How to Use Social Media for College Recruiting
Whenever social media and college athletic recruiting pop up in the news, the articles usually focus on recruits who have lost an offer or a scholarship because of their poor social media choices. However, social media when used properly, can be an effective recruiting tool. In fact, recruits can use the power of social media to contact coaches, show coaches what kind of recruit they are and even gain the attention of college coaches who weren’t previously recruiting them.
NCAA social media rules
How coaches use social media for recruiting athletes
How athletes should use social media
What should be on an athlete’s social media profile?
Should you post your college offers?
Set your accounts to public
Follow programs you’re interested in
Direct messaging coaches
What do you DM a college coach?
Student athletes and social media mistakes
Monitor your accounts
Can athletes lose athletic scholarships due to social media?
NCAA social media rules and policy for student-athletes
The NCAA social media rules for athletes and the interactions between coaches are less restrictive than traditional recruiting rules but can be a little confusing. High school athletes are allowed to reach out to college coaches on social media at any time, public or private.
Coaches can communicate with recruits privately through a direct message (DM) once a sport’s contact period begins. At this time, NCAA social media rules allow coaches to “like” or “share” a student-athlete’s social media post.
However, coaches are prohibited from publicly commenting on a recruit’s social media profile until after the athlete has committed to their program. This is often referred to as the “click don’t type rule.” Coaches are allowed to private message, like or share a recruit’s post, but not allowed to publicly comment or “tag” a recruit’s profile until after they have committed.
Recruits don’t necessarily need to worry about these NCAA rules on social media and college recruitment, but it’s important to understand what types of communication to expect from college coaches and when. Find your sport’s contact period and recruiting rules listed below.
Insider Tip: Universities understand the impact social media can have on their reputation. That is why many coaches and athletic programs enforce their own social media policies student-athletes are required to follow while representing the university. Each student-athlete social media policy differs from the next, and some can be more restrictive than others. As you move through the recruiting process, be sure your social media presence and online behavior shows that you will be a reputable addition to their team.
How coaches use social media for recruiting athletes
Social media has transformed the way college coaches are recruiting athletes. With today’s generation spending much of their time on social media, coaches have evolved to communicate with recruits on the platforms they are most comfortable and likely to engage. Coaches can now connect, evaluate and gather information about a prospective student-athlete without ever leaving the office.
A social connection is often the first step to show interest in recruiting an athlete, and vice versa. Following the NCAA rules on social media and college recruitment, coaches can DM the recruits they’re most interested in to introduce themselves or wish a recruit good luck before a big game. But most importantly, coaches turn to social media to get a better understanding of a recruit’s personality and character.
In fact, in a survey by Cornerstone Reputation, 83% of college coaches said their staff conducted online research of recruits. Of these coaches, 88% turned to Facebook, 82% have used Twitter and 54% have looked at Instagram to gain insight into a recruit’s character. By understanding how coaches use social media, student-athletes can better learn how to use social media for college recruitment.
From a coach’s view, this makes a lot of sense. Signing a recruit means that their program will be investing a lot of time and money in that person—including training, equipment, and scholarships. Coaches want to abide by the NCAA rules on social media, keep their jobs and make the right decision. They’ll even use fake accounts to evaluate student- athletes and social media accounts.
B.J. Dunne, head basketball coach for Gettysburg College, discusses how he uses social media to identify prospective student-athletes. Check out this video where he explains how important social media is in college recruiting.
How athletes should use social media
Chances are that a coach has already looked at your social media accounts before placing a phone call or seeing you perform your sport in-person. This can be a good thing. More exposure to coaches online means more opportunities for student-athletes to get discovered.
While a poorly managed social media profile can hurt recruitment and result in rescinded offers, a well-managed athlete social media presence can increase a coach’s interest in recruiting you. Here’s how athletes can use social media for college recruiting to impress college coaches.
- Be visible. You probably already have a Twitter, Instagram and TikTok account that you use every day to connect with family and friends. Utilize all your social media platforms to increase your chances of getting noticed by college coaches.
- Use your resources. Do you play on a club team, or go to a personal trainer? Find their social media handles and “tag” them on related posts. Go the extra mile and politely ask if they will share it on their profile. The greater your social media network, the more chances your profile will be seen by other coaches and recruiters.
