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What does "Character" Mean to Coaches and Why is it Important?

By T1EHL Staff, 08/28/19, 9:45AM CDT


This article originally appeared on Next College Student Athlete. You can read the full story here:

Character building is a skill we are taught from an early age. It makes a big difference not only in the world but also on an athletic team.

College coaches are judging student-athletes character both on and off the ice. Here is what character means to college coaches and why you should take it seriously.

The 2019 NCSA State of Recruiting Report surveyed over 20,000 athletes, parents, and coaches -- club, high school, and college -- about a wide range of topics associate with the recruiting process. Thirty-five percent of college coaches reported that character was the most important quality they look for in a recruit, but why is that?

Clearing the Character Test First

Coaches want to know a recruits true character before they give an offer. “I think watching athletes play and how they interact with their coaches, teammates and parents is the most valuable,” stated one college coach in the NCSA survey. “It was [important] 10 years ago, and it still is today. Those interactions show a lot about the athlete’s character.”

Coaches Want to Make Sure You’ll Succeed on Their Team

Coaches want student-athletes who will make an impact on their program athletically, but at the end of the day, a team’s success can be hindered by a student-athlete whose character is not up to par. 

That’s why finding high-character athletes who are coachable is so important for coaches; it gives them more confidence that a recruit’s enthusiasm, approach, and work ethic will allow them to easily adapt to a new situation and a new system.

High-Character Athletes Still Have to Meet Athletic Standards

While having high-character is a good foundation, athletic ability is still a determining factor in deciding if an athlete can compete. College coaches often have many options when it comes to potential recruits, and the competition for roster spots can be intense. So, even though coaches say that character is most important, what they really mean is that character is most important when athletic ability is there, too.

Coaches Have A Lot on the Line

At the end of the day, coaches are looking to do well in their careers. This means that they have to win games. College coaches have to consider high-character, athletic ability, academics and overall contribution to a team.