Student-athleteI’ve had many athletes  come to me and ask how to get on a coach’s radar.  My first response is always that “you have to make the first move.”  Specifically, it’s important that you make a good first impression, and that comes off the field.

You have to write a good introductory email or letter in order to get a coach’s interest.  Here are five pointers:

1. Make it your email. This email (or letter) must come from the athlete, because that’s who the coaches will want to build a relationship with.  We encourage parents to help craft the letter, but make sure it’s from the athlete.

2. Make it brief. The key to an effective letter or email can be summed up in one word: BRIEF.  The goal is not to share your life story or all your great athletic achievements.  That will come later, but a long introductory letter will turn off the coach quickly.  He’s only going to read the first page anyway. Therefore…

CommunicationThe letter should only be one page long or the email just a few paragraphs.  Every word counts.  This is an introduction to your student-athlete.  This is an attention-grabber so the coach will be interested in looking further.  The one other sheet you’ll be including with the letter or email, the player profile, will get into more detail.

You’d be surprised with the number of parents or student-athletes who write a multi-page letter or long email that never gets read.  Make a good first impression by keeping it short and interesting.

3. Choose your words carefully. You shouldn’t just write whatever comes to your mind.  In fact, you really need to choose your words carefully so you communicate key elements that will get the coach’s attention.  AND get his or her response.

4. Tell the truth. You need to be truthful and accurate, and don’t over-inflate your accomplishments.  Effectively communicate your successes that present you in the best light. But don’t exaggerate and describe some other person. You want to be recruited for who you are.

5.  Be interesting. You must communicate the kinds of things that will get the coach’s interest and make him or her want to know more about you—enough that they write back.  Don’t be dull and boring by only telling facts.  Let them see your heart and your passion for your sport.

These are the basic guidelines in writing an email or letter as your first contact with a coach.  Accompany this with your resume/player profile and you’ll get good response.

Here’s a sample email or letter to illustrate what I’ve just explained:

Date

Dear Coach Reynolds,

I am entering my Junior year at Crossroads High School in Memphis, Tennessee, and I am interested in playing forward for Indiana University in two years.

Last year, I was a starter for our Varsity team, and averaged 21.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game per game.  In addition, I was named second team All-League, helping lead our team to second place in League and the third round in the State playoffs.  I have maintained a 3.0 GPA in my first two years.

Basketball has been my favorite sport since fifth grade and I love competing year-round.  I am looking forward to this season more than any other, because we have a shot at reaching the State Final Four.  I am excited about that!

I have just come off a good summer season, having played in 24 games over two months, with some traveling to some tournaments around the state.  I averaged 19.8 points per game, and started most of the games. 

I believe I can compete at Indiana University.  I have been following your team for a few years and I know I can contribute.  I have played in many pressure situations and before a lot of large crowds.  I have gotten good coaching in-season and on our summer team, and I am continuing to improve.

I look forward to hearing back from you.

Sincerely,

Ellen Thompson

483 Appleton Ct.

Memphis, TN  47122

(821) 557-6597

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