Describe the qualities that your program is looking for in a potential student-athlete?
There are many characteristics that all coaches are looking for: athleticism, size, skills etc… but in my opinion, the characteristics that set players apart are: 1 – Athletic IQ – the ability to instinctively read the play and see it develop in front of them, reacting appropriately without seemingly thinking. 2 – Competitive nature – Does the player compete for 50/50 balls? I am not necessarily concerned if they get every 50/50 ball, but are they competing or conceding. Additionally, how does the player react to making mistakes. Does she let one mistake turn into multiple mistakes, or is she able to move past one mistake, learn from it and get better? 3 – Great teammates – Does this person make those around her better. Sometimes it is easy to be the biggest and fastest. The players that succeed at the next level are those who work the hardest and expect the best from themselves and their teammates at all times.
Could you give us an example of a current or former player who exceeded your expectations, highlighting the reasons that player excelled?
Each and every year coaches go into the season with preconceived notions of who will do what based on past experiences. While there is always a perceived “clean slate”, past history matters and human nature kicks in. However, after coaching for the last 20 years, I am consistently surprised by one or more players every year, both positively and negatively. There is one common theme for the reason I am surprised, work ethic! You can not know who will go home over the summer and work their tail off on the skills, fitness etc… that you have talked to them about. It is one the most rewarding experiences a coach can have, players exceeding expectations and gaining real confidence through hard work that lasts a lifetime.