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Athletic Official Visit Question

q1spaq1spa Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
edited March 2008 in Parents Forum
My son will be taking several official visits in the next month. He is a D1 track and field recruit. Any experiences or lessons you can share regarding appropriate attire, questions to ask, or other lessons learned? Thanks for your help!
Post edited by q1spa on

Replies to: Athletic Official Visit Question

  • cnp55cnp55 Registered User Posts: 3,707 Senior Member
    Things to observe and questions to answer for the student athlete:

    Does the team culture match your personality?
    Does the coaching style match the way you like to train?
    What kind of academic support is there for the athletes?
    Is this a school you would like to attend if the worst happened and you were unable to be part of the team?
    What are the housing and dining assignments for freshmen team members? Upperclass team members?

    AS far as the visit itself -- it's all interview all the time. The coaches and the athletes are evaluating you the whole time to see how you'll fit in. From your perspective, see what you think of the team, the coaches and the college. Do not look at an official visit as party central.

    Hope this helps. My son did a few official visits, and now hosts potential recruits.
  • q1spaq1spa Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    Thanks for your advice. Yes this helps. How about clothing? Would jeans and sneakers be too casual?
  • patientpatient Registered User Posts: 1,458 Member
    "jeans and sneakers"? It depends on the school. For some that is fine; others will expect at least polo shirt/khakis for arrival. Is the coach taking the recruit out to dinnerand if so what kind of place? (A lot do)--I think you should ask someone for that particular school what clothes are needed, or pack a variety.

    Another thing to think about while on the visit and observing: coaching changes happen all the time. Will the student be happy at the school if the particular coach leaves while they are there?

    Have fun--official visits were so great. You get such a personal, lengthy, inside look at the school. I wish my daughters had been athletes too, in part for that reason!
  • karp4170karp4170 Registered User Posts: 567 Member
    S really enjoyed his official visits. By the time he visited, he already had most of his preliminary questions answered by the coaching staff. The visits were to see what the members of the team were actually like and how he felt he would fit in. He was able to ask alot of questions from team members and get the student-athlete's view on the school, from both an academic and athletic point of view. The visits ran the gammit from being haphazard to well-organized. He took a variety of clothing along...jeans, khakis, dockers, t-shirts, polo shirts, and a long sleeved dress shirt (just in case). He really enjoyed the organized visit....the one with a variety of activities that were planned.

    BTW...he only took visits to schools that were excellent fits for him academically.
  • MomofWildChildMomofWildChild Registered User Posts: 21,807 Senior Member
    Be prepared for a lot of drinking- and how he will handle that.
  • bessiebessie Registered User Posts: 1,818 Senior Member
    Honestly, the coach decides how much drinking will go on. They either forbid it or turn a blind eye to it and the athletes know what's up so there may or may not be drinking. Decide ahead of time how to handle possible situations. Most athletic departments are casual. Jeans and a blazer or other collared shirt are usually fine. Do not do what I did when meeting the athletic director with my recruit son: accidentally wear the color of their hated rival school. I caught he** for that. So, dress neatly, but jeans are usually fine. Some East Coast schools might prefer a dressier/preppier look. You usually cannot go wrong with a school logo polo or. In addition to the excellent suggestions posted above, have your student ask (and take notes on) where they will fit in the depth chart for their sport, get a sample schedule of what a typical semester looks like with classes, practices, etc, meet with an academic counselor to discuss possible fields of study, and try to just walk around the campus for a few minutes without the athletic people leading the way. See if you like the school when you are walking around all by yourself: are people friendly, etc? I cannot emphasize enough that a recruit should choose a school first, sport second, coach third. Your final decision should be where you want to get that degree from. Good luck on the visit(s) and hope your family enjoys this exciting time!
  • vulture3vulture3 Registered User Posts: 291 Junior Member
    My standard words of caution-don't commit just for the coach!! As stated above, the athlete should love the school with or without the sport on the off chance the athletic pursuit does not continue. And personal experience with one of my children-the coach that recruits may not be the coach who welcomes the player that first day on campus.

