Writing to a College Coach | STACK

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Writing to a College Coach

April 1, 2008 | Featured in the April 2008 Issue

Must See College Recruiting Videos

Click here to download attachment.

Click here to download attachment.

As the saying goes, first impressions last. As an athlete, your first interaction with a coach may be in the form of a letter, so it must represent you well. Penny Hastings, mother of a former Stanford soccer recruit and co-author of How to Win a Sports Scholarship, explains how to make a coach take notice with just a piece of paper.

Importance of a letter
A letter is a great way to introduce yourself to a coach, show interest in his sports program and ask for information about his school. "Write a little paragraph about yourself and let the coach know, right off the bat, that he can start looking at you," declares Hastings.

A well-written letter also reflects your ability in the classroom, which is important, Hastings says, "because college coaches want their athletes also to be students. They want to see that you can write a letter and know the proper way to do business, which is part of being a college student."

Be a student-athlete
Whether you're sending the letter via email or snail mail, Hastings stresses making it clean and succinct. "It doesn't have to be formal," Hastings explains, "just neat-not wrinkled or stained-and concise, so coaches can see that you're college material."

Remember to proofread the letter, making sure every word is spelled correctly and your grammar is correct. "Don't use the informalities you would in a text or email to your friends," Hastings says. Save the "dude," "ur" and "2" instead of "to" for chatting with friends, and conclude with "Sincerely Yours" or "Best Wishes."

When to send
For the third edition of her book, Hastings interviewed more than 500 college coaches, and most of them said they prefer to hear from sophomores and juniors. "Coaches want to hear from athletes earlier, so they can see them compete in their sports," she says. "So if you contact coaches [then], they can start a file on you and watch you play."

Be honest
Don't lie. Hastings says, "There are all kinds of ways coaches can find out if you're telling the truth [about your skills and accomplishments]. So don't say you've done something if you haven't; be honest about your capabilities."

Make it personal
According to Hastings, a general "Dear Coach" letter is a huge turnoff to a coach. She says, "'Dear Coach' letters make the coach think you just sent an email or letter blast, so you don't really care where you go to school-you just want a scholarship."

Always use the coach's name, title and address, and make sure that information is correct. You can find it by going to the school's website.

Other ways to make your letter personal include pointing out specifically why you like the coach's program or school; mentioning a family member who went to that school; or writing about a friend or former teammate who played for the coach. Hastings says, "These details indicate a true, strong interest."

Don't get discouraged
If you don't hear back from a coach soon after sending your letter, don't get discouraged. Instead, Hastings suggests following up. "Send another letter that says, 'I wrote to you a few weeks ago, and I haven't heard back. In case you didn't get it, let me tell you again . . .' and then just reiterate your first letter. Coaches are contacted so often that sometimes letters get pushed to the bottom of the stack," Hastings says. "Persistence is good when you're really interested in a school."

Sample Initial Contact Letter to Coaches

Sample Cover Letter for Sports Resume Kit

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: Duke University Views: 70,557
Path to the Pros 2015: The Journey Begins Views: 19,026
Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 78,399
Load More


STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Boost Your Academics: 4 Tips for High School Athletes

5 Essential Strategies to Help A Student Athlete Achieve Greater Academic Success Based on my experiences as a scholar high school and college...

The Best (and Worst) Part of Choosing a School

Featured STACKlete: Reagan Rogers

7 Bad Behaviors That Will Help You Play College Sports

Volleyball Recruiting: Why Hasn't the Coach Called Me?

College Recruiting FAQ: How Does National Signing Day Work?

College Admission Tips for Ivy League and Division III

Practical Recruiting Tips for High School Athletes

Demystifying the College Athletic Recruiting Process

College Baseball Recruiting: How to Control Your Own Destiny

Recruiting: You Need to Score, But Your Coach Won't Let You?

3 Ways to Climb the Recruiting Ladder

NCAA Recruiting Rules: Baseball

Basketball Recruiting: It's Never Too Late

Tennis Recruiting: Making a Decision

What is a Parent's Role in Recruiting?

Why You Should Play Small-School Sports

Tennis Recruiting: Official vs. Unofficial Visits

Basketball Recruits: What You Should Do in November

Prepare Early for the College Recruiting Process

Understanding the NCAA Eligibility Center

What the New SAT Means for Student-Athletes

New NCAA Rules on Junior College Football Recruiting Explained

3 Tips for Writing a Strong College Recruiting Mission Statement

14-Year-Old Quarterback Verbally Commits to LSU

5 Essential Steps for College Recruits

STACK Recruiting Guide 2014: Victor Cruz and the 'It' Factor

Meet the A to Z Basketball Insiders

Volleyball Recruiting: Searching for More Than Talent

Do Athletes Make Better Students?

Why You Should Consider Post-Grad Prep School for Football

College Football Recruits: 5 Strategies to Get Noticed

Combatting the Early Commitment Epidemic in Women

College Recruiting Evaluations: A Different Perspective

5 Things to Know About Football Recruiting

What's in a National Letter of Intent?

How a Bad Game Affects Your Recruiting Status

College Recruiting FAQ: Early Action vs. Early Decision

4 Common College Recruiting Myths Debunked

3 Ways to Trust Your Gut During the College Recruiting Process

The Tennis College Recruiting Summer Checklist