Monday, September 7, 2015

Tips for Calling Coaches

1. Be enthusiastic and engaged.

  • Coaches are looking for athletes who are excited about the opportunity to compete at their school. Consider your tone, confidence level, and leadership ability while you’re talking to a coach.
2. Before you call, it’s a good idea to practice.
  • Role play with a friend or parent the conversation you expect to have. The practice should help calm your nerves when you make the actual call.
3. Do your homework.
  • Research the college and the coach before the call. A coach will be impressed if you know specifics about his/her program.
4. Be prepared.
  • Have a list of questions or a script in front of you when you call. Introduce yourself with your name, city, and high school. Ask specific questions about the program and your chance to compete. Ask the coach what your next steps should be in the recruiting process. Cover the basics during your first conversation with a coach. On second and third phone calls you can discuss more detailed information about the program.
5.Be ready to answer questions from the coach.
  • Phone calls give coaches a chance to find out more about you. They’re likely to ask what your strengths and weaknesses are, what other schools you’re considering, what goals you have, and what you’re looking for in a college.
6. Be persistent.
  • Coaches are busy, and you’ll likely have to leave a few voicemails before finally reaching them. Find out from the coach or an athletic secretary the best time to call. When leaving a message, let the coach know exactly what time you plan to call back.

A sample phone call script is below:

-"Hi Coach Moore, my name is Jill Smith and I'm a 2013 graduate from Chicago, IL. Can I get a minute of your time?
-"Great! Coach Moore, I'm very interested in learning more about your school. I received the questionnaire you sent me in November and wanted to follow-up with you to find out a little more about your 2017 recruiting needs."
  • Go into questions from your list.
  • Talk about something interesting or sport specific. For example, "I see that last season your team went undefeated, how is it looking so far this year?"
  • Before you end a call, always thank the coach for his/her time and inform them that you are looking forward to speaking with them in the near future


The initial phone conversation is a big step in developing a recruiting relationship.  Unfortunately, many prospects have no idea what to expect from that phone call. Here is some information to shed some light on how prospects in ALL sports can prepare for a phone call from a college coach…Before we get into what a recruit can expect from a phone call from a college coach, here are a few important ideas to keep in mind:
The first day a college coach can call a prospect is not always the first time they have spoken on the phone.
  • Prospects are able to call college coaches at any time. The prospects that are farther along in the process might have already made phone calls to college coaches and spoken with them prior to the initial period which makes it permissible for a college coach to call the prospect. In cases like this, the phone call might go a little differently than for the prospects who are speaking with a coach for the first time.
By the time the first day a college coach can call a prospect rolls around, many student-athletes already have offers!
  • This is very important to realize. DI college coaches in just about every sport have already begun to offer scholarships to 2016 (junior) graduates…and some might even be finished recruiting the class of 2016 completely. This has all taken place and coaches haven’t even been able to call them yet in some sports! This should be a strong indicator of how early college recruiting takes place and why freshmen and sophomore year are so important in the process.
Know the dates for your sport!
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about some of the most common questions prospects can prepare for when speaking with a college coach.  Obviously every staff will ask different questions, but many will have an actual script of questions and topics to assist the coaches in their phone call…It might be a good idea to have a script of your own, or at least some answers prepared in advance.  Here a few of those questions as well as some advice for answering them:
Q:  How are you doing in school?  What is your GPA, test scores, etc?
Advice: Make sure you are always aware of your current academic standing.  Always know your GPA (both core and cumulative), class rank, and test scores.  Even if your GPA or test scores are lower than you would like, be honest with the coach and let them exactly what you are doing to improve.  Tell them you are receiving extra tutoring or taking a SAT / ACT prep class to raise your scores.  The worst thing a student-athlete can do is simply not know their academic information.  If you don’t know your GPA, what do you think a college coach will assume? (Hint…they are not going to assume you are earning straight A’s)
Q:  What are your strengths as a player?
Advice: Do not be modest here!  This is your chance to shine and tell the coach what you do best.  Be informative and honest.  You have been working your whole life to develop these strengths…be proud of them and communicate their value with answers that consist of more than one word.
Q:  What areas of your game are you working to improve?
Advice: While this can be a tricky one, it is important to be honest.  Do not spend too much time discussing your weaknesses, but rather let the coach know how your off season workout is going to address those areas and how you are going to turn them into strengths.
Q:  What are your goals for the upcoming season?
Advice: This is something every student-athlete should think about.  We encourage student-athletes to set measurable goals and write them down to hold themselves more accountable.  Make sure to mention both team and individual goals.
Q:  Do you think you are capable of playing at our level?
Advice: Always Yes!  Explain why you think you can compete at their level or what you are doing to ensure you would be an asset to a team at any level of play.
Q:  What improvements have you made over the past couple of years?
Advice: Focus on things you have done to improve your game over the years.  Do not be afraid to tell the coach how much better you are now than a year or two ago!
Q:  What type of scholarships are you looking for?
Advice: This is your chance to bring up financial issues if they will be a determining factor in your decision making.  Be open to options and always ask about other types of aid besides athletic scholarships.  Never directly ask for a scholarship, but rather let the coach know what sort of impact that need will have on your decision.
Q:  What are your interests or hobbies?  Do you have a  girlfriend, boyfriend, etc?
Advice: This is the coach’s attempt to get to you know you on a personal level.  Remember, in many cases, these coaches are many years older and they are doing their best to relate to the prospect.  Let the coach know more about you!  This will help you connect on a more casual level and also give the coach something to ask you about next time you speak.  Have some fun with this question!
Q:  Who is going to help you make your college decision?
Advice: Let the coach know who will be a part of the decision.  Will your high school coach play an integral role?  Will the decision be made by you and your parents?  Are your parents involved?  This information will greatly help the coach understand who needs to be included and involved.
***This is the million dollar question***
Q:  What other schools are recruiting you?
Advice: Let them know who else is interested…and be honest!  If the coach finds out that many other schools are recruiting you then you will immediately look like a better recruit.  Try to let them know about schools that are similar to the one you are talking to.  For example, if you are speaking with the coach at Yale and you have heard from four other Ivy League schools, make sure you go into detail about their interest.  No coach wants to lose a recruit to a rival school.
This is your chance to show off how wanted you are by other coaches with the hope that it motivates the coach you are speaking with at that time to take action.  If you have offers, let the coach know.  In order to create this type of leverage, you must have a number of options.  If you are concerned about the number of options you currently have, be sure to expand your search and let more coaches know about you.
Q:  What questions do you have for me?
Advice: Be sure to check back next week when we explain what sort of questions prospects should be asking when they have the opportunity to speak with college coaches.  This is your chance to find out valuable information…don’t pass it up!