- Be active. Relationships are a two-way street. Actively engage with your top school’s social media accounts to confirm you’re interested in being recruited. Check out their frequently used “hashtags” on Twitter or Instagram and apply them to your own social media posts when it makes sense. You can research schools and create a list of your favorites here.
- Share good – not bad – content. Coaches track their recruits’ behavior on social media. Do not jeopardize your integrity by posting or engaging with content that could be considered offensive. Focus on material that implies you are coachable, dedicated to your sport and helping others. For example, do you volunteer in your community? Are you putting in skills work outside of practice? Do you get along with your teachers, coaches and teammates? All of these are great ways to show coaches you will be a great representative of their program.
So far, we’ve talked about social media and college recruiting in a general, catch-all term. But there are many social media platforms available to athletes, and they all function differently. It can be overwhelming to know which platform(s) to focus on and how to use social media for college recruiting.
Our network of recruiting experts and coach connections has identified Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok as the top social media platforms athletes can use to become more discoverable by college coaches and showcase their achievements as an athlete, student, and member of their community.
When it comes to social media, not all coaches are the same. There will be some sports and coaches that gravitate towards certain platforms. We encourage you to always do your research on which platform is best suited for you in college recruiting. The below resources provide guidance on how to use each platform to get recruited.
- How to use Twitter for college recruiting
- How to use Instagram for college recruiting
- How to use TikTok for college recruiting
What should be on an athlete’s social media profile?
How to use social media for college recruiting begins with your initial set up. When coaches search for student-athletes and social media, there are key pieces of information they want to know right away.
A good profile should include your location, high school and/or club team, class year, GPA and sport specific position(s). Most importantly, athletes should always include a link to their highlight video or NCSA profile.
Learn how to craft a Twitter profile that will help you get discovered by college coaches.
No one wants to be labeled as the overly confident athlete who only brags and shows off. But using social media to highlight your sport IQ and accomplishments is an effective recruiting strategy. Athletes wondering how to use social media for college recruiting can post their favorite articles about their sport, highlight or skills videos, and share inspirational quotes.
You can also call out academic or athletic awards you’ve received, positive camp experiences, college visits you’ve been on and firm offers from coaches. To avoid appearing too self-promoting, mention your achievements in a post by thanking your teammates, coaches and parents for their support.
You can also show support towards your teammates by sharing news about college visits and offers they’ve received. Remember all eyes are on student-athletes and social media. Be mindful of the content you promote on your social media accounts and find ways to demonstrate good character.
Should you post your college offers?
Coaches have a lot of things to consider before making an offer to a recruit. So, if you’ve received a college offer to compete in your sport, it’s a big deal. And you should be proud of it! In fact, posting your college offers on social media can be an asset to your recruiting process.
Coaches will often wait to see if an athlete is being recruited by other colleges before they offer. Around signing day, you may see other athletes receiving a bunch of scholarship offers. Don’t get caught up in the pettiness of recruiting by shopping for offers. “Received my 6th offer,” looks like you’re just counting offers to show off and might turn coaches away.
When posting on social media, be sure to follow the NCAA social media rules for athletes. Make each post unique to the school and coach that offered you. Mention how grateful you are for the opportunity and “tag” the coach or athletic program you received the offer from. Remember the end goal is to find your college match, not be the athlete who received the most offers.
Insider Tip: Your posts are not private. Never, ever invent or inflate an offer just to get attention. Coaches, fans and even other recruits will do their research and they can easily find out eventually if your offer is not legit. This kind of behavior can eventually leave you with no offers.
Set all your accounts to public
While your first instinct might be to try and hide all your social media accounts from coaches, in fact, the opposite is true. With social media and college recruitment, a public account can greatly expand your recruiting network and connect you with college coaches who may be interested in recruiting you.
Coaches rely on social media to get a better sense of an athlete’s personality and interests. They know that most—if not all—recruits have at least one social media account. And they will search for it. If they see your profile is restricted, they will assume that you have something to hide. Manage your social media privacy settings to make sure you’re accounts stay visible to college coaches.
Insider tip: To go the extra mile in transparency, send your social media handles to coaches in your messages to them. This way, they can easily look you up—because they likely will anyway—and they know you have nothing to hide. An added bonus: Once the NCAA social media rules allow, the coach may start following you on Twitter or Instagram to keep up with your progress.
