming season.
Showing the coaching staff that you are familiar with their recent successes will further boost your own profile and will demonstrate a winning spirit and eagerness to contribute to the team’s success.
Coaching interviews are one of the most exciting and important parts of the college recruitment process, so preparation is key
Don’t be afraid to put yourself at risk and ask questions!
Are you curious about life as a student athlete in the USA? Maybe you’re considering it as a future route for you?
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