In a perfect world, a coach from a high school player’s dream school will call them up one day, express their interest, and the player will find themself on campus a year or two later. Unfortunately, this is not the case for most high school players, and players need to learn how to properly reach out to schools of interest and effectively market themselves.
For most high school players and their families, contacting a college baseball coach is an unfamiliar process, and there can be confusion around the best practices for doing so. In general, the best contact method is email, but in this article, we will discuss the following methods and when they are appropriate:
- Phone Call
- Social Media
- In Person
- Word of Mouth
Regardless of the method used to contact coaches, being professional, clear, and concise are critical to improving the chances a coach is responsive and reciprocates interest. Before reading on, check out our article discussing the do’s and don’t when talking to college coaches as it provides some additional insight that applies to using any of the contact methods on this list.
In almost all circumstances, the initial outreach to any college coach should be done with an email. Email is the most appropriate method for a few reasons, the first being it doesn’t put a college coach on the spot. With an email, a college coach has the ability to look at it on their own time and will not be caught off guard, which can happen with a phone call for example.
Email is also the easiest to for a player to add information they want to pass along to the college coach. This could be a prospect video, season schedule, or stats. Chances are a college coach won’t write this down if given over the phone or in person. Again, it allows the college coach to view the information on their own time, while also saving it to look back on at a later date.
Overall, email is the best option as it can be a professional and considerate way for a player to express their interest in a school, while also providing the necessary information for the college coach to determine if there is interest in the player.
2. Phone Call
Phone calls are best used after establishing a relationship with a college coach, and it is clear that there is mutual interest. Cold calling a college coach is difficult because they are often busy and unable to take calls, and it is also harder to deliver information over the phone. After there has been some back-and-forth communication, however, it is appropriate for a player to call a college coach, especially if the college coach invited the player to call with any questions.
It is also appropriate for a player to call a college coach if the college coach called them first. In fact, we always recommend responding to a college coach in the same form of communication used by the college coach. For example, if a player has a missed call from a college coach, they should call them back instead of responding back by text or email. Of course, if the college coach asks for a text or email response, then this rule of thumb doesn’t apply.
Texting with a college coach should really only be used after the college coach has established texting as an appropriate form of communication. If a college coach asks for regular schedule updates through text, this is by all means appropriate. Though texting is generally informal, it is important to maintain professionalism and text with good grammar, and keep the messages short and relevant. Sending unsolicited messages and run-on messages can make a negative impression. Remember that college coaches are very busy, and messages that are straight to the point are generally the best way to go.
4. Social Media
It is becoming increasingly popular for college coaches to use social media as a form of recruiting. Players should not send unsolicited messages or tag college coaches in their posts. However, players can use their social media platforms as online profiles to give updates on upcoming schedules, past performances, and general updates regarding their careers. If a college coach initiates direct contact on social media, then it is appropriate to respond.
It is recommended that players who are serious about playing baseball in college dedicate their social media to their sport with the mindset that it is to serve as a recruiting profile. This means keeping it clean and on topic. It can create a negative impression if a college coach views a player’s profile and it is inappropriate and vindictive of poor off-the-field behavior. Additionally, a college coach is much less likely to read through a bunch of unrelated content to try and find their prospect video post or upcoming schedule.
5. In Person
The appropriate times to approach a college coach in person are pretty much limited to showcases, prospect camps, and at high school or summer ball games in certain circumstances. At showcases and prospect camps, we actually recommend players approach college coaches to briefly introduce themselves and express their interest in the coach’s program. In the event a college coach is at a game to watch a specific player, that player should definitely introduce themself to the coach. Outside of those scenarios, it is not generally recommended to approach college coaches, for instance, showing up unannounced at their office should be avoided.
6. Word of Mouth
There is nothing wrong with a player asking their current high school or summer coach to reach out to a school for them. However, this should be done in tandem with the player’s own outreach. A player shouldn’t rely on anyone else to market themself, but help from a current coach can quickly validate a player’s skillset to a college coach.
While more popular in prior decades, traditional mail is becoming less and less common a communication method for college recruiting. With the exception of sending a prospect video in the mail by request of a college coach, sending anything by mail is probably not the best option. While the personalized intent of a handwritten letter may be good, it is less likely that a college coach will take the time to read and respond by mail. In these cases, an email will be much faster and more efficient.