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How to Contact College Coaches

Contacting college coaches by email, text, DMs, and phone calls 

How to contact college coaches is a question families ask every day. While coaches have their different methods for scouting out new talent, the best way to ensure a coach knows about you is to contact the coach yourself. Email, texting, phone calls and even social media messages are all acceptable ways for student-athletes to contact college coaches. Learn more about when and how to reach out to college coaches using these methods below.

4 steps to contacting college coaches

Here’s how to get in contact with college coaches.

  1. Send an introductory email
  2. Follow-up with a phone call
  3. Respond to any recruiting letters
  4. Keep in touch with coaches

Send an introductory email to the coach

The best way to contact college coaches is through email. An introductory email is an important first step in the process and is a great way to initially send your key information to college coaches. Read more about how to write an introductory email that will get a college coach’s attention.

Follow-up with a call to the coach

If the contact period has started for your sport (June 15 after sophomore year or September 1 of junior year), following up with a phone call to the coach is an important step. Since D1 coaches are not allowed to talk to you before the contact period, there is not much value in giving them an early call. Read more about how to call college coaches—as well as how to leave your best voicemail. 

Respond to recruiting letters from college coaches

Though recruiting relies primarily on digital methods, coaches may still send different types of recruiting letters to athletes. And recruits should respond. Learn more about the different types of recruiting letters you may receive—and how to respond.

Keep in touch with coaches and update them with new stats

Sometimes the most difficult part of the recruiting process is keeping the lines of communication open with college coaches. A few great reasons to reach out to a coach include: when you have new athletic or academic stats, you’re planning on visiting their school and want to set up a meeting, or you want to invite them to an upcoming tournament where you’ll be competing. Learn more about texting college coaches or direct messaging coaches through your social media platforms.

The Message Center on the NCSA mobile app

Coach contact (example scenarios and next steps)

College coaches rely on phone calls, texts, emails, letters and social media to start communication with recruits. At times, it can be hard to determine what a specific type of coach communication really means. Below we’ve outlined the different types of coach contact and how to respond to each.

A mass email from a college coach

College coaches send out mass emails with the expectation that student-athletes who are interested in their program will respond. If an athlete skips over a generic email, the college coach may assume they aren’t interested and move on. Here are steps student-athletes can take to turn generic emails into opportunities to build a relationship with college coaches.

How to respond to mass emails from college coaches

Whether the athlete is seriously considering the program or not, they should draft a response thanking the coach for their email. It’s important for athletes to leave a good impression, regardless of their interest level in a particular program. If the athlete is interested, they should include a link to their NCSA Recruiting Profile and the contact information of a previous or current coach who the college coach can reach out for a reference.

A personal email from a college coach

Personalized college recruiting letters are a good indicator that a college coach is interested in recruiting an athlete. Coaches reserve these letters for athletes who have passed their initial evaluation and use them as a way to gauge if the recruit is interested in that program.

How to respond to a personal email from a college coach

Recruits should respond to personalized emails as soon as possible. Address any questions the coach asked and include your upcoming schedule. It’s a good idea to follow up with a phone call, or provide your availability to schedule a phone call and begin discussing a campus visit.

A personal letter from a college coach

When a college coach takes the time to send a handwritten recruiting letter, it’s a clear sign that the recruit is high-valued. However, don’t take this gesture as a sure sign that the recruit will receive an offer. Until a recruit has an offer in hand, they still need to prove to the coach that they would be a great addition to the team.

How to respond to a personal letter from a college coach

The best way to respond to a handwritten letter is with another handwritten letter. Write a simple thank you note, acknowledging that you received their letter. Recruits should also follow up with a phone call to let the coach know they appreciate their message and that they are interested in the program.

A phone call from a college coach

College coaches will set up phone calls with recruits that they are strongly interested in. These conversations give coaches and recruits an opportunity to build a relationship and ask important recruiting questions.

How to prepare for, and respond to, a phone call from a college coach

Before the call, research the school and program and prepare questions for the coach. It can also be helpful to practice the call with a family member or friend to work out any kinks. After the phone call, the athlete should follow up with an email letting the coach know they enjoyed the conversation. Include any additional piece of information the coach may have requested over the phone, as well as any questions the recruit didn’t have a chance to ask on the call.

