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College Coaches Have Pet Peeves For Recruits, Too

by Coach Chris Goodman

What are the pet peeves of college coaches during the recruiting process? What can leave an absolute sour taste in the mouth of a coach? Here are several things that don't leave a positive image of the student-athlete. As it turns out, coaches have pet peeves, too. 

Bad Listening Skills

This can start during the interview phase of the recruiting process. A coach will most likely notice if a student-athlete is tuned out during the question and answer session. They may have spent several hours talking to a recruit-they can almost always tell if a prospect is engaged or not. This doesn't just pertain to conversations. It also relates to how a student-athlete listens or doesn't listen to his/her current coach. Are they doing what the coach has asked? Are they going against the playbook at the risk of the team? Are they just not listening and making mistakes despite having enormous talent? It's very important to be able to listen and listen well on the collegiate level. A college coach will often have elaborate game plans that need to be followed. He/she wants and needs a student-athlete who can learn plays and listen for constructive feedback.

The recruiting interview process may spark some red flags. In fact, it may be just as important to ask great questions and do a little research. Just ask Boston College swim coach Tom Groden- who says it's crucial that you come "prepared.  I have a very complete and comprehensive website,"  Groden says.  "When that high school junior or senior visits and has an excellent list of questions – prepared to ask – that impresses me."

Social Media Mistakes

A college coach can be completely turned off by bad social media decisions. Is a student-athlete a risk if we bring them on campus? Do they have enough integrity? Will they potentially embarrass the entire team or university? Social media mistakes at an early age could be indicative of potential issues on down the road. A coach might not want to gamble on someone who just makes bad decisions when it comes to social media. What else will they say or do in the general public? If they are not afraid to put it on social media, will they voice controversial opinions in open forums? What kind of negative attention will it bring to the university? It can be a huge distraction. It's a distraction most coaches don't want to deal with. Social media mistakes can cost you a scholarship. 

Lack of Effort

Effort means a ton in the eyes of coaches. You can have all the talent in the world. If you don't push yourself, a coach will see the lack of energy and focus. Many coaches can deal with mistakes on the field/court as long as their is plenty of energy and effort. This applies to practice as well as game situations. A college coach doesn't want a player who doesn't give it all in either scenario. The ultimate goal is to make every player on the team better. Student-athletes who won't try either in the classroom or sports capacity need not apply.

Duke Tennis men's head coach Ramsey Smith says effort absolutely makes a difference in the type of player he recruits.

"That’s something you see in college tennis where it’s not always the most talented players that are at the very top," Ramsey said. "It’s the ones that thrive with adversity and are just super gritty and are willing to battle for every single match. Every single point. And those are the type of kids we’re trying to get."

Walsh University basketball assistant coach Jeremy Shardo couldn't agree more.

“First of all, I am looking for a skill set – someone who can dribble, pass and shoot,” said Shardo. “Then I look for good body language, a good attitude, unselfishness and someone who competes on every possession."

There's No "I" In Team

There isn't an "I" in team. Many coaches express that from day one. That's because the goal of the team is to collectively pursue titles and wins. It's to get better as a group. Selfish play is a giant pet peeve of many college coaches. A player who just wants to look good or improve their individual statistics is a reason for major concern.

UCONN women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma elaborated on the issue recently. “Recruiting enthusiastic kids is harder than it’s ever been because every kid watches TV, and they watch the NBA or they watch Major League Baseball or they watch the NFL, whatever sport they watch, WNBA, it doesn’t matter, and what they see is people just being really cool, " Aureimma said. So they think that’s how they’re going to act. And they haven’t even figured out which foot to use as a pivot foot and they’re going to act like they’re really good players.”

Kids Who Allow Parents To Do Speaking

Kids who won't say what is on their mind can also be a giant pet peeve for college coaches. This is true especially when those same kids have their parents speak up for them. A college coach is too busy to deal with parents of a student-athlete in relation to playing time or how that individual player is being utilized. The coach is the one who is at practice every single day. Parents, for good or bad, are generally biased toward their own son/daughter. A coach wants to have conversations about playing time and other aspects of the team with the actual player. Parents speaking on behalf of a kid is never a good thing in the eyes of the coach. It's not a good sign during the recruiting phase, either. 

Montana Tech football coach Chuck Morrell sums it up. Most coaches want personality before athletic ability.

"We’re always looking for well-rounded individuals, well-rounded human beings. I mean, there’s so much more depth to a person than just playing a sport," says Morrell. It’s about what your character is, how much you care about people around you. Do you understand being a part of a family? I think a lot of those life experiences certainly come into play when they arrive on our campus.”







Topics:Recruiting Tips And Process