Athletic Scholarships 

Eight Questions parents should be asking college & university coaches

October 18, 2023

ASM Sports

Sending your child halfway around the world to be a part of a new team can be overwhelming. Here are some of the top questions parents should ask college coaches as scholarship offers start coming in.

1. What is your philosophy at the school?

Asking about a team’s philosophy will help you determine how a coach runs his or her program. Here are some important factors that should be considered when asking this question:

  • It is not a question about the school’s facilities and resources. Any Division I basketball coach would love to tell you all about their school’s great history and tradition, but that is not what you want to know about here.
  • It is a question about how the coach approaches the game of basketball. The answer he gives should shed some light on his overall philosophy as a coach and as a person. This can give you insight into what your son or daughter should expect from him on and off the court.
  • It is also a question about who the coach is as a person, including his values and priorities in life. Does he/she stress player development? How does he handle adversity? Is winning everything to him, or does he make sure his players are getting an education first?

2. How would you describe your coaching style?

Ask a coach to describe his or her coaching style. More than likely you’ll get a canned answer, but you should be listening for the coach’s values and how he or she motivates players. Do players get yelled at when they make a mistake? In some cases this is okay, but if that’s the only way the coach knows how to motivate his athletes, then it isn’t healthy for your child. Beware of coaches who act like drill sergeants instead of leaders.

How does the coach handle adversity? Is there a positive learning environment where mistakes can happen without being met with harsh criticism? When things go wrong in competition, is it addressed with team meetings and video analysis? How does the coach respond when things don’t go well in practice? Does he or she react by screaming and throwing chairs (or staplers) across the room, or does he or she calmly explain what went wrong and how to correct it before moving on?

If you believe that discipline is an important aspect of an athlete’s development, find out what kind of disciplinary measures are taken by reading your school’s athletic handbook. If there isn’t one, ask about their philosophy on discipline. You want to know specifically whether athletes are benched because they missed class or were late for practice/meetings; what types of punishment are given to those who miss curfew; whether alcohol use leads to suspension from games/possible dismissal from team; how academic issues are handled; etc., until you’re satisfied with their answers.

3. What is your recruiting philosophy and philosophy of roster building?

  • What is your recruiting philosophy and philosophy of roster building?

The answers will reveal how the coach thinks about the team’s needs, how she chooses who to recruit, if she balances the needs of the team with the needs of the player, and how well she evaluates a player’s fit for her program.

4. How many players are you recruiting for this position?

As an athlete, asking this question can help you understand if the coach is recruiting a lot of players for your position. If he offers vague answers or seems uncomfortable when answering this question, it could be a sign that he is not being completely honest with you about his recruiting class. However, if this is the first time you are meeting with the coach, you should avoid asking this question until later in the recruiting process. If a coach perceives that you are assuming he will recruit multiple players for your position without knowing him better, it could work against you in both his opinion and your recruitment.

As a parent, asking this question can help you evaluate how many prospects at your child’s position the school plans to recruit in his class. Schools often have limited rosters and budget to recruit athletes so they need to be selective about who they pursue. While different programs may use various strategies (for instance one school may try to recruit three candidates while another may pursue 15), having an understanding of their general strategy can give insight into how selective they expect their competition will be and how much of an emphasis they put on recruiting at that position.

5. What are you looking for in a potential recruit?

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6. What are the academic requirements in order to be eligible to play freshman year?

You should always check the academic requirements on the college website to see if you meet them. If you can’t find them, your best bet is to ask the coach if you are unsure. On occasion, the criteria will differ for different teams and sports within a school. For example, some schools require a higher ACT score for football players but not for other athletes. Make sure you ask about your particular sport’s requirements so that you know exactly what you need to get in.

If you are an international student from a country where English is not the primary language, make sure that your TOEFL scores also meet their minimum requirements as well as fulfill any NCAA eligibility standards. If your high school transcripts are in another language, have them translated into English by an approved translator before sending them to the coach so that they can evaluate whether or not you qualify academically.

If you don’t meet the criteria upon graduating from high school, there are several postgraduate options available before attending college that may help strengthen your application with additional coursework or experience while gaining exposure to coaches at other top schools. These programs vary in cost and location so be sure to research all of your options thoroughly before starting one or deciding which is right for you based on what works best with your schedule and budget constraints. You’ll want something flexible enough so it doesn’t interfere too much with other things going on in life like work commitments or family obligations at home!

7. Are we or is my athlete going to be a good fit for your program athletically, academically and socially?

Finding a college program where you and/or your athlete are a good fit is one of the most important, if not THE most important, aspects of the entire recruiting process.

No matter what level you play, it’s critical that you find a place where you feel comfortable being yourself both on and off the field. If that’s not happening at any point during your recruitment, then it’s time to start asking questions.

In order to determine whether or not you’re going to be a good fit for a program athletically, academically and socially, ask some of these questions:

Are we or my athlete going to be a good fit for your program athletically?

The first set of questions should be about how well the student-athlete will fit in with the current players on the team. This gives parents an idea of how involved they’ll be in their child’s life while he or she is away at school. If this is something that you’re worried about as a parent, go ahead and bring it up – don’t rely solely on your child to ask these questions! You want to make sure that your child will have support from his or her team when needed. If there isn’t anyone in the area who can step into this role (such as an older sibling), try asking around at other schools nearby before making your final decision.

Is there anyone else currently on campus/in town who can help with this?

8. The questions you ask can help you find a good college coach and a good school.

The best questions to ask a college coach are ones that help you get to know the person behind the role. It’s important to understand where they’re coming from and what their outlook is, because this will give you a sense of whether or not you fit into their vision.

Since you’ll be spending so much time with your coach, it makes sense to ask about their expectations for players. After all, these are the people you’ll be spending a lot of time with! Finding out information like this helps ensure that you’re on the same page and won’t create any conflict later when it comes to how much time and effort each side puts in.

Asking about the school’s philosophy is also key. Some schools want their athletes focused on academics while others want them focused on being athletes first and students second; knowing which school fits your priorities will help guide your decision-making process.

Finally, inquire about how often coaches communicate with players during the recruiting season (and beyond). Some coaches prefer frequent contact while others like less frequent updates–it depends on what works best for both parties involved in this relationship! Find out what works best for everyone involved before committing yourself fully so there aren’t any surprises down the road!

Want to get your student-athlete talking to coaches? Reach out to us here. Interested in what else you should be doing during your child’s recruiting process? Read more here.

What to know when you should talk to coaches? Watch this!

Start your journey today.

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