Imagine this: You’ve done your research about college programs, created your target list, and now you’re ready to start reaching out to college coaches. You go to one school’s website to look up the coaching staff, only to see a whole list of names and titles. There’s an assistant coach, position coach, recruiting coordinator and a head coach. Who do you message first? Do you just email the whole group?
Just like everything else in the recruiting process, who you contact on the coaching staff requires some strategy. We’ve created this go-toguide to help you figure the best person to contact.
When using this guide, always start by going down the list, not up. For example, if the team doesn’t have a recruiting coordinator, start with the position coach. If you’ve emailed the position coach but haven’t heard back, move on to the assistant coach. Never start with the head coach unless that’s the only coach on the team.
Many larger programs will have a recruiting coordinator on staff who-you’d guessed it- managed the recruiting for the team. Typically, larger programs at Division I or Division II schools will hire a recruiting coordinator. If you see that name in a staff directory, look no further for your initial message!
If there’s no recruiting coordinator, look for a position-specific coach. This is particularly important for football, baseball and softball players. A position coach tends to recruit on demand – if they have a lot of upperclassmen, they most likely have roster sports to fill.
The assistant coach is your next point of contact. Before you fire off your email to them, make sure they are a full-time member of the staff. Head coaches oftentimes will hire a few part-time assistant coaches to help manage practices, etc., but they aren’t as involved in recruiting. If there is no full-time head coach, move on to messaging the head coach.
In many cases, especially for smaller programs, the head coach handles all the coaching responsibilities, including the recruiting. This can mean that you get the opportunity to build a relationship with the head coach immediately; however, the head coach will have a very busy schedule. They may be difficult to get ahold of and require a number of follow-ups.
A few insider tips to help you create your game plan:
Once you’e identified the right person to contact, your strategizing isn’t over quite yet! Here are a few more factors to keep in mind.
- The “one person, one email” rule: If you found out a coach sent the exact same email to you and every one of your teammates, you wouldn’t really feel like they cared about you as a recruit. In the same way, sending the same email out to multiple members of a coaching staff comes across as lazy and indicates you’re not very interested in that program. Make sure you email one member of the staff at a time and personalize each message.
- Follow up each message with a call: Emailing coaches serves the purpose of sending them your highlight video and key stats, but its not a great way to really stand out. Remember: coaches get thousands of emails, and their inboxes are buried. Give them a call, leave a voicemail and keep following up to stay on their radar. Try catching them when they’re in offie – between 8 a.m and 11 a.m.
- Try grad assistants when all else fails: Graduate assistants tend to help with duties outside of coaching, such as looking over game tape. While they can lend a hand in recruiting, they won’t be your initial contact and you should consider them a last-ditch effort.
Once you have your game plan figured out, it’s time to start strategizing what you’re going to say. For insight on how to craft your first email to college coaches, check out our previous article, “5 Steps to Writing an Eye-Catching Email to College Coaches.”
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