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Body Language Speaks Volumes to College Coaches

By Joe Leccesi, Next College Student Athlete, 06/06/18, 12:00PM CDT

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Do they play the blame game or do they bounce back? Letting it go and moving on proves they have good mental discipline and will be better able to handle the pressure that comes with college sports.

College-bound student-athletes are focused on making an impact on the field to help their team and impress any college coaches who may be watching. But it might be what they do on the sidelines that gets a coach’s attention. From dejected shoulder shrugs to exuberant high fives of encouragement, a coach can learn everything they need to know about a recruit just by watching how they react to the games’ ups and downs. When your child displays maturity, confidence, and positive body language, it’s an encouraging sign to a coach that they can make a successful impact on a team.

Your child may not even realize the subtle physical messages they’re sending. Here are some common game situations when college coaches are taking note of verbal and non-verbal cues:

In the huddle

What is your student-athlete doing when the team is huddled around the coach? This interaction may be brief, but it can speak volumes about your child’s personality. Are they fully engaged in what the coach is saying or are they not paying attention and scanning the stands? Do they hustle into the huddle or take their sweet time joining the team? From these interactions, coaches make a formulation on whether your athlete is a leader or has more of an “all about me” attitude.

On the sidelines

How does your athlete react to being taken out of the game or benched? This can be especially disheartening if they know a college coach is present. Will they pout? Argue with the coach? Or will they work to be a positive influence and cheer on their teammates? Depending on the school, there’s a chance your student-athlete won’t see as much playing time their freshman year as they would like. It’s important for coaches to know that they’re working with student-athletes who can gracefully handle sitting on the sidelines.

After a tough play

Mistakes or tough breaks are bound to happen during a game. This is when coaches get a glimpse of your child’s mental toughness. Specifically, they keep an eye out for what recruits do immediately after a bad play. Do they play the blame game or do they bounce back? Letting it go and moving on proves they have good mental discipline and will be better able to handle the pressure that comes with college sports. That is a character trait that coaches value.

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