Awesome! So now you are in the process of speaking with college coaches. You are trying to decide which school will be the best fit for you. Here is a list of questions that will help you decide.
What is the graduation rate of the athletes on your team?
One of the most important questions you should ask is what the graduation rate is for current and past teams? The NCAA website says, “The Graduation Success Rate (GSR) was developed by NCAA member colleges and universities to more accurately assess the academic performance of student-athletes.” This rate measures how many student-athletes finish college in six years. Read more from the NCAA on graduation rates here.
This is an important question because it shows how well the school supports their student athletes. A high graduation rate means that if you decide to go there, you are likely to graduate. You can also see this as a measure of a coach’s success – have they recruited kids who do well academically as well as athletically?
High graduation rates are most often found on college campuses where there is a culture of valuing education over sports. An athlete at a University could be likely to graduate if they know that their whole team will be graduating with them, too!
How many players on your latest recruiting class are still on the team?
The numbers don’t lie, so you should ask:
- How many players from your previous recruiting class are still on the team?
- Which players have left for the NBA?
- Which players have transferred to other universities?
- How does your retention rate compare to that of teams in the conference and nationally?
What was the academic performance of your latest recruiting class?
It’s important to know how many players from a given recruiting class graduate and how many are still on the team. The best coaches want to develop their athletes in all aspects of their lives, including academically, so you should figure out what the average GPA and SAT scores of those latest recruits were. What’s more, you should ask about how a coach helps the student-athletes balance academics with playing sports.
The answers you get will give you insight into whether a coach cares more about winning games than developing his or her players, or if they truly care about their team as people.
Does your school provide academic support for student athletes?
As a college athlete, you will be expected to balance the demands of both your sport and your coursework. It’s critical that you consider which schools have academic support programs for student athletes. You should ask about what types of resources are available to help you succeed academically, such as tutoring or study hall.
You may also want to assess how committed your school is to balancing athletics with academics. Does the coach require his or her players to attend study skills classes? Are they involved in helping you choose courses? Do they want you to meet with an academic advisor, specifically one who is well-versed in the challenges student athletes face? Knowing more about these resources will give you a better idea of whether your prospective team has a healthy attitude toward academics.
What percent of student athletes on your team graduate in 4 years?
What percent of student athletes on your team graduate in 4 years?
This is a question that can be answered through college coach directories and even Wikipedia, but it’s also worth asking. You want to go to a school that prioritizes graduation rates and not just athletic excellence. A low rate may be a red flag if you weren’t looking for an athletic scholarship, or if you were hoping to participate in a sport without the pressure of having to perform for four years. In addition to the overall graduation rate, look at the graduation rates for athletes, as well as those graduating within four years (the standard amount of time it takes to complete an undergraduate degree).
Will I have a chance to play as a Freshmen or will I redshirt?
This is a very good question to ask. You should expect the coaches to be honest with you about your chances of starting as a Freshman and how much time you will have on the field. This will depend on your talent level, position, and number of players at that position. It can also depend on if there is any coaching staff turnover in between the time you sign and when you arrive on campus (so much has happened this past year that this can happen more than usual).
If they do not have an answer for you or they are evasive with their answer, I would look into other schools. To me it signals that they do not know what next year’s depth chart looks like at your position as well as not knowing who else is recruiting from your class.
If I am injured while playing, what type of medical care would be provided by the school?
- What type of injuries are covered?
- How long do you have to wait to see a doctor?
- Does the school have an on-staff sports medicine professional?
- If your injury requires surgery, does the school handle that for you?
- Does the school have an on-staff physical therapist, or is that arrangement made with a third party provider?
What is the strength and conditioning program like at your school?
Involving yourself with a strength training program is one of the best ways to prevent injury and improve performance. Unfortunately, many collegiate programs don’t include this kind of training as part of their regular exercise. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, strength and conditioning programs should prescribe balance between muscular strength, endurance, and power in both the upper and lower body; flexibility for all major muscle groups; core stability; cardiovascular endurance; agility; speed development; plyometrics (exercises that use explosive movement to build speed or power); balance work; proprioception (the sense of where your body is in space); nutrition education/counseling. Coaches should also be certified by the NSCA so that they fully understand how to conduct workouts safely.
When you’re speaking with coaches ask them about how often they conduct strength training sessions, how many times a week their players lift weights, what types of exercises they use in their strength training program, how is their strength training program supervised (i.e., closed-circuit video), and how does your strength training program change throughout the year?
While all these questions help you decide what program is the right fit for you, there is nothing like speaking with someone who has been through this proces. Enter ASM Scholarships. For more information on how to get in touch with college coaches, reach out to us here.