How to Email a College Coach and Why it is Important
Email is a helpful tool that can be used to jump start the recruiting process. If done correctly, emailing coaches can lead to increased amounts of contact and more exposure for you in recruiting. When emailing a college coach, create a subject line that will grab attention, provide relevant athletic and academic information in the body, and include contact information and links to game film or recruiting profiles. Also be sure to personalize the message to fit the school and focus on what makes you a good match for their program.
Email is Important for Building Relationships
One of the most important parts of the recruiting process is building relationships with coaches. Coaches need to trust their players because in most cases their job will at least partially depend on how well they perform. For this reason, coaches aren’t going to offer spots on their teams to people they don’t know.
Sending out emails is a great start towards getting to know the staff and creating relationships with members of the programs you’re interested in joining. These emails aren’t going to immediately earn you a scholarship. However, they could cause a coach to watch your game film or send you a text or invite you to a camp. This is all a part of the process of building that trust and that relationship with coaches, and email is a great first step down that road.
The Difference Between Email and Other Forms of Communication
Email may not seem as easy a way to communicate as something like texting or sending messages on social media, but there is a huge upside to using it early on in the recruiting process. Email is the platform that most coaches are checking often as a part of their job, and it is easy to find their address to get in touch with them online. It will typically be harder for you to find a coach’s cell phone number to send them a text than it will be to find their email address. There is also no guarantee that a coach will be responsive or even check for messages that have been sent to them on social media platforms. That’s why it is best to start your line of communication with schools you’re interested in through email. If a coach wants to get in touch with you in a way other than emailing, they will make that known to you during the recruiting process.
The Different Process for Elite and Average Recruits
One important thing to remember when starting the recruiting process is that the experience you hear about blue chip recruits having is not typical for the average athlete. Those higher-level recruits often times will have college coaches lining up to watch them play when they are freshman in high school. They do not have to worry very much about doing the little things to get on schools’ radars because they are already being actively sought out by coaches. This will not be the case for more than nine out of ten high-school athletes looking to play sports at the next level. If you sit around and wait for coaches and schools to become interested in you on their own, there is a good chance that you will miss out on the opportunity to continue your athletic career into college.
Because you most likely won’t be given the VIP treatment during the recruiting process, it is extremely important that you be proactive and make as many schools aware of you as possible. The more college coaching staffs that know of you as a prospect, the better the chances are that one of them will grow interested and eventually offer you a spot on their team. One of the best and easiest ways to do this is to email coaches at schools you are interested in playing for. Email is a great first step to take to help make coaches aware of you and what you can bring to the table. At the very least, it’s a simple way to let schools know that you have an interest in them, and that they wouldn’t be wasting their time by choosing to recruit you.
When Should You Start Emailing Coaches?
Now that you know the importance of being proactive and reaching out to coaches via email, you may be asking yourself: When is the right time to start? The answer to that question is actually very simple. Whenever you decide that you have interest in playing for a school, begin crafting an email and get it sent to a member of the coaching staff as soon as possible. There’s no such thing as being too early or too eager. Coaches are going to be looking through hundreds and sometimes even thousands of emails to try and find the right fit for their team. Getting in early and being one of the first people in you class to show up in their inbox is a great way to make sure that your message gets the attention it deserves and doesn’t get lost in the clutter. Coaches want to recruit people who are enthusiastic and excited to be a part of their program; reaching out early on in the process with an introductory email is a great way to show that you fit that profile.
Should Parents Email Coaches?
If you are a parent reading this, you are probably interested in doing all that you can to help your child get recruited and have the best chance possible to play at the next level. In regard to email, it is a good idea to have the prospective student-athlete reach out to coaching staffs on their own accord, rather than having a parent reach out on their behalf. It may not necessarily be a negative thing in the eyes of a coaching staff to have a parent email and ask questions about the school or athletic program, but those same questions would almost certainly carry more weight if they came directly from the potential recruit.
If a coach receives an email about a recruit from a parent, they have no way of knowing if that student-athlete has legitimate interest in attending that school, or if the parent is the only one interested and is reaching out without ever consulting their child.
So if you are a parent and introductory emails are something that you want to help out with, it would be better to do that in the form of proofreading or coming up with good ideas for questions your child can ask rather than sending them out on your own. Like we’ve already mentioned, coaches are looking for recruits who are enthusiastic about joining their program and taking the time to send emails on your own will always show more enthusiasm and excitement then a message sent from parents.
