Either a day, a week, or a month ago, I wrote a piece on doing a recruiting video. Time goes timey-wimey while staying at home during a pandemic. I realized there’s something else where athletes could use help with the recruiting process–and that’s the written communication side of things because you can’t send a link with nothing else in it. That’s going to get ignored. So I’ve got a sample-ish letter here and some do’s/don’ts for written communication during the recruiting process.
DO: Keep a written log or a spreadsheet of the coaches you contact, when you contacted them, and if/when you hear back. A spreadsheet is handy because you can also put their contact info in with it and send emails from there.
DO: Have the athlete write the letter–it should not be the parent.
DO: Have an adult check for spelling and grammar errors if you struggle with formal writing.
DO: As an athlete, make sure to tell your parents you are on top of recruiting. Sharing the spreadsheet with them to prove it–no problem.
DO: Be yourself. If you use big words and write a lot–that’s okay. If you don’t, that’s okay, too. Creating an honest relationship during the recruiting process is vital to your success.
DO: Mention what you want to study in college–and if it is undecided, that’s fine, too. Say so.
DO: Mention briefly other activities (or a job) you are involved in. Many/most coaches love multi-activity athletes. If you have great grades with this, you’re showing you can handle multiple tasks.
DO: Include a summary of your volleyball attributes.
DON’T: Send a generic email that is obviously cut/paste and generic.
DON’T: Send a recruiting letter to multiple coaches in the same email. Send each coach the email separately…which means you can avoid being generic.
DON’T: Use big important sounding words you wouldn’t normally use. You may think you sound better, but sometimes those synonyms you find in a Bing-search may not have the right meaning…sending a subtle sign you take shortcuts.
OPTIONAL: You can put a link to your video in with the email. You don’t have to. YOu can say you have one available upon request. The advantage of sending it is the college coach can check immediately–if they are reading the email, you have the foot in the door in that moment. The advantage of saying it is available but not sending it is that it will force a college coach to respond which begins back-and-forth communications with you…but if you do that, make sure your video is good to be sent as soon as you see the coach has replied…use this as a subtle opportunity to show you have it together and are a responsible recruit!
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LETTER TEMPLATE (I’m going to presume they are interested in LLCC here):
Dear Coach Dietz,
My name is Betty Lincoln and I am interested in playing volleyball at Lincoln Land when I go to college. Next year I will be a senior at Lincoln Community High in Lincoln, Illinois. (This is a good point to say something witty about Lincoln, Lincoln, Lincoln…if you are a witty sort of kid). I have been a varsity starter for two years as a setter, though I also hit in two rotations this past year. I play for IAC as a libero and setter, so you can tell I am a protean player. (Protean? How many kids know that word–just say ‘all-round’ or ‘versatile’)
I have attached a brief summary of appropriate volleyball information and links to a an article about my all State selection as well as info on the IAC website (You sense a kid wrote this because they forgot the hyphen in all-state and they’ve been using the club abbreviation rather than the club’s name–but since she’s from Lincoln, that’s nearby and I’d know the club anyways) I do not have a video at the moment. I couldn’t figure out how to put stuff on it to identify me so my dad is helping but I would be happy to send it in a few days if you would like. (Personally, I like honesty–and I empathize with tech problems…I would likely respond to this with “Don’t worry about marking the video, just the footage is fine and tell me where you are starting in a note.”)
I hope you like what you see. I know LLCC is a top community college and is a good fit for me because it is close to home and I want to be a nurse and I like that the nursing program works with the local hospital for students who want a BSN degree. (Hey-o!! This is good…because the recruit is showing she’s looked at my school, not just the vb. If she knows this about our nursing program, she’s done her research…or maybe Dad did the same thing 20 years ago…but it LOOKS like the kid is on the ball.)
I look forward to hearing back from you. Lincoln Land is one of my top choices as it is close to home, has nursing, and I want to be part of a program that has a chance of winning its conference and maybe even a national title. (Conference doesn’t matter for us, but this still suggests to me she’s gone looking at our recent history…again, real interest).
Betty Lincoln #17
Class of 2021
(217) 555-1212 (knowing kids prefer text msgs, I’ll probably respond this way since it’s included here in addition to emailing–so then Betty has my phone…a different way to build a recruiting relationship)
*CLUB BIO LINK*
Then the brief bit on volleyball information:
Club and Team:
Club Schedule: Link
(Stuff like club win-loss record or stats is silliness. Don’t include it.)
Club Coach Contact:
High School Coach Contact:
Various Awards–all-conference, all-state, all-American…if selected by VolleyHigh or PrepVolleyball as someone to watch…totally mention that here.
If Betty had videos and didn’t put the link in the letter, here’s a good place to put links to videos…hopefully they are labeled appropriately.
If Betty attended some select camps/clinics that CLEARLY indicate a high level of skill/ability–perhaps being part of the USAVHP A-1 program…that can be mentioned in this section as well.
Again, notice there’s not really a mention of statistics? College coaches don’t really care about those. Not all coaches take accurate stats and there is no way to know if they were against good opponents or not. 2 k/g against Mother Mary and the Blind is far less impressive for a 16-yr old than 2k/g at 16 vs. Stanford or Penn State. Averaging 12 aces/game vs. MM & B is less of an achievement than 1 ace/match against Wisconsin or Iowa State. Make sense?
So is anything missing? …did you notice Betty doesn’t mention any activities other than volleyball and while she mentions nursing, she doesn’t mention GPA or a test score? Those are small things–but I’ll notice them. It may mean she’s just totally committed to volleyball (and that’s fine). The GPA/test omission…I’ll worry a bit about that. Students with high ACT/SAT scores and a 4.0 GPA never hesitate to mention those things (rightly)…so when that isn’t present…I find myself wondering. It won’t cause me to reject the athlete–it’ll be something I ask about a little bit down the road.
So there you go–a bit on writing a recruiting letter. The short version:
- Be honest
- Be you
- Take the initiative
- Respond to coach contact efforts promptly
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