A social media DM from a college coach

More and more, college coaches are using social media to vet and communicate with recruits. The direct message feature, aka DM, is a fast, efficient way for college coaches to introduce themselves and their program. A DM conversation will oftentimes lead to a scheduled phone call if a coach is interested in recruiting you.

How to respond to a social media DM from a college coach

If you received a direct message (DM) from a college coach on social media, respond promptly. Social media moves quickly, so coaches will expect faster response times compared to an email. However, you still need to do your research. Before you respond, familiarize yourself with the coach, sports program, and school. DMs should be short and to the point. Thank the coach for their message and answer all questions asked. Be straight forward with the coach in your response. If you’re interested in being recruited, tell the coach you’d like to schedule a phone call to learn more about the program.

A college camp invite from a coach

College coaches send two different types of camp invites: personalized and generic. Regardless of the type, receiving a camp invite from a college coach provides athletes an opportunity to start a conversation with a coach and the chance to develop as a player.

A personal camp invite is a good indication that you are on the coach’s radar and one of the select few invited to the camp as a recruit! How do you know if it’s a personalized camp invite? A good indicator is if the coach mentions the athlete’s highlight video or has viewed their recruiting profile. Another good sign is if you’ve already had recruiting conversations with the coach and they include their personal contact information, like a cell phone number.

Much like a mass recruiting email, a generic camp invite is sent to a long list of student-athletes. If you receive a somewhat generic invite to the camp, it probably means you aren’t currently on the coach’s list as a recruit. Keep in mind, there is still value in attending as a camper. Camps are a great way to visit a campus, get great coaching advice, and see how you stack up against other recruits!

How to respond to a college camp invite from a coach:

Student-athletes should respond by thanking the coach for the invitation and confirm whether they will attend. If you plan to attend, let the coach know you are looking forward to the camp and follow the registration process. If you are unable to attend, include a schedule of your upcoming games and tournaments so the coach has other opportunities to watch you compete.

Regardless of whether you plan to attend a camp, always respond. Ignoring an invite is never a good recruiting move. Responding to a personal or generic camp invite is a great way to open conversation with a coach. If you’ve received a generic invite, the recruit should also include their highlight/skills video and link to their NCSA Recruiting Profile. You might even get your name on the list of recruits they’ll be evaluating a camp!

A coach request to complete a recruiting questionnaire

A recruiting questionnaire is generally the first request recruits receive from college coaches. These forms are designed to educate the student-athlete on the school and collect some information that the coach can use as they build their list of prospective recruits. Today, recruiting questionaries are typically located online but sometimes they can be mailed.

How to respond to a coach request to complete a recruiting questionnaire

If the recruit is or might be interested in the program, complete the recruiting questionnaire. The earlier, the better. This is just one of many steps that student-athletes will take as they start their recruiting journey and communication with coaches. If the recruit is an upperclassman, they should contact the college coach to let them know that they filled out their questionnaire and are very interested in the program.

Learn more: How to use recruiting questionnaires in the recruiting process

An NCSA recruiting profile

Preparing for coach communication

Start your outreach by gathering all the information you’ll need to include in your communications with college coaches. Your NCSA Recruiting Profile is a great place to keep all your important recruiting information. When communicating with college coaches, don’t forget to include a link to your profile so they can easily view everything they need to see to conduct their initial evaluation of you. Key information includes:

Additional tips for effective coach communication

In addition to the list above, here are four ways that student-athletes can better prepare for coach contact:

Which coaches should you contact?

Being proactive in your recruiting is essential to connecting with college coaches. And like everything else in the recruiting process, student-athletes should go into it with a set strategy. For example, when there are multiple coaches in a program, who do you reach out to first? Should you email the head coach or assistant coach? Your plan of attack for coach communication will depend on the college, size of the program and sport.

Consider this your go-to guide when searching for the right coach to contact:

At times, you will find the head coach is the best person to email after exhausting other options. Just keep in mind that head coaches are very busy, and depending on the division level, they can be a little more difficult to get ahold of initially.

