Manners in the First Degree
By Lori Payne
The old saying, "first impressions" could not be more true when you have your first contact with your potential college swim coach.
This is a formal interview; your tone, demeanor, interest in their school and manners, must be positive and well spoken. This is all indicative of their first impression of you swimming and studying at their school.
Below are some examples:
Phone Etiquette/First Contact:
“Hello Coach Gary, How are you?”, BE ENGAGING and EXCITED to speak to the coach. Find some commonality, like dogs, or travel, sports, ie..., “Did you see those Dolphins?”, to a S FL coach...learn about the coach before you speak to them.
Tell the coach what appeals to you, as a student-athlete, about their school, using proper grammar.
Coach I've looked at your swimmers’ times and I can be an asset.......(here).....and:
Your school has just the areas of study I am looking for...... (here).....and:
Coach, I have also been active in these extracurricular activities: student council, band, Eagle Scouts. Anything that shows you are a leader.
Phone Voice Mail:
This must be exact, succinct and polite:
“Hi this is Donny, I am either in school or in the pool. Please leave your name and number and I will return your call by the end of the day. Thank-you.”
Nothing else is acceptable. This is not the time for funny voice messages. A coach is not interested in anything but how will this swimmer reflect on my team, my school and me. Don’t leave the canned cell phone message on your phone: “You have reached 555-1212, leave a message.” Make it personal. Your voice message is usually the first personal interaction you will have with a coach.
Put your muted phone away for the duration of your interview and visit. Shake hands and look your coach/trainer/advisor in the eye.
You must dress properly. Boys: polo shirts, and tucked in, belted trousers. No tank tops, flip flops, gym shorts or sweatpants. Girls: no yoga pants,high heels, short shorts, short skirts or camisole tops. Shoulders should be covered,
Anything less is inappropriate. I look at a sloppy kid and think, DO I want to have this kid representing my team? NO.
R_ E_ S_P_E_C_T for school officials, parents etc. Swimmers, this is a formal interview.
Follow up after first meeting:
A hand written, well thought out thank-you note to the coach is imperative. It must be emphasized, that you appreciated the time involved the coach took to meet you and your parents. Show your continued enthusiasm for their school and program. Be gracious!
Your goal is to impress the coach with the knowledge of their school and team. Coaches are looking at their future team leaders and swimmers. Generally, swimmers are strong students, and swim coaches are very prideful of their student athletes.
Expectations of recruits are very high. There are lots of recruits and very few spots. Represent yourself but be humble. Stand out by following the above suggestions and you will be well remembered by the coaches!