How to Pick the Right Channel to Contact College Coaches - Friday's Scholarship Guide

by Yannick Weihs

This week we will cover the five main channels, a prospective student athlete can use, to get in contact with college coaches. Every single channel has advantages and disadvantages you should know about, in order to pick the right channel for you.

Photo credit: Liquene

1. Getting recruited

Well, the first and easiest channel to getting in contact with coaches does not require any networking effort on the students' side. If you are being contacted by coaches without doing anything for it, you are probably a rather good athlete and there is a good chance that you will get an athletic scholarship offer. Nonetheless there are few things you should consider, if you are in this situation.

Advantage

You can leverage your athletic skills, because if one coach is interested enough in you, to put in the time and effort to find out your contacting details, chances are, other coaches would be interested in you as well. Therefore go ahead and contact other coaches and universities you are interested in, on your own. It will give you some bargaining power, when it comes to talking about the height of your scholarship.

Disadvantage

Don't make the mistake of being too flattered by the coaches' words and actions. The most important factor for you, should be your happiness. So, if the university is at a geographical location you do not like, or does not offer your desired academic program, don't settle. Coaches are good at selling their school and program and athletes easily fall into this trap, regretting their decision afterwards.

Consequently, make sure that you leverage your athletic skills. If the program which contacted you, is not what you are looking for, be proactive and contact the programs you would love to go to on your own. Settling for a university you are not satisfied with, generally leads to an unsatisfying college experience or a situation in which you will quit the team or transfer to another university.

2. Friends and family

A second channel to get in contact with a coach is through a referral. It is probably the coaches' most common way of recruiting. They often ask their current athletes if they can recommend anyone, for one major reason. Since it is very difficult for a coach to evaluate a recruit's personality, they use their current athletes as a reliable source of reference.

Advantage

It is a major advantage to know someone, who is currently an enrolled student athlete at an American college. If you do know some current student athletes, make sure you get in contact with them and see if they can refer you to their coach. It is the best possible promotion for you. Additionally make sure you use your friend as a source of information. Ask him or her about the college experience, the expectations and the daily routines. Because of his or her insights, your friend is a better source of information than anyone else.

Disadvantage

Don't let your desire to be on a team with your friend cloud your judgment. Make sure you know everything about the coach's attitude and expectations. If your friend oversells you and makes false promises it will not only harm your friendship, but also put you in a difficult position since you cannot deliver on your friend's promises. Therefore make sure your friend is honest about you and you do not only end up going to the school because of your friend. If you do not get along with the coach, you will have a miserable college experience.

3. Cold Contacting

A third channel is the one I talked about last week in the article how to contact college coaches. This article gives you a detailed plan how to approach coaches, if you have decided to contact them on your own through e-mail or a phone call. Before doing so, make sure you know the advantages and disadvantages of this approach though.

Advantage

The major advantage is that you are proactively tackling this issue, which has a number of positive effects on your attractiveness for coaches as well as your personal ability to make a well-thought-out decision. People like you, who have decided to take matters into their own hands, have been happier with their decisions and have had a better college experience than others in the past. The reason for that is, that the constant reflection on that topic made them realize what really matters to them and what they are looking for. That's a question only you can answer yourself, which is why it is so important and good to act proactively on your own.

Disadvantage

The only disadvantage of this channel and approach is that prospects often struggle to judge their athletic capabilities. The biggest mistake prospective student athletes make when contacting college coaches is that they approach the wrong coaches. Therefore they get rejected too often, thus failing in their attempt to get an athletic scholarship. Had they just contacted the right coaches, they would not have failed.

4. Recruiting Agencies

The fourth channel is being covered by recruiting agencies. There are many out there and they all offer pretty much the same service. They will advise you on what needs to be done in regards of academic requirements, create a profile of you and contact the coaches on your behalf. If they succeed at getting you a scholarship you will have to pay a significant financial bonus.

Advantage

The advantage is that you don't have to do anything. The agency will explain the process to you and will give you a to-do list. So if you are the rather lazy type of person who does not want to deal with the recruiting process you should go for this option, since it is probably the most convenient way to try to get a scholarship.

Disadvantage

I will not list all of the disadvantages here, since some of them might be subjective. Therefore I will only stick to the facts. One main disadvantage is that this option has a significant price tag. Generally those agencies charge on average a total of $ 2500 if the athlete ends up receiving a scholarship. That's quite a heavy price tag considering that the information and to-do list, can be found online and the coaches, can be contacted for free through other channels. Additionally,using the services of a recruiting agency, might create a negative first impression. Research revealed, that coaches prefer being contacted by the athletes themselves instead of the agencies, since it shows a level of commitment and dedication. Therefore the coaches will have a better impression of you, if you contact them on your own instead of through an agency.

5. Social network for college sports recruiting

The last option is a social network for college sports recruiting. This tool is basically a LinkedIn for the college recruiting market. Since the recruiting process has been very scattered and unclear over the last decades, this platform is being created to facilitate the recruiting process for prospective student athletes as well as college coaches. Often prospective student athletes don't even know where to start, when it comes to college athletics and use therefore personal assistance. The problem with the usage of personal assistance is that it prevents a prospect from intensively dealing with this issue. The goal of this network is to create a social community where athletes and coaches can find each other as well as recruiting relevant information easily, without any assistance from anyone else. This will gently force both parties to proactively engage with this issue, enabling them to make better decisions.

Advantage

The major advantage is that everyone participating is being guided to actively engage with the issue. The platform gives the user the tools and information needed, to make an educated decision. Among other features, the platform provides a to-do list, asks critical questions one needs to reflect on, for the decision making process and enables the user to directly screen for and contact coaches and athletes. In a sense, it combines the advantages of all the prior mentioned channels.

Disadvantage

The biggest disadvantage is that the platform is not ready yet. So far users can only sign up to get informed as soon as the platform is ready. Another disadvantage is that it requires some work and commitment by the athlete. He or she needs to act determined and invest some time into the process in order to successfully get a scholarship. Additionally it takes some courage to tackle such an important decision on your own.

Conclusion

This article covered the five main channels recruits and coaches use, to find one another. None of them is essentially better or worse than the other, since they all have their pros and cons. Just make sure you use the one that fits your personality.

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact us via e-mail or our Facebook site. We are happy to help.

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