Coaches who are actively involved in helping their players get to college can make all the difference. They can help you assess what division level is a best fit for your size and talent.
Now, more than ever, student-athletes have options on where they will play their sport during their high school years. Just like finding the right college, a good education and preparation for the future should remain the primary goals.
One of the best ways to help determine the right high school or club team for your student-athlete is to simply take the time to talk to the coaches of high schools and clubs you are considering. Here’s just a few key questions to ask:
“WHAT IS YOUR COACHING PHILOSOPHY?”
Are coaches focused more on winning championships and utilizing only their best players to get there, or are they more about instilling the values of teamwork, discipline and building character on and off the field?
Is this coach going to demand academic excellence? Good coaches know the path to college is going to require both.
“WHAT EXPECTATIONS DO YOU HAVE OF ME AS A PLAYER ON YOUR TEAM, AND WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM YOU AS A COACH?”
With most coaches, you will likely walk away with a much better understanding of everything from team rules, team goals, style of play, disciplinary procedures, practice schedule and more. Meanwhile, the second half of the question addresses coaching style head on. Your child may respond better to more of a mentoring style than a loud, no-nonsense authoritarian coach.
“HOW DO YOU MANAGE PLAYING TIME?”
Many coaches now outline their playing time policy before the season starts. For example, a coach may limit game time for freshmen until they know the system. Knowing how a coach handles playing time can help you avoid any surprises when the season begins.
“ARE YOUR GAMES AND PRACTICES VIDEOTAPED?”
For many sports, highlight video is vital to college recruiting. Knowing a program is recording all games and making the footage readily available to its athletes is a huge plus.
Little or no video is not a deal breaker. It just means as parents you may have to invest a little more in equipment and time to get the necessary footage.
“WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO COLLEGE RECRUITING?”
Coaches who are actively involved in helping their players get to college can make all the difference. They can help you assess what division level is a best fit for your size and talent. They can make calls to college coaches to help get the exposure you need. They will stay on your athlete’s back to make sure their grades are where they need to be.
“HOW MANY OF YOUR ATHLETES HAVE GONE ON TO PLAY IN COLLEGE?”
This is a good indicator of the strength of the program in preparing its athletes for college. Programs with a higher percentage playing in college shows there’s a coordinated effort between the athletic and counseling department to make sure athletes are getting what they need.
Finding the best school or club means doing a little more homework. Often the best place to start is a conversation with the coach.