Reaching Out to College Coaches: Do’s and Don’ts

How to Act During the College Recruiting Process

A lot of high school athletes act differently around college coaches.  Whether it’s nerves or excitement, they just do, and the last thing a recruit wants is to make a poor first impression with a coach they would love to play for.  So here’s a cheat sheet of Do’s and Don’ts. Follow it wisely.

How a Recruit Can Impress a College Coach


  • Be Respectful and Confident
      • Go into this understanding that coaches have a lot on their plate.  The NCAA is competitive and a lot of players are vying for a spot on their roster.  Be grateful for the opportunity
      • At the same time, understand that you belong here, and don’t act not surprised at the prospect of being a contributor on the roster from day-one
  • Be Appreciative
    • Coaches speak to a lot of people, and can form judgements of a player based on first impression.  It’s always good to thank them for their time, and act respectful and enthusiastic.
    • Remember that you can’t take back a first impression
  • Act like it’s an Interview
    • Bottom line is recruiters are looking to fill roster spots the same way hiring managers fill jobs.  Carry yourself with class.
    • At the same time, understand you have a say in the matter too. As a recruit, you’re trying to find the right program for you.  So while you should be respectful, make sure you ask questions too.
  • Understand Your Value
    • Know who you are as a player.  Coaches want to know what you can bring to their program.  It’s good to have an objective sense of who you are as a player.
    • At the same time, have distinct sense of what you are looking for in a program. Know why you are reaching out to this coach, and ready yourself for every possible outcome.

Things to Avoid During the College Recruiting Process


  • Over-Share
    • At this stage, a coach is really trying to get a feel for the basics who you are as a player and person. They don’t need to know about your mom or the first moment you fell in love with sports. Keep it short, and stick to your strengths
  • Come off as Cocky
    • There’s a difference between confident and cocky.  Confidence is knowing who you are as a player and a person, and allowing that to emanate.  Cockiness is a step past that, and it reads as immaturity from a college coach’s perspective.
  • Sell Yourself Short!
    • You put hours and hours of practice and dedication in, just so that you could have opportunities like these.  You deserve to be here just as much as anyone else. Humility is always good, and it shows maturity as a recruit.  However, the recruiting window is finite, so assert yourself when discussing your strengths.
  • Expect too Much
    • If a coach expresses interest in you that’s great, but there are still some steps to go through before you’re on the roster. Give a coach time to respond.  Don’t send multiple emails in a row, and don’t tire them out with requests and specifications. Unfortunately, until you are on their team, most coaches won’t feel obligated to maintain consistent communication.
  • Over-Think
    • You’re here for a reason.  Trust yourself and trust your instincts!

At the end of the day, be yourself.  Remember that, regardless of what happens, you are here because you earned it, and as long as you work hard and stay true to who you are as a player and person, you’ll find the right program for you.

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