Are you a coachable athlete?

From the desk of Wally Dawkins, Athletic Director:

When college coaches come onto the campus of Brook Hill looking at prospective players for their program, one of the first questions by the collegiate visitor is this: “Is he/she coachable?”

When I was the Head Basketball Coach at Whitehouse over a period of 19 years, this was usually the first question that was asked by a college coach who was recruiting one of my players.

In turn, I was rarely asked if a prospective athlete “could play.”

In our world today, with the internet and all of the online tools coaches have to promote players at the high school level (i.e. video clips, highlights tapes, game films, etc.), visuals of a player’s ability can be sent and seen online. College coaches also utilize these tools to evaluate prospective players, so they can make a decision on whether or not the player can play.

What prospective college coaches cannot determine from film are things like a player’s coachability.

Also not available from a highlight reel or video clip are things like: What kind of grades does the athlete make? Is he/she a good teammate? Does he/she work hard? Do they work hard in the weight room? What kind of attitude do they have?

Are they a “good kid?”

All of these qualities are hidden from any sort of image, stationary or mobile, that may be floating out in the realm of techno land. All these questions about qualities asked by college coaches are usually answered by the high school coach. Although having the physical ability to perform at the next level might get a prospective athlete “looks,” college coaches quickly become interested in how coachable prospective players may be.

So what does being coachable really mean? It probably means more than you think!

Being coachable means an athlete possesses the following characteristics:

  1. The athlete listens with the intention of gaining information that he/she does not already know.
  2. The athlete believes that the information being disseminated is accurate and valuable.
  3. The athlete has the ability to transfer the verbal or visible information into the desired action.


Trust me! For a player to be considered coachable, means much more than just hearing what the coach says or seeing the pictures in a demonstration or instructional video.

Over the years, I have had countless players appear to be listening and/or looking at something I was saying, showing or demonstrating, and within five minutes it was like they had never seen or heard any of the information that had just been presented. It’s the “in one ear and out the other” kind of thing!

To be coachable also means that the athlete believes or has confidence in that what the coach is telling or presenting to them is actually worthwhile and accurate. I have also been a part of numerous situations when coaching some players that, just by seeing the looks on their faces or by watching their body language, I knew that they were not buying what I was selling. And sure enough, whether while practicing or in a game situation, the “non-buy-in” would rear its ugly head.

Probably the most important indicator of whether or not an athlete is truly coachable is to witness the athlete transfer the information received into the action desired by the coach. Only truly “coachable” athletes are capable of doing this. For a player, who after having heard or watched what a coach was presenting, to have the ability to transfer that information into action, is the purest definition of being coachable.

So…ask yourself, or look for these qualities in an athlete near you: Are they listening or watching intently? Do they believe what their coach is saying or showing? After an appropriate number of repetitions are they able to perform the action?

Remember…coaches, especially college coaches, ask first and foremost…Is he/she coachable?

At Brook Hill, our coaches are insistent upon our athletes paying attention, working with intensity and making progress whether in the weight room, on the softball diamond or on the court. We have a vested interest in their futures.

Not just in games, but in the game of life.

And that’s another reason to be “ALL ORANGE”…All The Time!