Do’s and Don’ts of Player-Coach Interaction

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This month’s topic comes by request of coaches. We were sitting around lunch talking recruiting at our last event and this topic popped up. “You should write about this! It’s an epidemic.” The topic is ‘player-coach interaction’.

We polled some coaches and here are some of the pain points they brought up. Below is a compilation from the coaches with names removed to protect the innocent.

EMAIL

The trend in the recruiting world lead to the first point of contact usually being email. It has become customary to introduce yourself to a coach through email, and often for a coach to introduce himself to you the same way.

Don’t send it from mom or dad’s email address
“I think it is a simple lack of maturity when I see an email come from dad@companyX.com. If your son can’t take 5 minutes to create an email address and send me an email it makes me wonder if he wants to play or if dad wants to play.”

Dad, don’t write the email trying to sound like a teenager
The same coach continued, “and, I know when dad writes it trying to sound like his son. There are certain buzzwords that are dead giveaways. Kids don’t write like they are sending you a business memo!”

We are a college, not a university
“I immediately delete the email if they tell me how much they are interested in my ‘university’. We are your ‘top choice’ but you don’t know if we are a college or a university?”

Coaches don’t need an essay
“I went into coaching so I didn’t have to grade papers. Keep it short and simple. Tell me why you are interested, give me the position, grad year, grades, and test scores. Let me know where I can see you play. I don’t need a short biography and resume with 30 references.”

PHONE CALLS

If a coach likes what he sees the next point of contact often comes through phone call.

Stop texting and start speaking
“Too many guys speak like they are texting. I swear I spoke to a caveman the other day with all the ‘uh’s’ and ‘um’s’ and ‘yea’s’. It’s really hard to have a conversation when someone is giving you one word answers. Stop texting and start speaking.”

It’s okay to be nervous
“I know some kids are taken back when the phone rings and it’s me on the other end. I understand you are nervous on the phone, I understand you are nervous at showcases and games. The best way to cover it up is to be enthusiastic. Energy will hide nerves any day of the week. I tell our guys the same thing on the field. Have some life to your voice even if you are stumbling through a conversation.”

Your voicemail is a poor representation of YOU
“If I call a kid and get his machine it is my first impression of his personality. I’ve called way too many kids and gotten some dumb movie quote, or corny answering machine message. You really want that to be my first impression?”

FACE TO FACE MEETINGS

If you are lucky enough to be invited to campus for a face to face meeting with the staff, you should go prepared and ready to present yourself properly.

Don’t look like you just woke up
“We meet with a lot of kids early because it fits our schedule. I can’t stand it when I see the swollen eyes and bedhead. I’ve had 3 guys yawn in meetings. Needless to say they didn’t end up heref.”

Dress respectfully
“I find it disrespectful when a kid rolls in with sweats and untied boots with a backwards cap. My team is not allowed in the lunchroom or in meetings like that. You don’t need a tuxedo, but this is essentially an interview. Dress respectfully.”

Know the basics
“It’s a knife in my chest when I get the ‘who is in your conference?’ question, or, ‘do you guys go south?’. At least take the car ride there to google us! Don’t just ask a question to ask a question. Come prepared with something. I will probably answer most, if not all, of your questions along the way without you asking them.”

Don’t ask about playing time
“I know a lot of coaches and I not one of them promises playing time to a recruit. If Mike Trout walked through my door I would tell him, like I tell everyone, playing time is earned. I asked you to campus because I expect you will earn some playing time. Coaches recruit guys they think will contribute, not guys who they want to sit the bench. Bottom line is you have to earn your time.”

I want to hear from YOU
“It is incredibly frustrating to ask a question to a player and mom or dad jump in with the answer. It’s even worse if I ask the player and he looks at mom or dad to them to answer it. Trust me, it’s happened. I’ve been doing this long enough now that if mom or dad are taking over the conversation I will just angle my chair directly toward the kid and start speaking to him. It’s a family decision for sure, but I am going to be around that kid every single day for 4 years, not mom or dad.”

SOCIAL MEDIA

If you think it’s a wives tale that coaches look up kids on twitter, facebook, instagram and other social sites you are sadly mistaken.

Your profile is your resume
“If I am investing money (scholarship) in a young man I want to make sure I am investing in someone who will represent our program properly. I just learned this “twitter stuff” and it is terrifying to me what kids put out there. I don’t care if it is something that someone else posted and you are retweeting it. This is still linked to your profile, your resume. I’ve cut ties with 2 kids in the last 2 years that I loved as players, but what they put on social media was so offensive that I wanted no part of it.