“Follow” and “like” athletic programs you’re interested in
Keeping tabs on your favorite teams via social media is a great way to get alerted when the team wins, loses, gets an award or something else noteworthy takes place. Coaches want to know that you’re genuinely interested in their school and having insider knowledge about their program is a great way to show you’ve done your homework. The information you gather will be helpful conversation starters to use when you’re emailing, texting or direct messaging a coach.
There are a few things to keep in mind when researching college athletic programs online. Recruiting expert and former NCAA D1, D2 and D3 coach, John Pugliese, shares what student-athletes should look for on social media.
You may be asking yourself, “should I follow a college coach on social media”? The answer is yes. Prioritize following coaches from the schools you are most interested in being recruited. Just like you, they may have a favorite social media platform. Do your research to find out which social media platforms they are most active on. You’ll even gain a better sense of their personality and coaching style. You’re evaluating coaches, too!
Insider tip: Try following the program’s strength and conditioning coaches, trainers, and some current athletes, in addition to the head coach. Most recruits will default to only following the head coach—which is a great—but you might get important information by following other staff members. They may post workouts you can try or give you insights into the athletes’ day-to-day schedule.
Direct message coaches for quicker response times
You might find yourself in a position where you want to reach out to a college coach, but you don’t have their email or phone number. Consider reaching out using the “direct message” aka DM feature on Twitter or Instagram. While we can’t guarantee coaches will respond to your message, we have found that coaches tend to respond quicker to social media DMs than emails.
Think about DMs as another tool in your belt to communicate with coaches—some may prefer to go through social media, while others prefer to connect through email, text, or phone calls. Be aware the NCAA rules specify certain times coaches can – and can’t – reach out to their recruits. They might not be able to respond depending on the contact period.
If you receive a direct message from a coach, always respond promptly. Be appreciative of the time and attention a coach is taking to recruit you. If you are no longer interested in being recruited by that school, respectfully let them know so they can move on. Coaches don’t appreciate being “ghosted” by recruits. And guess what? They talk. Keep in mind that coaches often change jobs. While they might not be at the school you’re interested in now, they could be in 6 months.
Inside Tip: The “direct message” feature on social media is a great, often quick, way for athletes to connect and talk with college coaches. But don’t shy away from using the more traditional styles of communication such as email, calling and texting to build relationships. Not all coaches are the same and mixing up how you communicate can be an effective recruiting strategy. After all, the first DM you get from a coach might include their phone number with a message to call them!
What do you DM a college coach?
You’re ready to send your first DM to a college coach. What should you say? How do you introduce yourself? Just like when sending an email to a college coach, keep your DM short and to the point. You may be used to using social media in a more informal, relaxed way with friends. But tread lightly because manners matter in social media and college recruiting. The NCAA rules on social media allow student-athletes to reach out to coaches on social media at any time during the recruiting process.
Follow these DM guidelines to leverage your social media and college recruiting:
- Read staff bios. Social media moves fast, but that doesn’t mean you can just copy and paste a generic message and call it a day. Know your audience! And make sure they are currently coaching at the school. Open your message with something unique about the program or coaching staff. Showing effort to build a personal connection with a coach can go a long way.
- Keep it professional. A DM is meant to be a fast form of communication, but avoid using abbreviations, shortcuts and jargon such as “LOL” (laugh out loud) or “u” (you). DMs are another place to sell not only your athletic skills and grades, but also your maturity, to college coaches. Make sure your message is thoughtful and well-written.
- Humility is your best friend. Do yourself a huge favor and do not ask a coach for a scholarship in your DM. It might seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised at what athletes think is appropriate to ask a coach. It’s ok to express interest in being recruited to play for them, but there’s a time and place to discuss scholarship opportunities. And that usually comes after a relationship has been formed.
- Be specific. Introduce yourself and state why you’re interested in their program. Include your name, class year, hometown, high school or club team, GPA, test scores and position. Coaches receive a lot of DMs and can weed out messages they think are not from prospective recruits. You can even share key sports stats that coaches will find interesting when evaluating you. Don’t forget to link to your NCSA profile so the coach can view your information!
- Keep messaging, but don’t abuse it. Remember, the NCAA regulates when coaches can reach out to recruits on social media. Be patient. If you don’t hear back within a few days, you can try to resend. Keep your eye on the time. You don’t want to DM a coach at inappropriate hours of the day. If sending DMs during school hours, the coach might wonder about your priorities.
