Coaches Visit Recruits at Practice, Meets, and at Home
Recruiting is a two-way street! Just as recruits use unofficial visits to gather tangible facts about the colleges they are interested in, coaches often visit their high-priority recruits at their practice and meets to judge how they function in these settings and their coachability. In fact, it's common to see numerous college coaches watching multiple athletes at competitive high school meets, like state championships, Nationals, as well as Brooks PR and other selective invitationals, while adhering to NCAA restrictions. College coaches want to observe recruits in their work environment where they could see for themselves how the recruits interact with teammates and coaches, carry out instructions, handle workouts and pressure, tackle their event, react to a good performance or a bad performance, and display sportsmanship and team spirit. The coaches are seeking student-athletes who are not only talented but, at a minimum, low maintenance and by example could be an asset to the team. When being observed at practice and at meets, recruits get to demonstrate how coachable they are!
On the continuum of information gathering and selling the merits of their program, event coaches sometimes make visits to the homes of highly sought-after recruits, typically during the summer after junior year is completed. Recruits should relish these home visits as a sign of a coach's strong interest, and welcome the occasions to display their appreciation for being considered for benefits valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars that could yield life-long advantages.
The visits provide an opportunity for recruits and their families to entertain coaches in a relaxed setting and to leave a long-lasting positive impression of their home lifestyle. Some recruits go all out with decorations in the college colors, and lavish home-cooked or catered meals to display their level of interest. In a nice comfortable setting with good food, coaches could easily spend four to five hours in a recruit's home where the conversations could go from light exchanges that show commonalities in families, interests and travels to serious discussions involving coaches' power-point presentations that feature their achievements and sometimes culminate in scholarship offers. Typically, it's the head coach who presents an offer. An event coach who isn't the head coach may not be authorized to make an offer.
To make yourself engaging, prepare for the visit by creating a resume that highlights you as a total person: your community service involvement, artistic interests, religious activities, practical skills, leadership qualities and achievements, in addition to all of your athletic and academic accomplishments. The items on your resume could serve as prompts for things to emphasize in your conversations. I have attached a copy of my end of high school resume as a sample of the kinds of information that could be included. Have a copy of your resume to give to the coaches for their records.
Here's a tidbit: if you are scheduling multiple home visits on one day due to calendar limitations, leave at least five hours between two visits. Sometimes the first coach is delayed in arrival. And remember, you need to allocate time to clean up all traces of the first visit and prepare fully for the second visit. The last thing you want to do is rush a coach out of your home when the visit is going very well.