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How to make your initial communication with college coaches as meaningful as possible.

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One valuable way for prospective players to begin the recruiting process is to reach out to coaches at schools that interest you.

NCAA Recruiting

Here are five things to keep in mind when contacting a college coach:

Keep it short. College coaches can receive dozens of inquiries a day and simply don’t have time to read them all. Keeping your message short will make it more likely that the key points are digested.

Include important information. A good introductory email could lead to a coach making a point to see you play. With that in mind, let them know what team you are on and if you will be participating in any big recruiting events in the near future. It can be valuable to include your coach’s contact information so the school can learn more about you.

Contact the right people. Initial evaluations in the recruiting process will almost always be done by assistant coaches, so that’s who to reach out to when expressing interest in a school.

Head coaches will get involved in the recruiting process down the road, once their assistants have done their due diligence on a player.

Make it personal. It’s best not to write introductory notes to all 60 programs. Instead, focus on 6 to 10 schools that you have interest in. In your note, express what about that school in particular makes you interested – perhaps its location, an academic program, or its style of play. The note should come from you, the prospect – not a parent or an advisor.

Most importantly, do not copy and paste the same message to multiple schools. Nothing will get your note ignored faster than a message to Coach Smith that begins, “Dear Coach Jones”.

Write at the right time. Schools will often make a point of watching prospects after they reach out. With that in mind, only reach out if your game is at a point where you want to be evaluated. If you are playing a limited role on your current team it’s likely not the right time to attract attention of NCAA coaches.

Keep in mind also that, under the NCAA Rules, college coaches cannot contact prospects until after Jan. 1 of their sophomore (grade 10) year in high school.