Twitter and Instagram both have great DM features to communicate with college coaches. Do your research to find out where coaches in your sport are most active. If you see a coach hasn’t used their Twitter in a while, it’s best to find another way to communicate with them. If they seem to be more active on Instagram, don’t be afraid to reach out! Coaches will be impressed that you’re paying attention to their posts.
Once you’ve made your first connection, you’ll want to keep future DMs newsworthy. For example, send an update to a coach if you just added new game footage to your highlight video, or your GPA just moved up.
Student athletes and social media mistakes
Today’s generation of athletes are characterized as being social media-savvy. After all, they have not lived a day without the internet. So why do recruits continue to post or engage with content that could come back to haunt them? Mistakes happen, and college coaches aren’t expecting high school students to be PR experts. But when it comes to social media and college recruiting, mistakes can be costly. There are athletes losing scholarships due to social media behavior.
Keep these social media dos and don’ts in mind:
- DO post your athletic and academic achievements. Be your own advocate and promote your successes in a humble way.
- DO give credit to the people who help you. Show support to your teammates, teachers, and coaches who have helped you overcome challenges.
- DO show positivity when faced with adversity. Coaches know you aren’t perfect. They are interested in how you respond to difficult situations or challenges. So if you’re struggling to learn a new skill or nervous about a big test coming up, find a way to show them you’re excited to overcome your setback and track your progress along the way.
- DO let your personality show. It’s not all about business! Coaches want to recruit athletes who will be a good fit for their team culture.
- DON’T use inappropriate language, racial or sexist slurs, and anything overtly political. This rule also applies to your username.
- DON’T engage in illegal activities. Coaches shouldn’t have to question your involvement with illegal substances such as drugs or alcohol.
- DON’T reveal negative or extreme emotions. It can be tempting to fire off an angry or jealous tweet in the heat of the moment. But think twice about how it will reflect on your character. This also applies to bullying.
- DON’T post lazy behavior. Coaches want recruits who take their athletic and academic studies seriously. If you’re posting about binge watching TV shows all day or not wanting to go to school or practice, a coach might question your priorities.
- DON’T rely on social media alone for college exposure. Social media is a great way to promote yourself online and get on a coach’s radar, but make sure you’re keeping up with your NCSA recruiting profile.
Insider Tip: Everything you post online is accessible to college coaches. Even if your account is private or a coach doesn’t follow you on every platform, your followers can share and take screenshots of your content. One way or another, college coaches will get their eyes on it. Think twice before you post.
Don’t allow other people to post inappropriate content on your social media accounts
Your social media accounts are your responsibility. Meaning, you need to be in 100% control of what appears on your newsfeed, tags or timeline, and monitoring posts will be a key part of your recruiting process. You may be dedicated to posting only positive content, but your friends, or family, may not follow suit.
Start by conducting a thorough sweep of all your social media accounts and clean up any inappropriate posts, likes, or photos that could potentially hurt your chances of being recruited or violate a school’s student-athlete social media policy. If you realize that you, or a friend, posted something you shouldn’t have on your social media, delete it immediately.
Know that once it’s on the internet, it’s permanent. People can take screenshots and a coach can still come across deleted content. The best thing you can do when you make a mistake of any kind is to admit it, learn from it and try not to let it happen again.
Are athletes losing scholarships due to social media?
Yes. You’ve likely heard the cautionary tales of recruits who were suddenly dropped by college coaches due to the conduct and character they exposed on social media. If you think this can never happen to you, think again. Social media and college recruitment go hand in hand.
College coaches increasingly use social media to vet student-athletes throughout the recruiting process. Depending on the size of the program, some coaches will have third parties or assistants scour a recruit’s social media profile for any red flags or inappropriate content. They want to make sure a recruit they bring into their program is a reputable individual and can follow their student-athlete social media policy.
Unfortunately, there have been far too many talented recruits who learned this lesson the hard way. Your behavior and actions online can have serious consequences, including losing a scholarship offer from your dream school. Learn how to use social media for college recruitment. Don’t let a social media mistake ruin your chance at competing at the next level.
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How to Email College Coaches: The Complete Guide
Email continues to be one of the best ways for recruits to reach college coaches.
