The Difference Between Generic and Serious Interest from a Coach

understanding college coaches emailsAs a recruit or family it can be difficult to feel like you are making progress in recruiting when coaches send what feel like impersonal emails. People are wise enough to know, generic letters and camp invites don’t constitute serious recruiting interest. When trying to determine if a coach is interested, it is easy to misconstrue a short email for a generic email and think coaches aren’t interested. In the question below, a recruit nearly made the mistake of giving up on schools that were showing strong interest because he didn’t understand the coach’s emails.

I have contacted multiple coaches and updating them on my progress. Three coaches have responded multiple times. All going like this, “thanks for the email. See you on the field. Keep the updates coming.”

Are they interested in me or are these emails generic emails?

Every time I contact one of these three coaches they end with giving me their cell # and other various contact information. They also sometimes send emails “we would like to personally invite you to our camp on date… So and so.”

What does this all mean? Should I bother continue contacting these coaches as I feel I am going nowhere in this process.

These are not generic coach responses

Depending on the size of the program, a single coach could be sharing correspondence like that described with 100 recruits. They simply don’t have time to write lengthy emails to “show” how interested they are. Coach’s emails fall into two categories, those with their cell phone/personal contact info and those without contact information. These email responses might be short, but when a coach includes their personal contact information (cell phone number), they are showing genuine interest.

What does this mean for this recruit?

My guess is this recruit is wondering things like, “are they going to offer me a scholarship” and “what else do I need to do to get more interest.” It is easy to feel like things aren’t going anywhere when you have exchanged multiple emails and the conversation doesn’t appear to be changing.

I would say this recruit is at the half-way point in the recruiting process. This is where coaches have identified him as a potential recruit (they feel he qualifies athletically and academically) and they are moving forward with more in-depth evaluations. As a recruit you want to come away from this period in the recruiting process knowing things like:

  • How many athletes is the program recruiting this year?
  • Do you like the way the program is run?
  • Do your expectations on playing time match what the coach is thinking?
  • Do they plan on offering you a scholarship? If so, how much?

The recruit should take the opportunity to call each coach and begin asking questions about their level of interest and where they see him fitting in with their program. Additionally, he should strongly consider attending these schools camps. Camps give coaches the type of detailed evaluations they count on when making their final decisions between scholarship and walk-on athletes.

The lessons for other recruits and families

This recruit mentioned a critical piece of information, “I have contacted multiple coaches and updating them on my progress. Three coaches have responded…” Notice that not every coach is responding to their emails. We don’t know how many programs they have contacted in total, but you must remember, the majority of coaches aren’t going to respond to your emails. Don’t focus on who you are not hearing from and focus on those who are responding.

Know what to expect and when. After you have gone back-and-froth a few times with a coach, you might be thinking it’s “time to start talking scholarship” and the coach is thinking “time for serious evaluations.” One of the things you want to know with any program is, what’s next. Try to get in the habit of asking a coach what is next in the process. You might not get a response, but when you do, getting that insight into what they are thinking can be invaluable for setting your expectations.

Do you have a recruiting question you want answered? You can ask below in the comments or email me directly (david@athleticscholarships.net). Your questions will not be shared publicly if you do not want them to.

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