June 25, 2022

Chapter Seven – Phone Calls, Letters and Emails

Before you are able to sell yourself to others you must be able to sell you to you! Does that make sense? Keeping this idea in mind and before you go any further, list five qualities that set you apart from your competition.

Examples might be: leadership abilities, fundamental soundness, strength, size, quickness, speed, high GPA, coachability, desire, heart, work ethic, and commitment to winning. This is the time to reach down to your gut level and list your strengths honestly.

This is not the time to become over confident and say that you have an eight-foot vertical jump or anything else that is not true. Any untruth will certainly come back to haunt you.

Include only those accomplishments and attributes that can be backed up by documentation or third party reference.

Part of your promotional campaign should include recommendations from your high school coach, personal coach, or club coach. And, hopefully their assessment of your abilities will back up the profile you’ve already sent to the college coach.

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If one of your high school coaches is inclined to assist you in the recruiting process, you’re in luck and it can be a terrific advantage to you.

Some are willing, even anxious to help while others are not. Some have been college athletes themselves and know what to do to help and will also feel more comfortable in this roll. If you are fortunate enough to have one of these coaches, be respectful of their time.

They will very often make phone calls, write letters of recommendation, and even accompany you on college visits. He or she can be of tremendous help to you; however, remember they don’t get paid to secure your athletic scholarship and you should continue doing everything you can to nail it down yourself.

Many other high school coaches are at the opposite end of the continuum and do very little to assist student-athletes. They won’t make phone calls, write recommendations or make contacts for you.

If you have one of these coaches, while it does make your job a little more difficult, don’t be discouraged, it’s just another hurdle to jump, and you can still succeed without these people.

Look around for other people who would be willing to help like: a club coach, personal coach, or perhaps even a high school administrator who used to be a coach. As an aside, there are a few self-serving high school coaches that are hoping to promote themselves along with their star athletes.

These coaches might encourage an athlete to choose a program that is more beneficial to the coach than it is to the athlete. These coaches are hoping to move up to the world of college athletics along with their outstanding athletes.

After playing for such a coach, I am sure that you will readily recognize what his or her ultimate motives are. Just think for yourself. What program is best suited to you? Select that program. This chapter will show you how to develop the various components of your recruiting campaign. It will also teach you how to use each component and how to use them together as a marketing package.

These tools can all be used effectively to gain exposure to college coaches. Since you’ve done the preliminary self-evaluation, you know that you have the physical, mental, and academic skills to play at the college level.

Now all you need to do is get yourself discovered. You’ll want to manage your campaign skillfully, remain vigilant, and constantly monitor your progress. The tracking sheet is a necessary tool to keep you organized and on schedule.

TRACKING SHEET

Make a tracking sheet similar to the one below to keep track of all contacts and materials sent to college recruiters and coaches.

Begin the sheet with your very first contact and note all follow-up materials and contacts. Make a folder for each school you’re recruiting.

Get yourself a big calendar with room on each day to write what needs to be done on that day. Use this or any other method to keep your recruiting campaign organized. You will be following up with some of these coaches every couple of weeks. Every time you follow-up, have some reason to be making the follow-up contact.

For example, you’re playing in an upcoming tournament, received an award, forwarding a game schedule. It can be anything, just have some reason to call or write.

CONTACT/MATERIALS TRACKING SHEET

School Coach Phone # Sent/Called Notes Make a list of fifty – sixty schools you where you would be interested in playing and attending. Include on the list schools from different NCAA Divisions, NAIA as well as NJCAA. Also include on the list a couple schools where you are pretty sure you can get in.

It is vital that you recruit schools from the different divisions right up until you sign on the dotted line. Why? You want to keep all your options open and anything can happen.

For example: several top name schools are recruiting you early in the season and then you blow out a knee. The big schools will reconsider their offers on this news and you’ll be glad that you have other options to fall back on.

You want to compete at the highest level you can, but you also want to secure an athletic scholarship. If you know you’re not Division I material, don’t waste your time or the coach’s time.

Recruiting a wide range of schools will give you the best chance to succeed in your pursuit. Inform yourself about each school, do your homework on both its athletic program and its academic program.

Compiling this list will take a little time, however, the Internet will make the research easier and much less time consuming.Academics should be your primary consideration. While there are 360 thousand NCAA athletes, only 150 go on to play professional football and only 50 go on to play professional basketball each year.