I know, I know, emailing college coaches sucks.
You’d rather be on the field, in the gym, or (maybe) even doing homework.
Heck, even I hated it some 12-odd years ago during my recruiting process.
But email is a superpower. It gives you a predictable and straightforward channel to contact college coaches.
Like anything, email isn’t perfect.
Some college coaches receive hundreds of emails a day.
And even so, there is a reason it remains one of their favorite communication channels — it is simple, reliable, and asynchronous.
If you are a student-athlete looking to play college sports, you need to send emails to coaches consistently.
Emailing college coaches may seem simple, but given the amount of inbound recruiting emails coaches receive, you need to find a way to stand out from the crowd.
This guide will provide you with strategies for effectively emailing college coaches.
So if you want to learn how you can effectively email college coaches to get recruited, this guide is for you.
Let’s dive right in.
Steps to effectively emailing college coaches:
- Finding college coach contact information
- Write a good subject line
- Personalize (show you did research)
- Show why you’re interested
- Share GPA, test scores, and key stats
- Share video highlights and online profiles
- Include contact information
- Setting your email signature
- Sending and tracking the email
- Follow up!
- Bonus Section: Email Example!
Finding college coach contact information
Before you can start emailing college coaches, you need to find their contact information.
How do you find coach contact information? There are two good options.
- Via the school athletic website
- Via a recruiting-specific software tool
To find the school athletic website, perform a google search. For example, suppose I searched for the University of Michigan’s Mens’ Soccer Program. I may search “Michigan men’s soccer coaches” in that case.
Then I would click on the first result and be taken to their coaches page. On this page, you can find the relevant contact information.
Searching for coaches via google is free but time-consuming.
You can quickly find coach contact information with a recruiting-specific software tool like ProductiveRecruit.
With a ProductiveRecruit account, you can search for any college program and find the contact information for any coach in seconds.
Search for the program you want, click more info, and you can view the coach’s contact information and other vital metrics.
Now that you have the coach’s contact information, it’s time to write your email.
Write a great subject line
Your subject line should include important information like your grad year (e.g., Class of 2019), name, position, height, weight, and GPA.
Try to make your subject line stand out. Coaches will be more likely to open emails with unique subject lines because they can get hundreds of emails per day.
Also, keep it short. While including critical information is vital, avoid using filler words or trivial information. For example, you could remove your name from the subject line since the email is coming from you.
Here are some examples of good subject lines for emailing college coaches:
6’6″ SG | Class of 2023 | 3.4 GPA | Detroit, MI
2022 Center Back | 3.7 GPA | 28 ACT | Business Major
6’2″ RB | 220 LBS | Class of 2024 | 31 ACT
Now that you have your subject line, it’s time to personalize your email.
Personalize your email (show you did research)
College coaches receive dozens (if not hundreds) of emails a day. They will immediately delete any email that is a template you have copied and pasted to multiple coaches.
So how do you personalize your emails?
It’s simple. Learn more about the coach and their program, and include a few-sentence compliment on something they’ve accomplished that you think is cool.
Don’t be lazy. Read articles, scroll through their Twitter profile, and read the athletic site. You will find something interesting there.
Then summarize this in a sentence or two.
For example: “Coach Smith, I am very impressed by your recent conference championship. I was able to watch the game and loved how much passion the team showed. I want to be part of a program like that.”
Super simple right? But you’d be surprised by the number of players who skip this or send mass emails to coaches without any personalization.
Don’t do it. It’s lazy.
The research will also teach you more about the school and program. Maybe you will realize it’s not a good fit after all.
Now that you have a great first few sentences, it’s time to show the coaches why you’re interested in their program.
Show why you’re interested
After adding personalization, write a sentence (or two) on why you’re interested in the school and program.
For example, if your goal is to become an engineer and this school has an excellent engineering program, say that. Or, if you love the academic support they provide to student-athletes, say that.
You don’t have to mention things related to your sport. You are a student-athlete, after all.
However, since you are emailing a college coach, it is in your best interest to relate why you’re interested in their program and the school.
Once you’ve told them your why, it’s time to show them you’ve got the grades and skills to compete at the next level.
Share GPA, test scores, and key stats
You could be one of the best players in the country and still fail to compete at the next level if your grades and test scores are below average.
