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If you’re considering, or are in the process of applying for a sports scholarship in the USA, a key part of the process is talking to coaches – and it can be incredibly daunting.

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While being nervous can result in having a bad conversation, it will not necessarily ruin an athlete’s chance of joining that coach’s team.

To be best prepared for an initial Skype or phone call with a coach, athletes should do some research into the university that they’re applying at, well in advance.

Coaches are not only looking at the athlete’s statistics and performances, but they also want to get to know the athlete’s character and see if they will be a good fit for their programme.

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Many athletes have expressed their anxiety in approaching a coach or when a coach approaches them. If you are one of these athletes, relax you are not alone.

Meeting and communicating with coaches is intimidating, the most important thing you can do is to be prepared. Before setting up your first Skype or phone call, you should know a little bit about the university history; where it is located, how the team did in the past few years and look at the current players’ performances. These are all good topics to talk about with the coaches.

You do not want to be stumbling over your words with little or no knowledge; this demonstrates that you are only into the university for the scholarship money and doesn’t leave a very good impression.

Preparing for contact with a coach is quite simple. You should anticipate the questions they will ask you. For example, if a coach asks, “What would you like to study?” do not say that you don’t know and you only want to play sport. If you are not sure, many USA universities accept students as an Undecided Liberal Arts Major.

You should research this option and have a general idea of what is available to you.

Here is a list of common questions coaches will ask prospective student-athletes:

What are your strengths as an athlete and what do you think you can improve on?
Why would you make a good edition to my athletic programme?
What are you looking for in a university?

If a coach reaches out to you via email, it is important to respond quickly and politely; this will show you are enthusiastic and well-mannered.

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As important as it is to listen carefully and answer questions to the best of your ability, it is also good to ask questions of your own.

Common questions you should ask coaches:

1. Academics

– What are the admission requirements?
– What are the popular majors or courses that the athletes in the team study?
– What is the graduation rate of the athletes?

2. Athletics

– What does the training programme consist of?
– What will happen if I get injured?

3. Scholarships
– What type of academic, international or athletic grants are available?

4. Social

– What is the student-housing like?
– Do teammates usually live together?
– Am I able to work part-time?

When an athlete is prepared to communicate with coaches, the process is not daunting. You may feel nervous but the fear of the unknown will not be there.

It is important to note that when coaches make contact with you, they must see potential in you so being prepared will make it worth yours and their time.

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