Question of the Day

My coach talked to the coach of my top choice university and, even though they had coxswains go on official visits, they might not recruit one this year! He suggested I call them and try and convince them to take me. Any tips on how to go about this phone conversation without seeming pushy or pleading?

I wish more coaches would recruit coxswains, I really do, but I also understand why they don’t. If you’ve already got good coxswains on your team and have enough for all your boats, it does seem redundant to waste a valuable recruiting spot (and $$$) on someone who isn’t contributing any horsepower to the boat. I don’t 100% agree with it but I get it. Having an abundance of coxswains is pointless if you don’t have any rowers for them to cox. Knowing that inevitably you’ll have a walk-on or two that you can turn into a coxswain if you need to also plays a part in it. Them deciding that they might not recruit a coxswain probably says more about their current needs as a program than it does about the quality of people who are trying to be recruited, if that makes sense. Keep that in mind.

I don’t think you should try to convince them to take you because that alone will sound desperate. There’s a big difference between “convincing” and “making a case”. You want to make a case for yourself while keeping in mind that there are a lot of things that go into recruiting an athlete that the athlete is typically unaware of (because they have nothing to do with them).  I think you should give the recruiting coordinator/assistant coach a call and say that you’d heard through your coach that they might not be recruiting coxswains this year so you just wanted to call and reiterate your interest in the school/program, give them one or two reasons why you think you’d be a positive contribution to the team, and finish it up by asking if they do decide to forgo recruiting a coxswain and you do end up going to this school, what are the options for walking on to the team.

I don’t know what other coaches/programs are like but I know that I would probably give a bit more consideration to an athlete who asks what the options are for joining the team if they aren’t one of the “chosen ones” because it gives me the impression that they are really in it for the rowing and the team, not just the financial aid or being able to say “I was recruited”. Someone who decides “oh I’m not going to go here now if you’re not going to recruit me” strikes me as someone who isn’t a team player and also as someone who probably wasn’t that interested in the school to begin with. I’m not trying to discount being a recruited athlete because it is pretty great but it’s also overrated.

Anyways, back to the phone call. Keep it short, no longer than 10 minutes or so if you can manage it. Be concise, make your point, reiterate your interest in the school, and thank them again for inviting you on an official visit (if you went on one).

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