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Many college players that we talk to reflect back on campus visits as one of their best memories of the recruiting process. Coaches open up the doors and peel back the curtains to their programs. They provide you with an opportunity to see what your life could look like if you end up at their school. Campus visits are a two-way interview. You have the opportunity to ask questions and evaluate whether the program is a fit for you. And, coaches have an opportunity to get to know you better. They can evaluate if you are a fit for their program. When done correctly, the visit should allow you the chance to get all the information that you need from coaches to make an educated decision on program fit.
While campus visits should be fun and informative, they are also a big stepping stone in the recruiting process. We’ve lived through and heard plenty of stories of campus visits that go poorly. There’s nothing wrong with getting to campus and realizing that a school isn’t a fit for you, in fact that’s great! You don’t, however, want to ruin your chances with a school that interests you because of silly mistakes. In order to help you avoid making preventable mistakes, here’s a list of 7 ways that campus visits often go wrong and advice for not letting that happen to you. After reading this and our How to Ace a Campus Visit article, you’ll be prepared to dominate your time on campus and can focus on just being the best version of yourself!
7 Major Mistakes
Lack of preparation
When recruits show up unprepared or without knowing anything about the coach, school, or program, it can be a bad and unflattering look. Just as you want to feel wanted by the college programs recruiting you, they want to feel the love from you as well. As one college coach put it in a recent KPB podcast, “I want guys who are excited to be here.” Luckily, this mistake is easy to prevent—just put in the work. We have all the resources you need to prepare for and dominate your campus visit right here.
You act distracted or are not fully present in the moment
This echoes our comments above about coaches wanting to have players who are excited about their program and excited to be there. Your friends, social media, and everything else can wait a few hours while you give coaches your undivided attention and interest. You’ve likely heard the phrase, “Be where your feet are.” That’s the best advice you can receive for a campus visit. Be present, be engaged, ask good questions and be conversational. If it will be even a temptation, turn off your cell phone!
You are disrespectful or show character flaws
Quality character is a pillar of recruitability and something that every coach is looking for. Being disrespectful to others during your visit (talking bad about your teammates or coaches and being disrespectful to your parents/siblings), either through your words or actions is a definite no-no. That fight with your parents in the parking lot or telling them to “shut up” is going to get you crossed off the list really quickly.
You don’t open up and let the coaches get to know you
In many cases, the campus visit is the best opportunity for coaches to get to know you and see if you are a fit for their program. This is incredibly important since they will be spending every day with you for the next 4 years. When players act too shy or don’t let their true personality out, it can hurt their chances. Campus visits are exciting but can also feel intimidating or like there is a lot of pressure. Just remember that it’s the program that wants you there on the visit in the first place! They are interested in you. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to show them who you are. Avoid one word answers and aim to be the best version of yourself so the coaches get to know the real you and can decide if you are a good fit for their program.
You aren’t genuine or try to act like someone you are not and it shows
This one is fairly simple in theory, but when you try too hard to impress someone you can often do things that seem fake or fall outside of your character. We’ve said it several times now but just be the best version of yourself. If you are introverted, that’s okay. Give your best effort to share information and interact. If you are outgoing and gregarious, be that way! The only way coaches will be able to evaluate if you are a fit accurately is if you show them who you really are. That benefits everyone.
Your parent(s) overstep their boundaries or hijack the visit
You may not have ultimate control over what your parents say or do, but it’s important for you and them to understand that their actions do have an impact on your recruitability. The best thing to do to prevent this is to have a conversation with your parent(s)/guardian(s) before the visit and make sure that everyone is on the same page and knows their role. You should be doing most of the talking on the visit. After all, it’s you who will be there interacting with the coaches. Take the time to have a talk with your parents pre-visit and set guidelines.
You simply don’t ‘click’ with the coaches
Sometimes you just don’t click with the coaching staff. While disappointing, this isn’t always a bad thing. Seeking out the “No” from schools can be just as helpful as having a good visit. If you don’t click with coaches right away in the visit, don’t give up. Sometimes it just takes a while to warm-up and get comfortable. Visits can go from disappointing to successful very quickly, so stay present and positive!