How to Talk to College Coaches – Preparing and Making a Plan

Published on November 9, 2021

As a student-athlete, you are working hard to push your academic ceiling and be noticed for your skills, strength, speed, and character. Student-athletes beginning the recruiting process needs to prepare a plan for communication with college coaches.

A big piece of recruiting is having an opportunity to speak to coaches in person or over the phone, as well as by email, social media, and text. Be prepared for these opportunities to show your best self when talking with prospective schools and their coaching staff. College coaches want to meet student-athletes who are confident and well-spoken in both oral and written communication. They don’t want to hear from a recruiting service or your parent/guardian.

It’s important to remember that while the college coaches are evaluating you, you should be doing the same for your own process. You are not only interviewing the coach, you have an opportunity to see the college through the coach’s perspective.

The recruiting process is your opportunity to learn as much as possible, so you can visualize your college experience. The college you choose will be where you live for potentially four to five years and you want to be pretty sure that you will be happy there, even if something happened and you couldn’t play sports. While getting to know the athletic program and coaches is very important, so is learning about all the college has to offer.

What Should I Do to Prepare to Speak with a Coach?
  • Fill out their online questionnaire and email them your one-page student-athlete profile
  • Be timely with all communication
  • Clear, concise, and polite communication is a must
  • Use full sentences (no abbreviations) when emailing and texting
  • Be free of distractions if you are communicating over the phone
  • Describe yourself as a student and an athlete
  • Understand your strengths and weaknesses and be able to share specifics about your personal life and your family
  • Research the coach and their history in the sport and with the school
  • Watch games or practice film to learn about their coaching style
  • Be very knowledgeable about the school and the team – majors, campus life, roster, schedule
What Questions Should I Ask a College Coach?

It will be important to have your questions ready and available before your conversations.

Questions can range depending on the nature of the call, where you are in the process, and be mindful of the time that you have scheduled with the coach. You don’t want to ask them all in one sitting, and many of these questions will be answered on your visit. By the time your recruiting process is over, you should have most of these questions answered.

Academic Related Questions

  • Does your team have mandatory study sessions during season and out of season?
  • Do student-athletes have access to an academic advisor or tutoring services?
  • If you have a specific major in mind, are there any restrictions to classes or internships?
  • Are student-athletes able to study abroad in your program? (if that matters to you)
  • How many credit hours will I take in-season and out-of-season?

Athletic Related Questions

  • What position do you see me playing on your team?
  • As a freshman, will I be redshirted?
  • What are the expectations for in-season and out-of-season strength training and conditioning?
  • How many athletes are you currently recruiting in my graduating class?
  • What strengths and weaknesses have you observed in my gameplay?
  • Tell me a little more about your current team and how the season is going.

Campus Life Questions

  • What does a typical day look like as a student-athlete at your school?
  • Do most student-athletes live on campus?
  • Tell me a little about the residence halls. Will I room with another teammate or student-athlete from another team?

Financial Aid Questions

  • Am I being considered to receive athletic scholarship money?
  • Will I be able to receive any additional financial aid?
  • Are there academic requirements tied to aid that I may be offered?

Recruiting Timeline/Next Steps

  • When is a good time to follow up? Set a date and time for the next communication.
  • Do you need further film or opportunities to evaluate me?
  • When do you see me coming to campus for an official or unofficial visit?
  • What should I expect/do next in the process?

Now that you’ve compiled your list of questions for potential coaches…wondering what questions you might have to answer? Read about the follow-up questions coaches will be asking in Honest Game’s How To Talk To College Coaches – Anticipating Questions from Coaches.

By Courtney Sakellaris, Honest Game Senior Manager – High School Success
A former High School Athletic Director with more than 14 years of experience, Courtney has guided thousands of student-athletes through the NCAA and NAIA college eligibility and athletic recruiting process.