It’s cliché, but remember you are a student first and athlete second. You need to have the best GPA and test scores possible to give yourself the best chance of playing in college.
Don’t believe me? Hear what some college coaches have to say:
I could write an entire article on this topic, so let’s continue.
You need to include your GPA, test scores, intended major (if you know it), and other key statistics related to your sport. For example, the number of goals you’ve scored if you’re a forward in soccer or your free throw percentage if you play basketball.
Without this information, you’re wasting the coach’s time because they first need to know if you’re a good fit for the school academically before assessing if you’re a good fit athletically.
Once you’ve shared your academic information and critical stats, you need to share any video highlights.
Share video highlights and online profiles
Reviewing video has always been a tool coaches leverage to make decisions in the college recruiting process.
Over the past few years, video has become even more important since the covid-19 pandemic.
Many college programs don’t have the budget to travel across the country and see every prospect play in person. Due to low budgets, many colleges recruit student-athletes in their local region. However, with video, coaches can expand their reach to the entire country.
Make sure to upload any highlights you have to YouTube, Hudl, Vimeo, or another user-friendly video hosting platform. Add your video(s) to your online profile with ProductiveRecruit or another recruiting platform.
Then make sure to include links to your video and profile in your email so that the coaches can quickly review your highlights and information.
Include contact information and references
Now that you’ve shared your video and online profile, it’s time to include your contact information and references.
Make sure you create a professional-looking email address if you have not already with a free email service like Gmail.
Then include your email address and phone number so that the coaches can quickly contact you and add you to their database.
Additionally, include your Twitter and Instagram profiles if you share recruiting-related content. Social media sites like Twitter are becoming more prevalent in the college recruiting landscape. Check out our post on how you can leverage social media to improve your recruiting opportunities.
You should also include any references college coaches can contact for more information. They will usually be your club or high school coach. If you utilize ProducitveRecruit or another online recruiting platform, you can also add references to your online profile.
Setting your email signature
A great email signature will reinforce who you are and highlight your online presence and contact information.
Make sure to set one in your email client of choice.
Here is how you can set your email signature in Gmail.Here is how you can set your email signature in Microsoft Outlook.
Here is an example of an excellent student-athlete email signature. It’s what I would use now if I were getting recruited again to play college soccer.
Notice how it includes relevant information on my team, high school, test score, GPA, online profile, and contact information. You could probably skip the contact info portion of the email if you have a great signature.
Using ProductiveRecruit, you can easily set up your email signature from the settings page when logged in to your athlete account.
Sending and tracking the email
Now that you’ve done all the hard work to write your email, it’s time to send it!
Open up Gmail, Outlook, or whichever email service you use to send your email. If using one of these services, I recommend labeling the email so that you can easily keep track of your communications with college coaches.
If you want to keep track of all your emails to coaches in one place, you can consider using ProducitveRecruit. With ProducitveRecruit, you can easily manage your communications with college coaches, see when they’ve opened your email or viewed your profile, mangage tasks, add notes, and log calls.
College coaches are busy, and chances are you won’t get a response to the first email you send them. This could be due to many reasons, but your job is not to guess what that reason is.
Your job is to move the process forward to the best of your ability. You can only control what you can control. And unfortunately, the coach’s response is out of your direct control.
Some factors could limit a coach’s response. For example, coaches cannot contact you until a specific date within your recruiting process, depending on your sport.
View the NCAA recruiting calendars for more info on that.
That aside, if you are early on in the process, I recommend you continue to follow up with new information. If you have a new highlight tape, send it over. If you get a better ACT score or improve your GPA, share that.
The goal here is to get a scholarship, don’t take anything personally. Anything that could help the coaches evaluate you further is not a waste of their time. If you are not a good fit, they will (hopefully) let you know, and you can move on. Don’t be afraid of a coach not being interested in you.
Bonus! Here is an example
Let’s take everything I just showed you and put it into a concrete example. I am crafting an initial outreach email to Michigan Soccer’s newest assistant coach in the email below.
So that’s how I’d go about emailing college coaches.
Now I want to turn it over to you: Which strategy from today’s guide will you try first?
Are you going to improve your personalization? Or are you going to work on improving your subject lines or email signature?
Let me know by tweeting us @ProdRecruit.
