What’s the best way to get on a college coach’s radar when seeking an athletic scholarship?
First of all, you need to come to terms that in order to get recruited, the burden is on you to contact coaches and do it the right way. There are wrong ways, and taking one of these wrong approaches can hurt you. Make sure you get things started on the right foot. There are some common misguided approaches we’ve seen people try before learning the right way.
Let me go over the wrong ways, because none of these are effective. They may appear to be effective at first glance, but they are usually harmful to your chances at getting a college coach’s interest. For instance, sending out hundreds of identical “Dear coach…” emails. Coaches can smell spam a mile away. If they get a non personalized email, they are just going to hit “delete”. There is a role for email contact, but not this way.
Another wrong way to make the first contact is by mass mailing DVDs to coaches. There is a role for athlete videos, and we teach people how to do it effectively, but you should never use a video as an introductory contact. Most coaches don’t want to take the time to watch an athlete’s video until after they’ve done some screening of the athlete’s facts and stats. It’s easy to get misled into using this approach. There are a lot of athlete production services that can produce a good looking video of your athlete with cool music, titles and captions. They are good to have but don’t use them for introducing yourself to a coach.
Another wrong approach is just filling out a questionnaire on the school website. They want you to do that, but you’ll just blend in with the crowd if you try this as the introductory approach. You don’t want to blend in; you want to stand out. You’ll eventually be filling out the school questionnaire, but not at first. It’s a bad marketing approach.
Another mistaken approach is parents phoning coaches and asking them to look at their kid. Phone calls aren’t useful to coaches for several reasons. First, they take a lot of time that a coach would rather invest after he or she screens a prospective athlete. Second, the coach would rather talk with athletes than with their parents, scoping the athletes out to find out what they think, what their level of interest is, where their head is, etc.
Another common mistake is relying on your high school coach to make every coach contact. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great when your coach makes contact to coaches. He knows how to promote you. That goes a long ways but that usually only exposes you to a handful of colleges. High school coaches don’t have the time and they don’t have the know-how to run an effective campaign for you.
If you want to get on a coach’s radar and want to be recruited by that school, what should you do? The best method is what I learned early on with my twin boys and what I’ve been teaching families for years. Create a well crafted introductory packet to send to college a coach. That’s it, bottom line right there.
The packet needs to introduce the athlete to the coach in a very personal way. It needs to get the coach’s interest and make the coach want to know more. You should never send an all inclusive “here’s everything” dump, but you should provide the just right info to get his interest. So he or she starts the recruiting relationship, contacting you back and asking for more information. These coaches filter through hundreds of prospects to identify a few that they want to invest significant recruiting time into.
You need to make a good first impression. For instance, there’s a kid from New York that we helped with his introductory package and his dad was just so excited about the results that he emailed us back within one week. He said “Within five days, two coaches from Division I schools had already contacted his high school coach. That was because this family did its intro package right. The first impression was powerful.
Yours must be, too.