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Manners matter in college recruiting. And how prospects communicate with college coaches is at the top of the list.
Coaches are busy people and their time is extremely valuable. So when they decide that a high school prospect might match their roster needs, coaches don’t hesitate to make initial contact via texts, private messages or emails. They still send formal letters early on in the process, but those are becoming fewer and farther between, not to mention less important in the overall recruiting picture. Communicating directly and rapidly is now the tool of choice.
A college prospect reaching that level of interest has gone through an initial, silent process. It’s a background check of sorts. Coaches have taken the time to look deeper to uncover how an athlete stands in terms of grades, character and family. And when prospects hit on all three, coaches fire up their recruiting engines.
Prospects and parents need to understand this – college coaches only reach out to prospects they are genuinely interested in pursuing.
Scholarship offers are not easy to come by. College coaches consider offers as rare gifts, only presenting them to prospects they have fully vetted. And it is no longer a prerequisite to have seen an athlete in person. With digitized video available online, coaches can scout a prospect on a laptop or phone, in or out of their offices. A major reason college coaches use NSR is that as the nation’s largest scouting organization, their scouts do evaluate and interview each prospect in person.
The stumbling block in the process? Families typically want their athletes to stay close to home.
Today, that is an unrealistic expectation. College coaches are recruiting nationally and internationally as well as regionally. Scan any college roster in any sport. The evidence is clear – coaches want and will recruit the best athlete they can land regardless of where they live.
That puts athletes expecting to stay local at a distinct disadvantage. They are competing not just against other athletes in their own state and region, but also from across America and, in some cases, foreign countries.
Knowing that coaches search for recruits around the globe, families must seize every opportunity which presents itself. Opportunities evolve into options only when genuinely embraced.
Here is our best advice on how to effectively respond to college coaches and turn opportunities into options:
These are precious chances to build relationships with college coaches. When taking a call, be respectful and interested. Use it as a fact-finding mission. Learn as much as possible about the schools, the coaches, and the programs. Missed a coach’s call? Return the call as soon as possible, but absolutely wait no longer than 24 hours to get back to a coach.
Prospects can communicate with college coaches via text and coaches can too! So, prospects should jump at the chance to quickly return texts. But a coach is not your BFF. Think about how you want to come across. The image you project is very important, even in the words you text. Project yourself as a college student.
Coaches are permitted to look at your social media pages and they can send you private messages. However, they are not permitted to follow you or post on your site. Return all PMs promptly, but keep in mind that the person you are messaging holds the key to a scholarship offer. Be smart in how you communicate with college coaches.
While coaches don’t use these as much as in previous years, many still prefer them to texts and social media messaging. College coaches see them as a more secure and formal way to reach out to you. Check your email account every few days and respond at once. When communicating via email, write to your very best ability. Many coaches, particularly those whose schools have high academic standards, use this method to see if you can fit into that selective environment.
Unless obviously written to a prospect by a head or assistant coach, most initial recruiting letters are sent to hundreds, if not thousands, of prospects. Many are invitations to on-campus camps. Most ask prospects to go online and fill out a recruiting form. Especially when received from large universities with huge recruiting budgets, few are meaningful. Still, prospects should fill out and submit the recruiting forms as a formality and follow any other directions or requests. On the other hand, if a letter is written specifically about coming to the school for a junior day, unofficial or official visit, respond without delay. Coaches are opening their doors and it only makes good sense to walk through them.
The recruiting process is more competitive than ever before. When coaches are communicating with you, it’s important that you’re doing everything right. Every detail matters to ensure that you will be the prospect that receives an offer. Take our advice, it will get you that much closer to your dream. Contact NSR if you have any questions about the recruiting process or how to communicate with college coaches.