If your son or daughter is going to get an athletic scholarship, you both need to know what college coaches are looking for, what they expect and how they do their recruiting. In other words, you need to know what they’re thinking. And especially what they’re thinking about your athlete.
First of all, know that coaches are trying to fill specific spots on their roster. They’re looking ahead to your athlete’s year of entry, and they’re considering whether they have a spot for within the first couple years your son or daughter would be there. If your athlete is in a sport that has position players, they’ll be recruited if the coach knows that slot will be open in their freshman or sophomore year.
You need to understand this point. It doesn’t matter how talented your son or daughter is if there isn’t an opening for them.
*** For more insights, I encourage you to listen to my podcast interview with D1 coach Tom Kunis Episode #4. We go into depth about what college coaches are looking for. ***
Second, is your athlete going to be a good fit in the program and college? College coaches look at these things. They want to know if the chemistry is there and if your son or daughter truly want to compete in their program. If an athlete doesn’t want to go across the country, but his parents are pushing him, coaches will pick that up. They want to eliminate as much chance as possible that your son or daughter will transfer. They do their best on the front end to see if there’s a good fit. You should want that, too.
Third, college coaches are looking for coachable athletes. When coaches come to see your athlete compete they’re looking at how he or she behaves in relationship to their high school coach(es). And, they’ll ask the high scchool coach about that. If your son or daughter is not coachable, they need to change. Athlete, you’re sealing your fate if you can’t respond to those in authority, especially your coaches.
Fourth, coaches are under pressure to make the athletic scholarship money go as far as possible. They want to build the best team possible, so they’ll negotiate the best offer. A few sports (such as basketball and football at D1) offer only full rides. But, in most cases, in other sports the scholarship money is split up between all the scholarship athletes.
Fifth, coaches expect prospects to communicate directly with them. If your family has questions during the scholarship process, ask the coaches. It is important to have a clear understanding on issues ranging from athletics, academics, college life and finances. I cover this in detail in the Recruit-Me Manual. There is a tendency not to be direct with coaches about the most important things you need to know. However, you have to be. They expect it.
With this said, keep in mind that there are three NCAA levels, and these are quite different. D1 is extremely hard-core, because the demand to win is so high. D2 not as much. And D3 is the most relaxed. You’ll get a feel for this as you interact with coaches on all levels. And I do encourage you to do that.
Make sure you understand the mind of a college coach when it comes to your athletic scholarship pursuit. Put yourself in his or her shoes and you’ll be way ahead of other families.