How to Get Recruited
How to Get Recruited
How to Be Coachable

How to Be Coachable

College coaches look for these traits when evaluating you as a prospect. Learn what these are and how you can improve your coachability.

What Does it Mean to Be a Coachable Student-Athlete?

Being a coachable student-athlete means being open to feedback, having a positive attitude, and respecting your coaches and the team as a whole. A coachable student-athlete will be willing to learn and grow personally and athletically. 

Below are some things to think about to make sure you are coachable:

  • Do I have a positive attitude even when not on the field/court? 
  • Am I respectful to my coaches and teammates?
  • Can I take constructive feedback from coaches?
  • Do I have a strong work ethic?
  • Am I willing to make sacrifices for the betterment of the team and program?
  • Am I a team player?
  • Am I adaptable when something may not go how I think it would?

College coaches are always watching. Coaches will recruit more coachable student-athletes, even if the other recruit is better athletically!

The Importance of Intangibles During the Recruiting Process

During your recruiting process, coaches will look at your academics and athletics to determine if you are a good fit for their program. What coaches will also be evaluating is your demeanor and personality. 

Coaches want to work with someone who is respectful, coachable and has a strong work ethic. Yes, these things are present on the court/field, but they are also apparent in what you are doing off the court/field. During your recruiting process, it's essential to be your best self. College coaches see the little things. 

Are you someone who will mesh well with the team's culture? Are you willing to grow? College coaches will likely recruit student-athletes with these characteristics over someone who does not possess them. When student-athletes commit to a program, they spend a lot of time with the coaching staff and the team. Therefore, coaches will be looking for someone with similar characteristics to the other athletes on the team. 

How Can I Demonstrate Coachability?

Many times throughout your recruiting process, you will be able to demonstrate coachability. You will have different interactions with college coaches through recruiting events, official visits, phone calls, etc. You must think of how to present yourself during these interactions.

  • Showcases/Camps/Clinics: It’s important that when you are attending recruiting events, you are being respectful to those hosting the event. You should get to know the other recruits there, cheer on your teammates, and learn more about them. Positive body language will be necessary during these interactions. Are you sulking when a play goes wrong? Or is your head held high, ready for the next play? After the game are you cleaning up the bench? Or are you leaving the trash for the next team to clean? Coaches will notice these things!
  • Official/Unofficial Visits: During these visits, the student-athlete must lead the conversation. Make eye contact with the coaches and be engaged in conversations.
  • Phone Calls: Similar to in-person visits, the student-athlete should lead the call. Make sure you have questions for the coach to show your interest and that your full attention is on the phone calls.

Positive body language will be essential regardless of your interaction with a coaching staff. You want to look engaged and enthusiastic about speaking with them. 

What is the Difference Between Being Coachable and Not Being Coachable?

Coachable athletes are those who are open to feedback, have the willingness to learn, and have a positive attitude. Non-coachable athletes may resist feedback and are not open to criticism or change. They have poor body language, for example, giving an eye roll or shrugging their shoulders when given feedback. 

Attributes of a Coachable Athlete

  1. Attitudes towards feedback: Coachable athletes have a positive attitude towards feedback. They see it as an opportunity for improvement and growth.
  2. Open-mindedness: Coachable athletes are open-minded and receptive to new ideas, strategies, and techniques suggested by their coaches.
  3. Work ethic: Coachable athletes tend to have a strong work ethic. They will put in the time and effort required to improve and excel in their sport.
  4. Adaptability: Coachable athletes are adaptable and can adjust their playing style or techniques based on the guidance and strategies provided by their coaches.
  5. Respect for authority: Coachable athletes respect their coaches and trust their expertise. They understand that the coach's role is to help them reach their full potential.
  6. The desire for improvement: Coachable athletes have a strong desire to improve and constantly seek ways to enhance their skills and performance.
  7. Team dynamics: Coachable athletes often contribute positively to team dynamics, as they are likelier to collaborate and work well with teammates.

Attributes of a Non-Coachable Athlete

  1. Attitudes towards feedback: Non-coachable athletes may resist feedback, become defensive, or dismiss it altogether. 
  2. Open-mindedness: Non-coachable athletes may be closed-minded, sticking to their ways of doing things and resisting change.
  3. Work ethic: Non-coachable athletes may need more motivation to grow their skills.
  4. Adaptability: Non-coachable athletes may struggle to adapt to changes, insisting their methods are just as effective. 
  5. Respect for authority: Non-coachable athletes may challenge or question the authority of their coaches.
  6. The desire for improvement: Non-coachable athletes may be complacent, thinking they have already reached their peak or don't need further improvement.
  7. Team dynamics: Non-coachable athletes may disrupt team cohesion by not adhering to team strategies or resisting collaborative efforts.

Can Guardians Help their Student-Athletes Be Coachable?

Yes! Guardians can help their student-athletes by encouraging them to listen to their high school or club coaches for advice and guidance. If their student-athlete can work with their current athletic advocates, that is a good sign they are coachable. 

Guardians can also help by letting their student-athletes take the lead in their recruiting process. While the recruiting process is a family effort, when the student-athlete is in charge, it signals to college coaches that the athlete is serious about playing at the next level, making them an appealing recruit.


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