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How to Write an Email to a College Coach

During the year, I speak with thousands of student-athletes and their families about the college recruiting process. Often, the first question I am asked is how to contact college coaches directly.

In a world of social media and instant messages, college coaches truly prefer direct contact from a student-athlete. I will stress the “direct contact from a student-athlete.” Many times, parents will draft emails on their student athletes’ behalf. That is an immediate red flag to college coaches, as mom or dad are not the ones that will end up in a dugout or playing field. A student-athlete who shows accountability and is engaged in their own recruiting process shows a college coach drive and initiative.

I spend a great deal of time talking with college baseball coaches from all divisions and levels, and they all say the same things:

  • They want to read emails that are direct and personal to their university/program. 
  • They would like to see a short video that allows them gauge of athletic ability.

It’s an email that is addressed properly with names spelled correctly. It shows who the student-athlete is, what high school they attend, and how the student-athlete feels their skill sets will help a particular college program.

Avoid talking about what you have done; instead write how you feel that the university and program will help you become stronger academically and athletically and allow you to grow into becoming a man. Explain to coaches what positions you play, and what type of athlete and STUDENT you are! Grades matter and putting that information in your email is important. You are a STUDENT athlete so make it clear to college coaches who you are as a student and what their degree will help you become in the future.

Videos should be ninety seconds or less. Coaches do not want Rocky theme music in the background—they want the steak, not the sizzle. The video should allow a coach to see you from your open-face side, meaning if you are a right-handed hitter the video should show you from the first base dugout. If you are a right-handed pitcher video would show you from the third base side of the field. Also, the video should have an angle in front, meaning video from behind an L screen as a hitter and from the catcher’s viewpoint as a pitcher.

Coaches really do not need to see statistics or analytics. Instead, be sure and supply high school, travel baseball, or (if possible) an MLB scout’s contact info. 

Make sure your email is directed to the school and coaches you are sending it to. Many times, an email will be generic & use terms such as “your program, staff, university” etc. It is always best to include the coach’s name and the university name. Bonus: mention the name of the conference that they play in. It will show that you have done your homework! 

If you genuinely want to separate yourself from the pack and capture a college coach’s attention right away here is a secret weapon: Create a personal video introduction that is addressed directly to the head coach or recruiting coordinator. Speak slowly and keep your eyes directed at the camera. Here's an example:

“Hello Coach Beede, my name is John Smith, and I am currently a Junior at Fitchburg High School. I have been a two-year varsity starter for my high school and currently play travel baseball for the Mass Red Sox. I can play multiple positions, but currently I help my high school program as a catcher. I am sending you this email today because I feel very strongly that your university can supply me with the academic and athletic opportunities that will challenge me as well as prepare me for my future as an early childhood elementary school teacher. I understand that the conference that you play in is extremely challenging and I would like to have the opportunity to compete for a roster spot within your program.”

If you send an email with an introductory video, looking directly at the camera, using their name and the university’s and conference names, this will immediately separate you as a potential recruit. In your intro video, let the coach know what your skill set video will show him.

Avoid stats and metrics, instead, tell the coach what you take pride in as an athlete.

"I take pride as our team’s three-hole hitter in driving in runs and making consistent contact."

"As our team’s shortstop, I lead by both words and actions. I feel that your current student-athletes will allow me to become a better athlete as well as a representative of Becker College!"

If you focus on words such as us, we, and our—instead of me, myself, and I—you will truly separate yourself from other potential recruits.

Want to learn more? Here's what Brian O'Connor, Head Coach at the University of Virginia, had to say about emails from high school student-athletes.