Three Keys to Maximizing College Recruiting Interviews

Face-to-face meetings with college coaches are important for an athlete who wants to be recruited. In an article posted on, Tom Kovic, former Division I college coach and President of Victory Collegiate Consulting, provides advice on getting the most out of these crucial interviews.

First Impression

Coaches remember first impressions. Kovic advises athletes to present themselves well by dressing casually, but nicely—opt for khakis, a collared shirt, and a nice pair of casual shoes rather than jeans and a t-shirt. 

He also urges athletes to be the first to confidently shake the coach's hand, introducing him/herself with a firm handshake, instead of taking a step back and allowing parents to initiate the greeting. Kovic adds, "Thank coach for making time for you and your family to meet and then introduce your mom and dad. This not only demonstrates self-reliance and confidence, it shows respect and coach will love it."

The “Pitch”

After 5 minutes of casual discourse, coaches will usually begin what Kovic refers to as “the pitch.” He defines this as, "A classic attempt by the college coach to re-cap the nuts and bolts of the program and trust me, they are absolute masters," says Kovic. "They will discuss everything from policies and procedures of their program, expectations they have for every member of the team, mandatory academic programs (study hall, etc.) to recruiting goals and the type and number of players they are looking to bring to the program."

Kovic believes this part of the meeting to be a great way for families to gather specific information about the university, the coach, and the program. He advises, "Be a sponge and take it all in, but try to also be an equal partner in the discussion and have a short list of questions you want to ask coach. Maintain eye contact and upright posture with coach during the entire meeting. This validates your interest in the program and gives coach every reason to believe you want to be there! You want to leave the meeting well-informed, but you also want to leave a positive impression on coach."

Close it out

These informational meetings will vary in length and content depending on the coach. The goal is for both the athlete and his/her family and the coach to part ways wanting to take the next step.

Kovic says, "The depth of impression you make with college coaches will be directly proportional to your level of preparation to present yourself favorably. That said, you can push that impression deeper by closing out a positive and constructive discussion with great effect. Thank coach again for meeting with you and your family and let him know that your interest in his institution has ratcheted even higher. Convey your desire to provide him with any significant updates (athletic, academic and otherwise), that can help him evaluate you in the best light." 

Kovic believes that meetings between prospects and their families, and coaches are a critical part of the college search and provide the best opportunity to move the recruiting process forward. In closing, Kovic reminds prospects, "Be polite, but bold in your effort to make a positive first impression with coach and set the tone of the meeting. Pay close attention to coach’s “pitch” of his program and look for openings to volley your questions. Leave the meeting on a high note and create positive closure to an important recruiting event that will lead to future growth between you and coach."

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