An accepted and understood part of the college recruiting process is that you should get to know a coach before making your decision. But did you know getting to know the team is just as important? This could be your new family at a very important time in your life–wouldn’t it be better if you liked them?
Stalking and following current team members would not be advisable, but there are some ways to get to know the team through the recruiting process.
College Sports Camps
You will not meet all the members of the team if you attend a camp at their school, but when programs have summer camps they are usually staffed and led by current members of the team. In this situation you will build a relationship with them on a student/teacher level but this is a great way to see their leadership skills and personalities.
Remember, if you join a team it is likely that these camp counselors will not only be your peers but be the leaders of your team when you enter your freshman year. Of course coaches give direction and leadership to a team but your upperclassman and captains are the driving force behind the team’s commitment and you need to make sure you can work with these people.
It‘s more than likely you won’t really meet any one from the current roster while on an unofficial visit, but if you take the time to go to a home game/meet or observe a practice you can watch how they interact together and learn about the individual personalities. Ask yourself these questions: are they supportive of their teammates, do they seem clickish, do they work as a team? Are they doing things that you could see yourself doing as well?
This is definitely going to be the best venue to get to know the team. On your official visit you will be set up with a “host” who is a current member of the team and you live with them for the weekend. Most of the time the team will have team dinners or events so you can meet everyone and spend some time bonding with them.
This will allow you time to be a part of the team and ask candid questions. Make a list of questions you want answered about the team while you’re there–you can ask them directly or just make sure you pay attention and your questions will probably be answered.
Don’t Underestimate These Vital Relationships
When trying to find the right school your relationship with the team can be the #1 make it or break it factor. Remember, you are going to be spending A LOT of time with these people. Make sure they are people you want to live, study, and work hard with to make your college experience everything it should be.