College coaches are busy folks. In addition to running their programs during the season, they also deal with recruiting, fundraising, off-season workouts, and a hundred other details, small and large. And for a high school student-athlete who wants to get on a coach’s recruiting radar, that busy schedule can be hurdle. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to get a coach to notice you; email. If you’re unsure how to begin, simply follow these three steps to see how you can click with coaches.

1. The First Move Is Up To You

Once you’ve established a target list of schools and programs you’re interested in, it’s up to you to reach out to the coaches at those schools via email. The best time to send those initial emails is during your freshman or sophomore years. Though a coach can’t contact you until after your sophomore year, reaching out before then will give you a head start on the process.

Since your goal is to get on a coach’s recruiting radar, that first email should act as your introduction. Tell the coach who you are, where you go to school, why you’re interested in that school or program, and a little about your athletic experience. To help save a coach’s time, remember to also include a link to your online recruiting profile and highlight reel.

It’s also important to personalize every email you send to a coach. Simply cutting and pasting the same message to several coaches will be obvious and coaches will notice who’s putting forth the extra effort. Finally, remember to close your first email to a coach with an invitation to see you play, either at a game, tournament, or showcase and attach your upcoming schedules. For reference, tournaments or showcases are always more attractive for college coaches, as it allows them to maximize their time by seeing multiple recruits at each event.

2. The Second Move Is Also Up To You

Once coaches can communicate with you, it’s important that you follow up with an additional email or emails to raise your profile even further with each coach on your list. In follow-up emails, note updates to your growth, stats, and accomplishments and ask about attending any camps that a coach or program might be hosting. That’s the kind of initiative many coaches look for and your willingness to come to them will highlight your interest in their school and program.

If your first follow-up email doesn’t generate a reply, don’t be discouraged. Remember, coaches have busy schedules and full inboxes, so be persistent in following up, but not pushy. However, if you send three or four follow-up emails to a coach over the course of a few months and don’t get a response, it might be time to scratch that school off your list and focus your energies elsewhere.

3. Sell Yourself

Every recruit will have stats and a highlight reel, but it’s up to you to make yourself stand out. But standing out doesn’t mean boasting about your accomplishments. Instead, note what makes you different, whether it’s your leadership skills or the fortitude it took to overcome injury or adversity. As you’re selling yourself to a coach, keep it brief and focus on the intangibles that make you stand apart from other recruits. Softly selling yourself in an email to a coach will also make it easier to talk to a coach when you do get the opportunity at a camp, phone call, or campus visit.

Clicking with a coach is as easy as clicking “SEND.” But it’s up to send that first email and subsequent follow-up emails. Be sure to introduce yourself, express your interest in their school and program, and sell what makes you different. Do that when you hit “SEND” and it’s more likely coaches click back with a reply.

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