When that phone rings you should not be caught off guard. You can be nervous. You should be. Nervous excitement is a cool feeling. That call means you have done something to impress a coach. Congratulations. But….don’t blow it.
You can’t be someone you’re not. And if you fake it, you’ll get uncovered sooner or later. But, you have to do your best to show that coach your personality. It is probably the first interaction you’ll have with them. Here are some tips for a successful phone call with a coach.
Get away from the noise.
If you are out with your buddies, go away from them. It’s okay to say, “coach, can you hang on one second, I want to get to a quiet place.” He will appreciate it. If you’re in the car with your buddies, tell them to zip it for 5 minutes. If they don’t, get new friends.
Ask him how he’s doing.
“Hey, Johnny, this is Coach Smith from State University College, how are you” — “I’m great coach, thank you for calling, how are you doing?” Answering with….”uhhh, Hi Coach,” is a bad start to the conversation.
Communicate in words.
I understand the mixture of nerves, puberty, embarrassment, confusion tc, all makes it tough to be totally comfortable speaking to adults. You don’t have to be Teddy Roosevelt delivering The Man In The Arena speech. You just have to communicate. Grunts and moans behind one-word answers is not communicating. “Johnny, how is football season going?” — “uhhh, good.” Come on, man! — “Coach, it’s great, we are 5-0, playing the conference rival next week,” or, “Coach, we stink, but it’s a good group of guys,” either way is better than, “uhhh, good.” Do your best to make it a conversation. If he asks a small talk question, answer and ask back.
Write things down.
Grab a pen and paper, write on a napkin, use your friend’s phone to take notes, whatever. If you don’t have a pen “Coach, can you hang on one second, I want to get a pen, please.” — Coach thinks that is mature. Writing things down does two things. First, you remember what you write down. Second, what do you think the first thing your parents are going to ask after you hang up…? — “Well, what did he say?” If you say, “uhhh, not much,” they will want to yell at you. If you write it down, you’ll be able to recite it to them.
Hang up understanding the next steps.
Before you hang up that phone, make sure you know what’s next in the recruiting process with that school. Is the coach going to call you again? Do they want to see you at camp? Do they want you to email them your transcript? Do they want to get you in for a visit? Make sure you end the call understanding the next task at hand.
Above all else, be enthusiastic.
Enthusiasm covers all shortcomings. Being appreciative and enthusiastic about the call will leave the coach with a positive feeling. As a coach, there is nothing worse than being excited to call a player, and he sounds like he’d been hibernating for 6 months, just woke up, and didn’t want to talk to you. You know what happens then? NEXT. Coach moves on to the next guy. Show some energy. Show some life. Show some enthusiasm and appreciation. Thank him for calling more than once.
Our next issue of Ballpark Pass will tell you exactly how to ask, what to expect and what to ask on a campus visit. If you want that info, sign up here: BALLPARK PASS
Watch the video of Brian Scanlon’s Q & A with Travel Ball Parents on what players and parents need to know about the college recruiting process.