The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner, Playced.com.
There are only so many ways to generate interest from college coaches. You can sign up for a camp, try to connect on Twitter, schedule unofficial visits, or you can strategically email the coaches at the colleges that match your abilities. I know you’ve heard it before, but the most efficient way to start a dialogue with a college coach is to send personalized emails to programs that match your abilities.
That said, spend the time to get it right, or your email will be deleted after the coach reads just a few words. And remember, college recruiting is a little like baseball. If you get a hit in 3 out of 10 at bats, you will be in the Hall of Fame. If you get 3 responses from 10 emails, you will find a place to play.
Given the above facts, here are the specifics of an email strategy that should help.
What your emails should include
There are 3 critical things an email to any college coach should include:
- Accurate stats and/or metrics: The statistics you send to a college coach need to be a realistic picture of your abilities. I realize it’s tempting to “project” a little extra velocity to your fastball or to round down on your 40 time, but that does more harm than good. Every college coach is going to verify your stats before they waste the time to come see you in person. If the stats you provide don’t match what they are being told by your coaches or other scouts, then you will NEVER have a chance to compete for a roster spot with that school.
- A link to your highlight video:Video alone may not land you a scholarship, but it certainly will serve as a virtual handshake to any college coaching staff in the country. Video is an introduction to a college coach with than an honest, impartial evaluation of your abilities.
- The contact information for your current coach or coaches:This information gives a college coach an easy way to verify your stats and learn a little about you as a player, teammate and student. There are very few college coaches who will sign a player without at least talking to their high school coach.
Specific rules to follow
There is no detailed blueprint on the internet for an effective email strategy. That said, your email should be short and to the point. Don’t waste a coach’s time with a 10-page autobiography on the greatness that is you. That email will be deleted immediately. Instead, send a brief overview of why you should be considered for their program and get to the point where a coach can make their initial assessment of you immediately. Here are some suggestions:
- Research the colleges you are contacting and personalize your message.
- The subject line of your email should make the coach want to open it. For example, “1st Team All District Point Guard” or “Left handed pitcher sitting at 90 MPH.”
- Your salutation should be to the specific coach by name (Dear Coach Smith).
- Provide academic information: ACT or SAT score, GPA, class rank, honors, etc.
- Provide athletic information: position, height, weight, honors, and relevant statistics.
Provide a link to your video (if you have one).
- Include a current game schedule with dates, locations and times.
- If possible, have your current coach follow up with an email a few days after you send your email. If your coach is unable to send an email on your behalf, at least include his or her contact information in your email.
- If you don’t hear back from your first email, send a follow up email. If you don’t receive a response at that point, move on to other schools.
- You might also consider creating an Athletic/Academic Resume and including much of the above information on the resume in an organized manner. This not only shortens your email, it also makes it easy for the college coach to review.
Many college programs have limited recruiting budgets and must focus on a particular geographic area to observe potential recruits. If you aren’t in that area, the coaches from those programs may never see you. A compelling email with an athletic/academic resume might open the door to a college that would otherwise never even see you.
Here’s the deal
Be strategic with the emails you send. Only send them to appropriate colleges and don’t expect a 100 percent response rate. Follow the above suggestions and you should be good to go!