How to write a letter of recommendation for a student athlete
As a coach, you see how student athletes perform outside of class. This unique perspective makes it likely that a student-athlete will ask you for a letter of recommendation for a scholarship or college. Understanding how to write this letter will help you accurately represent his athletic ability, work ethic, and leadership qualities. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to write a letter of recommendation for a student athlete, along with tips, a template, and an example.
Why is a letter of recommendation important for a student-athlete?
Student-athletes may ask their coaches to write a letter of recommendation for college, athletics, scholarships, or employment. These letters are often optional, although some selection committees require students to submit them with their application. A letter of recommendation from a coach helps the selection committee understand a student’s athletic ability and how it might fit into a college program. The trainers also discuss the student’s character and how they apply their skills outside of the classroom. In any case, your letter can provide insight beyond the student’s application and help them qualify for a program or scholarship.
How to write a letter of recommendation for a student athlete
Here’s how to write a letter of recommendation for a student athlete:
Create a professional letterhead
This first step will allow you to tailor your letter of recommendation for each recipient. In addition, a professional letterhead can help selection committees recognize your credibility. You can start by asking the student-athlete who the recipient of the letter is. After collecting information about the recipient, write his name, position and organization in the upper left corner on separate lines. Under this information, leave a free space and indicate the date the letter was written.
If the student does not know who the specific recipient is, you can provide a general title that matches the purpose of the letter. For example, if a student is applying for a job, you can use the Hiring Manager instead of the recipient’s name. You can also indicate that the letter of recommendation is for a scholarship committee, athletic recruiter, or director of admissions organization.
2. Introduce yourself and state the purpose of the letter
In the first paragraph, try to introduce yourself and state the purpose of the letter. You can directly explain that you are recommending a student for a scholarship or college. You can also describe your relationship with the student athlete, where you work and how long you’ve been their coach. If you have other connections with the student, the first paragraph is the perfect place to mention them. For example, you might say that you are a student’s history teacher or bandleader in addition to being his coach.
3. Describe the student’s sporting achievements
Many coaches provide relevant statistics in letters of recommendation. These numbers can help recruiters understand how a student can help their teams succeed. In addition to statistics, try to use examples of how a student demonstrates excellent results. You can emphasize their leadership qualities by mentioning that they were the captain and helped new teammates in their training. You can also describe the student’s progress over the years to demonstrate their work ethic. These traits are desirable not only for sports recruiters, but also for scholarship committees, directors of admissions, and hiring managers who are looking for hard-working candidates.
4. Include information about their education and extracurricular activities in the letter
Including information about the student’s education and extracurricular activities shows that the student is a well-rounded candidate. For example, you might mention that they maintained a good GPA while playing on your team. Athletic recruiters tend to appreciate this balance, as most college athletic programs require athletes to maintain a certain GPA. Other recipients also appreciate the student’s ability to multi-task as it is indicative of the student’s industriousness. You can also mention other clubs or volunteer activities the student is involved in.
5. Add a conclusion
In the last paragraph, state the purpose of the letter. Highlighting your support for a student can convince selection committees that he is a good fit for their program. You can also ask the recipient to contact you if they would like to discuss the student’s qualifications in more detail. Your conclusion can be a simple but professional phrase like Sincerely or Best Regards. Under the closing section, write your name, job title, organization, phone number, and email address.
Tips for writing a letter of recommendation for a student athlete
Here are some tips for writing a letter of recommendation for a student athlete:
Write a letter one page or less. Busy sports recruiters and admissions directors usually appreciate short letters of recommendation. One page or less is often sufficient to emphasize the student’s qualifications and prevent unnecessary information from being included.
Ask the student to provide information. It is clear that you do not know everything about student performance and extracurricular activities. You can ask them for an extract from your high school diploma or talk to their mentors to get more information for your letter.
Subtract the letter. After writing the letter, ask yourself and a colleague to review it. Writing with good grammar and no typos can build your credibility.
Send an email. You can print the letter on your organization’s stationery and mail it to the address provided by the student. You can also seal the letter in an envelope and give it to the student to submit with the application.
