Being able to communicate positively with college coaches can be the difference in one recruit getting a scholarship over another. Conversations with coaches establishes a bond, and coaches use that time to get to know the student much deeper than from the perspective of just a player.
But what are the best ways to communicate with college coaches? These are a handful of things to keep in mind when you’re in the presence of coaches.
How to Communicate with Coaches
Giving advice on communicating with college coaches could be simplified if we use these questions:
- What would you say in an introductory email?
- What shouldn’t you say?
- What sort of things do coaches want to hear from you at camps when they meet you?
- What should you ask coaches and when?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer, because there are so many variables that factor into what is a good answer. The personality of the player and the coach also impact the flow and dynamics of each conversation. But I’ll do my best to give as wide-ranging of advice as I can that can help any recruit as they communicate with college coaches.
Find an Advocate
For those of you who are able, the first thing a recruit should try to do is find an advocate outside of your family who can help push the process along. College coaches can’t contact recruits directly prior to the start of their junior year of high school, so coaches will start out by contacting your travel or high school coach. If you can set up a system with those coaches or someone outside of your family who can receive correspondence and pass it on, that makes things much easier. Many of my players reach out to coaches who then respond to me, I pass on the information, which then allows the player to directly communicate with the coaches.
Prospective student-athletes who take the initiative to reach out to college coaches should also put together a short introductory note with some basic information, along with a good highlight tape, and thank them in advance for viewing the footage.
Recruits who go to a camp should walk up to each coach and introduce themselves. Even if there isn’t a lot of conversation, coaches remember those kids who approach them and speak.
It’s important to be humble. That doesn’t mean you can’t be confident in your communication with coaches, but a player who is too full of themselves is an immediate turn off. If you’re not a great communicator, have someone sit down with you and script an introduction that you practice.
What shouldn’t you say? It’s not so much what you shouldn’t say, because people have to be honest to start a true dialogue, but players looking to play in college should first and foremost be humble and respectful, plus appreciative of the time that any coach is spending with them. Recruits should never be rude and never force the conversation.
An introductory email should be short and to the point. Make sure that in all communication, but especially the first one, to check the spelling of coaches’ names, to check grammar, and to include the key information of your grade, your contact info, along with your current coaches’ information. Let the coach know that you’re interested in their school and that you’re reaching out to try to see what they will need from you to make that assessment.
What do coaches want to hear from you when they meet you at camps or on campus? It’s not just about what they want to hear, because before they hear you, they see you, so your body language is critically important, along with eye contact. Everything comes into play in an interview, and that’s what meetings with coaches are. If your initial presentation is positive, that translates into a much smoother conversation.
Introduce yourself, and if your parents are with you, make sure as a recruit that you acknowledge them in your intro. Let the coach know how much you have enjoyed your time. At that point, instead of feeling as though you have to say something specific, just be yourself. If you approach this process and communication with coaches with a humble and appreciate spirit, the conversation should flow.
What Should You Ask?
Nothing is really off limits, because you’re trying to get to know the coaches and open up your personality and spirit to them. Whatever you ask should be respectful and honest. All coaches appreciate that approach to communication, and they understand that recruits are new to the process, often nervous, and trying to figure things out.
It’s an Interview
There is no exact way to approach the recruiting process, and there is no real script, because each recruit is different, each coach is different, and each situation is different. Recruits and families have to go into the process with an appreciative perspective knowing that very few high school players have an opportunity to play in college, so each time you get a chance to play in front of or talk to college coaches, you are always being interviewed. Be respectful, be kind, and be humble. When coaches feel this, the conversation will flow nicely.