8 Guidelines for Recruiting Trip Etiquette

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By J.P. Mortenson, a Swimming World Intern.

Recruiting trip season is officially upon us. These trips are an extremely exciting yet unfamiliar experience for high school seniors who are about to decide where to call home for the next four years of their lives. If you are going on a visit, either official or unofficial, you have probably been given a list of things to evaluate (such as team culture, the campus, the dorms, etc.).

These factors are important in helping you decide if a school is a good fit for you; however, you also have to be aware that the team will be evaluating you. They will be trying to see if you are someone who will fit in with their team. Although your academic and athletic qualifications are more important in determining if the coach will offer you a spot, the impression that you leave on your recruiting trip can make a difference.

That being said, here are eight tips that will help you ace your recruiting trip etiquette.

1. Be a good guest.

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Photo Courtesy: Kara Sekenski

Remember that you are a guest. Have good manners – say please and thank you. Offer to help clean up, and keep your things organized. In general, just be polite and respectful.

2. Be on time.

Blonde lying in bed and hitting alarm clock

Photo Courtesy: Huffington Post

Your trip is an opportunity to show the coaches that you are responsible and can take care of yourself. Being late is not a good way to show that. Some things are out of your control – like your flight being delayed or getting caught in traffic – but when you can control it, be on time.

3. Be yourself.

Both you and the team want to see if you are a good fit for each other. The only way to do this is to be yourself. Being yourself is easier said than done, but do not be afraid to open up to the team. Try your best not to respond with one-word answers and to participate in conversation. Also, don’t be on your phone the whole time, as this can give off the impression that you are disengaged from what is going on.

4. Have fun, and be enthusiastic.

Caeleb Dressel

Photo Courtesy: Caeleb Dressel

The team wants you to have a good time, and they are trying very hard to make sure that you are both learning about the school and enjoying your trip. Because of this, don’t be someone who is difficult to please or someone who makes the team go out of their way to accommodate your needs. Try your best to be easy-going and participate in whatever games or activities the team has planned. If you do this, you will both have more fun and be better accepted into the team.

5. Do not do anything that you are uncomfortable with.

If the team has any parties or social events, do not feel pressured into doing or trying anything that makes you uncomfortable. The team wants you to enjoy your trip, and they certainly do not want you to feel peer pressure.

6. Be humble.

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Photo Courtesy: Melissa Lundie

You are one of many recruits the team will see that year. With few exceptions, all of the recruits have similar academic qualifications and athletic ability. This is not to say that you shouldn’t ever talk about yourself or be confident in your abilities, but try your best to keep your bragging and self-praise to a minimum.

7. Ask questions.

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

One of the goals of your recruiting trip should be to find out as much as you can about the school, and asking questions is a great way to do this. Be sure to have some questions prepared for when you meet with the coach. Also, the members of the team will happily answer recruit’s questions, even the ones that you are not comfortable asking the coaches.

8. Write a thank you note.

Thank-you-letter

Photo Courtesy: paymentdepot.com

When you get home, write a thank you note to the coach. Thank them for inviting you, and be sure to tell them what specific parts of the trip you enjoyed most.


Even though going on your recruiting trips may seem daunting because your visits tend to be a deciding factor in determining your college choice, remember that recruiting trips are supposed to be fun rather than something to be nervous about. Just remember to relax, be polite, and stay engaged. If you do these things, you will both make a good impression and have a great time!

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

3 Comments

3 comments

  1. avatar
    SwimDad

    This does not just apply to high school seniors as the article implies. With the rule changes over the summer, this pressure now also applies to high school Juniors who will be with the seniors on many of these trips.

Author: J.P. Mortenson

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J.P. Mortenson has been competitively swimming since he was six years old and is currently a sophomore swimmer at Dartmouth college. His favorite strokes are butterfly, backstroke, and underwater dolphin kick. He plans on majoring in history and pursuing a career in athletics.

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