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  • Writer's pictureWayne Mazzoni

Five Tips For Meeting The College Coach

Often I am asked about the protocol/etiquette on meeting college coaches — what should be discussed and what should not.


First off, I think student-athletes should visit a college three times before deciding to attend. The first is just to see the campus, get a feel of the place. Don’t meet the coach, the team, admissions, just go see if you can envision yourself at the school.


The second time you check it out, get a tour, meet some guys on the team, meet the coach. Likely this would be a more informational, unofficial visit.


The third time should be an official visit. This is an overnight visit, where you really are kicking the tires of the college to see if this school is going to be the one you pick. Keep in mind, Official Visits cannot take place until Aug. 1 of your senior year, and with the recruiting process getting earlier and earlier, many kids are making decisions before taking the official visit. This is an NCAA recruiting rule I can see changing in the near future.


When visiting a coach, the best advice is just to be yourself. The athletic recruiting process is just people meeting people. So be relaxed. Be prepared with some information about the school, the program and the coach. Here are some things to keep in mind when meeting with a college coach.


Don’t mention you might not play baseball


College coaches know one thing. Playing four years of a college sport is tough, takes a major commitment and is not for everyone. If you hint that you might be going to school and not playing their sport, this will be a major turnoff.


For example, the coach asks you what other colleges you are looking at. You reply with several he competes with, but then you throw in the University of Hawaii. The coach asks why this school is on your list. You reply, “Well, I wouldn’t play there; I would just love to go to school out in Hawaii.” This will scare off a coach that you are even thinking of not playing the sport in college. If this is the case, you should first off consider that playing a sport in college might not be for you, but either way avoid mentioning this.


In addition, if you play two or three sports, never tell the coach that you are not sure which sport you want to play. There’s nothing wrong with saying that you will 100 percent play baseball but might consider football as well. But if you are not sure which sport, a coach may again think that when faced with adversity in baseball, you will jump to your other sport.


Don’t let Mom or Dad do the talking


It is a major red flag for coaches when your parents do all the emailing and phone calling but especially all the talking during the in-person meeting. If you are too shy, too bad. Time to mature! Coaches want players that are mature and speak for themselves. The hardest thing to find in any company is good employees/ people; same with coaching players. If you speak up, you stand out. If you are worried about meeting a coach, take a visit to a program not high on your list to get over your fear.


Make sure to ask questions


If you don’t ask questions, two things happen. One, a coach thinks you are not interested in him/her, the school or the program. Secondly, you will not find out answers to key questions about academics, dorm life, practice, the team, the facilities. Most coaches cover a lot of this in what they tell you, but if something is left out, ASK. It helps if you research the school and program before you go.


Dress the part


Have you ever heard the saying, “Don’t dress for the job you have; dress for the job you want”? If you haven’t, now you have. As Crash Davis told Nuke Lalush in “Bull Durham,” when you become an All-Star, your look becomes colorful; until then, you are just a slob. No hats, earrings (for boys), provocative clothes (for girls), ripped clothes, stupid slogans on shirts, and please don’t wear a Syracuse shirt when you visit Boston College.


Follow up


In this day and age of email, cell phones and mass mailing, the handwritten letter goes a long, long way. Write a heartfelt thank you to the coach after your visit. Even if you are not interested in the school, still write a thank you note. You never know what could come back around.


Remember, coaches are just people. Even if you meet Augie Garrido or Jim Penders, they put their pants on one leg at a time like you.

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