STEP 4: FOLLOW UP
Hopefully you’ve had an opportunity over the last few weeks to put the first 3 steps into motion. The next steps are to perform, obviously, and then follow up where necessary. If the coaches you emailed prior to the tournament did not show up, don’t be discouraged, it’s a process. You may have caught the eye of another coach who happened to be there to watch a teammate or opponent, you’d be surprised at how many athlete’s “recruiting stories” begin that way.
Action Plan: The follow-up can be just as important as the initial contact. The coach received your email and made the time to watch you play, now it’s time to follow up. If you’ll be competing in another tournament in the near future, take this opportunity to thank them and then let them know where you will be next and that you will make sure to send your schedule when you get it. You can send another email or maybe it’s a good time to make your first phone call. This makes the contact a little more personal and because the coach came out to watch you play, you know they have some initial interest.
I know most young athletes are nervous to make these kinds of calls; you can hide your nerves behind the computer and edit or rewrite emails but freezing when you hear the voice on the other line is a real fear. Here are some tips to consider when making these calls.
- It’s okay to write down key points you don’t want to forget. This might sound silly, but write down the coach’s name and school so you make a genuine connection to the call and so you don’t stumble when addressing the coach. Other information to write down would be you’re upcoming schedule, any showcase camps you might be planning to attend, etc.
- Practice before you call. Again, sounds silly and maybe a little embarrassing but you only have “one chance to make a first impression.” Call your home phone, parent’s phone or friends phone and practice leaving a message. Listen back and hear how you sound. Confident or scared? Do you sound like you’re reading your notes or having a genuine dialogue? The coach has seen you play but has never had the chance to speak with you. Give them a little insight into your personality to increase their interest.
- ASSUME THE COACH WILL ANSWER THE PHONE. It is most likely that the coach will let an unknown number go straight to voicemail and you can move forward with your pre-performed message however, you don’t want to get caught stuttering over your words if they do decide to pick up. You can still refer back to your notes for the information you want to get across but it might be a good idea to have an opening greeting in mind in case you hear the voice on the other end.
“Hi Coach XYZ. This is Katie Smith from the So Cal Firecrackers.”
–If they initiate a conversation go with it. If you feel like you’ve hit a dead end with nothing left to say just finish with something like this—
“Well, I wanted to call and thank you (or thank you again) for taking the time to watch me this past weekend. I’ll be sure to send my next schedule and I hope to see you again soon.”
You want both emails and phone calls to show a little personality while being as short and precise as possible. Be reasonably persistent because persistence can pay off, but be aware, overly persistent can become annoying. Stay positive and you will attract the right program for you.
Hopefully you’ve found some useful information to apply to your recruiting journey this fall and beyond. Next week we will wrap up with an overview of the process and what to expect from college coaches when fall recruiting ends and they prepare for their 2018 season.