In an era filled with text messages, emails, tweets and other communications, do student-athletes know how to talk to college coaches on the phone? Sure, calling college coaches can be scary. But a well-placed phone call can be extremely impactful in recruiting. In fact, our research has found that the average college coach receives a mere seven phone calls from recruits each week—or fewer! Calling college coaches is a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd and get attention. Don’t know how to call a college coach? Or, maybe you don’t know what questions to ask college coaches. Either way, we’re here to help you feel confident calling college coaches. Follow along for coach phone call do’s and don’ts!
The best time to start calling college coaches is after you’ve sent them a couple introductory emails. According to NCAA recruiting rules, D1 and D2 coaches aren’t allowed to answer or return the call until June 15 after an athlete’s sophomore year or September 1 of their junior year, depending on your sport. Keep this in mind as you’re calling college coaches. Even if the coach isn’t able to call you yet, they are still going to be building out their recruiting class by evaluating prospects online and at events. Before you can begin talking with college coaches, focus on your online recruiting profile and establish communications through your club and/or high school coach.
It’s never too early to start practicing what to say to a college coach on the phone. To help you make the most of every coach phone calls, we’ve included some preparation tips, sample scripts and questions, so you’ll know exactly how to talk to college coaches. Overall, remember to be enthusiastic and passionate about the coach’s program. Coaches look to recruit athletes who genuinely are interested in their program, and phone calls are a great time to communicate your excitement.
Insider tip: If you are having a hard time getting ahold of a college coach, ask your high school or club coach to place a follow up phone call for you. College coaches can call club/high school coaches back at any time, which makes it easier for them to get in touch. An added bonus: When the college coach is talking to your current coach, they can ask your coach questions about you to help with their initial evaluation.
Calling college coaches takes some preparation, but if you put in the work beforehand, your call will go much smoother. And remember: College coaches have been through this process thousands of times. They understand how intimidating and nerve-wracking it can be for high school athletes to call them. If you go into the call armed with the right questions to ask a coach, they will most likely be impressed with your effort so don’t worry about any small mistakes along the way.
Here are good ways to prepare for calling college coaches:
If you can, call a coach while you’re in front of a computer, laptop or tablet. Open up a few different tabs you can use for reference: the school website, some articles about the team and the team roster, as well as your phone call script and your list of questions for the coach. Have your initial emails to the coach open, too, so you can reference when you sent them, and you can resend them if the coach asks. However, you don’t want to get distracted while talking to college coaches on the phone. So, if the computer will cause you to lose focus on the conversation, it’s best to prepare your thoughts by writing them down or with additional practice.
The best time of day to call college coaches is between 6-9 p.m. when they are in season. Before you start calling college coaches, consider what times throughout the day and week they will be available to talk. Coach Sartorius explains, “Typically, I’d get out of practice around 6 p.m. and be talking to recruits anywhere from 6:30-11 p.m. at night,” Coach Sartorius explains.
If the coach isn’t in season, there is more flexibility to call them in the morning or afternoon. Not sure when to call a coach? Just ask them! Sometimes, the best thing to do is proactively reach out and schedule coach phone calls through an introductory email, text, or social media DM.
Insider tip: Try calling college coaches during the summer. They tend to be less busy at this time, so you will have fewer practices, games and other commitments to work around.
What you should do:
What you shouldn’t do:
Before your first phone call with a college coach, there is a lot of preparation that needs to be done. By now you should have solid research on the program and practiced your responses with either a friend or family member. So, how do you know what to do when a college coach calls? Former D3 Head Coach Pam Monier and former D1 and D3 college swimming coach Danny Koenig break down what prospective recruits should expect during their first phone call with a college coach, including:
When you’re calling college coaches, think of the framework for your call like this:
To help you get a general concept of how coach phone calls will go, we’ve created a script for you to reference:
“Hi Coach Brown, my name is Jane Doe and I’m an outside hitter at ABC High School. I recently sent you an email with my highlight video and wanted to follow up with you! Do you have a few minutes to talk right now?
