One of the first emails my son received from a college coach turned out to be the one that led to an impressive scholarship and his eventual signing with the college he now runs track for. The key to recruiting is building a relationship with coaches, and email is the first step in the process.
So, the way in which you respond to a college coach’s email could mean the difference between a place in their program and no offer at all.
The three most important things to remember when responding to a college coach email is to be grateful for the coach’s time, be personal by mentioning details you know about their program and be interested in learning more.
A coach may be emailing you in response to an introductory email you sent, or they may be initiating the first interaction between the two of you. Keep in mind that NCAA Division I and II coaches can not contact you until after June 15 of your sophomore year.
You or your high school/club coach, on the other hand, can contact college coaches at any time, but as far as college coaches reaching out to you, they are required to adhere to the NCAA recruiting calendar.
But if it’s your junior or senior game, emailing prospective athletes is fair fame. Say you get that long expected email. What do you do? How do you respond?
How Do You Respond To A College Coach?
Build a Relationship
The most important thing to keep in mind as you create your response to a college coach is that building a relationship with them is instrumental in moving forward with the recruiting process.
Coaches are real people who want the best for their program, so they are looking for not only stand-out athletes but also students with character and integrity.
Being genuine, asking questions, and praising the coach for aspects of his program that you find impressive will go a long way. Use your response as a way to get to know the coach and allow the coach to get to know you.
Learn more about the program
Emailing with a college coach is an opportunity for you to learn more about the program and ask questions.
Chances are you don’t know everything there is to know about the coach who is emailing you and his program, so inquiring about what you’d like to know, such as certain runners’ times or their training strategies and practices, is entirely appropriate.
Plus, in addition to quenching your curiosity, asking questions shows the coach you care about their team and program.
Keep your options open
You may be approached by a coach from a college that you think you have no interest in.
But it’s important to keep an open mind since you don’t know what the future holds. The pandemic has left us with a lot of unknowns, and there’s a chance that you don’t know everything there is to know about the program and its offerings.
Build a relationship with the coach and engage so that in the end, you’ve got a handful of opportunities available for you to choose from.
What Does It Mean If A College Coach Emails You?
Hearing from a college coach can obviously be flattering. But the truth is there are several reasons a college coach may be initiating contact. And before you respond, it’s wise to determine what kind of email you’ve received. These are the questions you should ask when evaluating a college coach email:
How personal is this email?
If the body looks generic, there’s probably little interest. Does it look like a cut and pasted invitation to a camp the college is hosting?
The email may be a way of drumming up business rather than reaching out to you specifically. If there’s no mention of your abilities or comment referencing your athletic performances, assume the email is a generic camp email.
You could also determine if the camp is set up uniquely for the purpose of recruiting or if it’s a moneymaker.
What type of information does the email provide about you?
There’s the possibility that a coach has heard about you or seen you compete and is sending you an exploratory email. This means he has some interest, and so the ball’s in your court to follow up and create more personal engagement with the coach.
If you receive an exploratory email, one that is personalized to your abilities and achievements, seize the opportunity to show your interest and build a relationship.
Is this email direct in its approach to seeking me out?
Coaches that have a definitive interest in you make it clear in their email. Look for signs that they have seen you play, have liked what they saw, and can name specific achievements of yours.
These are the emails that require the most engagement.
Fill out any questionnaires they send you and create a well-thought out response that sends the message that you’re not only a stellar athlete, but also a conscientious, considerate, and communicative student.
Sample Response Email To A College Coach
Dear [Coach’s Last Name],
Thank you for your email.
I’m excited that you got to see my race at the Sunshine Invitational last week. I’ve been averaging 60 miles weekly and was thrilled to see my training produce such great results.
I’d love to speak with you about your cross-county program. I see you’ve got your national championships in Vancouver coming up soon. I’ll be watching your team compete on the Front Rush link that I found on your website.
You asked if I’d be free for a phone call next week. Monday at 4pm EST works great for me.
Looking forward to it!
[Online Profile or Webpage link]
[Twitter handle link]
How Fast Do You Respond To A College Coach?
Responding immediately to a college coach email sends the message that you are interested in their program, that engagement with them is a priority, and that you are an excellent communicator, all of which is attractive to a college coach.
What To Do If A College Coach Doesn’t Email You Back
Coaches are extremely busy, especially in season. So, don’t take their lack of response as a rejection. No response most likely means they haven’t had time. Be persistent.
Keep at it.
If it’s been a month, send another email. Continue to show interest over several months. And remember that you’ve always got a better chance they’ll respond when they’re not in season.
There is also the possibility that the coach is not interested in what you have to offer.
They may think you don’t have the talent to compete at their level which could be true, but it also could be that the coach doesn’t know enough about you. If you think that’s the case, send additional emails highlighting the ways in which your personal bests align with those of the athletes in their program.
Clean up your social media.
Coaches hop on social media to get an idea about students and their friends and activities. Treat your social platforms like resumes, not popularity contests.
Finally, if your email looks mass-produced, college coaches may assume it’s spam. Take another look at what you wrote and make sure it’s personalized. Generic emails can not only be a turn-off but they can simply not get noticed. Revisit your subject line. That’s an easy way to express your individuality.
Thank You Note to a Coach
Whether you’re thanking a coach for a camp or call, the secret is to keep it short and sweet. Following up with a thank you fosters a budding relationship, shows humility, and continues that conversation. The more contact, the more you’re noticed.
But be genuine and mention a few memories from camp or things you discussed on your call.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.