Maintaining Communication with Coaches
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.
When and what to communicate
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.
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.
Here are some reasons you might update a coach:
- You have a new highlight video
- You received new, higher SAT or ACT scores or want to update them on your grades
- You want advice on what camps or combines to attend
- You want to congratulate them on a big win
- You are coming to visit their school
- You (or they) received an honor or award
- You have received a scholarship offer (from another college)
- You know your summer training, tournament or camp/combine schedule
- You want to know where you rank in their recruiting class
- You want to know if they are going to offer you an official visit or scholarship
- You’re following up with a thank-you call after a campus visit
- You established a new personal best, gained a new skill or beat a higher ranked opponent
- You signed up for the NCAA or NAIA Eligibility Center
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.
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.
Ways to communicate
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.
- Emails: It is expected that you will communicate with coaches via email. This method is the easiest way to formally show interest, share your recruiting profile and keep coaches updated on your performance and status.
- Phone calls: Communicating with coaches by calling them shows you’re proactive and dedicated. It also gives both sides a chance to feel out the personality of the other to determine a good fit and build a deeper relationship.
- Texts: Coaches are allowed to text, and you should always respond, but be aware of your tone. You wouldn’t text a coach the same way you text your buddies.
- Social media: Coaches can look at your various social media pages and send you direct messages. Before you start communicating with coaches, make sure your social media presence is “clean” and is the image you want to project.
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.