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Ask The Experts
What Coaches Look For on Official Visits (Pt. 2)

We recently invited college tennis coaches to comment on official college visits. We showed comments from a number of coaches in an article earlier this month, but we have thoughts from more coaches. This second installment contains answers from more coaches...


Q) What are you looking for in recruits during official visits? What most impresses you?


Andy Christodoulou, head coach, Siena Women

The official visit allows the team, the coaches, and the recruit to determine what it's like to be a teammate. It is time for the recruit to ask herself the question - is this where I want to be? During the official visit because of the longer time frame you spend with him/her the recruit will usually reveal a little more about who she really is.

From the coach's prospective, at first glance I look into how the recruit is dressed, how she treats her parents, how she talks to other people, and how she interacts with her possible future teammates. I try to validate the picture I have in my mind from all the unofficial visits, home visits, third party references, and tournaments. The things that most impress me and look for as a coach are very simple: eye contact, communication and listening skills, character compatibility with the team and our school's culture.


Bobby Bayliss, former coach, Notre Dame Men

The goals on a recruiting weekend are (1) to get to know the prospect as well as possible, (2) to see that he learns all he can about our school and program, and (3) to ensure that he has an enjoyable time. Getting to really know a tennis recruit is challenging. I wanted to know what makes him tick, what his expectations might be, whether he has a true passion for tennis, whether or not he is a good fit for Notre Dame and our program, and anything else that might come out in the course of conversation that I might not have known. Some prospects have ruined their chance for a scholarship by exhibiting unacceptable social behavior. Others have enhanced their perceived value to us by the way they handle themselves and the impressions they left behind. If parents accompany the prospect I want to see how he treats them. I want to know how he talks about his pro or high school coach. Most of the critical information is gleaned back in the dorm late at night in dialogue with other students and prospects when the coach is not present. I need to count on my players to give me their honest impressions and not hold back information that i might need to factor in whether or not we continue to pursue the young man.

Similarly, I need to let him know - as much as I can - what it is really like here. I need to articulate my expectations and goals. If these do not fit with his and we lose him because of my openness, so be it. Better to lose him now than to have to separate him from the squad later. I always encouraged our guys to be brutally honest when hosting a prospect for the same reasons. They, better than I, can tell if this fit will work well.

As for ensuring that a good time is had by all, bringing him to a Notre Dame football game is a no-brainer, but because so much of the weekend is taken up with all that goes on I knew we ran the risk of not having enough private time for him. At the same time it is important for him to know that these weekends happen only 6-7 times per year, and not every weekend in Northern Indiana will provide similar excitement and entertainment.. When all is said and done it is important that all questions are asked and answered and that both sides know what they are getting.

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