Control What You Can - Tips for Moving Forward During COVID
Written by: Geoff Raives, CFF Director of Partnerships, and beNOTICED
As we all navigate these uncertain times, we want to do our part in ensuring your recruiting journey stays on course.
In times like this, when you are unable to connect with coaches on the field, it's important that you are still pressing forward with recruiting and connecting with coaches off the field. Remember, things are uncertain for college coaches too, and there could be huge opportunities if you are doing the right things to help yourself stand out.
We're continuing with our 4-part series with tips to help prospective student-athletes create a college recruiting plan to follow. We will look in to the following:
Tips for Building Your Top College List
What You Need to Know before Contacting College Coaches
Pointers for Creating a Highlight Video
Develop a Follow-Up Strategy with College Coaches
Part 1 Refresher HERE
Part 2: What You Need to Know before Contacting College Coaches
Start connecting with college soccer coaches that are on your Top 20 list (as well as others).
Email is effective when communicating with college coaches.
Remember, due to the COVID-19 restrictions coaches are hunkered down as well and welcome recruits reaching out to them. This "time" is a HUGE opportunity to make an impact.
Think about it: right before a showcase tournament, coaches receive hundreds of emails.
Today, NCAA rules state that they are not able to initiate and connect as much with prospective student-athletes. You can stand out in their eyes by doing your research and being as prepared as possible when reaching out.
Here are some quick tips:
Research the school and program: Does it have your major? Do you like the location? Has the team recently won a few games (an opportunity to congratulate the coach)? Are they losing an athlete in your position the year you're coming in (an opportunity to explain how you can make an impact on the team)? Is your family a die-hard fan of the school and already attends all the games? (Hint: Your College Fit Finder account can help you with your research!)
Subject Line - Grab their attention: In your experience, what entices you to open an email? Probably something that grabs your attention and is of interest to you, right? Same with coaches! What are the bare-bones basics that they may need to know about you? Try grad year, position, club, and/or maybe any highly note-worthy accolades. This increases the likelihood of coaches opening your emails. If you don't mention these in the subject, definitely do in the body!
YOU write your emails. Professionally: You're the recruit, not your parents. Coaches want to hear from YOU. Yes, generally speaking, coaches can tell if it was an adult or a teenager who wrote an email. If you choose to use your own email account to reach out, make sure your email address is professional! It is helpful if it contains your name and grad year. Example: Which do you think is a more appropriate email address to use when reaching out to a coach who possibly could help decipher the next several years of your life encapsulating your college career? PartyBoy@hotmail.com or John.Jones2022@gmail.com? We'll let you decide...but if you picked the first one, you're wrong. (Hint: Your College Fit Finder account comes equipped with an easy-to-use messaging system!)
Personalize your email: When coaches receive an email from a recruit, they want to know that it is not a copy/paste to every coach across the country. It should show them your genuine interest in the program. Keep it brief, yet informative, authentic AND personal. How do you communicate this? Well, you did your research, right? (See the first bullet point - these are all opportunities to personalize your email). Tell them why you are interested in attending their college and being a part of their team. Take notes and keep track of reasons why you like each of these schools. (Hint: Your College Fit Finder account can do this for you!)
Invite them to watch you: When things return to normal and we all get back out on the field (can't wait!), you can include when/where you will be playing next, including game details. It's an opportunity to continue the conversation an keep things moving forward.
Include your Profile link: Oh, for the love of sports, please don't forget this one. Always include your College Fit Finder player profile link. Always. This your "resume" and will give coaches a great overall feel for you as a student athlete with your video, accolades, academic accomplishments, and more. (Hint: When using the CFF messaging system, this link is automatically included!)
Didn't hear back? Try again: Coaches receive MANY emails per day or have other responsibilities to run their program, and they might have just missed your email. By following up, you give them the chance to see your previous email, and are showing the coach once more that the program is of interest to you.
What to do now?
Start reaching out to college coaches. Now. Yesterday. If you've started, continue. Up the amount of times you're reaching out. Hit up each of your favorites once more by the end of this week. If you don't... someone else will. And they'll be the one to take your roster spot.
Stay tuned for Part 3: Creating a stand-out highlight video!