Critical Questions to Ask College Coaches Before Joining a Sports Team - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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College Preparation
March 19, 2018

Critical Questions to Ask College Coaches Before Joining a Sports Team

A talented high school athlete, you intend to continue with your sport of choice at college. As you meet with prospective coaches, prepare a list of questions to determine whether a particular school and team is the right fit. The following questions will give you a head start:

What is your preferred coaching style?

Every coach brings something unique to the table. No one coaching style is automatically preferable to all others, but some athletes simply work better with certain coaches. Think about your favorite, most effective high school coaches; how did they motivate you? Look for these desirable qualities in your future coach.

What would my commitment be during holidays and the off-season?

Some coaches expect strict adherence to a grueling off-season program. Others are more lenient. Your coach may require your team remain on campus during summer or winter breaks. If you're hoping to pursue other opportunities during the off-season but your coach insists on year-round training, you may not be a good fit for that particular program. Keep in mind that most elite-level coaches will expect a significant off-season commitment. 

 What does a typical week look like for student athletes?

Don't simply ask how often student athletes practice; figures can vary significantly within a single season. Additionally, this question doesn't take into account time spent traveling, at games, and at other required functions. Instead, have your prospective coach guide you through a basic week on the team. When would you practice? How often would you hit the weight room? When would you schedule classes? Would it be realistic to plan for additional extracurricular activities or a part-time job alongside your athletic commitment?

How do you support your players on an academic basis?

Quality coaches understand that academics are the priority. Your coach's answer to this question could determine how you stack up academically when you arrive at college. Does your coach provide sufficient time for studying and attending exams? Do student athletes on your team enjoy access to tutors or other resources?

Delve deeper into the school's policy on missing classes for athletic functions. Many colleges require athletes to make up work ahead of time. Others allow coaches to proctor exams on the road. Colleges increasingly allow students to submit papers or projects online. In some programs, student-athletes perform as well if not better in-season than they do in the off-season, due to the need for better time management.

What expectations of student-athletes does this university and team have?

Your coach and other players should make clear the expectations about being a representative of the college or university. If they can't state clearly that illegal and immoral behavior is not tolerated, then you should look for another school. Your time as a student-athlete should build up your character not just your athletic performance.

What are your program's core values?

Potential coaches should share core values as easily as they rattle off their ABC's. An inability to provide a succinct answer could indicate a general lack of vision for the team. The demonstration of the core values should line up with what the coaches and adminstrators say.

What role do you anticipate me filling on this team?

If your prospective coach has already seen you play, ask how your style can fit into the larger picture. Keep in mind that your coach's answer may involve a redshirt year. It's impossible to know exactly how you'll be used, but your future coach should at least offer some insight into how your talents fit into his or her grand vision.

Don't be afraid to ask tough questions; they'll help you determine your value to various athletic programs, while also demonstrating your maturity and commitment.

If you’d like to learn more about an athletic program that helps you strive for intensity and self-control, maturity and faith, learn more about a biblically based, Christ-centered education at Geneva, we’d love to introduce you to Christian perspectives on and off the playing field. For more information on how Geneva College can help you pursue your ministry goals, please phone us at 855-979-5563 or email