Don’t Email Blast
One thing that will give your email a much better chance to get noticed by coaches is to take the time to personalize it. There are a bunch of services out there that will create a mass email message that can be sent out to coaches all over the country after you spend just a couple of minutes filling out some information. These services may be tempting to you as a way to avoid another step that may seem tedious in the recruiting process. This is a shortcut that you should not take! Coaches at every college are tasked with cycling through a massive amount of emails from prospective student athletes who want a roster spot, and they are going to be able to tell the difference in an email that was sent out en masse through a template and those that are thoughtfully crafted with their specific school in mind. If you opt to take that shortcut, there’s a very good chance that the email will be hastily skipped because it’s going to look nearly identical to all of the other emails in their inbox from other prospects who used the same method. If a school is really somewhere where you could see yourself fitting in and it’s a program you want to be a part of, take the extra time out of your day to send a quality email that mentions specifics about the school and the reasons you’re a good fit.
Do Research and Make Sure You Have the Best Contact Information
Before taking the time to reach out to a college with an introductory email, be sure to spend some time researching the school to make sure that it is a good fit. As we’ve already mentioned, it is generally not a good idea to use mass email services that will send a message out to virtually every school. Following this advice means taking the time to craft each email to coaches personally, and that could add up to a substantial amount of time.
In order to avoid wasting your own time as well as the time of the coaches, start of by doing some research and create a list of schools you would consider joining. The recruiting process as a whole can sometimes feel overwhelming to go through, and a good way to help manage this is to keep a clear focus on schools that are realistic fits, instead of feeling pressure to appeal to every school out there.
Aside from helping you to have a more narrowed in focus, doing background research before starting the email process will also help the content of your messages. Having solid information to reference will help you make a more appealing case for what it is you have to offer a school and will help you craft an email that focuses on areas that the college considers valuable.
Clicking through a bunch of different school websites and doing a bunch of google searches may seem tedious, but it will help you generate a targeted list of schools to contact and help make you a more appealing recruit to coaches.
Outside of research about the schools and their athletic programs, make sure to also research who it is specifically you should be contacting for recruiting information. Many coaching staffs will have someone who is a recruiting coordinator or someone who specifically deals with recruit emails. If possible, make sure to find out who those people are for each school you’re interested in and reach out to them specifically. It makes a big difference when the messages you are sending are being received by people whose responsibility it is to read them, and not just a random member of the coaching staff.
Subject Line of Email
As we’ve mentioned multiple times already, college coaching staffs are having to read through a substantial amount of emails during the recruiting process. When dealing with such a large volume of candidates for recruitment with oftentimes very little to separate them, every detail matters. This is especially true in regard to the subject line of your email. As a prospect trying to get noticed, the goal of the subject line in your email should be to entice that coach to want to learn more so that they will click on it and read the body of the message. Present the most relevant information in the subject line and give the best overview of your email, and you as a prospect, that you possibly can. Remember to keep it short, as coaches are often not going to take the time to read a lengthy subject line that just doesn’t seem to end. Also try to put something in the subject that will help you stand out and get their attention.
A good example of an email subject line that is concise and will get attention is: “Jon Doe, 2021 6’5” Shooting Guard, Tournament Schedule Attached.” This has a good chance of being clicked on by a coach because it helps to paint a picture of the potential recruit as well as what the email content will be like. It shows the graduating class, position and size of the student athlete, so the coach can quickly know if that person fits a positional need in that specific recruiting class, and if they have the size to fit within the coaching staff’s philosophy. It also shows that there is a schedule attached, so the coach can easily know when and where to go if they have an interest that leads to wanting to see the recruit play. This type of subject line will lead to much better results than sending out something generic such as “interested in your program” or “want more information.”
Content of the Email
While the goal of your subject line is to encourage coaches to click on your email, the goal of your email is to generate enough attention to get them to start recruiting you to become a member of their team. You’ll want to make it so that it is easy for them to consider you by listing all of your educational information such as your GPA and test scores. You will also want to include all of your athletic information such as any relevant stats or measurements. After this you will want to get to the point of why you are reaching out. Let them know that you have a tournament coming up where they can watch you play, inquire about information on camps or simply let them know that you are a prospect they should be considering.
