Sending an introductory email to a college coach can get your foot in the door with a program you’re interested in and give a coach the opportunity to conduct their initial evaluation of you. However, emailing college coaches as a means to get discovered isn’t as effective as it was five years ago. Coaches are getting hundreds—if not thousands—of emails from recruits. Simply sending an email isn’t enough to get a coach’s attention. You need to create clear, concise emails with attention-grabbing subject lines to give yourself a chance at the coach opening your email, reading it and responding.
Before you start firing off emailing college coaches across the country, there are a few specific details you need to know first. Here’s a rundown of what we’ll be covering to help you better understand how to email college coaches:
What subject line is best when emailing college coaches?
In talking about how to email college coaches, the subject line always comes up as one of the most critical pieces of the email. Without an eye-catching subject line, a coach won’t even open your perfectly crafted email.
To get started on writing your subject line, there’s a few key pieces of information you need to include: Your grad year, your position, state (if you’re emailing a local coach) and a piece of information that’s unique about you. Do you have a lightning fast 40-yard dash time? Are you looking at an academic-focused school that will be impressed with your ACT score? If you compete in a sport in which club teams are really important, consider adding in your club team and/or the tournament you’ll be at next. Once you determine that, take a look at just a few examples of well-crafted subject lines:
- 2020 Linebacker, 6’2” 220lbs, 4.6 40yd dash
- 2018 LH Pitcher, 90 MPH FB, 33 ACT
- 2021 from IL, 23.25-second 50 free
- 2019 Center-mid, Premier Academy, MLK Tourney schedule attached
- 2019 OPP, 9’8″ APP, Premier VB Academy, video attached
Here are a few general tips to consider when creating your subject line for emailing college coaches:
- Think about what would be important to the coach. Generic subject lines like “football recruit” or “looking to play for you” and even “talented high school football prospect” are going to blend into the background of the coach’s inbox. Instead, do you have an interesting stat? Do you play a unique position? Is your height and weight important for your sport and position?
- Keep your subject line to 50 characters or less. Coaches are on the go and probably read the majority of their emails on their phone. An extremely lengthy subject line will only get cut off, so you need to maximize the space you have.
- Use numbers and stats in your subject line. We’ve hinted at this before, but including key stats in your subject line can really make an impact. Plus, numbers set your subject line apart from all the words crowding the coach’s inbox.
What to say when emailing a college coach
You’ve laid down the ground work, now it’s time to write the email! Think about your email like an inverted pyramid (https://www.getvero.com/resources/inverted-pyramid-method/). The top of the email is where you need to grab the coach’s attention. You can use a stat about the team that interested you or why you’d like to play for them. The next section is to give a little more information about yourself and to show the coach why you would be a good fit for their program. Here is the key information you want to be sure to include when emailing college coaches:
- Your general information: Name, graduation year, high school and club name
- Academics: GPA, test scores, if they would be important information for the coach you’re emailing
- Athletics: sports specific stats and relevant measurables
- Contact information: your phone number and email, as well as the contact information for your coaches
The last section should be giving them a specific next step, such as letting the coach know you will be giving them a call at a specific date and time or inviting them to come see you compete. Whatever you do, avoid sending mass, generic emails out to all the coaches you want to contact when emailing college coaches. The coach will know if you took the time to personalize your email, and it will make a difference. Coaches want to recruit players who are genuinely interested in their program—most don’t have the time and resources to recruit an athlete who is not likely to commit to their school.
How to start an email to a college coach
Similar to your subject line, your opening needs to be attention-grabbing. Depending on the type of school and the coach—here’s where your research comes into play—your opening will change. If you’re looking at academically-focused schools, lead with how impressed you are by their academic record when emailing the college coach. If you’re emailing a school with a winning record, point out that you’d love to be part of such a successful legacy. There are numerous reasons you would be emailing a college coach. Here are a few examples of ways to open an email:
“I wanted to connect with you after speaking with Amber Brown, an athlete on your team. She told me about your coaching style and I believe that, based on your emphasis on work ethic and training, I would be a great fit for your program.”
