Today is the second of a six part series designed to help student-athletes and their parents know what to expect at the various stages of the recruiting process. I briefly explained these stages in the post, Recruiting – Gauging Their Level Of Interest; I will be going into greater detail at each step to help you maximize each of these opportunities to market yourself.
In addition to these written posts, I have recently launched my YouTube Channel that deals specifically with the recruiting process. The channel can be found here : The YouCanDoMore YouTube Channel, and the complete playlist can be viewed here.
When I initially designed the “Level of Interest Pyramid” I distinguished the difference between email or text messages, and phone calls. At that point in time (prior to January 2013) the NCAA considered these as separate categories and had different rules governing each. In January 2013, the NCAA changed their rules governing these communications, essentially grouping them together and eliminating the numerical limits on both.
As far as gauging a level of interest a school has in a prospect, there is still significant difference between a text message or email, and a phone call. A text or email message does indicate that the recruiting coach is in the process of developing a relationship with you. A text or email message does indicate a higher level of interest. But, texts or emails can still me done “en masse”. Any elementary student with a cell phone knows how to send a group email or text message and knows how to copy and paste parts of one email into another. A phone call is different.
When a college coach takes the time to actually call you and talk on the phone, it is an indication of a fairly high level of interest. It is something that has to be done individually and is unique to you. You cannot do it in a group, or copy and paste like you can with email or text. Things are getting serious at this level!
Your responses to text, email, or phone calls will be important. Remember, the recruiting coach is still evaluating you at this juncture, and will be right up until the point in time that you sign your National LOI (Letter of Intent). Some suggestions.
- Your response to text or email should be relatively brief. Keep in mind that this coach is probably actively recruiting 30 or more athletes at this point in the process.
- Make sure your response casts you in a positive light, and honestly conveys your level of interest.
- Be careful of your language and keep the communications mature and “professional”.
- Be mindful of the nature of text or email – sometimes your emotions or intended meaning can be misconstrued. The coach does not have your voice inflection or facial expressions to give him cues as to what you are saying or what you are meaning.
More than likely these texts or emails from your recruiting coach will be “light” in nature – probably just asking things like “How did your game go?”, “How is your week going?” “Good luck on your Spanish test” etc. The main thing that the coach is trying to convey is that they are interested in you.
When you get a phone call from your recruiting coach keep these things in mind. Speak clearly and confidently. Be prepared for some questions –
- Have you heard from any other colleges?
- Have you set up any official visits?
- Has any college made an offer to you?
- Do you have any questions about our football program or college?
If you do have any questions that have come up since they visited you in person at school, or your parent(s) have questions, now is the time to ask them. Remember this – unless the coach specifically asks to speak with your parent, you be the one to talk. A coach wants to know you are mature enough, and independent enough to speak for yourself. They will want to talk directly to you, not your parent, uncle, or a friend who is acting as your “agent”
I also think it is important to communicate any limits you (or your parents) want to set regarding these communications. If the recruiting coach knows that you only want to hear from him via text or email once a week, or not after a particular time at night, then it should be respected. Make sure that the limit you are setting for one coach, you set for all the coaches that are recruiting you. All of the coaches and all of the colleges that are recruiting you will want there to be a “level playing field”.
Use all of these mediums (email, text and phone call) to help get you one step closer to making an informed decision as to where you would like to get your education and participate in intercollegiate athletics. Use it wisely, too, as part of an overall marketing plan – helping to make you Wanted…. and Rewarded!
Thanks for the comments and questions – keep ’em coming!
Jeff Floyd – firstname.lastname@example.org