A Parent’s Guide to Communicating With Coaches

It is important for parents to be involved with the recruiting process but parents must not be overbearing.  The prospect should be the primary point of contact – coaches are recruiting prospects, not parents.  Coaches want to learn about the prospect and the prospect needs to be able to independently demonstrate that he/she is interested in the school and soccer program.  Parents must allow the prospect to communicate with the coach and develop a rapport.  The biggest mistake parents make, is not allowing the prospect to engage with the coach.

  • Phone Calls – Parents should help with the planning of making phone calls and documenting outgoing and incoming calls.  Parents can help prospects by rehearsing outgoing calls.   Parents can also help draw out a calendar to schedule outgoing calls and document incoming calls.  This will allow both parents and prospects to keep an eye on frequency of phone calls. 
  • Text/Instant Message – We recommend that parents do not use text or instant message with coaches.  Prospects can communicate with text/instant message with any relevant questions and immediate follow-ups for questions that cannot wait until the next phone call. 
  • Email – Review the materials the prospect is sending, but let the emails come from the prospect's accounts.  It is recommended to copy parents on all emails.  Parents should be aware of developments and the process.  If parents help draft email communication, make sure it is in the voice of the prospect.  Coaches have a sense when parents are sending emails as a ghost writer.  Sending mass emails before or after tournaments is the quickest way to get your child out of a recruiting class!
  • Recruiting Materials – Parents can research ways to effectively put together cover letters, resumes, YouTube highlights etc for the prospect.  Parents can help proof these documents.  Visit our Freebies page for templates.
  • Final Decisions/Money Matters – Parents need to be involved in the recruiting process when final decisions and money matters are being discussed.  Unless the conversation is purely financial, make sure the prospect in part of it!

Register today for Collegiate Soccer Camps and get first hand guidance from college coaches.

Helpful Links
A Parents role in the recruiting process 
Bleacher report- The Role of the Parent
Guiding parents through the recruiting process

Improve Your Game with Goal Setting this Summer

celebrating soccer success with goalsetting

How are you going to improve your soccer game this summer?  Have you considered setting measurable and timely goals to get you to the next level?  Read on for tips and ideas.

What is Goal Setting?

Goal setting is identifying what you want to accomplish and making a measurable and timely plan to achieve that goal. When creating goals you need to ensure that you can identify steps to achieve your main goal. Setting goals and plans to achieve them can increase and maintain motivation and break down large tasks into more manageable steps.

Why is it important?

Goal Setting is important to provide long-term vision and short-term motivation. Furthermore, goal setting allows you to focus your time and resources to help achieve your aspirations. All high level soccer players set goals. Goals can be how many goals you want to score to how many shutouts you want that season. Whatever your goal, it is important to make sure your goals are measurable. A goal that says I want to give 100% in each game is hard to measure and then hard to maintain over a season.

Realistic goals for a high school athlete this summer could include improving your game knowledge by both playing competitive matches at least once a week in the summer and watching professional games as well.  It's World Cup so start watching and pay special attention to players who play in your field position.  Consider how they move off the ball and position themselves on the field.  Look to engage with local summer leagues and even ask around about  pick-up game opportunities in addition to summer camps and tournaments. 

Another realistic goal for the summer is to improve your fitness.  Find a way to measure your current fitness with a test such as the beep test.  Talk to your coach or fitness trainer to develop a summer training schedule and test yourself against your baseline throughout the summer.  Celebrate your success.  Remember, this will pay off this fall season!

Make sure your goals are challenging, and not really easy to achieve. You want your goals to push you to be a better player. Using the SMART goal framework is one of the simplest ways to set goals.  Below is a link to the University of California San Diego SMART goal sheet that walks you through how to set goals.  Good luck!

http://trio.ucsd.edu/_files/staff_forms/SMART%20goal%20setting%20sheet

3 Things Coaches Look for in a Prospective Player that You Can Improve Today!

coaches at Collegiate Soccer Academy in Boston evaluating soccer mentality of high school athletes

While coaches are obviously evaluating players for technical skill, athleticism, and game awareness, there are other things that may lead a coach to select you.   And while you can't change technical ability or athleticism overnight, you can adjust your soccer mentality to impress and attract coaches today.  Recruiting coaches will explore a player’s mentality by watching him/her on and off the field and through general conversations. But what are they looking for? Three common factors have been raised over and over again by coaches of what they look for in players.

1. Winning mentality

The first key mentality factor coaches want to see is if you have a winning mentality. This centers around the question: how much do you want to win? They want to see that you are willing to battle for your teammates and often put the team’s priorities ahead of your own.  They want to see that you are passionate about winning and commit as much effort as possible to win in training and matches.

2. Coachability/desire to improve

The second key mentality factor is coachability and desire to improve. Coaches want to see that you want to improve as a player and a person. Players who embrace the idea of continual development often have a better chance of a successful college career as they can adapt to the immanent bumps that will arise along the road. Coachability also applies outside of personal development. Can you be coached and buy into a system that the team plays? Can you embrace a new role in the team that you may not have played before? Are you interested to learn more about the position you are playing? Do you ask questions about your personal performance and about team performances? All of these questions are important things you should be considering in order to be a coachable player.

