Friday, 30 August 2013 20:28

Recruiting: How to Make the Most of Your Unofficial Visits

Written by Jill Hicks
With the direction college gymnastics recruiting is going, unofficial visits are becoming a house hold name.  No longer is the norm of waiting until you are a senior to have your visits paid for, and then making your final decision.  Gymnast are making verbal commitments long before they become seniors, thus the importance of making the most of your unofficial visits.  
  1. Call:  Be assertive and make phone calls to coaches of colleges in your area and schools that are a good match for you athletically and academically.    
  2. Connect:  Make a plan and ask if you can set a date to meet with the coach, tour campus and watch practice.  
  3. Create:  Develop a list of questions to ask the coach. 
        What is the coaching philosophy of the staff?
        What does a regular week of practice look like?
        Do I live on campus as a freshman?
        Do the girls on the team live together?
        What kind of support is there for academics?
        What if I get injured?
        How do you motivate your athletes?
        Where do I fall on your list of recruit?s
  1.  Compare:  Make a pros and cons list after you go on your visits.  See which school comes out on top. If you have no idea of where you want to go to college, be sure to visit all different types of colleges and teams.  I recommend visiting at least 5 campuses.   
  2. Conclude:  Did you like the campus?  Did you feel comfortable with the coach?  Could you see yourself on the team as you watched practice? Does the school have your academic interest? 
The most important item to remember is that you can go on as many unofficial visits as you like and coaches realize it benefits you and as well as them.  You are not "bothering" the team or coach.  They expect these visits and welcome them.   Whether you are a walk- on or scholarship athlete, unofficial visits are a must.  Being on campus and exploring the realities of each school of interest is an excellent way of finding the right fit for you. 

About Jill Hicks:

Jill Hicks is a former elite gymnast, Division I college athlete, club coach and Division I college gymnastics coach (Cal State Fullerton, Oregon State) and the owner of Jill Hicks Consulting, where she provides recruiting services and choreography for prospective student-athletes and their families. For further information visit:

Editor's Note:  Publication of this article is not an endorsement of any recruiting service.  Always check with the NCAA or your school's compliance officer for any questions regarding recruiting rules, the latest timelines, or other issues.

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