How To Be A College Athlete
Five Questions to Ask Your High School Coach Before Your Sophomore Season
Mary Wegzyn, Author: Be A College Athlete: The Play By Play Guide
11 January 2016 (Original Post Date)
If you have hopes and dreams of playing a sport at the college level, it is important your high school and club coach be informed of this. The Be A College Athlete team stresses that it is NOT the responsibility of a high school coach to get a student-athlete recruited, but the high school coach does play a very important role in the process.
High schools coaches want to help you achieve your dreams. Unless you inform your high school coach that your goal is to play at the next level, your high school coach has no way of knowing this and cannot help you prepare. The earlier you inform your coach of your desire to play in college, the better. Ideally, this conversation would take place prior to your sophomore year of high school.
When meeting with your high school coach, it is imperative to ask the coach the following five questions:
1. At what level do you think I can play in college? High school coaches are great evaluators. Most are teachers and have been trained to differentiate between various students’ abilities. Your high school coach will have a good idea where your skills levels are compared to other athletes your age and should be able to project the level of play at which you can be competitive. If you do not like the answer the coach gives you or if you disagree with the answer given, it is up to you, the student-athlete, to prove the coach wrong. Just because the coach sees you as a Division II athlete now does not mean you can’t work hard and end up playing for a Division I school. This is a baseline evaluation and it is up to you to work hard and improve in order to maintain or advance your skill set.
2. What can I do to improve my skills? Coaches love to coach! By asking this question of your coach, it shows you are humble and you desire to get better. Of course, you need carefully listen to the answer and you cannot argue or disagree with what the coach has to say. Ask the coach to help develop a plan of action and then follow through with the plan. Set up benchmarks and goals to strive for by specific dates. Even if the goals are too lofty, there will be satisfaction when some degree of improvement is noted.
3. Are there any camps/combines/showcases you suggest I attend? There are numerous camps/combines/showcases for high school athletes and some are better than others. It is also important to know that some of these serve various purposes. For example, as a sophomore, it may not be beneficial to go to a camp where you will be evaluated by college coaches. Some of the statistics and measurements from that camp may be reported to national sources and, if not stellar, could haunt you for the remainder of your high school career (thus hindering recruiting). On the other hand, it may be very beneficial for you to attend a camp that focuses on skill improvement. Often, these camps are run by professional, regional, and college coaches and you may learn a tip or tweek that gives you an edge in a situation and will very useful in making you better at your sport. Your high school coach should know which camps/combines/showcases are beneficial and which are not.
4. What else can I do to make myself more attractive to colleges in the future?
You may be surprised by the answer you get to this question! The coach may advise you to visit with the school’s guidance counselor to strengthen your academic schedule or perhaps suggest you perform more community service. Your high school coach knows what is impressive to the college coaches that visit your high school and will be able to give you good advice.
5. When should we meet again to evaluate my progress? It is not enough to meet with the coach prior to sophomore year. If a student-athlete truly intends to play in college, goals and progress need to noted and re-evaluated throughout the course of the high school career. Working closely and having a good relationship with your high school coach will allow the coach to get to know you as a person as well as an athlete and give the coach much to say about you when asked for an evaluation of you by a college coach in the future.