These figures are staggering and should give you a reality check. The vast majority of college athletes do not go on to play professional sports. Your first goal should be to prepare yourself for life, so there’s no point of including a school on your list that doesn’t offer the major you’re seeking.

Imagine playing your sport at that school. If you can see yourself as an athlete at the school, imagine that you unfortunately received a career ending injury, would you still be happy at the school? From this list of schools, select from ten to twenty that will be your top choices. Initiate phone calls to recruiting coaches at these schools.

You’ll be sending introductory letters and profiles out to all the schools, but these school that are your top picks will have priority status and get extra attention.

PHONE CALLS

The phone call puts you in the system. A good phone call from you makes a big impression and it puts you squarely in the driver’s seat of your recruiting process.

With these phone calls you become proactive in recruiting the coaches. College coaches know they can appear intimidating to student-athletes.

When you take the initiative to make that first phone call, you’re demonstrating to them that you have drive and guts and that you’re not afraid to go after what you want.

These are qualities they like to see in their athletes. So, suck it up and make those calls, you’ll stand out from the crowd with this strategy. A phone call to a college coach from your high school coach or some other reputable person will also draw favorable attention. Many college coaches lack the time, staff, and funding to recruit extensively.

They often settle into a routine of recruiting close to home and using a known network of high school coaches and other college coaches for new recruits.

For this reason, unless you are proactive in the game of recruiting, your talent may go undiscovered. Use the phone call to introduce yourself and to get yourself in the recruiting system.

Remember, while the ultimate goal to your recruiting program is to secure an athletic scholarship, you first must gain college coach exposure. Whether you make the phone calls or someone else makes them in your behalf, do not call a coach on game day. Go to the school’s website, look for the game schedule, print it out, keep it in that school’s folder.

The website will also be your source for the Athletic Department’s phone number or maybe even the number for the coach you’re trying to contact. When you make your first call, be courteous and to the point. Do not come across as arrogant or ignorant. A secretary who is paid to screen the coach’s calls will probably answer your call.

You will more than likely not get to talk to the coach on this first call, but you or whoever is calling on your behalf will be able to leave a message designed to pique his or her interest. For example, if it is a basketball program, you might say, I’m Lisa Brown and I play point guard for Little Rock Central. Our record this year was 22 and 2. I’m very impressed with your basketball program and would like to find out if my talents would fit your program needs at this time. Also ask if you can send your profile and or a video.

If someone else makes the call, he or she can “magnify your horn a little louder”. They might say something like: “I’ve got a point guard who averages 24 pts. a game and I think she would be a perfect fit for your program.She is very impressed with your basketball program and would be interested in playing there.” In either case, be sure to leave your contact information (name and phone number and best time to reach you). This last kind of message will find its way to the appropriate coach in short order. If you haven’t heard back from the coach in two weeks, call back. They are all very busy and most of them are well intentioned.

They may have intended to call, lost your phone number or whatever. This second call from you may just motivate them to action.

Be persistent until you get to talk to the coach. Once you do establish phone contact with the coach, you can use the phone as one method to keep the coach updated on your interest and accomplishments.

If you are able to talk to the coach on this first call, be polite and to the point. Express an interest in playing for his or her program and ask about scholarship opportunities.

Be yourself, organized and prepared to answer the coach’s questions. Your ACT/SAT scores will most certainly come up. The coach will be able to tell from this first phone call whether he wants more information from you.

If he/she is interested in learning more about you, he/she will send you a form letter, questionnaire, school catalog and possibly other materials. Comply promptly with all requests. If he/she  is not interested in you, don’t be discouraged or demoralized. His lack of interest may have nothing to do with you; he simply may not have a need for your talent at this time.  Take this opportunity to ask the coach if he knows of a school that might be interested in you. This coach networks with other coaches and he might be able to refer you to the coach who can use your talent.

Remember this is a numbers game. Keep making the calls, the next one could be the perfect fit. Make a note to thank the coach for his time.

LETTERS TO COACHES These introductory letters are unsolicited letters used to get you into each school’s recruiting system. You can’t be offered a scholarship if you’re not noticed to the point of getting in the system.

These letters are an important component of your recruiting campaign. Early in your junior year, send introductory letters to all the colleges and universities on your list even if you have already talked to the coach by phone.

The hard working secretaries and assistants will see that your letter accomplishes its purpose. Your letter will probably generate a form-letter response and a questionnaire. That’s exactly what it is supposed to do, just get the ball rolling by gaining the initial recognition from the coach.