3. Ability to accept criticism

The third key mentality is ability to accept criticism. Unlike club team where you are in a familiar surrounding with a coach who perhaps favors you or has coached you for a long time, college coaches have 20+ other players like yourself they have to worry about. Inevitably you will be criticized by team mates who often are vastly experienced themselves and will be criticized by coaches. Be ready and willing to embrace criticism. Coaches expect you to be mature enough to be criticized without it affecting your performances. If you are able to take criticism and turn that into a learning opportunity to get better and not let that criticism affect your performance then you will be an a much better position to reach the starting 11 but more importantly enjoy your college career.

These are three key mentalities that college coaches have found imperative to success in college soccer. There are many more to choose from but if you can master these three then you will be in a very strong position to have an enjoyable and successful college career.

 

5 Things Recruits Should Do for Planning Unofficial College Visits

  1. When should I take a college visit?  You should start to organize unofficial visits beginning in your junior year of high school.  Ideally, visits should be scheduled during a time of year when the team is training so you have the opportunity to watch a training session or game.  April 2018 saw new legislation with regards to unofficial visits.  unofficial visit with athletics department involvement (e.g., contact with athletics department staff, athletics-specific tour, complimentary admission) shall not occur with an individual (or his or her relatives or legal guardians) before September 1 at the beginning of his or her junior year in high school.
            
  2. Should I contact the coach prior to my visit?  Contact the coach ahead of time. One of the main reasons for a college visit should be to interact with the coaching staff and gain exposure.  Otherwise the campus visit is worthless in regards making connections with the coaching staff. 
     
  3. How and when should I contact coach regarding a visit?  Consider reaching out to the staff with a hand written note several weeks or more in advance.  A handwritten note may be helpful in capturing the attention of coaches who are often overwhelmed by email correspondence.  Coaches often do not have the time to respond to every email and that means you can get lost in the shuffle.  After sending a handwritten note, you can call the office to introduce yourself and then follow it up with an email organizing a time to meet on campus. Your email should include a player resume and link to a highlight video if available.  (See our Freebies page for a template resume).
     
  4. What can I expect to happen on a visit (unofficial/official)?  The nature of unofficial visits depends mainly on whether the visit is organized by the coach (in the event they are actively recruiting you) or the prospect who is initiating contact.

    If a coach is organizing the visit the following may take place:  campus tour led by coaching staff, overnight accommodations in a dormitory of a current student athlete, visit to college class with current student athletes, opportunity to watch a training session, meeting with academic support and/or academic departments of interest, and discussions with the coaching staff on financial aid, academic fit, acceptance standards and your potential role on the team. 

    If the prospective student athlete is initiating the contact, the following may take place: campus tour through admissions office and meeting with coaching staff to discuss the program (if pre-organized or the staff happens to be available).  If the team is training on the day of your visit, you may be able to attend a training session if you have asked permission of the coaching staff beforehand.  If you do have the opportunity to meet the opportunity to meet with the coaching staff, ask questions about the recruiting needs of the program (number of players being recruited to your class and recruited positions.  You also want to use this opportunity to discuss whether the coaches have watched you play (at a tournament or by viewing your highlight video) and see if you can coordinate a future event where the coach may be able to watch you play. 
     
  5. How can I maximize my visit?   Make sure to plan in advance.  Visit the school’s website and pre-book a campus tour.  Coordinate a time to meet the coaching staff beforehand and hand deliver your player resume and highlight video if they don’t already have hard copies.  If possible and with the permission of a coaching staff, watch a training session while you are on campus. 
     

WARNING:  Remember that the coaching staff is evaluating you while you are on campus.  They are interested in learning about your demeanor and interest in their school.  They are also looking to see how you interact with your parents and whether you appear respectful and are enjoyable to be around. 

How to Promote your Recruitment at Tournaments

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If you are planning to compete in soccer tournaments this spring, make sure you prepare appropriately to maximize your recruiting exposure at the event.  In order to capture the attention of college coaches recruiting at these events, we recommend the following:

  1. Research online the colleges that are going to be represented at the tournament(s).  If you are considering a school, visit their soccer program webpage and find contact information for the coaches.
  2. Reach out to college coaches 3 weeks prior to the tournament when possible.  Visit our Freebies page for free pre-tournament letter and pre- and post-tournament email templates.  Do not send mass emails or copy multiple programs in the same email.
  3. One week prior to the tournament, email the coach with your games times and fields and confirm you jersey number and position and that you will in fact be playing.

Remember that the best way to start the recruiting process is to simply initiate contact. Tell the coach "I am interested in your program. Please evaluate me". Remember college coaches have a limited amount of time to spend evaluating talent.  Players predisposed to attend a given school can make a coach's life easier. Coaches will be more likely to watch you play if they know you are seriously interested in their program.

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Three Key Soccer Mentalities:  What coaches want?
Tactical Awareness