Questionnaires from college coaches always worried me somewhat during the recruiting stage because you had a sense that they were a form of litmus test, i.e. there were "right" answers and "wrong answers" to certain questions like the famous "Do you love to win or hate to lose?" (Supposedly, saying you hate to lose demonstrates the drive coaches want to see. Who knew? Unfortunately, D didn't say that, because if she had truly hated to lose she'd have quit her sport by now, ha ha. Besides, I thought answering that way could make her sound like a sore loser. It seemed to me that a positive attitude of wanting to win was preferred. Alas, she never heard back from that coach.)
Now D is admitted and has to fill out a questionnaire for the coach of the school she will be competing for. Again, there are two questions that I suspect could be litmus tests to assess the nature of the athlete's competitive attitude, the strength of her commitment to team vs. individual goals, her degree of motivation and whether she's the sort of kid who is going to quit the team early on. Obviously, D would like to give the coach a good impression of herself. So, given that she doesn't actually have in mind a definite answer for these, which of several truths should she tell?
The first question is "Why do you run?" Let's suppose her real reason is something along the lines of she runs because she's good at it and enjoys doing well in races, and wanted the objective measure of a stopwatch as a defense from the local politics attached to sports like soccer. Does that signal a kid who will get too discouraged during a slump or period of injury and will quit? Someone who doesn't get along with people? I have heard that distance running coaches want to hear that you run because you love running. I don't think D actually LOVES running in and of itself. Her sister didn't either (preferred soccer, but was better at track), yet went on to a top Div. 1 team and stayed committed to it for all three season, all four years. So not loving it didn't actually reflect less motivation in D1's case and doesn't for D2 either. Thoughts on this one?
The second question asks what her favorite performance was and why. Let's say D has 4 performances that she likes best. Does she let him know she's a team player by choosing the team-related one, e.g. running on a school record relay squad? Even though she doesn't want to give him the idea that she likes relays, because she doesn't? Or does she pick an individual success? Should it be an actual "best" objectively, or one in which she overcame some adversity, such as a sleet storm or illness? Should it be a personal record even though the race itself had no other significance? Or a good but not great or record-setting race but that still won an important meet? I would imagine the coach would like to hear that D can come through at the high-pressure, championship-type meets. But those were actually not D's best and I wouldn't say she did come through all that well. Sigh. Help!