When it comes to the college recruiting process, few experiences are as valuable and insightful as a game day visit. These visits offer prospective student-athletes a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of a college game, meet coaches, tour facilities, and get a glimpse of what their future as a student-athlete could look like.
To shed light on the significance of a game day visit and provide essential tips for making the most of these experiences, The Wire turned to J.J. Kilgore, a former recruiting coordinator with years of experience handling game day visits at Arizona State University.
The Benefits of Official Visits
One of the primary advantages of an official game day visit is experiencing the electric atmosphere of game day firsthand. Being in the stadium, surrounded by passionate fans, and witnessing the energy of the team in action can be a game-changer in the recruiting process.
“Game day visits allow prospects to envision themselves as part of the team, running onto the field with the roaring crowd cheering them on,” says Kilgore.
Moreover, official visits provide a unique opportunity to meet the coaching staff and observe their interactions with players during the game. Understanding how the coaches handle the pressure and support their team on game day can give recruits valuable insights into the team’s culture and coaching philosophy. Make sure to stay observant during visits.
What to Wear and What to Avoid
Kilgore emphasizes the importance of dressing appropriately for game day visits. He advises against wearing slides, as they can make you appear shorter than you are. Instead, wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking around campus and the stadium.
Additionally, refrain from wearing sunglasses or headphones. And above all else, stay off your phone. Mute it. Be respectful of the staff’s time, and your own. This is a time to experience schools as a whole, and it’s important to avoid any distractions.
What should you wear? It’s pretty simple.
“Wearing a shirt from the school you are visiting demonstrates genuine interest to the coaching staff,” said Kilgore. “It shows that you’ve invested time and effort into researching the program.”
On the flip side, avoid wearing apparel from other institutions, as it may send mixed signals to the coaching staff.
Official vs. Unofficial Visits
Understanding the distinction between official and unofficial visits is crucial. An unofficial visit typically involves a prospective student-athlete and up to two family members. The visit does not include any expenses paid by the university, such as meals or tickets. On a positive note, athletes can go to as many of these as they would like.
On the other hand, official visits provide a more comprehensive experience. Prospective student-athletes can bring up to five guests, and the institution may cover some or all of the expenses, such as meals. Travel and lodging may be covered by the institution as well. However, seating during the game must be in general seating areas, and institutions cannot provide special parking arrangements for unofficial visits.
Game Day Visit Protocol and Etiquette
During game day visits, certain protocols and etiquettes must be followed. For instance, prospective student-athletes and their families should refrain from any game day simulations, like running onto the field with the team. Instead, schools will designate specific areas for prospects and their families to stand during pregame warm-ups.
Additionally, if allowed, prospects may be invited into the locker room post-game. However, it’s essential to respect the coach’s philosophy and avoid requesting gear from players, such as gloves, towels, or cleats.
Communication with Teams
Prospective student-athletes should be aware of the NCAA’s communication rules regarding game day visits. You can only communicate with the home team’s coaching staff.
“If a coach from the visiting team communicates with you, it is a violation for that coach,” Kilgore explains. So, if you find yourself being ignored by the visiting team’s coaching staff, it may be due to this rule.
Game day visits offer invaluable insights and experiences for prospective student-athletes. From feeling the excitement of the game atmosphere to meeting coaches and exploring facilities, these visits play a crucial role in the college recruiting process. Armed with the tips and advice provided by J.J. Kilgore, young athletes can make the most of their game day visits and position themselves for success in their pursuit of collegiate athletic opportunities.
Remember, each game day visit is an opportunity to showcase your potential, passion, and dedication. Take advantage of this unique experience to demonstrate your commitment to the sport and your genuine interest in becoming part of the college’s athletic community. With proper preparation and a positive attitude, game day visits can become steppingstones towards realizing your dreams of competing at the collegiate level.