Are You Being an Effective Self-Advocate?
Learn to impress during interviews with coaches!
As a junior golfer in pursuit of college golf opportunities, you likely know that campus meetings with coaches can boost your candidacy as a prospect. You also know it’s very important to properly prepare for these interviews. What does preparation entail? Well, beyond doing basic research on the coach, golf program, and college or university, it means that you (the recruit) are ready to:
- Take center stage—Confidently lead the discussions and have your parents take a supporting role. (See article, Who Should Speak When Meeting with Coaches – Parents or the Student-Athlete?
- Be intelligently inquisitive—Ask relevant questions that indicate you’ve studied up and are eager to learn about the coach, team, academics, and more. (See article, What Questions Should I Ask a College Coach During a Campus Visit?
- Deliver thoughtful feedback—Provide detailed answers to questions coaches will ask about your background, credentials, current plans, and goals. (See article, What Questions Should I Be Prepared to Answer During a Campus Visit?
This prep is essential in presenting yourself as a mature and knowledgeable high school recruit who is passionate about a college golf career.
However, interviews can all be different depending on each coach’s style and personality. Sometimes coaches give you the floor right off the bat, forcing you to build the conversation, or they do a lot of promotion, leaving less time for you to share. Situations like these and others might make it difficult to find ways to talk about yourself in an organic way.
What can be done? To be a more effective self-advocate, use an ask, listen, and share approach. This simple technique will allow you to showcase your unique strengths, talents, and mission for success without trying to address these topics out of thin air. For example, ask a key due-diligence question, perhaps, “Coach, can you tell me more about what you do to help your players get better?” As he/she explains the team’s practice strategies, listen closely for similarities to the way you practice and keep the conversation going. “Coach, your combo of drills and competitive games is very similar to what I’ve been doing. Here’s what my practices are like…” As you can see, this strategy is a great way to go deeper with the conversation and touch on core attributes of your golf, academic, and personal make-up.
Here’s another example. Let’s say a coach hasn’t asked about an aspect of your background (maybe being a multi-sport athlete) that you want to share. In this case, bring up the topic by asking this question, “Coach, tell me about the fitness routine your players use?” As he/she explains the workouts and training goals for the team, you can say, “Coach, this is a lot like my workout program. Plus, playing basketball (or other sport) in high school has helped me become a better athlete and has shown me the importance of hard work, competitive desire, and encouraging others.” Again, this works nicely as a way to elaborate on values a coach would find to be attractive.
You will have many visit opportunities with college coaches throughout your recruiting process, and your goal with each meeting is to make the most positive impression possible. Flexing your self-advocacy muscles will help you win the interview process and stand out as great candidate.
To your future success,
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