What characteristics should I be looking for in a College Coach?
During the recruiting process, college coaches are evaluating hundreds of athletes from every recruiting class, all over the country. Your job as a prospect/player is to do your research and evaluations of the coach and programs who are recruiting you. Not every school or university is created equal, and not every coach is a great role model, teacher or mentor. Ultimately, you should base your final decision off of a combination of factors but the head coach should be a small piece of the puzzle, not the one and final reason you decide to attend a school. Why? Because coaches come and go, so it’s important to ask yourself the question, “If the coach left tomorrow, could I still see myself playing 4 years of competitive golf at this school?” I can’t stress this enough. The current coach may resign or be fired after you sign the NLI. The NLI is binding for the university, not the coach. So, make sure you’re not basing 100% of your decision on the head coach.
Over the years, I’ve had the special opportunity to talk to over 100 college golf coaches at the Division I & II level. From those conversations and interactions one thing is obvious – the best coaches have several of the same characteristics. Of course, no coach is perfect but use the checklist below to help you separate the good coaches from the great ones.
Characteristics of Successful College Coaches
They demand perfection (or near perfection) in everything that you do, even off the course.
They understand that winning is the only thing that they will be judged on and still can balance tournament preparations, strategy, and player development with other job requirements.
They learn from every coach they have worked for and even learn from players
They are good communicators
They aren’t caught “off guard” easily
They know when/how to motivate their players and are trusted by their team.
They have faith and passion in their players
They have faith and passion in their plan
Their players are accountable
They are great teachers and are able to simplify complicated things
Their practices are tough and demanding
They have strong relationships with other coaches across the sport at every level
They expect you to play well and do well in the classroom
They enjoy the process
They are open and honest with their players
They have clear and precise team rules
They verbalize everything that is expected of you
They take time to listen to their players
They are able to put the “big-picture” in perspective
The list could go on-and-on. Use the characteristics listed above to evaluate each coach you meet and don’t be afraid to ask them questions about the topics listed! They should be willing and open to discussing them with you.
Mike Smith is the Founder & CEO of ForeCollegeGolf and specializes in assisting junior golfers & their families through the college recruiting process. Email him @ firstname.lastname@example.org