October 3, 2019
One of the most common questions we received in our most recent fall recruiting Q&A was regarding player interaction with college coaches: What can I say to college coaches to show them that I am interested in their program?
Striking up a conversation with a college coach can be intimidating, but direct communication with coaches is an essential part of being recruited by high-academic schools. Below are a few simple ways that you can get on a coach’s radar this fall by demonstrating genuine interest in their program and school.
Don’t greet each coach as just “Coach” – show them that you know their name and have done some research on their program. Making this introduction unique and confident sets a strong tone that will carry throughout the rest of the conversation. “Dear Coach” looks like a form email that went out to 100 schools, and that ends with a quick “delete” button.
Also, make sure to get their name right! This may sound obvious, but we’ve heard from plenty of coaches who have been called the wrong name both in-person and over email, and getting this wrong is an easy way to get your named crossed off a recruiting board.
❌: “Hi Coach, I’m interested in…”
✔: “Hi Coach Wood, I’m interested in…”
If you tell coaches that you are interested in their program, chances are that they will ask you why. Come prepared with specific reasons that their program stood out to you. Whether it’s because you know somebody on the softball team who spoke highly of the program, the campus is located in your dream city or the school aligns with your academic interests , coaches will appreciate that you’ve been thoughtful and thorough in deciding if their school is the right fit for you. Your research should also include some items that will allow you to personalize your communication – if the softball team had a great year, congratulate the coach on a strong season!
❌: “I’m interested in attending your school”
✔: “I’m interested in Pomona because of the unique PPE program.”
Coaches love it when players are interested in their softball programs, but high-academic schools want student-athletes who are an all-around match on and off the field. Telling coaches about other areas of their school that stand out to you – academic interests, school size, location – demonstrates that your interest goes beyond softball and that you’ve seriously considered how you might fit in on-campus.
Getting honest feedback from a coach can be a nerve-racking process, but it’s also a necessary part of the recruiting process in helping you find the right fit. Asking coaches for specific areas where you can improve – both on the field and in the classroom – will show them that you are coachable and make you a more attractive applicant when it comes time to commit.
You should also find out where you fit into their plans – are they still recruiting your grad year and position? Are you at they very top of their recruiting board or somewhere in the middle? You need to be respectful of the limited time you have during your recruiting, so be as direct as possible with coaches to get the feedback that you need to find the right fit.
The recruiting process is exactly that – a process – and involves multiple points of contact with your target schools between first contact and a firm commitment. Asking coaches when and how you should reach out next and what your specific next steps should be can help expedite this process. It’s important to stay in touch with them, but also to be mindful of how much time has passed since your last contact. Try to reach out whenever you have an appreciable update – new objective measurements and academic test scores are just a few examples of items you can send to coaches to demonstrate your progression.
Asking a coach “What are my next steps in recruiting at your school?” may not be the first conversation you have with them, but it can be a great way to indicate firm interest in their program and simply the process for yourself as you progress through this journey.