Athletic Recruiting Coach Communication Coronavirus / COVID-19

Connect with College Coaches During the Coronavirus Recruiting Dead Period

On April 15, 2021, the NCAA Division 1 Council announced that all in-person recruiting for D1 sports will resume starting June 1, 2021. That means coaches will be able to return to their normal recruiting calendars and activities.

Email is more than just part of the recruiting process. As we all deal with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, digital communication is one of the few ways that college coaches can still actively recruit student-athletes. In response to the NCAA’s suspension of in-person recruiting through May 31, 2021 for D1 programs, college coaches and recruits have been heavily relying on email to stay in touch with one another.

A recruit’s approach to emailing college coaches will vary depending on grad year. Find your grad year below to see how you can best utilize email to connect with college coaches.

Email Tips for the High School Class of 2020

College coaches at every level are still actively searching NCSA’s database to fill their last-chance roster spots and NCSA is supporting these coaches by providing a list of top unsigned seniors. Learn more about this list and how to be added to it here.

As 2020 seniors continue to pursue open roster spots, they should start by reaching out to coaches at schools where they’ve already been accepted. Recruits should start their emails off by letting the coach know they’ve already received an acceptance letter.

Student-athletes will then want to briefly explain why they’re interested in the program and what they can bring to the team. Keep in mind that your value doesn’t predominately have to relate to your athletic ability. College coaches want strong athletes who can help the team win, but they also want leaders who can motivate others and keep morale high. Emails should also provide key information, including GPA, club/high school team details, sport-specific stats and relevant measurables.

If college coaches aren’t engaging with your emails, it might be time to try a different approach.  Not only have most D1 and D2 programs finalized their rosters for the 2020-21 season, but the NCAA’s recent promise of eligibility relief for spring sport athletes may have college coaches re-evaluating their roster availability. While athletic scholarships may no longer be available, programs may still have walk on availability.

To find out if a program has walk on availability, research the team’s coaching staff and identify the person who is in charge of walk on recruits. Focus on gathering information about the program’s walk on process and if this is a viable option.

Email Tips for the High School Class of 2021

While recruiting tournaments/showcases/camps, as well as official and unofficial visits remain on hold indefinitely, college coaches are more heavily relying on digital communication to reach out to 2021 recruits.

For recruits who aren’t already communicating with college coaches via email, now is the time to start. Begin with an introductory email to get on the coach’s radar. To make an email stand out in a coach’s inbox, student-athletes must include their most impressive stats in the subject line (i.e. 2021 OPP, 9’8″ APP, Premier VB Academy, video attached). It’s also important for recruits to include a link to their NCSA Recruiting Profile and highlight video to help coaches evaluate their fit for their program.

Athletes who have already begun building relationships with coaches should stay on top of these conversations by checking email daily and taking no longer than 24 hours to respond, as well as letting the coach know when they will follow up with a phone call to continue the recruiting conversation.

This time is a great opportunity to update existing highlight video and/or create additional videos. Also, keep in mind that coaches and recruits alike are experiencing the same setback at the moment, so recruits shouldn’t be afraid to ask about coaches’ approach to training during quarantine. This is a good way to demonstrate commitment to growth and resilience in the face of adversity.

Email Tips for the High School Class of 2022-2023

Despite recent changes to the college recruiting process as a result of the coronavirus, there is little immediate change for underclassmen when it comes to emailing college coaches. These student-athletes are still in the early stages of recruiting and should continue sending introductory emails to college coaches at their reach, target and safety schools.

The only adjustment that recruits will need to make is in the conclusion of the email, where they would typically let the coach know about their upcoming competition schedule. Instead student-athletes can share highlight video for the coach to watch and also emphasize their commitment to staying in shape and focusing on skill development while sporting events and practices are paused.

About the author
Rachel Mazanec