“I’ve been following your program for a while, and recently found an article about you that inspired me. I wanted to connect with you because I think that I would be a great addition to your team.”
“In researching your program, I noticed that you will be graduating 5 seniors this year. I would love to help bridge the gap left by those departing seniors.”
How much information do I need to include in my email to college coaches?
This is an introductory email, so you don’t need to give the coach your whole history. Instead, tease a few key stats that you think this coach would be interested in knowing. Are you the ideal height and weight for your position? Include that. Do you have an outstanding GPA and test scores and you’re emailing an academically-focused coach? Include that. Also, make sure you include contact information for your current coaches: your club coach, high school coach, persona trainers, and anyone else that you have worked with for your sport. Then, link off to your recruiting profile where the coach can find your highlight video, all your stats and your personal statement.
At the end of your email, tell the coach what you’re going to do next
At the end, you want to specifically let the coach know what you’ll be doing next. If you’re planning on following up the email with a call, let them know to expect a call from you in the next few days. If you’d like to visit their campus, tell them you will give them a call to schedule a time to connect. You don’t need to use generic language like, “If you’re interested, feel free to call, email or text me.” If the coach is interested, they will contact you. Instead, tell them the next step you’re going to take, and then what they need to do in response.
Insider tip: Turn on your “read receipt” function to see if a coach has opened our email. This feature is really helpful for athletes who are too young to be contacted by a coach yet. Read receipts will let you know if a coach has received and opened your email, so you can be sure to follow up accordingly. Learn more about how you can enable this feature for your next email.
Sample email 1—Athletic-focused email
Dear Coach Smith,
I’ve been following your team for a while now, and was really impressed by your team’s performance in the championship game last year—congratulations! I wanted to connect with you because I would love to be part of this competitive team.
My name is Jane Doe and I’m a 6’2” forward at Generic High School in Chicago, IL. I was recently honored by being been named the Gatorade Player of the Year. I am currently a starter on my AAU basketball team and am a four-year varsity starter for my high school team. I think that my work ethic and talent would be a great match for your program.
For the rest of my athletic stats, highlight video, academic stats and personal statement, please visit my online profile at: [link to NCSA profile].
I will be competing in an AAU tournament near you on September. 5, 2017, with my first game at 1p.m. CT. I would really appreciate it if you would could see me compete in person.
Sample email 2—Academic-focused email
Dear Coach Johnson,
I’m really impressed by your athletes’ dedication to both their athletics and academics. I noticed that you not only have a winning record, but you have set the school record for graduating the most athletes! As an aspiring college athlete, I am driven to excel both athletically and academically, and I believe I would be a great fit for your program.
My name is John Smith and I’m a left-handed pitcher with an 85-MPH fastball. My biggest asset is that I’m a team player who focuses both on the field and in the classroom. I’m currently in the top 5% of my class with a 4.0 GPA and a 32 ACT. I’d like to major in prelaw, and I’ve been researching your school’s well-known prelaw program.
You can view my profile for more information about my athletic and academic qualifications, as well as my skills video here: www.myNCSAprofile.org.
I’m planning a trip to visit your campus this September, and I would love to meet you or another member of your coaching staff. Can you please let me know if you have any availability to meet with me? I will also be calling you tomorrow at 5p.m. CT to schedule a meeting!
Class of 2018
Senior LH Pitcher
GPA: 4.0 | ACT: 32
Generic High School, Chicago, IL
Online profile: www.myNCSAprofile.org
Phone number: 333-555-1234
Social media @john_leftpitcher
Before you send, edit, edit, edit
You’re so close to sending that email, but before you do, run spell check and re-read. A great way to catch strange wording or grammar errors is to read your email out loud. When you hear a phrase that sounds wrong, you’ll know you need to fix it. You can also cut and paste your email into Google Translate and listen for any errors.
Still not sure if the email is error free? Have your parents take a look to double check. Make sure that you have included all your contact information, your call to action and a link to your full recruiting profile
Insider tip: Try sending your email between 4-8 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday. Data shows that this is the best time to send an email to college coaches.
Congratulations—now you know how to email college coaches, from the research to the subject line, from address to the email body! But your work is not done yet.