Just came across an amazing article by Becky Carlson who is a D-I NCAA Women's Rugby Coach at Quinnipiac University (Hamden, CT).
She writes an open letter to potential student-athletes about college athletic recruiting from a coach's perspective, and there is a tremendous amount of wisdom to be gleaned by athletes and families alike about the process.
Coaches want to engage with the athlete, not their parents.
While it took a bit to thumb through the long list of your impressive extracurricular activities please thank your parents for putting this packet together and understand that it would have been far more beneficial for our staff to speak to you personally by way of an old school phone call. As my staff sent correspondence to your personal email, we have received only a return from your parents apologizing and explaining that you are simply "too busy to answer".
(I know as a parent, we want the best situation for our kids. We are used to screening opportunities for our kids, but this should be done up front, and let your athlete be themselves with the college coaches.)
The coaches hope to get to know who the athlete is, both as a player and as a person. Coaches are people too, and hope to be treated with respect - such as having phone calls returned from the athlete (as opposed to his/her parents), and to have complete emails sent by the athlete which gives them all the information they may need. Parents could certainly help proof/edit these emails, but they should be sent by the student. The coaches are gauging these athletes as to how they would fit into their athletic programs, and what sort of character these possible recruits have to project how they might adapt to playing (or not playing) and being a part of a program at the college level.
As you are the team captain, I found it disappointing that you did not contribute to the post game team discussion. I watched as your mother brought over snacks and saw that you made no effort to assist her in bringing those large containers of cupcakes from the bleachers out to your 40 other teammates. Last, as the rest of the team broke the field down and put equipment away, you found a quiet spot on the empty bench to text on your phone.
Perhaps as a high school-age athlete, these are behaviors you are simply unaware of. In a world where you are being taught the X's and O's of mastering a sport, so much practice and dialogue in character building is diminishing. I realize that you have been told repeatedly by many of your previous coaches that you are amazing in your sport. However, players like you, with similar demeanor are a dime a dozen.
Since you have been a star in your sport for quite a while with coaches and parents who have clearly allowed these details to slip through the cracks also, you are not entirely to blame. However, please bear in mind, none of this makes you a bad person only potentially, a bad teammate. The attributes I am judging you on happen to be far more important than any of your trophies, all-star selections or travel team accolades.
There is a tremendous amount of takeaway wisdom in this article, including a list of 10 characteristics about college athletes from a coach's perspective.
There is no doubt you are talented. However, from my experience, here are the 10 things I know about athletes like you.
1. Your incredible talent is the same talent that in your sophomore year of college will suddenly suffer an ego blow when a new freshman arrives with equal or greater talent. Battling your feeling of ownership over your position and feeling threatened is inevitable.
2. Rather than working hard to better your game, you are more likely to be the athlete that is constantly comparing your success to others rather than focusing on growth for yourself. This will become a tedious and exhausting process for your coaches and team to constantly have to reassure you of your self worth and value.
3. As those around you put in the work, rather than be grateful to be surrounded by a committed group of individuals who share common goals, you are more likely to resent them and seek out allies to split the team support in half and create locker room chatter.
4. In the event you see time on the bench you may not be emotionally prepared, willing to engage or support the teammate who is starting over you. Also, it is likely you will find it challenging to support the success your team obtains when they win without you on the field.
Well worth the read!