College Recruiting: How to Approach the Process
As Recruiting Director at Cape Ann, a lot of girls ask me, when should I email coaches? What should I say when I email them? I thought about it and decided it would be a fabulous topic for my first blog about Recruiting.
I believe that there are two avenues as to when you should start emailing coaches, the Division 1 path and the Division 2/3 path. Typically, as you develop as a player, D1 programs identify you sometime in your sophomore year heading into your junior year. Now all of this can vary pending what tier of the divisions you are looking at or being looked at by. D1 coaches can’t send you personal contact until September 1st of your junior year. Everything prior will be generic camp/clinic email or all contact will be through Chris, the club’s owner, or one of your team’s coaches. You aren’t allowed to take an official visit to any D1, D2, or D3 program until your senior year. You can visit the campus as much as you want, but the school won’t pay for any expenses prior to your senior year. Typically with your D1 programs, the official visit is after your commitment to the program.
D1 & D3 are a bit different yet the same concept applies that some schools start recruiting a bit earlier than others. Many will try to build a database of freshmen, sophomores and juniors for camps & clinics. D3 does not have recruiting restrictions, these coaches can contact you whenever! D2 is more like D3 in its recruiting timeline but can have more restrictions like D1. These rules & specifics are something we will go over in our winter College Recruiting Seminar.
There are over 260 field hockey programs in the country throughout all the Divisions. I would suggest the following checklist in order as you prepare to start your recruiting process, BEFORE you even think about emailing.
- Visit the campuses of as many schools as possible; doesn’t matter if you meet with the coach or not. That is certainly a bonus. If you are going to visit the coach make sure you tell them beforehand! Getting a feel for campus size and area will help down the road.
- Decide on as many specifics as possible. Academic status, caliber of the hockey program, location, school size, potential division (talk to Cape Ann coaches), cost etc
- With this list of 20-30 schools, we can then help you narrow that down a bit and prepare you with a Field Hockey Recruits account that will help you manage this entire process under the watchful eye of your recruiting director!
- Identify showcases, junior days, clinics, tournaments & camps that you can attend for these programs. Try to be as cost efficient as possible!
- Personalize your contact with coaches, as they want to feel the love too. Remember that college coaches are handling thousands of recruits, so be consistent and up front with your questions!
Coaches can tell when an email is copy and pasted into every email you are sending to the coaches and just changing the name at the top. Make it school specific. Research the school and find some aspects you like not only about the program you want to play with but also with the school itself. Include PSAT, SAT, and/or ACT scores if you have them or when you are taking them if you haven’t yet. Also include a copy of your unofficial transcript. Make sure you know when you are playing in showcases and tournaments, but don’t just say you’ll be there, invite them to the tournament to watch them play and let them know you will send the schedule along.
Follow these 5 tips on creating your letter to coaches!
- Dear Coach LAST NAME.
- 1st Paragraph is specific to the program you are writing too…season, NCAA, etc
- The next two paragraphs can have info about you and what makes you an ideal candidate for their school.
- Coaches don’t need to know how your softball team is doing or how many wins your team has. They want to know how YOU are doing. Less information the better. Make it quick & easy for coaches to read and get back to you!
- Sign off with specific remark, like an event you are going to next, or a specific question you want answered. This helps draw them to respond if they can!
A Quick Review:
- ACADEMICS FIRST!
- Before you email narrow down your school list by location, size, division, etc.
- Research the schools, find out what you like about the school and program.
- Make the email SCHOOL SPECIFIC.
- I cannot stress this enough, it is important to have a genuine interest.
- Don’t just tell them you’ll be playing somewhere, invite them to come.
- Discuss with your coach about a general idea of where you could look too! We are here to guide & educate you!
Lastly, know that this process is supposed to be fun & as stress free as possible. Do not put timelines on yourself or too much pressure on certain things. Know that you will find the right school that fits your needs!
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email me at Emily@capeannfhc.com
Director of Recruiting