Q: What exactly should I be looking for on visits?
A: Whether choosing a school as a blue-chip prospect with 50 scholarship offers or as a Division III non-scholarship athlete, the process of choosing a school can be time consuming and overwhelming.
It’s important to develop your personal selection criteria that will help you through the process – and prioritize it on your non-negotiables. Before the process becomes overwhelming, what are the core factors that you need to be happy and successful?
There are four core areas that you need to research- they are all important:
#2: Town and University Community
#3: Athletic Department
#4: Your Specific Team/Position
It is each COACHES’ job to sign the best athletes that will put their program in the best position to win. As a staff, they clearly define their ‘must-haves’ in prospective student-athletes at each position. It is YOUR job to define what you need, to do your research and to ask the right questions in order to put yourself in the best position possible to succeed. Don’t forget—your job is just as important as the coaches’ job during the evaluation process!
Determine the handful of core factors that you will be making your decision off of, and stick to evaluating those! Don’t get heavily influenced by the other things that truly aren’t important to you! Coaches may be throwing the kitchen sink at you in terms of what they have to offer, but many of those things may not be what is truly important to you in the long run. Don’t get distracted!
Take a page from NFL scouts: they ask receptionists, lunch ladies, trainers, coaches, stadium security guards and anyone else a player may come in contact with to find out their true colors—not just how they act around coaches or perform on the field. An NFL prospects ‘true colors’ are almost as important as their athletic ability when it comes to breaking down the top talent, how is the player mentally, spiritually and what type of person are they? How do the coaches handle success, how do they handle adversity?
How do the coaches act behind closed doors or when the cameras are off and when the recruits aren’t around? NFL teams are making decisions between one player and another and investing millions and millions of dollars into draft picks—they need to know about every aspect of their life. YOU should take that same consideration with programs and coaches. It’s more about what they’re not telling you that you need to look into. Do your research!
Don’t let one bad comment or opinion take a school off your list—a lot of dirty recruiting goes on—but listen to PATTERNS. If more and more people have the same reaction to a coach or a program, good or bad, listen. It won’t take long to get a good picture when you ask enough people. Ask several people who personally know the coaches you are evaluating—ask them who they would like their children to play for?