Q: I’m ready to send my info to colleges – what should I write in the letters to coaches?
A: The #1 Rule to getting coaches to notice you is that they MUST see you play—either on person or on tape—to have any legitimate interest in recruiting you. So before you send college coaches’ letters or emails, get your highlights and game film together and get them on YouTube or Hudl. Upload 3-5 minutes of highlights from the season and a few of your best games– if coaches see something they like on your highlights (short version), they may move on to evaluate game film to get a better picture of your overall talent, size and speed.
Along with your video, be sure to send your Student-Athlete Resume, which gives coach all of your information in a quick glance—height, weight, grades, high school and contact info. Along with your Student-Athlete resume, feel free to send an optional short letter or note expressing your interest in their school and upcoming HS/AAU schedule if available.
Understand that programs get up to a hundred (or more) unsolicited emails or letters from prospects each week and are sometimes going through stacks of them— scanning for key information that they may have interest in. If your accomplishments and size/speed don’t jump off the page in 20 seconds or less, they may move on to the next profile. They may only watch 30 seconds of your film and move on. Prepare to have several unanswered emails or phone calls—understand that it’s part of the process and that coaches are overwhelmed with daily calls and emails from recruits.
Coaches could devote all day, every day to watching all the unsolicited film they get and still not get to it all. Don’t let it stop you, you must keep getting your name out there, “be seen” and keep reaching out to different schools and coaches.
It’s also CRITICAL that you are contacting the correct person who recruits your area or position and have their direct email and phone number. Don’t try to start the process out by reaching out to the head coach, you’ll just get redirected to the proper recruiting coach! Each coaching staff splits recruiting responsibilities, normally by location, position or grad year. Find out which assistant coach is responsible for recruiting your high school or position. Once the recruiting coach has done their research on you, the position coach has done their evaluation, your transcripts have been evaluated and the staff is sold on you as a player, they will take your information to the head coach and your recruitment will go from there.
Realize that most coaches spend HOURS a day on recruiting. A lot of that time is devoted to players they’ve already ‘discovered,’ heard about or have seen play—calling them, their coaches, their parents, their academic counselors. They’re doing research and building relationships but spending most time on players they are already recruiting so it can be difficult to get their attention if they haven’t already heard of you.
Don’t just reach out to your dream schools (if you think you have a chance to play there). You need to reach out to every school in the state and/or region. If you aren’t being recruited yet, don’t just send your information to Top 25 teams—you need to send it to every school in a 250-400 mile radius! It’s much more efficient to start off realistically and work your way up instead of having Top 25 dreams and get too disappointed or frustrated early in the process.
You can also ask your HS/AAU/Club coaches to reach out to them, send film and give them their evaluations and recommendations.