– Find the official athletic department website. Google it!
– Most official university athletic websites have a ‘Department Directory’ or a ‘Staff Directory’ link. Find the phone number for the Athletic Department switchboard or the direct number for you specific sport. Some schools list direct phone numbers and emails for assistant coaches on their website, others may not and post a generic number for everyone.
– Call the office of your specific team—either directly or call the main athletic department switchboard and ask to be transferred to that specific sport (“Can I please be transferred to the lacrosse office?”)
– Introduce yourself and say, “Hi, I am Johnny Recruit and I’m from Nashville, TN and I’m a linebacker at Nashville North Prep. I wanted to send my info to the coach who recruits my area. Could you tell me who that is?”
– Write down the coaches’ name.
– Ask for their mailing address, direct phone number and email address. Write everything down.
|School||Athletic Department Phone Number||Recruiting Coach for Your Hometown or Position||Recruiting Coaches Direct Phone #||Recruiting Coaches Mailing Address||Recruiting Coaches Direct Email||Notes|
– Ask to be transferred to that coach.
– If it goes to voicemail: leave your name, grad year, school name and position. Tell them that you are going to email or mail a copy of your highlight film to them today, say “Coach I was really interested in your program and wanted to know if you could check out my video and give me some feedback.” Tell them you will give them a call in a couple days to follow-up. Keep it short, their voicemail may cut you off.
– If the coach answers, give them the same information, “Hi Coach, this is Johnny Recruit and I’m a junior from Nashville, TN and I’m a linebacker at Nashville North Prep. I’m sending you my highlight video today and was wondering if you’d be able to take a look at it and let me know what you think. I’m really interested in your program.” The conversation will go from there—remember, tell them that you will FOLLOW-UP in a couple days.
– Send your highlight video via mail or email along with your Student-Athlete Resume that includes your name, position, jersey number, height, weight, speed, contact information, high school, travel team information, coaches contact information and grades.
– In two or three days (no longer than that) follow-up with the coach that you sent the information to. “Coach, this is Johnny Recruit from Nashville North Prep, I spoke to you on Wednesday and was wondering if you had the chance to take a look at my video.” If you get their voicemail again, leave the same message. Tell them that you will call back in a few days.
– If after three phone calls you still aren’t able to get in contact with the coach, call back the main office and ask if a grad assistant or Director of Operations is available. Start the introduction again from the beginning, get their name, direct email address and phone number. Send your highlight video to them. Follow-up in a few days.
– If you are a junior or YOUNGER and still aren’t able to get feedback, wait a few weeks. Or, try back again in the off-season when the coach may have a little more time. If you are a senior, ask one of your prep coaches if they can give them a call to see if they are able to get an evaluation.
Understand that most coaches receive multiple unsolicited emails each day, up to 10 or more a day from players and coaches who reach out on their own! These emails sometimes get lost in the masses of messages in their inbox, especially if they don’t recognize your name. Between staff meetings, other more urgent emails from known contacts, practice, issues with current players, workouts, film review and priority recruiting calls, these unsolicited emails can get lost in the shuffle.
Coaches regularly request videos of high school players on their watch lists, particularly in football. At most FBS schools, if a football coach didn’t request the film, they’re normally not going to set aside the time to watch it. They simply don’t have the time, but don’t let this be a dead end for you!
It’s CRITICAL that you take the extra step to follow-up with coaches. Many prep players assume their video was viewed and rejected and never follow-up when truthfully, most unsolicited videos or emails don’t always get watched right away. But if you follow-up on the phone, there is a decent chance that they’ll watch it or have someone on staff take a look at it.
Within some programs, a grad assistant or intern is designated to review videos that are received from players that were not requested, players coaches may know nothing about. If the grad assistant or intern sees something in you, they’ll bring it to the recruiting coach to watch it, and if they see something they need, they’ll begin to send you mail, call you, come check you out in person or possibly show your video to the head coach as a potential scholarship player. These grad assistants or interns are looking to climb their way up in the office ranks and one great way of doing this is by finding future playmakers for their coaches to recruit. Remember, assistant coaches are ALWAYS looking for a diamond in the rough, and if the intern finds that next big one it could mean a promotion for them down the road.
Coaches will NEVER come out to see you play if they haven’t seen you on video first or heard really great things about you from a trusted source. You must give them a reason to come check you out!
If your highlights get forwarded on to the recruiting coach and they like you, they’ll add you to their watch list and likely make plans to come see you play in person. Simple as that.
Too many players would get transferred to my office who couldn’t remember the name of the coach that they’d spoken to a week earlier and it gives off an unprofessional impression. It makes you look like you don’t really care and know nothing about the program. When you call, always take notes, you better be sure that the coaches are on the other line!
As an operations assistant, there were times I could barely get two minutes in to ask my questions—so don’t be offended that a coach hasn’t spent 10 minutes chasing down your video and watching it. Sorry to keep harping on this but.. they just truly don’t have the time. They could strictly watch unsolicited videos all day and still never finish!
Another good thing to remember is that most coaching staffs have a regular routine with their schedule, especially during the season or during organized off- season workouts. In football, every Monday has the same schedule, every Tuesday has the same schedule, etc. Other sports that play multiple games per week have a similar daily routine: morning staff meeting, lunch/exercise break, time to return phone calls, player meetings or film sessions, practice, meetings. Between 11am-2pm is probably the best time to reach coaches in their office, they might not be there the whole time but they should be there at some time during that window, unless it’s a gameday!
In most cases, a coach or staff person will take a look at it if they know you’re going to call back. They have to prioritize what is urgent in their world first, and that usually involves projects for the head coach, preparing for practice, returning phone calls or an issue with a current player or top recruit.
Once a coach has watched your video and you are able to get them on the phone or to return an email – the next step is to take their evaluation. In some cases, this may be a quick rejection!
Almost every coach will give you an honest but direct evaluation of your video. Again, they do this for a living, and probably have been evaluating talent for 10 to 20 years. They know what type of player will fit their system and which will be able to compete and be successful in their conference. They don’t always sugarcoat it, so again—don’t get defensive, make the most of this opportunity!
I don’t know ONE coach who likes telling a prep player that they aren’t good enough for their team. IT’S THE HARDEST PART OF THEIR JOB. But… they will be direct with you because it hurts both of you in the long run if they sugarcoat it and lead you on. They don’t have the time to spend with you if you keep calling back and YOU need to figure out the next school and coach to contact in order to get on the right path.
But, this is where you can make the most of your opportunity. Ask them ONE more question—“Coach, would you suggest any teams or coaches that are looking for a player like me?”
Some coaches may say no and hang up, but there is a small chance they’ll have some leads for you. Again, coaches know other coaches everywhere—so they may have a few schools that you could be a fit for. In some cases, they may even make a call or two or forward your email and highlights for you if they have a relationship with coaches at those other schools—they’re usually an old college teammate or former co-worker. They’re helping out their buddy and doing their good deed for the day.
If you go into this process and respect the fact that coaches and their support staff are very busy, you can sometimes get some good (and free) advice. The toughest part is actually getting to the right person and being persistent without being annoying! Don’t call every day, don’t call every week. Don’t talk too much, don’t tell them your life story. Don’t make excuses why nobody has discovered you yet or get defensive or forceful. Don’t bother the coach during the season when their schedule is overloaded.
DO be patient! DO stay positive!
Keep it short and simple, “Coach, can you take a quick look at my video and let me know what you think.”