1) Make a list of fifty to sixty colleges and universities that you have selected to recruit.

2) Find out who the head coaches are and address letters to them with the correct spelling of their names and titles. Using their correct titles and spelling their names correctly is a mark of respect.

Do your homework on each school and coach. Never just say, “”Dear Coach”. Additionally, be sure to include the name of the college in the letter. Don’t just write I am interested in your school.

Express your interest in their program and school and also mention that you are interested in finding out about scholarship opportunities.

3). Be sure to include a schedule of your upcoming high school games or inform them that you will send one as soon as it becomes available. Also include any information about camps you will be attending or tournaments you will be playing in.

4). Include your academic assessment (academic transcript, ACT/SAT scores, GPA, class rank, special honors) and your athletic achievements and honors.

All of this information should be provided in terms that are easily identifiable by the coach (records held, championships won, tournaments participated in, and teams played for). You should also provide the name and current status of your high school coach.

5). This letter should be one page in length and is meant to be only an introduction, not a detailed summary of all your awards and abilities, however you should make every effort to make sure your letter stands out from the majority of letters received by the coach.

Make your letter useful to the coach. First it should include your academic transcript and ACT or SAT scores. If your documentation shows that you meet the academic guidelines for his school, he will most likely make a mental note to keep tabs on you and watch your video when it arrives.

6). Thank the coach for taking the time to read your letter.

SAMPLE INTRODUCTORY LETTER May 5th, 2013

Mr. Jim Brown

Head Basketball Coach

Department of Athletics

University of North America

University Town, USA 54321

Dear Coach Brown,

My name is Fred Jones. I’m currently a junior at Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, AR. The enclosed unofficial transcript shows my GPA to be 3.55 in my core classes. My SAT scores so far are a combined ll30. I plan to retake the test this year in an effort to improve my scores. I am a 6’2″, 195 lb. Point guard, and will be a starter for the third year this season. I was All-State last year and also received my school’s MVP award. My averages this past year was: 23 pts. 11 assists, 5 rebounds, and 5 steals. Last summer, I attended the basketball camp at the University of Memphis. My evaluation from that camp is enclosed. I’ interested in attending another camp this next summer and would like to have more information about yours. You can contact my current high school coach, Mr. John Smith at 50l-555-5555 concerning my athletic abilities and personal characteristics. I would like to receive any information about your program and scholarship opportunities. My contact information is as follows: 2222 S. Olive St., Little Rock, AR 77777. I can be reached at 901-555-0000 usually after 3:00 p.m.

Sincerely,

Scott Jones

This letter is very useful to the coach. After reading this letter, he will more than likely add you to his recruiting system. Why? You’ve provided him a copy of your transcript with your ACT/SAT scores on it.

If they are not included on the transcript, make a copy of them and enclose the copy with the letter. With your academic documentation in hand, he now mentally puts you down as a possible recruit.

Once you receive information back from the college coach, prepare a packet with the following information:

1. Athletic Profile with two pictures (one should be a full shot sport picture).

2. Athletic Accomplishments and Honors.

3. Current High School Game Schedule.

4. Personal Information including college aspirations.

5. Letters of recommendation from coaches.

6. Academic Profile.

7. Video (if requested).

RESUME

All of the above information numbers one through seven are components of your resume. Each topic one through seven can be a separate page.

You may not have enough data to fill up a page for each topic, in that case, condense what you have, but do include pertinent information from each item.

Be creative with the resume and make every effort to make it attractive, professional, and interesting. How the coach perceives you depends on how you well you put this package together.

The resume is critical to helping you stand apart and above the crowd. One of the key objectives of the resume is to make you look good.

This is a legitimate opportunity to do a little bragging, however, be honest with the coach and be able to back up anything you’ve stated.

If you are a swimmer or track athlete be sure to include best times in specific events. Football players include your time in the 40, and basketball players include your vertical jump.

1. Athletic Profile: Give more details about you and your sport. Position, height, weight, hand preference, age, birth date, running speed, batting average, average points scored, vertical jump, (your statistics in your sport), other sports played, GPA, SAT/ACT scores, class rank. Affix your picture to this page. You want to grab the coach’s attention on this page.

2. Athletic Accomplishments and Honors: Include any records held and all honors received. Start with your freshman year and list through the present time all of your athletic awards (Special Awards, Tournament Awards, All-State, All-City, Captain, Scholar Athlete, etc.).

