3 Important Factors to Improve Your Chances of a Response
I was meeting with a high school student-athlete and his parents this past week who wants to play in college and is looking for an athletic scholarship. He asked if I thought he could play in college. I said I think you have the talent, but it’s about marketing yourself to get seen by college coaches. Our conversation continued for a few minutes discussing potential universities and colleges in which he had contacted via email. Then I heard the statement I hear so often from prospective student-athletes, “I just don’t understand why the college coaches do not respond to my emails.”
I looked over a few of the emails both he and the parents had sent. I instantly stopped and looked the parents straight in the eye, and said, “I know your intention is to help your child, but please, please, please do not send the emails for him.” I then referenced this blog we wrote a few months ago which was shared over 5000 times on social media: “My Student-Athlete is Soooooo Busy….I’ll Contact The College Coach For Them.” Parents, if you haven’t read it, please do so right now and then come back to this one!
The family knew I wanted to help them and knew I have been a Head Coach at the college level for NCAA Division I, II, and NAIA. They also knew the research I had done over the past few years. For my book, Looking For A FULL RIDE?: An Insider’s Recruiting Guide, I have been interviewing 65 college coaches, college athletic directors, recruiting coordinators, NCAA Compliance Directors and other administrators to offer the best strategies to marketing yourself to play in college. The family trusted me and knew I would be straightforward and honest with them. The mom reassured me she would not send any more emails and then asked, “What else are we doing wrong?”.
In addition to the parents contacting the coaches, I started to see a series of mistakes that the student-athlete was making in contacting the coaches which led me to prepare this blog. Having been a college coach for 14 years and NCAA Compliance Director, I have pretty much seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to contacting coaches. I will touch on a few areas here, but if you would like a copy of our FREE Special Report: Strategies To Emailing A College Coach, please visit www.lookingforafullride.com to get a copy!
1. First Impression Matters (And That Starts with Your Email Address!)
It is imperative that your email address be professional. It should not be “hotsportchick” or “Ideserveafullride” (both examples I literally have received emails from-no I am not kidding!). You should have your first and last name or initial and maybe your jersey number in it if needed. Create a separate email address you will only use for recruiting and check it daily. Also, make sure you put your graduation year in the subject line. Do not put “junior” or “freshman”. Instead, state Recruiting Class of 2021, etc.
2. Always Include Website Links vs. Large Attachments
Make sure in your initial email to a college coach, you have a video link to some game film. It is rather easy to upload onto Youtube or Hudl. Make sure you have password protected it and send that password in your email. Do not ever send video attachments with the email as it clogs college coaches emails (and often results in having to delete your email because you cannot send or receive other emails). For further information on “How Do I Make A Video for A College Coach?”, visit our blog here.
3. Timing is Everything
Visit their team’s schedule posted on their website. If the team is in season, take notice of their competition dates. Every coach is different, but in my research, I have found coaches are less likely to open emails on these competition dates and the days their team is off. For example, many competitions for volleyball or football take place on Saturdays. They likely have the mandatory one day off per week as being the next day. This isn’t always true, but many follow this pattern. For example, many Division I soccer programs play their games on Sundays and will have their off day as being Monday. I wouldn’t recommend the competition day or off day in sending emails to them as coaches are either focused on the game or trying to take a breather from a crazy week!
Also, if they are in preseason, typically coaches are working 12-16 hour days, 6 days a week. I know for me, I literally couldn’t keep up in between planning multiple sessions per day on the field and teambuilding with my student-athletes. I would not recommend contacting coaches in the first two weeks of their season, as their minds are really focused on the team in front of them.
Finally, I would also encourage you to send emails late afternoon or early evenings. Most coaches will have practices around 3 or 4p.m. (again, not all). Many will check their email after they are finished. I have known some coaches to wake up early and respond to emails first thing in the morning and others to respond to emails late at night so this is not a definitive time, but just something to consider.
You have to remember that most coaches get hundreds of recruiting emails every month so make sure you are helping and not hurting your chances of them being opened! Make sure you download our FREE Special Report: Strategies to Emailing A College Coach to help you at www.lookingforafullride.com.
Important note: Depending on your graduation year, the college coach may or may not be able to respond in a personalized way. Sometimes your graduation year can impact what the NCAA allows for their response. The college coach may only be able to respond with a very generic response stating NCAA rules, encouraging you to complete an online recruiting questionnaire so you can get into their database, and typically an upcoming camp invite. Finally, please note that a camp invite and this generic response does not necessarily mean you are being recruited by them! (For more on this topic, see our recent blog regarding “Of Course That College is Recruiting Me Because They Invited Me to Their CAMP”)
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Coach Renee Lopez
As a 17 year coaching veteran, Coach Renee Lopez is a recruiting expert for high school student-athletes. She uses her NCAA Division I, II, and NAIA Head Coaching experience to help families navigate the recruiting process to be identified by college coaches and help them find the right “fit” for playing at the next level. She has produced 3 All-Americans, over 30 All-Conference athletes and Her teams have been honored with awards for team academic accomplishments, sportsmanship, and sports ministry. In addition, Coach Renee Lopez has been named Coach of the Year by her peers.
She presents recruiting seminars across the country, has recently been featured in USA Weekly, with the National Alliance for Youth Sports, on SiriusXM Radio and ESPN Radio. She is the author of the book, Looking For A FULL RIDE?: An Insider’s Recruiting Guide where she has interviewed over 65 college recruiters across all sports and college levels. In addition, she runs 8 Facebook groups to help facilitate conversations on college recruiting education, coaching education, leadership development, and sports ministry. She is also a certified speaker, trainer and coach for the John Maxwell Team, Jon Gordon Company, 3Dimensional Coaching, and the Positive Coaching Alliance.
She also does private consulting for student-athletes and their families to help in understanding the often daunting process of recruiting. (See one family’s testimonial.) If you are looking for help in the college recruiting process, please email Coach Renee Lopez at firstname.lastname@example.org.