Before we begin, here’s what you should NOT ask: basic information about the program that can be easily found on the school athletic website. Asking basic questions like this show a lack of respect for the coach’s time; they will assume you don’t really have an interest in their school and will probably ignore your communication efforts.
What are the coach’s expectations for players beyond practices, games, and workouts?
Depending on the division, some schools have tutoring available for athletes. If this is something you’re interested in, make sure you bring it up in your conversations with coaches.
You want to get an idea of what happens when you have to miss school for road games, tournaments, etc.
Most schools have training programs that they expect their players to follow during the summer. Make sure you understand what’s expected of you during your summers.
This will give you a glimpse into what the coach looks for in potential recruits and will give you more guidance for structuring your future communication to address these qualities.
This is a question that can help you get an honest assessment of your skills and abilities. Perhaps it’s simply a matter of going on a visit to the school before they offer. It could also be a matter of improving one of your sport-specific skills (i.e. need to throw 5 MPH harder).
Whatever it is, this is invaluable information that likely applies to more than just one school you’re interested in.
This is an incredibly important question to get a straight answer on. If it sounds like the coach might be dancing around the question, this should be a big red flag. It isn’t unusual for schools to over-recruit and for it to be a big surprise to the recruits when they show up freshman year.
It’s not unheard of for a recruit to hear that they no longer have a scholarship offer for them their senior year of high school – sometimes after they’ve already committed. Regardless, make sure you understand how many players the coach plans to bring in and that you’ll have the opportunity to compete for playing time.
Some coaches will feel confident enough to give you an evaluation purely from the videos you’ve sent them so far. Others will want you to attend their camp to see you in person. Each coach is different, so make sure you ask this question. The feedback you receive will give you guidance on what you need to improve on to become a fit for their program.
Not doing due diligence with this type of question is a major reason why so many athletes end up transferring after their freshman year. Whether it’s coach temperament, player development philosophies, or something else, it’s incredibly important to understand how the coach runs their program in this regard. Beyond the coach’s answer, seek out current and former players on social media to get their take.
Make sure you understand what the coach needs you to do to move forward in the process towards becoming a member of their program.
Depending on what stage you’re at with the recruiting process, some of these questions will make sense to ask or might not make sense. Athletic scholarships are a one-year agreement between the athlete and school and need to be “renewed” each year. Make sure you understand how the coach views the scholarship allotment process and how they structure their walk-on program.
Some schools honor the scholarship of athletes who get injured and are unable to play, while others pull the plug and suggest they attempt to transfer out. Be sure to ask the coach about their policy on scholarship athletes who get serious injuries.
Does the coach see you as a role player? Someone they can build around? Each coach who is recruiting you might see your role in a different light.
While doing some research on your end will likely be able to give you a good answer, it’s a good idea to get a coach’s perspective on the reputation of their school’s academic programs.
Are you looking to major in a science that requires quite a few evening labs that will conflict with your sport? If you have a field of study like this, make sure that this has not been an issue in the past with a player in the program.
This is something that the coach most likely has considerable experience with; having someone who can point in the right direction can save you a ton of time as you navigate the financial aid process.
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