Whether by writing a letter or sending an e-mail, reaching out to a college basketball coach for the first time can be both an exciting and nervous experience. You never get a second chance to make a first impression right?! Almost on a daily basis, college basketball coaches all over the country receive letters and emails from players, coaches, and parents regarding potential “can’t miss” prospects and student-athletes they should consider recruiting.
How can you make your initial correspondence stand out in a sea of prospective information? What will really grab a coach’s attention? Here are five ways to gain a college basketball coach’s interest and help your first correspondence stand out:
Academics When contacting a college basketball coach for the first time, be sure to include pertinent academic information which include: a list of high school classes taken, grades earned, GPA, and relevant standardized test scores. Additionally, if you have earned any academic honors, include those as well! Before a college basketball coach initiates the recruiting process with a student-athlete, he or she will make sure that the student-athlete is academically eligible and aligned within the school’s academic admissions standards. Many student-athletes aren’t recruitable, simply because they don’t qualify!
Additionally, when making the initial contact with a college basketball coach, be sure to write about your academic interests and potential intended major. Convey to the coach that the school has the program and intended major that you are interested in. This will show the coach that you have done your research about the school, and you plan to take your education seriously!
Ask Yourself: “Have I done my own research to find out if a school has my intended academic major and area of study? Have I directly stated that I am academically eligible?”
Connections With the School
A way to pique a college basketball coach’s interest and to potentially gain a leg-up over other recruits is to tell your connections to the school. By doing so, you will show coaches that you are already familiar with the school; as a result, it would be an easier “sell” if the coach decides to initiate the recruiting process with a student-athlete who is already familiar with the school. Additionally, for schools that aren’t fully-funded or have low scholarship allotment, a coach might be able to find additional ways, through the school, to get scholarship money for you.
Examples of connections to a school include:
- If you are a legacy (one or both parents are alumni of the school) or have family who have attended the school.
- Former teammates or coaches who have attended the school.
Ask Yourself: “Do I have connections with this specific school? Am I connected to anyone the coach might know or have contact?”
Style of Play
During the recruiting process, most college basketball coaches will talk about the team’s style of play and how you will fit in with the program. A way to stand out during the initial correspondence is to mention the team’s style of play. This will show coaches that you have watched games and studied immensely. When mentioning style of play, certainly talk about your own skill-set and how your own skill-set fits in with the team’s style of play. Generally, college basketball coaches don’t often change their style of play; instead, coaches recruit student-athletes who have the skill-set or potential to fit into their team’s current style of play.
Ask Yourself: “Have I watched this college coach’s team play? What is the team’s style of play and how would I be a great fit?”
Former Players in the Program You Are Similar To
Practically all college basketball coaches take great pride in their former players and their former players’ development within the program. When making the initial correspondence with a college basketball coach, take time to mention which of the coach’s former players that your game most resembles or you envision developing into. It’s important to not only mention skill attributes that are similar, but also physical traits (such as height, wingspan, strength, speed, etc).
Mentioning these qualities will show college basketball coaches that you are not only familiar with the type of players they recruit and have played for them, but also have watched their games and followed their program. Most importantly, it will shift a coach’s focus while watching you play, either live or on tape; he or she will most likely start envisioning you in a mold of that former player he or she has coached!
Ask Yourself: “Which former or current player within this college coach’s program am I most similar to in terms of skill-set and physical build?”
Mentioning your location is key! However, it goes beyond just mentioning your city and state. Check current and former team rosters to see if there are current or former players from your area. If so, more than likely, the coach has a direct contact within your location. A quick phone call could ensue to see if you might be a great fit for the program.
Additionally, if you are in close proximity to the college you are interested in, a coach might be more inclined to be interested in recruiting local talent. If you are from an area that the coach doesn’t have current or former players from, be sure to mention that as well. College basketball coaches are always looking to open new pipelines to recruit future talent!
Ask Yourself: “How do I convey to a college coach that my location can be an asset? Has the college coach coached any former players or currently coaching players who are from my area?”
You never get a second chance to make a first impression; as a result, make your first impression upon college basketball coaches count in the most positive way! Doing research and conveying that knowledge to the coach in the first correspondence can highly increase your chances of a college basketball coach initiating the recruiting process with you. Most importantly, this could potentially be the first step towards earning an athletic scholarship at a school that’s the perfect fit for you!