In your introduction, bring up the specific reason you emailed the coach: Was it is to send them your highlight video, to show them your top stats and accolades or to arrange an unofficial visit? Be specific here.
“It’s not a good time”
“No problem! When would be a better time for me to call you back?”
“I can talk right now”
“Great! I’ve been following your program for a while now, and was really impressed by your win against XYZ State last weekend. I’d love to learn more about what you’re looking for in an outside hitter.
“I have to get off the phone”: “Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me! I’ll resend you the email I sent on Tuesday so you can take a look at my highlight video when you get a chance. I’m looking forward to hearing your feedback!”
In many cases when calling college coaches, you’ll get sent to their voicemail. Before you call the coach, write out exactly what you want to say if you do get their voicemail. Then, give yourself a call and leave your prepared message. Listen to how it sounds and revise your script if necessary. Here are a few key pieces of information you want to be sure to include:
We’ve included a sample voicemail script to help you get started in writing yours:
“Hi Coach Brown, my name is Jane Doe and I’m an outside hitter at ABC High School and will be graduating in 2023. I’m calling to follow up on an email I sent on September 1. I’d love to know what you thought of my highlight video and if you have any feedback for me.
“I’ll give you a call back tomorrow, September 28th at 7:30 p.m., and I’ll resend my email so you can check out my highlight video. My phone number is 123-456-7890. Thank you so much and I’m looking forward to talking to you!”
Insider tip: Try to keep your voicemail to less than 45 seconds.
When you’re calling college coaches, you need to have a list of questions prepared to ask them, which you will customize for each individual coach you’re talking to. For example, if you’re speaking with a coach at a highly competitive academic school, focus on academic-based questions.
We’ve included some questions below to ask college coaches to determine if their school is a good academic, athletic, cultural and financial fit for you, including a few overlooked questions you shouldn’t forget! Plus, we also break down what questions recruits should avoid asking college coaches.
Earlier, we discussed good questions to ask college coaches on the phone. On the flip side, there are questions and behaviors to avoid when talking to college coaches. During your first few coach phone calls:
Watch our recruiting experts break down more questions student-athletes should avoid asking college coaches:
As with any conversation, your calls with college coaches will involve you asking questions and the coach asking some in return. No matter how tough the question, the best policy is honesty. Never oversell or lie about your athletic or academic abilities. If you are asked a question you don’t know the answer to, don’t be afraid to tell the coach you’re not sure, but you’ll get back to them later when you have the answer. Take a deep breath and a second to think before responding if you need it.
What questions do college coaches ask recruits? To help you prepare for coach questions in advance, we’ve created a list of common questions coaches will ask recruits during an initial phone call. We recommend that you prepare your responses to these questions before you start calling college coaches.
For more on the topic, check out this video featuring former D1 softball player Jamie Duffek and former D3 softball player and head coach Renee Barrows
Are you getting coach phone calls? When a college coach calls a recruit, it’s usually a good sign that they are seriously interested in recruiting them! Here are a few reasons why a college coach calls a recruit:
Remember, the NCAA says when a coach can – and cannot – call a recruit directly. If you call a coach and reach their voicemail, always include a contact number or email for your high school or club coach so they can help coordinate a phone call.
If you haven’t heard back from calling college coaches after a few days to a week, consider making a follow up phone call. Here are few things you can try before placing a follow up phone call:
Don’t worry if you don’t hear back immediately. Coaches are extremely busy, especially during season. However, after multiple email and follow up phone call attempts it may be time to move on. Continue moving down your list of schools and keep calling college coaches!
Learn more about following up with college coaches.
If you’re ready to announce your commitment, congrats! Accepting a college offer is an exciting time for student-athletes. The best way to accept a college offer is either in-person or by phone call. Not every athlete can accept in-person, so we recommend you call a coach as soon as you’ve made your decision.
Here’s how to tell a college coach you want to commit: