Calling College Coaches
Calling coaches is probably one of the scariest parts of the recruiting process. You may think that a coach doesn’t want to talk to you, that you are annoying them, you will sound stupid or you don’t know what to say. Well, to start you are NOT annoying the coach. Receiving calls from players is something that coaches do all the time. It is a crucial part of the recruiting process that you CANNOT leave out. Yes it is scary, and you don’t want to sound stupid, but picking up the phone means a lot to a coach. Plus, since they do this all the time they KNOW how scary this is for you and are very understanding over the phone. In fact, they will probably carry most of the conversation for you. They are professionals, and they will help you through the call. But, even after knowing this, it will probably take you 30-45 min to muster up the confidence to press send ( I know it took me that long), which is why I made this guide! So, without further ado, here is everything you need to know about marketing yourself through the phone and communicating with college coaches.
Some things to remember before you call:
-Remember to review the rules regarding how coaches can contact you depending on what grade you are in, and how old you are. These rules are designed to allow athletes to be able to make the best decision at the right time in regards to choosing their future school.
- Below is a transparent and easy to ready article on NCAA 2021 recruiting rules, please take the time to go over these.
How do I call a Coach?
You can find a coach’s contact information in many ways. First, start off by asking your club coach if they have the college coach’s number. If they do, and you are not a junior yet, your coach can set up a phone call for you. If not, you’re going to have to do some work. You can find a coach’s office number on the school’s website. From there, you will just have to try calling until they answer. If a coach does not answer, LEAVE A VOICEMAIL that includes your name, position, year, why you are calling, and when you will call again. Sometimes a coach has a secretary that will answer. Don’t panic! Ask if the coach is in and if not ask when a better time to call is and have her/him leave a message for the coach detailing when you will call again. Don’t ever think you are being annoyed, and don’t give up until they pick up the phone. The best time to call a coach is most likely in the late afternoon. Know the coach’s time zone so you are not interrupting them during dinner, for example.
See at the bottom for a link to practice role-play conversation with some helpful tips.
Why do I need to call coaches?
Calling coaches is one of the biggest ways to market yourself as a player and stand out to a coach. As you may know, coaches get hundreds of emails a day/week of players asking them to come to watch them play or watch their video, etc. Do you really think they can remember each person’s name, or put all of them down on their schedule as someone to watch? NO! This is why calling coaches sets you apart. Not many players have the maturity or confidence to pick up the phone and college coaches know this. That’s why when they answer, you introduce yourself and tell them the dates of your next game, you can be sure they will remember your name the next time they see an email or a brochure and that they will put you down as a player to watch. It shows your interest is genuine, you are mature, and you are confident in yourself as a person and a player. These are all invaluable qualities coaches look for in a player that they may not be able to see on the field.
When do I call coaches and What do I say?
There are several different instances when you may need to be calling a coach. Here they are listed below.
Informing a coach of an upcoming game, tournament, or showcase.
If you have noticed a school of interest has watched one of your games before and want to set yourself apart from those hundreds of emails of girls/guys giving out their schedules to coaches for the next tournament, call the coach and tell him over the phone. Before you call, make sure you have a notepad with your talking points (why you are interested and game date/times). Start off by introducing yourself with your name, position, and year. Next mention that you have noticed that they have viewed one of your past games, and would love them to come watch at *insert name of tournament or showcase here*. Tell them what your team’s schedule is, when you believe you will be playing the most (for example, the first half), and make sure they know what NUMBER you are. Lastly, end the call by telling the coach you will also send your schedule through email so they can have it in writing, and thank the coach for his time.
Following up with a coach after a game, tournament, or showcase.
You saw one of the schools you were interested in had watched you play after you had emailed or called them to come to watch. YES!! Okay, that’s great but it won’t mean anything if you don’t follow up. Sure you could email the coach with a follow-up, but you will most likely not get a response. It’s time to put the nerves aside and call. Use the PDF I have linked below, or get out a notepad and write down some key talking points such as reasons why you are interested in that particular school, how you played, and whether or not that school might be interested in you as a recruit. Yes, these are scary questions to ask but it needs to be done. If you hear an answer you don’t like don’t let your confidence waver. Again, thank the coach for their time, and no matter how the conversation went make sure you let them know how interested you are in their school, and when your next games are.
Setting up an Unofficial/Official Visit
This kind of phone call will come after a coach has already watched you a couple of times, and has expressed some interest in you. Again you will want to set up some talking points and have a notepad ready so you can write down notes and dates. An unofficial/official visit is the next step in your “relationship” with the school of interest. You can consider it getting serious as an unofficial/official visit can make or break the relationship. In order to set a visit up, call the coach like any normal “follow-up” call, then let the coach know you are interested in going on a visit. It’s as easy as that. If the coach is interested in you, he will help set up a date where you can tour the school/facilities with him or an assistant. Keep in mind that coaches cannot pay for anything on unofficial visits, and you cannot get excused from school for them either. Only on official visits can coaches pay for your food and travel fees as well as get yourself excused from high school.
Breaking up or committing to a school
Yes, you will have to “break up” with some schools. To be completely honest, many of you will not break up with schools over the phone. Most of the time it will be over email, but the most mature thing to do is let the coach know in person or over the phone you are no longer interested in attending their school. On the flip side, many of you will COMMIT to a school over the phone, and yes it is as nerve-wracking and exciting as it sounds. I myself committed over the phone. You will only be making this phone call if a coach has put forth an offer for you. If you have decided that this is your dream school and agree to the offer, all you have to do is call your coach and tell them you want to commit. They will be just as happy as you are to let you into their family. This will be the easiest and best phone call you will make throughout the recruiting process. Oh, and you won’t have to worry about talking points, or taking notes!
To smile while you talk (coaches will be able to hear” your smile, believe it or not, and it shows a good attitude)
To write down talking points before you call
To take notes (it would look really bad if you forgot what a coach said
To do research on the school and team before you call
To not call coaches during dinner
Practice courteous language
The coach’s name!!!
Even after reading this post, many of you are still extremely nervous. I wouldn’t have called coaches if my mother didn’t strongly encourage me and support me before during and after the call. Some of you will need an extra push. Ask a coach, parent, or friend to support you (aka sit in an adjacent room as you call the coach, help you with talking points, practice with a roll-play scenario, etc). Below is a note-taking guide/outline to use when calling coaches as well as a role-play conversation with helpful hints and tips. Feel free to download and use to your liking.
I would also love to make myself available to any Juventus players who have questions or need encouragement. My contact information is below!
Zoe Clevely , Pepperdine Women's Soccer