    Standard college dress of "casual" is usually fine, but be prepared for one nicer function or more "upscale" dinner with the coach. The drinking thing-I've heard it's a big issue in some places, but my child did not experience any of it, but didn't do much in the way of official visits, either.

    We found the best way to get a feel for coach and team dynamics (and while you don't want to fall in love with a coach, you have to judge the program somehow) was to attend a sporting event and observe the action and interplay between athletes and between coaches and athletes. This is better accomplished outside of an official visit - not necessarily announcing your presence. If your child is a senior, this might not work for track and field, though.

    Good luck. An official is a great way to get an inside peak.
  • riverrunnerriverrunner Registered User Posts: 2,715 Senior Member
    If your son connects with a particular athlete while on a trip, encourage him to exchange email/facebook info so that he can ask questions later, as they occur to him. Some questions are hard to ask but important to know the answers to: What percentage of the team graduates? How many are still competing in their senior year? Is this a program that develops athletes, or gathers a large recruiting class, pushes hard, and the strong survive? What are the injury stats for the program? What mileage will freshmen be expected to run (if distance runner)? If you want to go abroad for a semester, how does the program accomodate this?

    My D went on a number of trips in the fall, and was NEVER offered a drink. The coaches went out of their way to see what she would be interested in seeing on campus: a particular class or professor, on site museum/collection or recreation opportunity (rock climbing, for example!). They also made a big effort to pair her with an athlete with similar interests and background. The more you tell the coach about your interests prior to the visit, the more likely you are to find out what you want to know on the trip.

    Anecdote: The coaches offered an optional practice observation early on a Sunday morning. My D was the only recruit who showed up. She had a fantastic conversation with the head coach as the practice went on around them. Subsequently, she was offered a spot on the team. Moral: "optional" activities involving the coach or captains should be considered mandatory.
  • bessiebessie Registered User Posts: 1,818 Senior Member
    Vulture, that is a great suggestion. We learned a lot attending events and watching the how the coach interacted with his players (from the star to the last guy off the bench) and also how he interacted with office staff, etc. while we were around the office. I also pulled up news stories from past seasons and read what the coach had to say about his athletes to the press, particularly after losses. Some are respectful and supportive, others not so much. Always let them know you are coming, though, so you can get in for free!
  • q1spaq1spa Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    This is great information! Thanks for all of your replie!
  • momof3boyzmomof3boyz Registered User Posts: 881 Member
    If your son is flying to his official visit alone, make sure the coach or a teammate will be at the airport to pick him up. I was disappointed to find out that my son (age 17) was told to catch a cab from the airport to campus in a large unfamiliar city. He visited a D3 school. Not only did we have to pay for his flight, we had to pay for the $35 cab fare as well.
  • cbreezecbreeze Registered User Posts: 4,522 Senior Member
    I would hope a 17 year old is certainly capable of taking a cab straight from the airport to school. What is so difficult about that? Either cab or airport shuttle. Since it is a D3 school, it should be understood that no financial assistance will be involved.
  • momof3boyzmomof3boyz Registered User Posts: 881 Member
    The disappointment was not that my son had to hail a cab, it was that the coach did not make any effort to see to it that a recruit was made welcome. First impressions do have some impact on the decisions althletes (and coaches) make.
  • patientpatient Registered User Posts: 1,458 Member
    On my son's D1 and D3 official visits where he went by himself (I went with him to one, he went by himself on two that involved airline flights), the coach met him at the airport, and (I think!) drove him back at the end as well. I guess clarify this with the coach beforehand?
  • riverrunnerriverrunner Registered User Posts: 2,715 Senior Member
    In all cases (D1 recruiting) a coach met my D at the airport and returned her there at the end of the trip.
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