What Do Coaches Look For In Athletes: Part I
By Laura Chmiel on January 4, 2017

Getting to college, and having the chance to play your sport at that level, are two serious prospects. So we’re not going to upset your groove with any April Fools pranks.

(Although some awesome tricks from around the office have included bungie cords, over 72 balloons, a bucket of pens, and Jell-O. I’ll let you figure out what some of my coworkers accomplished with that.)

Me, I try to run through April Fools Day with my head down, and still manage to retweet something that turns out to be a prank. I was trying not to worry about my day ahead when I was on my morning run in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. And then The Jackson 5’s “ABC” came on.”

Cut to me, dance-running through the park.

A-B-C. Easy as 1-2-3. I love it. It should be in one of the top songs in your recruiting video. And I started thinking: College athletic recruiting might be serious, but there’s no reason we can’t have a little fun along the way. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share the A-B-Cs: What do coaches look for in athletes? There are, I think you already understand, a lot of ways to go about recruiting, and a number of traits that will help you get ahead.

So treat these as something between a checklist and a bucket list: if you don’t think you have every quality now, take note of it, and work toward achieving it. If you do have it, think about how can you show off your gift in your recruiting profile.


First things first. No matter how talented you are on the field, a college coach has to make sure your grades qualify you for their college or university. Take your studies as seriously as your sport.

Belief in Yourself

The recruiting process can be a long, bumpy road. There will likely be setbacks, even rejections. But with the right attitude and drive, there are few things that can get in the way of you and a college roster spot. Never, ever, give up on yourself.


Who you are off the field matters just as much to a college coach as who you are on the field. Make good decisions, be the right kind of friend, sibling, son or daughter, and student. Strong character will take you farther in life than anything else.


There are thousands of student-athletes fighting for a spot on a college team every day of the year. Thousands. How can you distinguish yourself from the pack? How are you different? How are you the better choice?


I mean being educated about the recruiting process, here. Whether it’s through NCSA or another avenue – get the facts at the beginning and continue to seek out recruiting education every step of the way. This journey can be overwhelming and complicated – give yourself the tools to get ahead.

First to Arrive, Last to Leave

It all comes down to commitment. How committed are you to yourself and your team? Don’t just set an example for those around you – raise the bar.

Game Plan

It is impossible to be successful in the recruiting process if you do not have a game plan. Sit down with your parents or support system and create a recruiting road map.

I’ll have more recruiting tips explaining what coaches look for in athletes in upcoming blog posts.

But remember that helping athletes and their families create game plans and understand the recruiting process just happens to be our area of expertise, so you can always get started with [NCSA] whenever you’re serious about setting up a game plan.

Article originally published by NCSA Sports

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