3. Current High School Game Schedule:  If you don’t have one yet, send it as soon as it becomes available. The coach will need as much time as possible to schedule a visit to one of your games.

4. Personal Information Including College Aspirations:  The coach not only wants to know about your athletic background, but he or she also wants to know about you, the other person you are when you’re not participating in sports. The recruiting coach will be checking with several other people as to your background and character.

Administrators, teachers, counselors, other coaches, ministers, other parents and anyone else who might be able to vouch for your character could be contacted. This investigation into your background is all a routine part of the recruiting process. The coach is just trying to make sure that you are a good risk and that you will have an excellent chance to succeed at the collegiate level.List your extracurricular accomplishments (Honor roll, club and student offices held, National Honor Roll, community service, church, etc.)

Your involvement in activities other than athletics demonstrates that you have learned how to balance your time. It shows that you are well rounded and that you are probably a good candidate to succeed at the college level. Include in this section a personal statement of your goals, dreams, and commitments.

5. Letters Of Recommendation From High School Coaches:  College coaches use these letters as one method to verify the information you’ve provided on your profile. One or two will be enough.

Be sure to provide your high school coach, club coach, or whomever you’ve asked for a reference the correctly spelled name and complete address of the college coach he is writing to. The address should include the name, title, school, street address or P.O. Box number, City, State, and zip. The reference letter should include a brief history of his/her experience with you, his current position, an overview of your accomplishments (this should back up anything you’ve already said about yourself academically, athletically and personally), reasons why he/she is recommending that you be considered for the coach’s college athletic program, and he/she should also be sure to include their phone number in case the coach has additional questions.

Over all, the tone of this letter should be complimentary to you and should vouch for you in every way. Some tips for securing great reference letters are:

* Make writing the letter easy to write. In addition to the correct spelling and so forth, include with your request some of the information you’ve provided on your profile such as your statistics and honors.

* Write a thank you note to the reference writer.

* Give ample time for the recommendation to be completed.

* Avoid asking anyone who will be unable to write a favorable letter.

* Ask for the letter when the writer is in a good frame of mind.

* Never have a family member write the letter unless he or she happens to be your high school coach.

* If you ask for a reference letter from your high school coach or club coach and you’re turned down, just block it out and go on to someone else. Unfortunately, some people have the misguided idea that if you’re good enough to play college sports, the college recruiting coaches will find you. This is simply not true. Don’t make the mistake of trusting your dreams to this erroneous mentality. In fact, you will be helping the coaches and yourself by contacting them first.

6. Academic Profile Provide an academic transcript. Usually your ACT/SAT scores will be on the transcript, if not, make a copy and attach. Include your GPA, class rank (if available), and any special academic honors. This part of the resume is important to the coach. If your academics are good and you’re also a good athlete you’ve moved up a notch on his/her list of potential recruits.

7. Videos A video has many advantages. It doesn’t lie and it actually shows the prospective coach what your skill level is. He or she has read your resume with all of its documentation, seen your pictures, and might possibly have already talked to your high school coach. The video is the most powerful and essential weapon in your recruiting arsenal as it gives the coach the opportunity to view your skill level in a game situation. It’s the next best thing to seeing you play in person. The video cuts expenses for the coach since he doesn’t have to travel to actually see you play. If you live and play a hundred miles up the road from the coach, travel expenses wont come into play that much, but if you live a across the country, they would certainly be a major consideration. (Remember the easier you make it for a coach to see you the better). You don’t necessarily have  to have a professional video, however you do want the coach to be able to make out what is happening. So what should be in this all-important video?

1) The beginning of the tape should include a brief personal introduction that gives your height, weight, high school, GPA, ACT/SAT scores, position, home address and home phone number. Be very sincere and tell the coach that you are interested in participating in college athletics and are particularly interested in his or her program. Thank them for their time and tell them you look forward to hearing from them soon.

2) The next section should consist of 5-10 minutes of edited footage showing as many different aspects of your game as possible, try also to edit out as much non-action as possible.

3) This last section should consist of 10-15 minutes of unedited footage, which shows how you really match up against your competition. Choose video footage where you were great, good and fair. If you just choose footage where you are great, they may think you are trying to fool them.

OK–so what if you are not able to send this type of tape. Relax and send a video of one of your competitions. Give as much information about the competition as possible, such as where, when and whom were you competing against.

