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What college coaches want

Give the coaches at your potential colleges exactly what they want, and you’ll be a prime candidate for the team

What college coaches want

College coaches want student-athletes who will help create a winning team. Their jobs usually depend on this. How can you be the recruited athlete? Start by being what we call a holistic student-athlete.

You don’t have to be Division I-bound to be a holistic student-athlete. Here’s what the coaches really crave.

Strong mind
College coaches’ end-of-year evaluations are often based on their student-athletes’ classroom performance.

Do you think a coach wants to recruit an athlete who struggles through high school courses? Shouldn’t your grades reflect that you are motivated as a student and not just as an athlete?

Most coaches don’t expect a 3.5 or higher GPA (though some require it), but demonstrating an ability to do what it takes to succeed in many different situations (social, academic, athletic) will let a college coach know that you’re ready for the next level.

No headaches
If you barely get by in high school, coaches will know you’ll be a big headache for them later. Be sure to know what college admissions offices require.

NCAA eligibility
Did you know that the NCAA Clearinghouse requires 16 core courses for Division I student-athletes and 14 core courses for Division II? The courses include English, math, science, history and other topics. For a printout of the exact courses you must complete, visit

Talent, skill and athleticism are all important characteristics of the physical requirements to be recruited to play college sports. Improve your skills through repetition and solid mechanics. You can improve your agility, strength and other physical attributes through exercises and training techniques.

The word “spirit” is an umbrella term for the word “character.” It’s how you carry yourself in school, public and during sports events. Before a college offers you any big scholarship money, the coaching staff will discuss your reputation with your teachers, counselors and administrators.

Coaches get paid to win. Do you have determination to carry yourself and/or your team through the hard moments? Have you ever been truly tested by a trainer?

Carefully chosen words
How much better will you be in your sport and in school when you lose the words “I’m too tired” or “I can’t” from your vocabulary? (Of course, be safe in all of your training techniques.)

What college coaches want isn’t complicated. They want a holistic student-athlete who has a strong mind, body and spirit to be recruited.


Laura Mitchell is the CEO of Sports Dreammakers ( and the author of The Map of Your Future and The Map of Your Future Workbook, Making the Squad, and The Smart and Savvy Parents’ Guide to Helping Your Teen Reach Their Athletic Dreams. E-mail her at [email protected].


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