Student Athlete Letter of Recommendation Template
Here is the Student Athlete Letter of Recommendation Template:
Dear [name of recipient],
[Introductory paragraph explaining the purpose of the letter and briefly describing your qualifications]
[One or two paragraphs about the student’s athletic and educational achievements, including other extracurricular activities]
[Final paragraph stating your support for the student and encouraging the recipient to contact you with questions]
[name of your organization]
[Your phone number]
[Your email address]
Example of a letter of recommendation for a student athlete
Here is an example of a letter of recommendation for a student athlete:
Laguna Beach Swim Team 9 0003
December 14 2021
Dear Sir. Erline,
I am honored to write this letter of recommendation for Misha Karolina. Misha was part of my swim team at Diamond High School and I’m sure she’s a good fit for the Laguna Beach program.
Misha is one of the most talented players I have worked with in my 15 years of coaching. Her natural athleticism impressed me as a freshman when she made the Varsity team despite her lack of prior training. She committed to improving by being receptive to feedback and spending many hours training outside of training. Throughout her high school career, she was able to break several high school records and cover an average distance of 30 seconds in the 50m freestyle.
No less impressive than Misha’s athletic abilities are her academic achievements. She used the same dedication to earn a 3.9 GPA, volunteer at a local animal shelter, and join the school’s reading club. After talking with her peers and teachers, I realized that she demonstrates impressive leadership qualities and perseverance in all areas of her life.
I want to say again that Misha is a great fit for the Laguna Beach program. I believe that her athletic abilities can help your team just as they helped mine. In addition, you will welcome a student whose positivity and dedication infect everyone around. Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to know more about my experience as Misha’s trainer. Thank you very much for your time and attention.
Head Swimming Coach
Diamond High School
Mutko’s parents wrote a letter in support of Coach UOR
9000 2 Anton Olshannikov
© URA News Service .RU»
Vitaly Mutko and Leonid Rapoport should soon receive letters from the parent committee of UOR No. 1 Photo: Anton Belitsky © URA.Ru
Three dozen parents and five coaches expressed their support for the biathlon coach being dismissed from the Novouralsk branch of the Olympic Reserve School Galina Sotnikova . They sent their appeal (a copy is at the disposal of the agency) to UOR No. 1 itself, the Ministry of Sports of the Russian Federation, the regional Ministry of Sports, the Russian Biathlon Union and political parties.
“It is very difficult to convey the feelings of the children studying with the coach Sotnikova G.V., when they learned that their coach, mentor and teacher, was being fired. It is stress, tears and despair. She has been working at the Novouralsk branch of the UOR since its foundation. During this time, this coaching staff has done a lot of work: the backbone of athletes has been formed, connections have been made with the coaches of the region and other regions, weapons have been purchased, a weapons storage room has been put into operation, and most importantly, a comfortable, favorable atmosphere has been created in the children’s team … In addition , there are also good sports results, for which we sent our children to this institution … We ask you not to allow the arbitrariness of officials and not to allow our coach Sotnikova G. V. to be fired, to give our children the opportunity to train in a calm, comfortable environment under the guidance of an experienced coach ” , the parents write.
Trainer Sotnikova, as URA.Ru has already said, the leadership of the UOR intends to replace with the young and inexperienced Natalia Bashkirova . At the same time, parents do not speak out against the latter and believe that it is possible to find resources for the employment of both coaches.
The reason for replacing Sotnikova, according to the team, was Sotnikova’s increased civic activity and the habit of asking “direct and uncomfortable questions”, although the basis was a formal reason. Individual appeals were also written in defense of the coach. The mother of a graduate of the Novouralsk branch of UOR No. 1 was indignant at the unfair attitude towards the coach.
“The management of the SAEI SPO SO “UOR No. 1 (college) accused Galina Vasilievna of distributing athletes to other territories and, on the basis of this, dismissing the coach. I consider this arbitrariness … My daughter is passionate about this sport, thanks to Sotnikova G.V. today she cannot imagine herself without biathlon and wants to connect her life with this professional choice. Galina Vasilievna, like a real teacher, supported this aspiration in the athlete, teaching her not only the technical wisdom of biathlon, but also endurance and determination. How can you fire a coach like that? What kind of localism in the views of leadership? Did the children commit a betrayal by going to another region to study? What law in Russia has been violated to blame and fire a coach for this?! Or is there someone’s personal motives here? ”The parent writes.
The Ministry of Sports has not yet received a letter from representatives of the parent committee of the Sverdlovsk UOR No. 1.
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