With the transfer portal opening up, and an ever-increasing number of prospective student athletes that want to play college sports, being able to send purposeful emails to college coaches is an important skill.
Today, The Wire will detail what constitutes an effective email. What makes them necessary in today’s recruiting landscape? Read on to pick up our tips and tricks, as well as what not to do. Our expert input is based on experience at the NCAA D-I level.
Given the time of year, this insight and guidance will provide some of our readers with a boost when it comes to their recruitment. That extra little bit of communication might be what sets you apart from other recruits in college coaches’ minds.
As noted by some of The Wire’s interviews over the years, and internal expertise, putting yourself out there as a recruit is important. While it can often feel pointless (we’re often told of the dizzying number of emails and direct messages that some college coaches receive), it’s not. At least for the most part.
Yes, Nick Saban and Kirby Smart probably won’t be reading your email. Even their assistant coaches or recruiting coordinators may not. But this is the far end of the spectrum. Many programs do their due diligence when it comes to sifting through prospective student-athletes’ emails. Especially those at the D-II or D-III levels.
First, conduct research and get additional opinions on where you should reach out to. After narrowing down a list of realistic schools and finding emails of a few from within the college football program, then you start sending them out.
If you are emailing programs that fall within the range of your skill level, and what you can bring to a team, school officials are all ears. And this has been reiterated by those we’ve spoken to on multiple occasions. Of course, lots of other things factor in (skill level, size, academics, statistics, etc.). But it can’t hurt to try.
So, as we’ve shown, and others before us, emails can be effective. What matters is finding the right programs to reach out to, the right people within that program, and then concocting an email that is received well.
An Effective Email
Like we already mentioned, coaches receive a ton of emails, no matter the level they coach at. It is essential that any email you send includes the pertinent recruiting information right off the bat. College coaches want to know your graduating year, your position, your location/high school, and your GPA. And this is the minimum.
The easiest way to get this information across quickly and easily is to just have it be the subject line of the email.
From there, you need to provide information that will force the coach to reply. That is the goal, right? NCSA has an article on their website that lays out this information for prospective student-athletes.
- Grab a coach’s attention
- Explain why you would be a good fit with their program
- Giving coaches a specific next step (asking if you can call them at a certain time, or letting them know your game schedule so they can see you compete)
There is not a need for an entirely laid out template that ad-libs an email for you. The more cookie-cutter an email is, the less likely a coach is to actually read it. In your own way, showing personality and using your own writing style, find a way to check each of these boxes listed above.
What To Do Before Sending
Hopefully, the above points have helped you gain some confidence in sending emails to coaches. With this in mind, you are almost ready to hit send!
However, considering that this will potentially be the first communication that you have with a coach, it’s important to do a few things beforehand. Here are three things you will want to do before finally initiating contact.
- Make sure your social media is audited. We have touched on this topic time and time again on The Wire, but that should just lend weight to how important it is today. If your email is successful in its intention to pique a coach’s interest, they will surely look into your background. This includes your social media; it acts as a magnifying glass into who you are as a person. There shouldn’t be any problematic content on your pages. It’s also important to include relevant recruiting information in your social media bios.
- Update your recruiting profiles. Whether you use Signing Day Sports, Hudl, 247Sports, or any other recruiting service out there, you will need to make sure that they are current and will help in your efforts. Information needs to be up to date, and highlights need to be updated after every game.
- Notify your current coaches. Similar to the previous two points, you want to be fully prepared for whatever may come your way after initiating contact through an email. One thing that college coaches will often do is reach out to high school or club coaches to inquire about a prospective student-athlete. With that in mind, it would be in a recruit’s best interest to let their coaches know what their plan is and prepare them for whoever may be contacting them in return.
Tips & Tricks
- Edit your email. An unedited, typo-filled email may be worse than not sending one at all. Lots of services today are able to help with this particular issue. But don’t rush the email. It’s important to clearly and concisely articulate your message.
- Keep your emails focused and purposeful. Some emails will be too broad. With no direction made clear by the email, college coaches often skip these emails. There needs to be something substantive, otherwise it comes across as a student-athlete just taking a shot in the dark. Some things to “focus” on are your academics or your athletics, walking on to the school, visiting the campus, following up on camp invites, or recruiting questionnaire follow ups.
- Do your research. Make sure to do some research on schools prior to emailing someone on their staff. If you are able to show that you have followed the program or have some sort of stakes in it (whether as a fan, hopeful participant, or otherwise) it can be an effective icebreaker/introductory line in an email.
- Check out the staff directory. If the program has recruiting coordinators or a director of recruiting, email them first. This means that the program is large enough, that the head coach won’t read through prospective student-athletes’ emails. In this case, that would be the job of the aforementioned positions. The same rules apply. But in order to optimize the effectiveness of your email, this must be considered.