Six Traits College Coaches Want in Recruits

Not all coaches are look­ing for the same type of ath­lete. But there are some char­ac­ter­is­tics that make ath­letes more attrac­tive to most coaches.

All stu­dent ath­letes need, of course, to excel in two areas:


Coaches pay close atten­tion to ath­letic per­for­mance, using high school results to pre­dict a recruit’s abil­ity to com­pete at the col­lege level. Coaches are also look­ing to fill spe­cific needs of their teams, first choos­ing ath­letes who can fill team weaknesses.


Stu­dent ath­letes are stu­dents are well as ath­letes. Coaches seek recruits who are moti­vated in the class­room as well as on the field. Recruits must meet the aca­d­e­mic require­ments to be admit­ted to a par­tic­u­lar col­lege or uni­ver­sity, and they must remain aca­d­e­m­i­cally eli­gi­ble through­out their col­lege careers.

Beyond aca­d­e­mic and ath­letic suc­cess, coaches are look­ing for recruits who are strong in other areas:


Coaches want ath­letes who not only are good but are likely to get bet­ter. How do they assess a recruit’s poten­tial? One key way is to look at how recruits have improved each year dur­ing high school. Coaches want ath­letes who will improve and remain ded­i­cated dur­ing their years in college.


Ath­letes who can com­pete and con­tribute in sev­eral events or posi­tions are more attrac­tive to many coaches than those who are less ver­sa­tile. Ver­sa­til­ity is espe­cially prized by smaller teams that strug­gle to fill all their needs. Larger teams are able to be more selec­tive and tend to recruit more spe­cial­ized athletes.


Coaches seek tal­ented ath­letes and lead­ers. Lead­ers are not nec­es­sar­ily the best ath­letes; they are, how­ever, impor­tant to a team’s suc­cess. Team cap­tains, for exam­ple, are both ded­i­cated to their sports and able to moti­vate other play­ers. Coaches recruit prospec­tive ath­letes who show lead­er­ship potential.

Work Ethic

Ded­i­cated ath­letes not only improve their own per­for­mance with their hard work, they moti­vate their team­mates to train harder and com­pete more intensely. Coaches look for recruits with strong, con­sis­tent work ethics.