Alright, I am back! It’s July and if you are a high school basketball player, it’s one of your favorite times of the YEAR! If you are a parent, you are probably ready for July to be over and done with.. NOW! The first evaluation period for girls basketball is coming to an end and now it is time for the CALLS to come in from college coaches (YAY!) For most, this may be a little scary but exciting at the same time.
Here are 5 tips to help players (& parents) get through these phone calls:
- Know who you are talking to! Many former players, WNBA players and Hall of Famers are coaches! Recruits are given the opportunity to talk to coaches who were All Stars, All Americans or people who have helped paved the way for women in sports. Unfortunately, it is quite common for recruits to not exactly know the history of women’s basketball or the fact the coach that just watched them ALL LIVE PERIOD and then called them to discuss the Live Period, is a HUGE piece to the history of the game! For example, if you are talking to say… Dawn Staley, you BETTER KNOW WHO SHE IS! (Go Gamecocks LOL). And, not just the fact she is the head coach at the University of South Carolina but more like the fact she played under Debbie Ryan at the University of Virginia, is a three time Olympic Gold Medalist, played in Europe then in the ABL & WNBA. She started coaching at Temple while still playing in the WNBA (AMAZING), changed that whole program around and has now done the same thing at South Carolina but on a bigger stage! You don’t have to know all of this but knowing some background on who are talking to can only help! Even if the coach isn’t Dawn Staley, you still need to have some insight on them. It may help to also open your eyes to how BLESSED you are that your phone is ringing!
- Know information about the College or University! The first time a school may call, you may be caught “off guard” or not expecting the call, which means it is totally okay to not know information on the school. But, this doesn’t happen TOO often because normally College Coaches will call your coach to get more information / background on YOU! So hopefully, your coach communicates this with you prior to the College Coach calling YOU. AS SOON AS YOU are told someone may be calling you, DO YOUR RESEARCH: what division (this impacts how your scholarship is made up), what state, what is it located near, school / class size, majors provided, acceptance rate, graduation rate, what is the makeup of the team (freshman, sophomores, juniors, seniors), how did the team do last year, what conference are they in… AND SO MUCH MORE!
- Have a list of questions! Doing the research I have stated in Tips 1 & 2 should lead you to have a list of questions or topics to discuss with the coach. Even if this is a surprise call, have a list of questions handy for coaches calling in general. You need to know as much about the coach and the school as possible! This is YOUR FUTURE you are discussing, IT IS IMPORTANT! Do not be afraid to ask questions!! Are there certain majors the coach prefers their players to not major in due to travel and practice? Do you get a Academic Liaison? If so, do they travel with you for games / tournaments? Does the team have mandatory study hall or only freshman? Understand, this is also a business! The same ways businesses are ran differently, so are college teams with YOUR recruitment. Some coaches give 1 offer spot to 5 kids, first to accept gets the offer, some coaches only offer you and give you a time table to accept the offer. Know who they are looking at and know info about your offer. Your list of questions do not have to be just about basketball and the school, you want to develop a relationship with the coaches, you want them to know YOU and you want to know THEM! So it is totally fine and acceptable to ask your coach what they do outside of coaching (LOL), about their family and pets.
- BE HONEST! If you aren’t interested in the school (say it’s in the middle of nowhere and you most definitely want a city), do not lead the coach on. If you are communicating you are looking for a high academic school, then make sure the schools you are talking to are… high academic. If you make plans to come to campus, BE SERIOUS about the plans! I’ve heard of toooo many players “making plans to visit” and then constantly pushing the plans back to a later date. You never know where that coach may end up and you want to make sure you have a good standing relationship with people in this business. Do things the right way! Call coaches to tell them information… DO NOT TEXT! As many coaches as there are, the coaching circle is SMALL and word travels FAST! Being honest is a great trait for coaches to talk about when describing you!
- Bad mouthing your coach, teammates, other teams and player is a HUGE NO! Self explanatory (I hope).
Overall, enjoy this process! Not many get to experience recruitment, so BE THANKFUL. Thank the college coach for watching you! They could have been watching anyone else but they chose YOU, then they chose to CALL YOU!
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