The large numbers of athletes trying to get recruited to college has inevitably created a sizable market of companies trying to cater to these aspiring college athletes. Most traditional recruiting companies actually make it more difficult for you to get recruited by offering flawed recruiting strategies.
Not all college recruiting companies are dishonest and out to steal your money; some services genuinely want to help student-athletes get recruited. However, even the best recruiting companies fall short in their understanding of how college coaches actually operate throughout the recruiting process. As a result, the strategies they employ are seriously flawed.
Very few recruiting services are owned and managed by individuals that have significant experience as head college coaches. Most simply employ former student-athletes or people that were assistant college coaches for a very short period of time and claim that they have the expertise necessary to give you an edge in the recruiting process. Being a student-athlete is great, but it is not the mind of college athletes that we want you to understand — you need to understand the mind of college coaches, because they are the ones making the all important decision to recruit or not recruit you.
Here are some of the flawed strategies that traditional recruiting companies advise you to use:
1. Contact as many coaches as possible (50+)
Most recruiting companies advise you to mass email as many coaches as you can. They think that the more you reach out to, the more might reply. How many freshmen can identify 50 colleges they are actually interested in? The 50 colleges that receive that generic email (they get thousands of those each year) will hit the delete button. You are also much more likely to reach out to schools that aren’t even a good fit for you at all.
2. Use a generic email template from their system to email coaches
Most recruiting companies have systems that auto generate email templates that you can send to a bunch of college coaches at once. You cannot personalize an email when you send it to 50 coaches at one time. As mentioned in point 1 above, as soon as a coach sees ‘Dear Coach’ or any other generic language in the email they will hit the delete button.
3. Recruiting service emails have recruiting company branding
When a coach sees an email from a potential recruit that has recruiting service branding contained in the email, they assume that you are using a recruiting service mass email system and sending that same email to many other coaches. Coaches want to feel special, like you are genuinely interested in their program, and this branding makes them feel the opposite – quickly leading to a delete.
There is a better way.
Athlete Match: Personal and Direct
With over 30 years of experience as NCAA coaches, the staff at Athlete Match knows that college coaches put a premium on DIRECT and PERSONAL communication. They want to communicate directly with recruits and they want recruits to communicate directly with them, in a personal manner.
Effectively Communicating With College Coaches
The process of getting recruited to play sport in college has become very competitive, with a large number of high school hopefuls competing for a limited number of college roster spots. One of the most important components of ensuring that your recruiting process is a successful one, along with determining which schools are the right fit, is standing out from the pack and getting the attention of college coaches. This involves ‘marketing yourself’ to college coaches – presenting them with information that demonstrates your ability and creates interest in you as a potential recruit, but doing so in a direct and personal manner. Below are 5 key ways that you can communicate effectively with coaches and grab their attention.
1. Create Your Online Student-Athlete Resume
A comprehensive student-athlete college resume will prove vital in illustrating to coaches your accomplishments, ability and likelihood of success in their program. This college resume should be organized to communicate both your athletic ability and academic fit within a certain college program, as well as provide your contact information. The Athlete Match Platform includes your very own Student-Athlete Resume, allowing you to input all of your most important information before sending this off to your best fit coaches as a link or PDF.
2. Create Your Highlight Reel
Coaches have limited time and resources available to travel and watch players in person. A highlight reel acts as your own personal advertisement and once sent to coaches, allows them to watch your best plays with the click of a button. A high quality recruiting highlight video of your performances will give the coach a good impression of your ability and what you might bring to their team. The Athlete Match Platform comes with an innovative highlight reel editor that makes it easy to create high quality highlight reels in no time. These highlight reels can then be sent to college coaches on your best fit list along with your student-athlete resume.
3. Attend Showcase Camps/ID Camps
College Showcase ID Camps are becoming a very popular way for coaches to identify potential recruits to play a respective college sport. With so much going on during the year, many college coaches will utilize a popular summer showcase camp to energize their recruiting pool. Attendance at these camps allows you to put yourself in the spotlight and grab the attention of college coaches. When evaluating showcase camps, make sure that the colleges you are interested in are actually going to the camp in question. You can do this by researching each camp’s website.
4. Email College Coaches Personally (One College At A Time!)
As previously mentioned, many recruiting companies will tell you to email as many coaches as possible – so that some reply. This is an ineffective strategy that may lead you to a poor recruiting outcome (such as the wrong college). Athlete Match advocates that you start with a best fit list of colleges, created through a comprehensive college evaluation using the 10 Fit Points, before contacting each coach individually. In fact, the Athlete Match Platform allows you to create a list of favorites, before emailing each college one at a time (we don’t allow mass email). Be sure to attach your Online Resume (complete with Highlight Reel) in your email to the coach.
TIP: Don’t make the email about yourself!
If you want to stand out when you email college coaches, don’t send a long list of your accolades and achievements…that’s what your Student-Athlete Resume is for. Instead, tell the coach about his or her school and program! Send a very personalized email that makes it clear to the coach that you have researched the college and are familiar with both the team and the academic programs. Telling a coach about his or her college shows them that you’ve done your homework, you understand fit, and that you’re truly interested in moving forward in the recruiting process. For a good email template read this post.
5. Follow up!
Following up with a college coach multiple times shows that you care. If you don’t hear back after your first email, follow up within 7-10 days. Make your subject line ‘Just checking in’ or ‘Follow up’ in order to differentiate yourself in a coach’s inbox. For a good follow-up email template click here. College coaches are busy and receive a lot of emails, so persistence is key. When you do get a response — don’t delay — follow up promptly within 24 hours! Prompt follow up is critical to letting the coach know that you are serious about their program.
Communication during the recruiting process is a marathon not a sprint. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back when you email college coaches at first. Email, wait, follow up, repeat. Be patient and pay attention to these guidelines and you’ll soon be in contact with the coaches at your Best Fit schools. Good luck!