6 Vital Questions To Ask College Coaches: Parent’s Guide

College coaches agree that parents have a huge impact on the student-athlete recruitment process.

As a matter of fact, when asked to rate the bearing of parents in the recruitment process from 1 to 10, coaches across every collegiate sport gave it a score of 8.

Yes, that’s how pivotal the role of a student-athlete’s parent like you plays!

So, can you communicate with college coaches?


However, it’s crucial that you speak up at the right time, ask the right questions, and know when to let your child lead the way in order to avoid endangering the bright future waiting for your college-bound teenager.

Later in this post, I will give you some of the most important questions to ask college coaches correctly.


Getting to Know the Athletic Recruiting Process

To know when you can step in as a parent, you should have an idea of the recruitment process.

College coaches must abide by the rules set by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) when it comes to getting in touch with student-athletes to try to get them to attend the college and join the team.

For example, an official visit is only allowed at the start of the student-athlete’s senior year of high school.

Between the student-athlete’s sophomore and senior year of high school, visits are unofficial, and associated expenses must be shouldered by the parents — the college may provide free tickets to an athletic event, though.

Before preparing questions to ask college coaches, know first how college coaches operate.

Here are the steps to the college athletic recruitment process coaches follow:

  • Creating a list of prospective athletes who meet basic requirements
  • Sending out recruitment letters, questionnaires, and invites to prospects
  • Conducting in-depth athletic, academic, and character evaluations
  • Extending non-binding verbal proposals and scholarship offers
  • Taking on student-athletes by asking them to sign their national letter of intent

Related Article: Ivy League Track and Field Recruiting Standards

So, when should parents talk to college coaches?

Parents of student-athletes should communicate with college coaches after college coaches show interest in their kids by reaching out to them and attempting to start a professional relationship with them.

College coaches can’t get in touch with student-athletes until June 15 after their sophomore year of high school.

As a parent, you should also abide by that cardinal rule.

Contacting an athletic coach before the said date, whether in person or via a phone call or an email, won’t get you the response you are hoping for — the coach is just avoiding getting penalized.

Speaking of phone calls, college coaches say you should avoid the following at all costs:

  • Calling college coaches early in the recruiting process to discuss scholarships
  • Calling college coaches to inquire about campus life or campus culture
  • Calling college coaches to ask questions about the athletic team
  • Answering the phone for your student-athlete when a college coach calls
track coach

Six Questions Parents Should Ask College Coaches

It’s perfectly understandable for parents to ask college coaches a lot of questions.

After all, it’s their student-athlete who is at the center of everything — a parent like you just wants to ensure that your teen will get the best opportunities as a college student and an athlete.

But it’s a must that you avoid being a helicopter parent.

Also, you must avoid asking college coaches questions you should not be asking.

College coaches understand that the athletic recruitment process is a team effort involving them, the student-athletes, and the parents, and they want to get to know both athletes and their parents.

That said, they are willing to answer the most pressing questions from concerned parents.

Here are the top six questions to ask a college coach before committing:

What scholarships and financial aid packages are available to my child?

Before you ask this question, check that the college coach already gave an offer to your child.

Feel free to ask about tuition, room and board, and scholarships and grants, although you may also count on the college’s admissions and financial aid officers to get the answers you want.

Ask the college coach about which expenses student-athletes must cover out of pocket, such as uniforms and equipment.

Read Also: How Much Does Travel Baseball Cost

Do student-athletes get the same meal plan as non-student-athletes?

The NCAA requires Division I schools to provide their student-athletes unlimited snacks.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always apply to D2, D3, and NAIA athletes.

Don’t be too shy to ask a college coach whether or not your student-athlete will get the same meal plan as non-athletes, or if the college provides student-athletes with chefs and dietitians.

What kinds of on- and off-campus activities are available to student-athletes?

To become a well-rounded individual, it’s a must for your child to participate in activities other than sports.

Inquire if student-athletes at the college or university have enough opportunities to explore other extracurriculars, or partake in internships or even study-abroad programs.

Don’t be surprised when you learn that a top athletic program may not leave your teen with a lot of free time.

What housing accommodations do student-athletes get?

It’s not uncommon for some postsecondary institutions to require student-athletes to live on campus during their first year of college or throughout their undergraduate studies.

Either way, ask a college coach what your child’s living situation is going to be like.

Do student-athletes live in housing exclusive to them? Are they allowed to get an off-campus apartment?

What is the college doing to create a safe campus for all?

Because your student-athlete will be away from home for the first time and is likely going to be a household name on campus, it’s completely understandable for a parent like you to worry about your child’s safety.

Ask the college coach about campus safety and security.

Determine what kinds of measures are installed, from campus police to late-night escort services.

What type of academic support do student-athletes get?

It’s not enough for student-athletes to be good at sports to be recruited — they must also be academically eligible.

Similarly, they must maintain their eligibility academics-wise to stay on the team and at the college, which is why it’s a complete no-no for their GPAs to drop to a certain level.

Find out whether or not the college provides busy athletes with additional support for their studies.

parent talking to coach

Other Important Matters Parents Should Know

Participating in the athletic recruiting process is fine for a parent like you.

However, meddling with it is an entirely different thing!

While there are right questions for parents to ask college coaches, there are also wrong ones.

Here are some examples of questions you should refrain from asking a college coach at all costs:

  • When are you going to give my child an offer?
  • How many decommits have you had?
  • What do you look for in prospective recruits?
  • How many scholarships will you give my student-athlete?
  • Can you pull some strings to get my child more scholarship money?
  • How much playing time will my little one get?
  • How do I schedule an official visit with my child?

Believe it or not, it’s not just student-athletes that college coaches evaluate.

College coaches also evaluate the parents!

In most instances, they determine the strengths and weaknesses of the parents of athletes because it’s not unlikely for their children in sports to have the same set of strengths and weaknesses.

What do college coaches look for in parents?

Usually, they look for warning signs of parents who are likely to meddle with the athletic affairs of their kids, thus making their coaching work difficult.

Here are some of the things you should avoid during the recruitment process:

  • Reaching out to college coaches on your child’s behalf
  • Advocating for your student-athlete
  • Talking over the student-athlete during unofficial and official visits
  • Writing the email of your child to the college coach
  • Bad-mouthing your child’s high school coach
  • Forcing the anxious student-athlete to talk with a college coach
  • Overhyping your child’s athletic abilities

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

Similar Posts