Contributor Rick Paine is an expert on the college recruiting process. He is also the Director of Swimming at American College Connection (ACC). AAC is a Swimswam Partner.
The NCAA has removed restrictions on official visits beginning June 1. This was called a dead period where coaches are not allowed to meet recruits in person on their campus. The dead period still exists, but only around the beginning of the signing period in November which is the second Wednesday in November for high school seniors.
Here are some recruiting trip tips to maximize your experience and get the coaches to really want you.
Homework before the visit:
Look up the coaches’ bio so you can engage them when you meet them. Look up their news articles the coaches posted at the end of the season so you know what they are excited about.
Know what kind of times it takes to score at conference.
Get the coaches’ cell number in case you get delayed on your way so you can let them know.
Practice your handshake. Pretty much every coach you will meet will have a lot of self-confidence and many of them develop a first impression with your hand shake and eye contact.
Get questions together that are important for you to ask the coaches.
If the visit is considered “official” still ask what it will cost. If a coach buys you a hotdog on a trip it become official. You are allowed 5 official visits to D-I schools. All others are unlimited. Many schools will offer to pay your room and board while you are on campus, but will expect you to pay for your plane ticket so ask.
During the visit:
Stand up and look the coaches in the eye when you meet them.
Turn off your cell phone.
Take notes and ask a lot of questions of the coaches and other swimmers.
Spend as much time as you need to check out the academics and make sure it could be a good fit. Most coaches will appreciate that you value an education.
Before you accepted the trip you should have asked about scholarship or the cost of attendance. If you didn’t, then you need to ask during the visit if the opportunity presents itself.
It is fine for your parents to go with you on the trip. A lot of coaches will judge you on how you treat your parents.
If you get a chance to watch a practice, actually watch it and stay off your cell phone. This should be a very important part of the trip, but a lot of recruits use the time in the bleachers to catch up on the social media accounts and text messages. Now is NOT the time to check your phone.
Ask intelligent questions of the coaches and please don’t ask “how much yardage you do in practice.” A good question is to ask who would be your primary coach and in what events they see you helping out the team.
After the visit:
When you get home let the coaches know you arrived safely and thank them for their interest and time. Not a bad idea to mail a thank you.
Thank your student host. It take a lot of time and energy to host a recruit the right way. It is permissable to send a small thank you gift.
It is certainly OK for you to go on the visit with your recruit, but know that you won’t be able to hang out with them very much.
If you are asked by the coach to attend a meeting with your swimmer this does not mean the coach will be engaging you very much. Make sure you don’t answer for your swimmer when the coach asks a question.
Be yourself and sell your potential.
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