Ask A College Coach
Can you give players one DO and one DON’T to help them navigate the recruitment process?
Do your research, look to see if the program has a need for your position (easily figured out by looking at the roster online)
Use a personal email, one that you check daily (as opposed to your parents)
Do not use a form letter, and if you do be sure to proofread it to make sure it doesn't LOOK like a form letter.
Keep your initial email short and to the point and provide some video. You can get into all the details when you set up a phone call or when you receive interest back.
Assistant Coach, University at Buffalo
I think a lot of the stuff we get from kids these days is really good. The best thing they can do is make sure they know some of the basic NCAA rules, i.e. When a coach can contact them and when they can’t? Making sure they read over the emails they send out is big. However all in all lots of kids are using recruiting services that are helping them through the process, not saying these are good or bad...but we don’t get nearly as much unwanted information as we use to. Detailed email on who you are in as short as you can make it, some video of you actually doing what your position is, club schedule, and academic information is always a really good start.
Head Coach, Radford University
College coaches certainly appreciate a player’s parents showing support during the recruiting process. All of the emails and phone calls should be initiated by the player, not the parents. All written correspondence should be professional. Meaning the player should use Spell Check with full sentences, and no “text speak”. This might seem obvious. But I’ve received way too many emails where the player seemed to be writing their friends instead of someone they were trying to impress with the academic/athletic abilities. At some point in the recruiting process they might receive correspondence from a school they have no interest in attending. It really is okay if they let the coach know they are not interested. This is also true if the player was interested early in the process, but are no longer interested. Contacting their dream list of 510 schools might be more cost effective than paying a recruiting service to send out information. Ultimately, the player should pick a school based on their academic interests. They need to ask themselves if they would be okay attending said school if they weren’t able play.
Former Head Coach (retired in 2014 after 30 years), George Mason University
Do...let a school know when you are either very interested. If a school knows that you want to be there, it makes a difference. Coaches want players that want to play for them and want to be at their school. Don’t...lead a coach or school on. If you know you do not have interest in a school, let the coach know so that coach can move on to another prospect.
Assistant Volleyball Coach, UVA
Do: Reach out and advocate for yourself. A lot of the recruiting process is going to be you getting the coaches to come see you and those that show interest in us are going to get looked at first.
Don’t: Spend the money on recruiting companies. A simple email from the recruit and a video link works perfect and has a personal touch.
Head Volleyball Coach, University of Mary Washington
DO personalize your emails and messages to coaches, don’t make it blanket statements (we are humans too not robots and love the personal relationships of players).
DON’T be afraid to call us and talk to us, most coaches will be straight forward with you about whatever you ask.
Former Assistant Volleyball Coach, University of Louisville Volleyball
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Chad M Gatzlaff
DO: Communicate early and be honest with coaches.
DON’T: Assume coaches know about you or will magically find you.
DO put yourself out there! You need to take charge of your athletic futures if you want to be recruited. Absolutely email coaches introducing yourself and expressing an interest in their school and program. Be sure to make the email personal (put the coaches name, the name of the school, why you are interested in their program, someone you know that went to the college, or SOMETHING to let us know you aren’t just sending a mass email to 50 other programs).
DON’T wait until the night before a club tournament to email a coach asking them to come watch you play. We have our schedules made and planned out, and are often on the road traveling to the tournament and it is really difficult to make adjustments to schedules and add in last minute additions. Reaching out even on the Monday of the week of the tournament is fine, but waiting until the last minute is an easy way to make a bad first impression.
Do: Call Us! We like to know that you are interested in our university.
Don’t: Call Late at night!
DO be your OWN best advocate.....do the work yourself not your parents. DON’T be afraid to ask questions or think it is too early to start the process. DO your homework
and be prepared.
Do find the right fit. I went to a school in California right of our high school without meeting the team and learning their culture. I was so impressed by the glory of playing for a big time D1 program that I lost sight of what was important. I soon found out that program was not a good fit for me and transferred to a school where I thrived in the culture.
Don't by shy! Coaches want to know what you are about and how eager you are to join their program. They need to know if you are the work horse and the committed athlete they want to work with for four years. If you leave it up to a coach to pursue you, you might end up like that pretty but lonely girl at the prom. Find a coach working at a school that has developed a culture you are fired up to be a part of. Keep bothering that coach until they give you a yes or a no. Always seek out the No, it's better than not knowing.
DO make sure you have everything you need all lined up and ready to go like video, GPA, or an idea of your major. Or anything that you feel is of importance. Do ask questions!
DON”T stop communicating with a coach or program. If your plans change then politely let them know. To just outright stop communicating is bad business. I actually had a player of mine miss out on a full ride after NOVA as she cut off communication with a four year program for whatever reason and when the coach talked to me, he said he gave the offer to someone else who was communicating. It is a simple as that!
Head Women's Volleyball Coach, Northern Virginia Community College
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