What Are College Coaches REALLY Wanting in Their Recruits?

Every week, I engage in conversations through consulting sessions and over social media with parents of high school student-athletes. The number one inquiry I get is “how do I help my child get an athletic scholarship to pay for college?”. The short answer is finding the right fit of a college program academically and athletically. However, decision-making from a coach’s perspective includes a lot more factors beyond that as they discern their team for the next four years!

It is important you take the right steps to ensure your name doesn’t get crossed off the list of potential student-athletes. Recently, we discussed what the parents role should and should not be in communicating with the college coach. This week, I want to discuss another important aspect that came up from my 65 interviews of college coaches and athletic directors for my book, “Looking For A FULL-RIDE?: An Insider’s Recruiting Guide.

During the recruiting process, the majority of the coaches we interviewed were looking to see how prospective students deal with adversity. I asked a good friend to contribute to get another college coach’s perspective on what is being evaluated while coaches sit on the sidelines of a competition. Molly Grisham is a former college soccer coach and now owns Influence, LLC where she focuses on Team Building, Myers Briggs Assessments, Group Facilitation, and Leadership Development. She is also a partner at Success for Teams which provides curriculum for teams that seek to develop their communication, leadership, and mental skills. She is a visionary with a heart for developing cultures and leaders who are value driven, people-centric, and service oriented.

Molly provides an amazingly accurate perspective:

I remember this day very clearly. It was a cold, cloudy, windy Saturday morning and I was at a well-respected college showcase in Chicago. I was looking for members of our next recruiting class.I am not a fan of the cold, or of being awake too early, but I had just spotted a player that got me excited! She was good technically on the ball, loved to take people on 1 vs 1, and there was no doubt that she loved to attack. We needed a player like this in our next recruiting class!

Was she a great player?

Yes, check!

I looked up her information in the recruiting profile booklet and I was thrilled to see she had a high GPA, a high ACT score, and she was interested in a program of study our institution was known for…On paper, it seemed she was a great academic fit for our University.

Was she a great student?

Yes, check!

My next step, while sitting on the sideline, was to look up her twitter account and that’s when things took a turn for the worse. It was concerning that she had retweeted some very inappropriate tweets, but what she had written herself was equally as bad. Her social media certainly didn’t paint a picture that she was the kind of person I wanted to work with for four years.

What Are College Coaches REALLY Wanting in Their Recruits? | Coach Renee Lopez with Guest Blogger Molly Grisham

Was she a good person?

Maybe she was, but I knew I would never get the opportunity to find out for myself. She was too much of a risk and I crossed her off my list and moved on to another field…

What Are College Coaches REALLY Wanting in Their Recruits? | Coach Renee Lopez with Guest Blogger Molly GrishamThe next field I walked to had a talented goalkeeper, but her team was struggling that day against a very strong attacking opponent. As her team was getting scored on, she began to berate her teammates. Her voice was loud, her body language was terrible, and her behavior could best be described as a teenage temper tantrum. At halftime, she threw her gloves at her teammates, stormed off the field, and left the complex all while shouting loud enough for every college coach within 100 yards to hear. If there had been a camera at the complex, you would have seen each college coach crossing her off their lists.

Was she a great teammate?

No, absolutely not. No college coach in their right mind would invite that kind of drama into their locker-room and team culture.

In the process, I was looking for four things in recruits: 1) great players, 2) great people, 3) great students, and 4) great teammates. I often find that recruits struggle most in the area of being a great person and being a great teammate. Sadly, those are two areas I think recruits have the most control over!

Athletic and academic skills take years to develop, but being a great person and a great teammate is simply a daily decision. I found many recruits chose not to excel in those areas. Some people might say ‘it’s not fair to cross a player off the list because of their social media’ or ‘how they treat their teammates in one game’. But let’s call it like it is: If you want me to offer scholarship dollars because of your good decisions in a game, doesn’t it also make sense that I would not offer scholarship dollars because of bad decisions?

Coaches want great players, great people, great students, and great teammates. Recruits have the ability to choose to be great people and great teammates every single day. We will expect that from you in our programs and expect to see that in the recruiting process. If you can’t make the decision to be a great person and a great teammate when I am recruiting you, why should I expect you to make that decision when you are a part of our program?

Be great. It’s your choice.

Coach Molly Grisham runs Influence, LLC and works directly with teams and individuals to provide an environment of personal growth. Their work in Team Building is rooted in hands-on experiential learning. Teams gravitate to this process due to the kinesthetic nature of the experiential learning cycle. They use the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and Group Facilitation provides a safe environment for self-reflection and dialog. They also provide workshops on leadership development which is often used in conjunction with our curriculum called Leadership Discovery. If you would like to develop as a team or individual, you can learn more at www.personofinfluence.com or email molly@apersonofinfluence.com

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Coach Renee Lopez

Looking for a Full Ride? by: Coach Renee Lopez

As a 17 year coaching veteran, 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 presents recruiting seminars across the country, has recently been featured on ESPN Radio, and is the author of the book, “Looking For A FULL RIDE?: An Insider’s Recruiting Guide” where she interviewed 65 college recruiters across all sports and college levels.

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 info@lookingforafullride.com.