The goal of both student-athlete and the college coach in the recruiting process is to find the right match. In order to make that determination, both need to connect regularly. Because college coaches at all levels are extremely busy, the responsibility falls mainly on the student-athlete to keep the lines of communication open.
Being proactive can be your biggest advantage; athletes who effectively communicate with coaches often give themselves a leg up in the process. If you’re equally matched talent-wise with another recruit, but you consistently speak with the coach and have a good rapport, you’re more likely to receive an offer.
If you are a freshman or sophomore who is being heavily recruited, check in with your target schools fairly often—every two or so months. Once you hit your junior year, it’s important to start emailing and calling more often—about once a month. As a senior, you should be in communication with coaches every two or three weeks.
When reaching out to a coach for the first time or following up, make sure you’re not emailing or calling them too late or too early. Coaches have different schedules depending on their sport, season and program, so they may not be able to get back to you right away.
Not sure what time is best? B.J. Dunn, head basketball coach for Gettysburg College shares his insights on the best time of day to email a college coach:
As a reminder, student-athletes can contact coaches at any time, but coaches must adhere to the rules laid out in the NCAA’s recruiting calendars. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that just because you can reach out to a coach doesn’t mean you should. If you don’t have a reason to reach out, you risk annoying the coach.
Insider Tip: Even though student-athletes can contact coaches at any time, a coach may not be able to respond due to NCAA rules around contacting or responding to athletes. Don’t be surprised if you don’t hear back from a coach right away (especially if you’re an underclassmen) or if a college coach reaches out to your high school or club coach for updates on your progress instead.
Once you’ve contacted or followed up with a coach and your conversation is coming to an end, remember to always tell the coach when they can expect to hear from you again, or ask if they have any preferences around receiving periodic updates on your recruiting. Then, make sure they have your contact information and confirm the best way to get in touch (email, text message or phone call).
There are plenty of other reasons you may have for contacting a coach. If you have a question, or you just hit another milestone, it doesn’t hurt to let the coach know. Going the extra step and being able to comment on the coach’s program and school is even better. It shows coaches that you’ve done your research, are genuinely interested in their program and aren’t just sending out another mass email.
Former D1 and D3 swim coach Danny Koenig sat down with Phil Wells, former D1 football player, to discuss what to share with college coaches and when. Both agreed that while consistent communication is key to building a relationship with coaches, it’s important for recruits to demonstrate their passion for the sport in these conversations.
Insider tip: If a coach emails you, make it a priority to email or call them back within 24 hours. If you’ve contacted a coach via email or phone, wait 48-72 hours before reaching out again. The key to communicating with coaches is to be persistent but respectful. Also, keep your communications to normal business hours. Even if the coach sends a text at midnight, wait until the morning to reply.
These days, pretty much everyone has their phone on them at all times, which means they have multiple ways to communicate at their fingertips. But not all methods of communication are created equally. It’s important to know when each avenue to reach out to a coach is appropriate.
Discover more tips for each method of communicating with coaches.
Insider tip: As much as possible, make sure your student-athlete is the one communicating with the coach. Coaches don’t mind including families in the process, but they are turned off by helicopter parenting. Learn more about the parent’s role in communicating with coaches.