As the second semester of the high school calendar year is underway, now is a good time to discuss what college coaches are looking for beyond talent on the field and court. There are thousands of high school athletes who have already signed their NLI, and thousands more who will do the same in the coming months. Whether you have already found the college that you will attend in the fall, or are still trying to find a school to commit to, there are a number of things that you can focus on improving beyond your stat sheet. Here are the top four things that college coaches want to see in each of the athletes they sign.
The main things college coaches look for beyond talent
- Leadership skills
College coaches across the country have vested interest in their sports, teams, and programs. Most have equally great interest in finding players who will make their job easier. Every athlete leads in a different way, but it is important to know what kind of leader you are, and how to display that to potential coaches in the recruiting process.
- Work Ethic
There are a million cliches out there. “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” has been said in dozens of different ways by hundreds of different coaches. The reality at the collegiate level is that everyone has worked hard to get there. Yes, some athletes are more naturally gifted than others, but everyone playing college sports works hard. What sets athletes apart in the eyes of coaches is motivation to work and get better independently. Practice and team lifting sessions are attended by all, college coaches want to see athletes go beyond the plan that is put together for them.
This one is obvious, but can’t be left out of the conversation. The biggest difference between high school and college sports is that the collegiate level is a business. College coaches are building their careers, and take care of the little things behind the scenes in order to progress professionally. They expect athletes to respect that sentiment as well. No matter your situation, here is some sound advice: play the sport to go to college, rather than go to college to play the sport. You’ll need to uphold your GPA for eligibility, and college coaches don’t want to worry about it. Proving your ability to hold up this end of the bargain begins long before your first practice.
- Expressed interest in the program and school
Culture is a huge deal to college coaches, and most work extremely hard to build it. Once a team culture is established, coaches only want to add players who will help to grow it. If you find a school and program that feel right to you, it is important to make that clear to the coach. You can begin fitting into the team before you ever meet them through buying into the culture ahead of time.
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