How to Communicate with College Coaches
Chapter 2 - Mindset
Written by: beNOTICED and Geoff Raives, CFF Director of Partnerships
College Fit Finder has 1 function... to help you find a perfect fit at the next level. We want your college home to be a great fit in the classroom, we want it to be a fantastic match for your personality with all of your preferences checked off, and of course, we want your athletic career to be incredible. But overall, what we really want is for you to take full advantage of your college experiences by leveraging them into a successful life after sport.
For anyone who has spent some time in the general college recruiting space, it's easy to rattle off advice on how to communicate properly with college coaches. Do this, do this, do this, then do that. The problem is, jumping right in without a general understanding of the communication process... the psychology... the frustrations... the awkwardness... the no's... would be really difficult for a seasoned adult, let alone a young player.
So let's take a deeper dive into how parents and players can both adopt a proper mindset as they enter the communication stage of the recruiting process with College Coaches.
Don't forget that recruits are still kids. They are 15, 16, 17, and 18 year old high school students who only want to communicate via text or social media. "Real" conversations can be few and far between... and when they do actually happen, they can be awkward. Simply put, communicating with a teenager can be genuinely tough. And here is the real problem... now you have to trust them to hold ongoing professional conversations with college coaches (grown adults) in order to snag that huge scholarship you need to afford sending them to their dream school. Yep... it's nuts.
So take a breathe (and probably another) and gear up for the crazy ride. Here are some things to think about when helping your son or daughter with the communication process...
Help them get organized.
Develop a communication plan that involves Email, texts, and PHONE CALLS.
Know that phone calls are a big part of the process and your son or daughter may be scared or shy to follow through when they get to that stage. Be ready to help them prepare... and they may need a little nudge.
Understand that this is a very difficult and confusing process. Prepare yourself for them to be discouraged at times.
Be supportive and encouraging. Know that they will mess up. When they do... lift them up... dust them off... and help them on to the next opportunity.
Make sure they are REGULARLY using College Fit Finder -- especially to log all of their communication activities. I know we are biased... but trust us, you will have infinitely more success.
What you should NOT do...
Don't have these conversations for your son or daughter. College Coaches hate it.
Don't panic. If you have a good plan, keep the course. It will pay off.
Basically, think of yourself as a Driving Instructor. They are in the driver's seat... and they are the one parking... and putting on their blinker... and checking their blindspots... and merging on the freeway... but every once in a while you may need to jerk the wheel and slam on the breaks to avoid the semi truck.
Most of you already have a ton on your plate. You have to keep up with your schoolwork, you are training 3-4 timers per week, you are traveling with the team on the weekends, you may doing test prep on the side, and you may be involved with extracurricular activities. Plus, that Xbox ain't going to play itself. We get it, you're busy.
Adding in the recruiting process can be tough. It may feel "unfair" at times that you are stuck at home Emailing and calling all of these College Coaches when your friends are hangin out. Ok... so what. People spend time with things that are important to them. If the Xbox is more important to you, then go for the high score every day. If playing in college is important, then spend time finding a home at the next level. The process may make feel you uncomfortable and you may even feel judged at times... but if it is high on the priority list, then you need to make time to contact college programs every... single... day. Otherwise, get used to the idea that you may not be playing college ball.
Here is a short list of major things to consider when communicating with College Coaches...
You need to take ownership of your communication process.
BE CONFIDENT... you have a lot to offer a college program.
Be respectfully relentless. Emphasis on RELENTLESS
Understand that you will hear "No's" from college programs. It's ok... if you are doing this correctly, you are going to tell a bunch of them "No" as well.
Yes, it is awkward contacting or introducing yourself to a College Coach. If it is important to you, then you are going to have to do it anyway.
You may mess up, you may say the wrong thing. That's ok... College Coaches are used to it. What's not ok, is never picking up the phone or writing the Email.
Understand, that if you don't develop a relationship with these College Coaches through ongoing communication, you will eventually fall off their list.
Phone calls are important. You can't escape them. College Coaches can't really get to know you if you are hiding behind a keyboard.
Consistency is critical. if you drop off the map, why would a College Coach still think that you are interested.
Live on College Fit Finder -- It may be the difference between playing in college or watching from the stands.