3 Ways to Make A Positive Impact
In a 2011 study by Forbes, the average person takes only 7 seconds to make a first impression. If you are a student-athlete in high school who wants to play at the next level and receive a college scholarship, this statistic would definitely make me nervous.
Having been a college coach for 14 years across all levels of NCAA Division I, II,and NAIA, it is a statistic that I would actually encourage more student-athletes to focus on regarding their sports career—and not for the reasons you think! While yes, college coaches know that you will likely be nervous and may not perform to the best of your ability as we watch your competition. (Sidenote: Here’s a great blog we did a few weeks back on Staying Confident When A College Coach is Watching ) However, it’s more of the behaviors demonstrating your character that are more important to college coaches than how many assists you had at your last game.
In the past, we have discussed the huge impact social media can play in a college coach’s decision of recruiting a kid. This week, I want to make those who are looking for that elusive college athletic scholarship aware of 3 specific impressions beyond social media that could make or break an opportunity for them!
1. Have a Professional Email Address.
College coaches receive hundreds of emails every single month. They have to weed through them to figure out graduation year, position, academics, and overall talent. There is nothing worse of a first impression than a college seeing an email address that is not professional. I literally had someone email me with the address including bringingsexyback###@______.com. I didn’t even know how to respond. The ironic part was that she was strong academically with a high grade point average and excellent test scores. After reading the first 2 paragraphs of the email coming from this address, I didn’t even watch her recruiting video.
Insider Recruiting Tip: Create a free new professional email address that you will only use for recruiting (easier to also have this in separate account as well). Get a free one on yahoo, gmail, etc that includes your first and last name and or/sport with some numbers on it. If it is not available, use an initial like “rlopez5soccer” or “EricJ.baseballclassof2021”.
2. Pay Attention to Your Coach Speaking.
You are ready for the competition to start and your coach is going over some last-minute reminders of match-ups. You are looking in the stands to see if your girlfriend/boyfriend made it there yet. You are tying your shoes or taking off your warm-up pants. You are talking to your favorite teammate to pep them up for the game.
Even if you do not like everything that your high school or travel club coach has to say, you need to be looking at him or her and fully concentrating on their instructions. Why? You need to know these last- minute instructions, of course. But even bigger picture is each of these behaviors listed above demonstrate your lack of desire to listen to your coach and then implement them. College coaches want coachable student-athletes. Although they may seem like very small concerns, college coaches can pick from hundreds of athletes across the country and sometimes, world. They evaluate EVERY aspect that will translate to how you will act on their team.
Insider’s Recruiting Tip: College coaches are ALWAYS watching! They get to choose their “co-workers” to achieve the athletic goals for their teams. They do not want to fight student-athletes in being coachable. It’s very important to demonstrate you are always the teammate who is coachable, engaged in the team, and impacting others in a positive way!
3. Be Respectful Towards Your Parents.
There are so many times I have seen a really talented player walk over to their parents after a tough game, and their behavior makes me want to erase the great notes I wrote in the column next to their name. They throw their bag at their parents to make them carry it, saying they are too tired. The parent tries to say something positive about the tough game and they dismiss it and give attitude back. The parent says we have dinner plans at a restaurant, and they whine about it.
And, are you ready for this last one?
For my upcoming book (due out Summer 2019), Looking For A FULL RIDE?: An Insider’s Recruiting Guide, I interviewed over 65 college coaches and athletic directors. Without any prompting from me besides, “What turns you off instantly when you are watching a recruit play?”.
Seven of them said, “I hate it when they complain about the color of Gatorade the parent is kindly handing to them after a game!”
Yes, SEVEN brought this up! Obviously, it’s a small problem that coaches read into being a bigger problem if they come to play for that college: entitlement.
When you have a college team of 15-85 student-athletes (depending on your sport) and your coach or athletic trainer brings over a cooler full of a sports drink that isn’t your favorite type, they don’t want to hear your whining. And if you do it to your parents, you certainly aren’t going to think twice about telling the athletic director you don’t like a policy the coach made or your lack of playing time. No coach wants that, so check your attitude after a tough competition.
Insider’s Recruiting Tip: How you deal with adversity in the small things is very telling to a college coach. Make sure your behavior is always that which you want a college coach to see!
Want some help with the recruiting process? Join some of our 9 Facebook Groups:
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- Club/HS Coaches Learning College Recruiting Process (All Sports)
- Play College Soccer (Soccer Specifically)
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Coach Renee Lopez
As a 17 year coaching veteran, Coach Renee Lopez is a recruiting expert for high school student-athletes. She uses her NCAA Division I, II, and NAIA Head Coaching experience to help families navigate the recruiting process to be identified by college coaches and help them find the right “fit” for playing at the next level. She has produced 3 All-Americans, over 30 All-Conference athletes and Her teams have been honored with awards for team academic accomplishments, sportsmanship, and sports ministry. In addition, Coach Renee Lopez has been named Coach of the Year by her peers.
She presents recruiting seminars across the country, has recently been featured in USA Weekly, with the National Alliance for Youth Sports, on SiriusXM Radio and ESPN Radio. She is the author of the upcoming book, Looking For A FULL RIDE?: An Insider’s Recruiting Guide where she has interviewed over 40 college recruiters across all sports and college levels. In addition, she runs 8 Facebook groups to help facilitate conversations on college recruiting education, coaching education, leadership development, and sports ministry. She is also a certified speaker, trainer and coach for the John Maxwell Team, Jon Gordon Company, 3Dimensional Coaching, and the Positive Coaching Alliance.
She also does private consulting for student-athletes and their families to help in understanding the often daunting process of recruiting. (See one family’s testimonial.) If you are looking for help in the college recruiting process, please email Coach Renee Lopez at email@example.com.