The content of the emails that you will send to coaches should vary some for each of the schools you reach out to. You want to make sure to use the research that you’ve done to shape your email and inform the way that you describe yourself as a recruit. If you’re interested in joining a program at a school where academics are held in high regard, then it would be wise to use a good bit of your message to focus on your strengths in the classroom that make you a good fit. If the school you’re reaching out to has an academic reputation that is only average, but is looking to recruit elite athletes, then you should use your message to primarily focus on your achievements on the court or field.
Provide a Link to Game Film and Recruiting Profiles
We already know that college coaches are going through large amounts of email trying to sort potential recruits. They do not have time to sit and read long drawn out emails from potential student athletes that fail to get to the point. If the messages you send fit that description, they will likely be skipped and will give you no reward for the time you spent writing them.
One way to avoid doing this is by linking to your game film and any recruiting profiles that you may have in the introductory emails that you send to coaches. This way instead of having to write a lengthy message that shows what you bring to the table, you can stick to giving a quick overview and then the coach will have an easy way to learn more if they’re interested by following the links you provided. This way your message won’t get skipped for being too lengthy and hard to read but will still provide an opportunity to gain a good idea of who you are as a prospect.
Make it Easy to Get Back in Touch
Another important thing to remember when sending an email to a college coach is to always make it easy to get back in touch with you. Provide a phone number that they can reach you with, and the phone numbers and email addresses of your high school and club coaches. This way they have a way to learn more about you as a recruit, even if your email comes across their screen during a time when the NCAA restricts them from emailing you directly. If college coaches are impressed by what you say in your email, they may want to find out more about you. Don’t make it difficult for them to reach out and do so!
Remember to Proofread and Edit
Take the extra time to proofread your emails and double check them for any imperfections. After spending so much time researching colleges, gathering contact information and personalizing your messages, it would be a shame for them to be disregarded due to a simple typo. Because of the large number of prospects that each staff has to spend time sorting, a simple mistake such as spelling a word wrong or messing up someone’s name could quickly cause a recruit to no longer be considered for a spot on the team. Many schools are going to be offering scholarship money to those who become members of their sports teams, and they usually are not going to look to give that money to those who can’t handle sending a proper email.
Rules for Coaches Responding
Unfortunately, there may be times when you send out an email to a college coach and don’t hear anything back from them. Before getting discouraged and thinking that it is because they aren’t interested, remember that they may not be allowed to respond to your message due to NCAA rules.
- For coaches in Division 1 sports, they are unable to reply directly to an email that you have sent unless it is during your junior year of high school, with exact dates differing by sport.
- For Division 2 level schools the rules are not quite as strict, and coaches can respond to you and send emails after June 15th prior to your junior year.
- At Division 3 schools, there are even fewer restrictions around the recruiting process, and coaches are allowed to send emails and respond to messages at any time.
It’s also important to remember that coaches may be reaching out to contact you through other channels outside of emails, such as by calling your high school or club coaches. Even if they don’t reach out at all, they may take note of you as a prospect and put you in their database to scout in the future. If you don’t hear from anyone after sending out your fist round of emails it isn’t automatically a reason to be alarmed. You can read more about the NCAA rules regarding communication with coaches here: College Coaches Responding to Email
Replying to a Coach’s Email
If your initial emails to college coaches lead to more interest in you as a recruit, you will probably receive some emails in return from various coaching staffs. When you reply to these emails, make sure to take the time out to write a genuine and personal response just as you did in your introductory emails.
Be sure to answer any questions that the coach asks you as thoroughly as you can without rambling on. Also take this new interaction as an opportunity to update any accomplishments you might have achieved since last speaking. If you improved your standardized test scores or even have a new tournament schedule, try and work that into your response in a way that seems natural. Don’t be afraid to share your accomplishments with coaches. If a coach has taken the time to send an email back to you, then there is a good chance they are at least generally interested in you as a prospect. Use your reply as a way to give them even more reasons to recruit you.
If a college coach reaches out to you from a school who you no longer have interest in, take the time to reply to them and let them know that you have moved on. They will appreciate the gesture and will respect the fact that you didn’t drag it out. College coaches often move on and coach at multiple schools, so it’s generally a good idea to remain polite and reply even if you know you aren’t going to the school they’re currently representing. You would hate to lose an opportunity from a program you liked because they hired a coach who you were discourteous to during their time at another university!