The following is a list of questions to ask college coaches during in an interview whether on a college visit, at a game, or at a camp. These questions won’t be relevant for all sports or all colleges. For example, D3 colleges do not give out athletic scholarships so there’s no point in asking about them. Some questions may be more appropriate for a second visit than a first visit. After all, if a coach is just meeting you for the first time, he probably can’t rank you among recruits for specific positions.
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I based these questions to ask college coaches on those I’ve found on various internet sites and recruiting books. There are some questions I didn’t include. One list included questions on the conference the team played in and how many games were on the schedule. I’m sorry, this is something that is easily looked up on the team website. Why waste your time (and the coaches) asking questions that can be answered in five minutes on the internet?
If you are targeting the Ivy League, I suggest you read through Good Questions During Unofficial Visits-Suggestions on College Confidential. There are quite a few contributors on the Athletic Recruits forum with experience with Ivy League recruiting and are willing to help.
For baseball players who have realistic prospects to make it to the MLB, 25 Questions to Ask During the College Baseball Recruiting Process is worth a read. Some of the questions are designed to get more at the issue of player development.
Timing is Important
As I hinted earlier, timing is important in deciding which questions to ask college coaches. Think about it like the difference in conversations between a first date and when things start to look serious in a relationship. It’s generally not considered a good idea to ask someone how many kids they want to have on a first date. However, by the time you’re thinking about moving in together, you should probably know all about their religious, political, and financial preferences. You’re looking to build a relationship with a coach. He has to get to know you as well as you getting to know him.
I’ve divided the questions to ask college coaches into two groups based on what you might ask at the first meeting versus what you might ask later in the process. However, depending on your goals and requirements, some of the questions in the second group might be better asked initially.
For example, if you are certain you want to play a second sport and know that you are likely to make both teams, then you might want to ask about competing in other sports earlier on. Why waste your time and the coaches if he has a hard “no” for an answer? Of course, if you’re good enough, maybe he’ll make an exception so maybe you might want to wait a bit to prove your value. Naturally, it all depends.
One more thing to keep in mind, make sure you ask team members the same questions if they are relevant. Everyone has a different perspective so it’s a good idea to get as much information as possible for you to decide which view most closely aligns with your own.
Questions to Ask College Coaches
- What is the season/off-season practice schedule?
- What would a typical schedule look like?
- Is there a separate conditioning schedule?
- Are there unofficial/captain practices?
- Do freshman play?
- What percentage of freshman remain on the team all four years?
- What is the travel schedule like? Does everyone travel?
- Are there separate dorms/dining/work out facilities for the athletes? Are athletes required to use them? Does this include support staff such as tutors, conditioning coaches, and physical therapists?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the team?
- What is the biggest need of the team?
- What are you looking for in players in general?
- What do I need to do to be evaluated?
- What are the off-season expectations?
- Are there any summer obligations? Or will you be able to do internships in the summer?
- What is the coaches recruiting timeline?
- How would you describe your coaching style?
- What kind of players succeed here?
- How is your coaching style different from others in the division?
- What is the team GPA?
- What percentage of players graduate?
- Are there team/athletic study halls/tutoring?
- How are conflicts between academics and athletics handled?
- What is a typical day for an athlete?
- Will I be able to do study abroad?
- What are some of the common majors of players?
- Are any players majoring in ________________?
- Will I be able to major in _______?
- How accommodating are faculty with players missing classes for practices?
- What do players do for fun on their off-days?
- Is there a junior varsity team?
If the coach has shown interested in you then…
- What position do you see me playing?
- How many people are you recruiting for my position?
- Where do you rank me on your list of possible recruits for position _______?
- How many/types of scholarships are available for my class?
- Are scholarships for 1 year or 4 years?
- How are scholarships renewed? Do the amounts generally increase after the freshman year?
- What are your redshirt policies? Will scholarships cover a fifth year?
- Do you have official tryouts for the team?
- What is your walk-on policy?
- Can I compete in other sports?
- When does the coaches contract end? Or where do they see themselves in five years?
- Do I have to have medical insurance to play?
- What medical expenses does the college cover?
- What equipment are players required to provide?
- What expenses will players have to cover?
- Will I lose my scholarship if I have a career-ending injury?
- Do players attend summer school to reduce the in-season course load?
- For example: are catchers allowed to call their own pitches?
- What do you look for in players at _______ position?
Last Questions to ask College Coaches
- What happens next?
- Is there anything different/specific I need to do for admissions?
- Do you need anything else from me?
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