Weekly Recruiting Thoughts from Legendary Recruiting Coordinator Bob Chmiel
In my last blog, I wrote about making a great first impression over the phone. The next step is making a great first impression when actually meeting the coaching staff in person. One thought before I move on: whether it is a game day visit, an unofficial visit, or an official visit, treat everyone who you encounter the way you would treat the head coach. That goes from the security people who direct you to the parking lot to the cafeteria workers to the staff who signs you in, to the assistant coaches – any faculty you may encounter throughout your time on campus.
Why? First and foremost, it is the right thing to do. Also, though, you must assume that everyone you meet will convey their thoughts about you to the coaching staff. If you want to get recruited by a school, showing respect is vital.
Before you leave for the visit, check yourself out in a mirror – I am serious – ask yourself, “if I were the head coach, would I have a favorable opinion of that guy in the mirror?” Leave the bling at home, because visits are business trips. Wear a collared shirt, and never a t-shirt. Jeans are acceptable provided they are at your waist. If you wear a cap, wear it like Derek Jeter wore his Yankee cap: not backwards, not off to the side.
This next tip may sound a bit obvious, but I’ll say it anyways: always look a coach straight in the eye when you’re speaking to him and when he’s speaking to you. Practice this with your family, your high school coach, or anyone else until it comes naturally. It has been written in many books that a first impression and a handshake can make all the difference in the world as the interview moves along.
Yes, this process of visiting a college coaching staff is, in fact, an interview. You are competing for a position at that university and on that football team. After you leave and those coaches meet and go over the visit, think about what makes you different from the other athletes who visit that school. Your demeanor, your appearance, a firm handshake, an attitude that show respect for everyone, and a positive attitude for the duration of the visit are all good places to start.
Finally, on the visit, politely ask everyone you meet for their business cards. Why? When you arrive home, you will blow coaches away if you send everyone on their staff a note thanking them for their time and letting them know how much you enjoyed the experience. If you follow all of these steps, you will set yourself apart from the competition and you will be well on your way toward getting recruited!
– Bob Chmiel
About Coach Chmiel
Bob Chmiel is one of the most respected Recruiting Coordinators in the history of college football, having held the position at Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Notre Dame. During his illustrious career, his teams appeared in fourteen college bowl games (including six Rose Bowls). He has over twenty-five years of experience working with football recruiting, and now, he serves as Dark Horse Sports Recruiting’s Director of Football Recruiting. For more information on Coach Chmiel, visit darkhorserecruits.com.