If you are competing in a non-team sport such as golf, tennis, track, or swimming you can have yourself videotaped while demonstrating your swing, style, stroke, etc. Coaches in these sports are interested in seeing the mechanics of your skill while they can read about what you’ve accomplished versus other athletes.

Video Tips· Be sure to send information about what team color and what number you are.· Be sure to label the video with your information- (name, jersey color and number, and phone number)· Don’t expect to get these videos back- in fact don’t even ask for them back.· Wait to send the video until the coach requests it. Coaches won’t even view the video until they are confident you are a qualified recruit.· Provide only enough tape for your video: don’t send a video with two hours of tape.   Very often they will give a discount for large volume orders. When providing a game tape,make sure the competition is strong. Keep the entire playing field in view. Avoid focusing the camera just on you.· Show your mistakes as well as your great plays.· Edit out as much dead time as possible.· Show segments from two separate competitions if possible.

Note**If you don’t feel comfortable or still unsure of how to make that all important video. Consult a professional video sports highlight professional.

If you need a more structured format for your resume, follow the sample form below:

General Data

Name

Address Home Phone Number

Date of Birth

Place of Birth

Number of Family Members

Your contact information: Phone – Email

Mother’s Name – Mother’s Phone – Email
Father’s Name – Father’s Phone -Email

Academic

Name of High School/Junior College

Address City State Zip Graduation Date

Name of High School Counselor  -Phone Number for Counselor

Current GPA Class Rank

PSAT Date Verbal Score Math Score Combined

SAT I Date Verbal Score Math Score Combined

SAT II Date Verbal Score Math Score Combined

ACT Date Score

General Athletic Data

Name of Program Address of Program

Name of Coach Coach’s Phone: Email

Best Time to Call Height Weight Number of Years Played Titles Held

Leadership Positions

Weight Training Program

Note: Be sure to send game schedule.

In addition to the general athletic information given above, provide athletic data specific to your sport. The two forms below for basketball and football will give you the idea.

Athletic Data Basketball

Position

Shots Attempted Shots Made %

Free Throws Attempted Free Throws Made %

Assists Steals

Defensive Rebounds

Offensive Rebounds

Vertical Jump (express in inches)

Athletic Data Football

Check & Provide Pertinent Information

Offensive Positions

1) Quarterback Throws Right & Left Completion %

# of Touchdowns Thrown

2) Running Back Yards Gained On Ground Total Yards

# Of Touchdowns # Of Passes Caught

# Of Yards Gained

3) Tight End # Of Touchdowns

4) Wide Receiver Passes Thrown Passes Caught

# Of Touch Downs

Defensive Position

# Of Tackles # Of Interceptions

# Of Sacks Touchdowns Total Yards Throwing

# Of Carries Yards Gained Touchdowns

# Of Receptions Yards Gained Touchdowns Punts Attempted Punts Made Field Goals Attempted Field Goals Made

# Kickoffs In End Zone

# Reached 10 yd. Line

# Reached 20 yd. Line

Strength—Bench Press Squat Clean

Speed – 40 yd. Time

You may also choose to use a professional service to write and develop your resume. If you can afford it and want to go this route, there is certainly nothing wrong with hiring it done. There are many quality resources that focus strictly on writing creative, professional and eye-catching resume.

FAQ

How many packets should I send out? We suggest 50-60. It is better to have too many offers than not enough offers. Remember to send them to different divisions NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA and NJCAA

How should I send this information? You can email the information or send it via U.S. mail. Buy 9”x12” envelopes and put all of the information neatly inside. You can also put information on both sides of the paper to reduce costs. Avoid folding it up and mailing it in a small envelop.

When should I hear something? You should hear something in 1-2 weeks or as long as 1-2 months depending upon the time of year you sent the information and what the coach has going on. Be patient, that means don’t start calling the coach 2 days after you mailed it. But, also be persistent and after a couple of weeks, call and follow-up with the coaches to see if they have received the packet and have any questions.

What if I don’t have videotape? Think back to which parents videotaped the games. Ask to get a copy of one of their tapes. Also, if you are reading this in advance of your senior year, you can plan to get someone to video you while you are competing.
Chapter 1|Chapter 2|Chapter 3

Chapter 4|Chapter 5|Chapter 6

Chapter 7|Chapter 8|Chapter 9

Chapter 10|College Sports Recruiting

 

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