Coaches want you to ask questions. But there’s one question you should never ask.
As part of the process of getting to know you during the recruiting process, college coaches expect and want you to ask them questions. Just remember that a coach’s time is valuable and asking a question that you know the answer to, or can find out on your own, is a definite waste of their time. Instead, focus on these questions and see where the conversation leads:
“What’s your recruiting timeline with me?”
Every coach recruits at their own pace and in their own style. Asking a coach his timeline can help you determine your own decision timeline and how much consideration you should give other offers. While some might consider asking about timeline to be a sign of impatience, most coaches know how the recruiting process moves and it’s only natural for a recruit to be curious about how fast, or slow, things may go.
“When will you be done recruiting for my class year?”
Much like recruiting timelines, every coach operates at different speeds. Given that, it’s perfectly fine to ask a coach when they anticipate having their recruiting class filled out. If you’re being recruited by several schools, knowledge of when a coach wants to be done recruiting can certainly be helpful in making your decision. Delaying your decision has its risks but knowing when a coach expects an answer might also help you work through the differentiating factors of any offer or offers you have.
“How many athletes do you plan on bringing in for my class year?”
Once again, asking how many athletes a coach is looking to recruit in your graduation year is a perfectly valid question for a high school recruit. Knowing how many players a coach is recruiting elsewhere can also give you a picture of how many scholarships a coach might have to offer, as well as an idea of how much competition you might face on a given college team.
Make this question part of your research into each program you’re considering, along with a study of the current roster to get a better feel for where you might land on the depth chart once you get to campus. In addition, pay close attention to how many freshmen a coach is bringing in your class year, but also consider how many older transfers may be joining the team as well. More transfers now could mean less development or playing time for you later.
“How many more athletes do you plan to bring in next year or two years from now?”
Asking this question often depends on where you are in the recruiting process. If you’re a junior, you’re obviously concerned with your graduating year. If you’re a senior, knowing who or what a coach is prioritizing can also give you a better picture of where you’ll fit with the team. Knowing who else is coming ahead or behind you can help you have a clearer picture of your potential role at the school you ultimately choose.
Finally, while coaches are happy to answer the questions above, there’s one question that no coach wants to hear early in the recruiting process. Do not, no matter what, ask a coach…
“How much of a scholarship are you going to give me?”
It’s the elephant in the room and if you bring it up, you’re telling a coach you care more about the offer than the school and the program. Don’t assume anything. Instead, wait for the coach to bring it up. That’s when a coach is getting serious and that’s when it’s appropriate to be curious about the potential scholarship amount you may be offered.
Consider the first four questions above ice-breaker questions whose answers should generate more follow-up questions from you. As long as it’s not a question you can’t find the answer to on your own, don’t be shy about asking a coach more questions that will help provide a better feel for the coach, the program, and his or her philosophy.
And the last question? The one about how much of a scholarship a coach is offering? Just don’t ask!
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