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Recruiting 101
Countdown: Coaches and Cheerleaders
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There are many factors that should go into your college decision, including academics, school culture, and team chemistry. But there is also the big question of which college coach best suits you.

USC standout Danielle Lao
courtesy, USC Athletics
During your college search, there will be loads of information thrown at you - you will have endless e-mails and phone calls with multiple coaches. I am sure amongst these conversations the topics of your game and potential future will be discussed. Each coach will tell you something a little different when referring to what they and their university have to offer you. It is always a plus when a coach has a clear-cut vision about how they can help better you and your game, but this should not be the main or only deciding factor on whether he/she is right for you. Sometimes it helps to take into consideration that it is tough to plan four years worth of progress and development without any mistakes or adjustments.

It is difficult to expect and look for the perfect plan and the ideal coach for you, but usually top-notch coaches have similar characteristics. From my experience I found that the most respected ones are honest and value your thoughts and opinions. But they also have a sense of discipline and structure with the way they do things. A great coach has to feel strongly about his/her own style, coaching identity, and most importantly his players. An individual that is passionate about his/her job is bound to be better at it than someone who is not.

Although it is great to have confidence that a coach will transform you into what you envisioned yourself to become (four years in advance), there are no guarantees. What you can make sure of though is that he/she will believe in you to the extent that they are overly enthusiastic about helping you. The belief he/she shows in you is key in aiding you to believe that you are worthy of competing at the next level. In addition this belief ultimately helps the development of a trusting relationship between you and your coach, something that is invaluable during and after your collegiate career. In other words, I am advising you to look for a coach that you feel is going to have your back when you are tight as a brick down 4-5 in the 3rd set of the deciding match. Most people who know a thing or two about tennis would agree with me in saying that the difference between the winner and the loser of a match like this boils down to the intangibles - not so much tricks or strategy.

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Page updated on Thursday, June 19, 2014
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