You’re making a huge commitment by signing a college contract. You want to know what you’re getting into.
In today’s post I am going to be focusing on questions that are geared towards the athlete and how they will fit into the program as well as questions about the team and the coaching staff. Some of these questions may not apply to each athlete. A lot of these questions may be answered by just doing a little research on the school and team. And some will undoubtedly come up in a conversation with the coach before you even have time to ask them. But what’s important is that you know the answer to each of the questions before you commit to a program. Don’t leave any stone unturned. You’re making a huge commitment by signing a college contract. You want to know what you’re getting into.
- How many returning players play my position?
- How many other recruits are you considering signing in my position?
- How many of these new recruits are JUCO players vs freshman?
- Can you describe the players competing at my position? What are their strengths?
- What would you say are my strengths vs weaknesses? What should I work on?
- How many players do you typically carry on the roster?
- What is the number one attribute you look for in players?
- How do you see me fitting into your program? In year 1, 2, 3, and 4?
- Does seniority play a major factor in playing time?
- Is red-shirting a possibility if playing time will be scarce my first year?
- What are your expectations for me as a player and a person?
- What division and conference does the team play in?
- What is the practice schedule like each week? (How many days, how long, etc.)
- Can you describe the team dynamic?
- Do you see me fitting in with the team?
- Do the girls have good relationships with one another outside of softball?
- Would you say you have an effective leader on the team?
- What is your pitching staff like?
- How do you see your team improving and growing from last year?
- What is your athlete retention rate? (Once people sign with you, do they stay?)
- How many hours per week can I expect to spend with my team? (Practices, games, study sessions, conditioning…)
- Is the university looking to change conferences or divisions anytime soon?
- Would you consider your program more, less, or equally as demanding as other programs in the conference?
- What are the facilities like and do I have access to the facilities outside of practice time?
- What is off-season training like?
- Do I need to be prepared to pass some type of conditioning test?
- What are your team rules?
- How many games do you play in a typical season?
- What is your win/loss record the past four years? (Regular season and conference play)
- How much does the team travel during the season?
- Is the softball team housed together or spread out across campus?
- Will my roommate be another teammate?
- Am I required to live on campus?
The Coaching Staff
- Can you describe your coaching philosophy?
- Would you describe your coaching style as intense or laid-back?
- Do you place your emphasis on defense or offense and does that change from year to year?
- Do you see yourself remaining here for at least the next several years?
- In the event you changed schools, how would you deal with players who signed under you at this school?
- Do you have specialists as assistant coaches? (Pitching coach, hitting coach....)
- What are the assistant coaches like?
- What type of players succeed under you?
- How many players typically sustain injuries each year and is there a trainer available?
- How much involvement do you have with players off the field?
- Would you say you develop close personal relationships with players?
- How much individual feedback can I expect as a player?
- Do you make time to work individually with players?
- Will I be able to major in ________?
- How well do the programs on campus work with athletes?
- How much importance do you place on academics?
- How much class time will I miss in the fall and spring?
- What was the team's GPA last year?
- What happens if classes conflict with practice times?
- Do we have team study halls worked into our schedules?
- What kind of extra help is available on campus for athletes/students?
- How many classes do your athletes typically take each semester?
- What programs are most of the girls on the team in?
- What is the graduation rate of your athletes?
- Do you still have scholarship money available to give and am I a candidate to receive a scholarship?
- What factors go into determining who gets a scholarship?
- How much does tuition cost for a year?
- Does it often occur that you do not renew an athlete's scholarship?
- What all is typically covered in a scholarship? (Tuition, dorm, books, meal plan?)
- If I get injured while on scholarship, what happens?
- Do you offer fifth year scholarships even if field eligibility has expired?
- Would I have the opportunity to combine an athletic scholarship with an academic scholarship?
- Would there be an opportunity to do work-study or for me to get a part-time job while playing?
Know your information. Ask questions like “I know that last year you played 46 games. Do you think the schedule will be similar this upcoming year?” or “Last year your record was 34/14. How do you see your team progressing this year?” Take it a step further with questions like, “You graduated Smith and Jones last year who both put up big offensive numbers batting .415 and .407. Do you think you’ll have the talent this year to fill those shoes or will their absence be felt in the lineup?” Any time you can go above and beyond...do it. And that includes with your research.
Coaches expect you to ask questions. Don’t be shy. And don’t let your parents do all the talking. Take initiative. A coach doesn’t want a kid who can’t function without mommy and daddy. Show that you’re a young adult and you’re here and ready to handle business. Coaches are going to respect and want that.