Insider tip: Always go down the list, not up. Let’s say you email the recruiting coordinator at a school you’re interested in, but you haven’t heard back. Now, you’re considering emailing someone else. To maximize your efforts, make sure you go down the hierarchy to a position coach. You never want to work your way up.

How to find coach contact information

Are you wondering how to find college coaches email? Finding coach contact info is easy—99% of college coaches have their email addresses or phone numbers listed on the school’s website. There are two places student-athletes should look for college coaches email list. The first is under the coaches’ bio, which can be found under the team’s roster. If you can’t find the info there, look under the staff directory for the athletic department.

To make this process easier, NCSA has a College Search feature that provides the contact information for coaches at every school across the U.S. Saving you time from searching the internet for email addresses and phone numbers, and keeping all your recruiting communication organized in one place.

If you’re having trouble finding coach contact information online, ask your high school, or club coach for assistance. There is a good chance your coach will know someone in athletics who has a connection to the coach you are searching for. Student-athletes can also turn to social media. These days, most coaches and sports programs have a Twitter or Instagram account.

Can high school athletes contact college coaches?

In short: yes. Unless you’re one of the top athletes in the country, you’ll need to be proactive to get recruited by college coaches. There’s a common misconception that high school athletes aren’t allowed to contact college coaches until their junior year of high school. Athletes can reach out to coaches any time they want—NCAA rules only limit when college coaches can contact recruits. Even when college coaches can’t directly respond, they can still read your emails and follow you on social media. 

When can college coaches contact you?

A common question that families have is “when can college coaches contact high school athletes?” For most sports in the NCAA, coaches can start contacting recruits starting either June 15 after their sophomore year of high school or September 1 of their junior year (check the recruiting rules to find out the exact date for your sport). The NAIA has more relaxed rules, and coaches can generally contact athletes at any point. However, because NAIA schools tend to have smaller programs with more limited budgets, they usually don’t start the recruiting process as early as NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 schools.

Insider tip: Your high school or club coach can play a key role in your recruiting process. They can reach out to college coaches on your behalf at any time. Before college coaches are allowed to communicate with you, your high school or club coach can contact them to find out their level of interest in you as a recruit. They can also recommend you to college coaches in their network to help you get discovered. To support high school or club coaches during the recruiting process, we launched NCSA Team Edition.

When should I start contacting college coaches?

The recruiting process is starting earlier each year, with recruits as young as 12 or 13 years old getting interest from college coaches. However, that does not mean every athlete is ready to start reaching out to coaches as an 8th grader. Start researching schools and understanding the level of play expected at each one. Then, when you have developed your skills to be able to stand out to the coaches at those schools, begin your outreach. For athletes who play up on varsity during their freshman year of high school, they may be ready to start contacting college coaches then.

For athletes who play up on varsity during their freshman year of high school, they may be ready to start contacting college coaches then. For athletes who hit their stride later in their sophomore year, this could be a better time to initiate contact with college coaches. All you need to know about coaches and recruiting services.

It is advisable to try to reach out to coaches before the athlete’s junior year, but this is not a hard and fast rule. For athletes who hit a later growth spurt or mature later, junior year may be the best time to start contacting college coaches. For major Division 1 sports, it’s the norm for athletes and families to begin reaching out and going on unofficial visits as early as 8th grade or freshman year. 

If you are not sure whether you are ready to initiate communication with coaches, contact our recruiting force at 866-495-5172. We will conduct a free evaluation of where you are in your recruiting, explain how to contact college coaches and walk you through your personalized next steps.

Pay attention to recruiting calendars

While college coaches recruit all year round, they have more time to actively search for recruits and conduct evaluations after the season ends. So, if you want to know how to get seen by college coaches, an effective strategy would be to contact a coach based on their recruiting calendar. For example, the peak recruiting season for fall sports (football, soccer, volleyball) is during late winter and early spring. During the summer, student-athletes should give coaches a heads up on camps and showcases they plan to attend.

The NCAA limits when college coaches can communicate with athletes. Current NCAA recruiting rules prohibit all phone, text and email communication between athletes or their parents/guardians and Division 1 coaches until June 15 after their sophomore year or September 1 of their junior year, depending on the sport. However, student-athletes have no restrictions when it comes to contacting college coaches. Take advantage of this by reaching out early to get on their radar and coach email list. Even before college coaches can begin recruiting, they can read recruits’ emails and follow them on social media to track their athletic progress.