Before calling the coach, a student should visit the college’s website to learn some facts about the college and the team. Does the college offer the athlete’s major? What are the graduation rates? What was the team’s record last year? How many senior players are graduating? An athlete should know all this information going into the call. If a student calls to inquire into a program at a school that doesn’t offer their major, the athlete will be embarrassed and the coach might be irritated.
Parents should consider role-playing with the recruit before the  first phone call. For adults, the process seems easy: Pick up the phone and call the coach. But parents need to remember that their child is inexperienced and needs to practice calling authority figures. They should have their child record his or her practice calls. Play them back and help their child eliminate “ums” and “ahs.” A confident voice mail can pique a coach’s interest.
Contacting coaches one at a time is the next step for a student-athlete. Ideally, recruits will call those colleges that have sent questionnaires or have their name on their “recruiting list” since it will make the identification easier.  That being said, recruits should also be empowered to call the schools they are interested in attending, but have not heard from yet.
Coach’s Tip
After five or ten calls, a student-athlete will start to get into the rhythm and develop confidence and comfort leaving messages. Practice makes perfect!
To get acclimated to the process, an athlete should start by calling those colleges who rank at the bottom of their list of favorite colleges. Recruits will probably be nervous, stumble, and mutter when they talk to this coach. By talking to a coach at their least favorite college, they will gain confidence for when they call the coaches that are higher on their priority list. Recruits can also call during off-hours so they are able to leave messages, allowing a chance to warm up to the process.
A student-athlete should have a list of questions, as well as a script, to work from when calling the coaches.  Below is an example script that recruits can follow:
Sample Script
Student-athlete: Hi. My name is Jane Student. I’m a soccer player at Boulder High School in Boulder, Colorado. I received your questionnaire last week. Thanks for sending it. I sent it back a few days ago, and I’m really interested in your program. I’m wondering if you have a few minutes to answer some of my questions.
[Pause and wait for coach to affirm his ability to spend time answering questions.]
What GPA and ACT or SAT would I need to have a chance to attend your school and play for your program?
Have you had a chance to see me play? [If the student-athlete has not sent the coach a highlight or skills video, replace this question with: Would you like me to send you a link to my video?]
When would be a good time to visit your campus?
How many players are you recruiting from my position?
Thanks so much for your time. I just have two more questions:
What else would I need to do to have a chance to compete for your program and earn a scholarship?
What is the next step I should take with you?
Great! Do you have any questions for me?
[Pause to allow the coach to answer questions, which the student has prepared for in advance and will be covered in next week's newsletter]
I really appreciate your time, and I look forward to talking with you in the future.
The best way to improve your phone calls with college coaches is to establish familiarity prior to the call.  This can be done by contacting college coaches at an early age and making sure you are on their recruiting list.

Share This