THE GAME PLAN
Every athlete & coach knows that having a solid game plan is vital for success. Read the sections below, pay close attention to the tips in each category, and you'll give yourself the best opportunity to succeed.
WHO TO CONTACT
The best advice we can give you in terms of who to contact is to be realistic. If you’ve never heard from a single college or university, you probably shouldn’t start by emailing a high profile NCAA Division I school.
In all likelihood, even if you were to get a coach at that level on the phone, the first question he or she would likely ask is, “Who else is recruiting you?” If the answer is no one and you aren’t off-the-charts physically, the conversation is likely over.
Instead however, if you’re realistic about your recruitment and start contacting coaches at a level that’s most appropriate with your current skill set, you’ll likely have much better results. If you’re not sure where to begin, start with the “Junior College” level.
And if over time, you start getting a lot of positive feedback from JC schools, you can always move to higher levels later. PRO TIP: This way when a coach at a higher level asks, “Who else is recruiting you,” you can respond by listing off all the schools actively communicating with you. This gives you a lot more credibility as an athletic prospect.
WHAT TO SAY
We recommend emailing college coaches as your first form of communication. Firstly, it allows college coaches to process the information at their convenience and secondly, it allows them to do additional research before responding.
If you don’t hear back from a coach or group of coaches you’ve emailed, please DON’T send them a bunch more emails in rapid succession. Simply stick to the 3-4 emails per coach/per year, outlined in the “When,” section, and if you haven’t heard back from them after 2 or 3 attempts, then consider making a phone call. The key with not sending more than 3-4 unsolicited emails per year is that you don’t want to annoy the coach or coaches you’re reaching out to.
If you decide to pick up the phone and make a call, we recommend saying something like, “Hi Coach, I’m Jeff Smith. I’ve tried reaching out to you via email a few times. I just wanted to introduce myself and see if you’ve had a chance to look at my highlight tape. I’d love the opportunity to learn more about your program and see if there’s any level of interest in me as a recruit.”
If and when you decide to pick up the phone, be prepared for them to say “No, we’re not interested at this time.” That’s ok. Just because one school or coach isn’t interested in you, that doesn’t mean any of the nearly 2,000 other colleges out there won’t be. Remain polite, thank the coach for his or her time and wish them well.
PRO TIPS: MAKE YOUR EMAILS POP
1) The Subject Line:
Having a strong subject line gives your email a better change at being opened. We recommend using the work, "Prospect," followed by 2-3 impressive stats and/or biographical pieces.
2) The Body of the Email:
The email should include the prospect's: biographical information, academic profile, athletic stats & accomplishments,
significant team accomplishments and a 3-6 minute highlight tape.
3) The Highlight Tape:
3-5 minutes is all you need. Remember, the highlight tape should serve the same purpose as a movie trailer, which aims to get you excited about the actual movie. We recommend breaking your clips into skill categories and subsequently providing 2-5 examples. As an example, if you're an outfielder in baseball you might include the category "Arm Strength," with clips of you throwing out runner looking to advance. Although longer than recommended time, here's an example of a highlight tape:
4) Utilizing BCC's:
When sending emails to college coaches, especially when doing so in bulk, the best practice is to put all their email addresses in the “BCC” portion of your email browser. That way, the coaches can’t see who or how many other coaches you’re messaging. When proceeding this way, you can create a contact for yourself or a family member that you address as “Undisclosed Recipients,” in the "To," section. A simple internet search will show you how to do this.
5) Sample Email Templates:
WHEN TO CONTACT COACHES
When reaching out to college coaches, TIMING IS EVERYTHING. The best time to reach out to a college coach varies greatly depending on the sport he or she coaches. However, there are a few tips you might consider. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend contacting college coaches 3-4 times per year as anything more than that will likely just annoy the coaches you're contacting.
1st Communication Attempt:
A great time to reach out to college coaches is before the start of their/your season. For example, college basketball starts in mid October, so a high school basketball player or coach looking to connect with a college coach should reach out in late September or early October. The same principle applies for all other sports and the timing of their respective seasons.
2nd Communication Attempt:
Another good time to reach out to college coaches is halfway through their/your season, especially if you can time the email or call between the non-conference and conference portion of their season. This way you can send an email with your current stats and updated video, ideally showcasing the improvements you’ve made from the previous year. PRO TIP: If you can plan these calls or emails around a holiday or break in the school calendar (Spring Break, Christmas, etc.) this is ideal. During holiday breaks or schools closures, coaches are often in airports with true downtime on their hands.
3rd Communication Attempt:
Contacting college coaches 2-4 weeks after their season ends is another good time to reach out. This way, they’ve had a few weeks to turn the page on their previous season and start planning for the future. Getting in touch with them as they are having post-season player meetings may help you peak their interest right as a current player is deciding to transfer, thereby opening up a scholarship. PRO TIP: If you can time this communication attempt around when college coaches will be traveling to their end of season meetings and/or championship weekends, you again stand to catch them in airports and hotels with some downtime and a few extra minutes on their hands.
4th Communication Attempt:
Early summer, before any college viewing periods have begun. This way, you can provide college coaches your summer schedule and invite them to evaluate you during the live viewing periods. PRO TIP: If you aren’t actively being recruited by the coach or coaching staff you’re reaching out to, you can always ask about attending their “elite” summer camps or “open guys.” Gaining an invite to one of these “elite” camps will put you directly in front of the coaching staff you’re trying to impress.
WHERE TO CONTACT COACHES
Please correspond with college coaches ONLY via their respective office phones and school generated email accounts. Please know that we don’t provide personal or private contact information for any of the coaches in our directory.
While it may be tempting to send one email to thousands of coaches at the exact same time, there are actually much better options. College and athletic department email servers are some of the most sensitive on the planet. They are mostly designed to handle individual correspondence between members of the same campus community.
Unlike big corporations, these email servers often don’t receive messages sent to a large number of recipients, and therefore have been programmed to be suspicious of these types of emails.
You can think about it this way, “If you don’t go to the same school as the coaches you’re messaging, and your email account doesn’t end in (.edu), you have to be smart about the way you message coaches.” PRO TIP: The smaller the recipient list, the greater likelihood of success. So instead of sending an email to every NCAA Division II coach at the same time, try breaking the emails up by league, region of the country or state.