For international athletes, it’s important to be proactive to get noticed by a college coach, instead of waiting for a coach to reach out to you first. In our recruiting guide for international athletes, we include tips for contacting college coaches.

How to let coaches know you’re interested in their program

During the recruiting process, it is essential that prospective student-athletes reach out to college coaches. Not only are coaches busy, but this also shows initiative on the part of the prospect. But how should prospects show that they are interested in a program? Personalize your communications.

Can college coaches respond to email? Yes, following the appropriate NCAA contact rules. But keep in mind, coaches receive thousands of emails from prospective recruits. They are more likely to respond if your email is personalized and reflects genuine interest in the program. Including a sentence or two about why you would like to join their program goes a long way. If you need help on what to say to a coach when you want to be recruited, follow these tips:

In the video below, Gettysburg College men’s basketball coach B.J. Dunne shares how student-athletes can communicate with coaches and show that they are proactive.


How to let coaches know you’re NOT interested in their program

It might not seem like it, but if you find yourself in the position where you need to decline a scholarship offer, or let a coach know you’re no longer interested in their program, consider yourself lucky. This probably means that you have multiple colleges interested in you and it’s time to narrow down your top choices!

Telling a coach, you’re not interested in their program can be difficult. But it is always in your best interest to do so. Know that coaches are used to having recruits decline their offers. There are polite ways to tell a coach you are not interested. And they would much rather hear “no” from you versus someone, or somewhere, else. When declining, be honest and direct. Express gratitude for the offer, or coach’s interest in recruiting you, and make sure you tell the coach why you are declining.

Should you email or call a college coach to decline an offer?

Many athletes ask whether they should call or email a college coach to let them know they’re no longer interested, or committed to another school. f you’ve already established a relationship with a coach, it is best to pick up the phone and call. Having a difficult conversation over the phone portrays maturity. But, if you’ve never had a conversation over the phone, or a coach is reaching out for the first time over email, then sending an email response is appropriate.  

The most important thing to remember is, always respond. Never ignore a coach communication. It is disrespectful to a coach’s time and effort in recruiting you. And remember, coaches talk to one another and you never know where that coach has personal connections.

Before contacting a college coach, it is important for the recruit to prepare questions. When recruits ask questions, it shows the coach that they are genuinely interested in the program and want to learn more. When deciding what to ask college coaches, recruits should focus on four categories: academic, athletic, cultural and financial fit.

How to prepare questions for college coaches

Before contacting a college coach, it is important for the recruit to prepare questions. When recruits ask questions, it shows the coach that they are genuinely interested in the program and want to learn more. When deciding what to ask college coaches, recruits should focus on four categories: academic, athletic, cultural and financial fit.

Learn which questions you should be asking college coaches.

Common coach questions for recruits

A conversation with a college coach is very similar to a job interview. Coaches are trying to learn more about a recruit and will come prepared with a set of questions to ask. While this might be intimidating, when coaches ask questions, it means they’re interested in the student-athlete.

Check out the list of common questions college coaches ask recruits.

Parent and coach communication

Understanding your role as the parent of a student-athlete during the college recruiting process can be confusing, especially when it comes to coach communication. Talking to college coaches can be intimidating for student-athletes, so parents may be tempted to pick up the phone for them. But this can actually do more harm than good. While the athletic recruiting process is a team effort, parents should encourage their athlete to take the lead when it comes to contacting college coaches.

Learn more about a parent’s role in coach communication.

How long do college coaches take to respond? When should I stop reaching out?

After sending an introductory email to a college coach, recruits can expect a response within one to two weeks. If you receive a response within this timeframe, a coach is most likely interested in recruiting you. Keep in mind, coaches have busy schedules and depending on the time of year it may take longer to read your email.

When should you stop reaching out to a college coach? While recruits are encouraged to send coaches athletic and academic achievements and new highlight videos every few months, it is important to know when it’s time to stop reaching out.

Recruits should stop reaching out to a program:

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