College coaches are restricted from calling or visiting recruits during certain periods of the year. The NCAA’s rules for recruits contacting coaches, however, are not as strict, and therefore, may be used to an athlete’s advantage in gaining interest from coaches.
Rule number one for contacting coaches: start early. Also, keep in mind that persistence is key.
Writing a Coach
For starters, a letter is a great way to introduce yourself and show interest in the coach’s program. Athletes are allowed to send letters to coaches at any time. A well-written letter reflects ability in the classroom, always a major factor in coaches’ recruiting decisions.
The letter should be personalized with the coach’s name, title and campus address (available on most schools’ websites). It does not need to be a long and drawn-out essay. Keep it simple and direct. If you choose to create a hand-written note, take the time to write it neatly and correctly.
Proofread the letter for accuracy, spelling and grammar—at least three times. And have someone else read it at least once. Remember, the letter does not have to be formal, but you should avoid using slang, abbreviations and acronyms common in text messaging and other social networking communicati0ns.
While an athlete is free to send a letter at any time, it’s best to get the first one out early in the recruiting process. Send letters early and often, ideally beginning during your sophomore or junior year.
After sending an initial introductory letter, an athlete should create a follow-up letter. In the follow-up, you should re-introduce yourself, reference your earlier letter, renew your expression of interest, and reiterate and update your resume and profile.
Use the phone to follow up with a coach once he or she has received your letter. NCAA rules permit athletes to call a coach at any time, assuming it’s not a collect or a toll-free call.
The phone call has the potential to be more hectic than a letter, because it’s live and on the spot. This makes planning and preparing for the conversation all the more necessary.
To connect with a coach, athletes should call the school’s athletic department or specific sports program office. Contact info is available on athletic department websites.
When making the initial call, identify yourself to the person who answers, state your reason for calling and ask to be connected with coach A or coach B (refer to them by name). Be polite and courteous.
The best way to promote a meaningful and engaging conversation is to be prepared. Have a list of questions and discussion points. Be sure to address academics and admission standards. You may also want to learn about the coach’s recruiting plan or the availability of scholarship assistance. However, avoid asking whether you will be offered a scholarship, unless the coach brings it up.
Once again, be polite, energetic and courteous. When the conversation is over, inquire about the next step you should take to advance the recruiting process, or try to schedule a future conversation.
For more information on phone calls with coaches, including specific questions to ask and avoid, follow the links below:
Plan the Perfect Phone Call
Phone Calls With College Coaches
The following links offer more in-depth information on writing letters, as well as other tips for contacting coaches:
Writing to a College Coach
Letter Writing Tips
NCSA’s Contact Tips
Recruiting Interactions With College Coaches