College Recruiting Teammates & Coaches

College Recruiting: Contacting coaches, pt. 3 – How much info is too much?

Previously: Intro || The recruiting timeline + what to consider || What do coaches look at? || Contacting coaches, pt. 1 ||  Contacting coaches, pt. 2

In last week’s post we talked about what to say when emailing coaches and what they specifically want to see in those emails. This week we’re gonna talk about the extent of what you should share and how much is too much when it comes to talking about extracurriculars, academic scores, etc. What you should take away from this is that the relationship you’re creating with the coaches is a professional one, thus you should only be sharing what’s important and relevant at any given time.

“How much info is too much” was a question posed to the panel of coaches at NRC. Kate Maloney (Williams College) started off by saying that the more succinct your email is, the more likely you are to get a response. If your email is very long, contains multiple paragraphs, etc. coaches will lose interest, not because what you have to say isn’t interesting but because they’ve got a lot of things going on and a limited amount of time to get it all done in.

This really reiterates a lot of what was said last week which should be a pretty solid indicator of how much value coaches place on emails that are concise and to the point. Similarly to a paper you’d write for school, don’t be afraid to have a couple drafts of your email if you need to where you progressively edit it down to just what needs to be said. I’ve posted plenty of examples on here (in the last several weeks alone) that should make this relatively easy to do.

Related: College recruiting: Contacting coaches, pt. 2 – What do coaches want to see in an email?

You might think that you need to lay everything out up front in order to pique their interest but 95% of that “extra stuff” that you’d include isn’t relevant right then. It’s like laying out your entire life story on a first date – it just comes off as trying way too hard to sell yourself and the person on the other side of the table is gonna get bored. Plus, if you put it all out there in the beginning, it’s unlikely they’ll remember everything you say so you’ll just have to repeat it again anyways and/or it limits what you’ll have to talk about in future conversations. The further into the recruiting process you get, the more info you can share because that’s when coaches will start asking you about your extracurriculars, why you think rowing will be a positive asset to your college experience, etc. By this point (presumably a few months into the game) they’ll have enough info to take to the admissions department and say “this is what Emily can bring to the community”.

An alternative to word-vomitting in your into email is to include your relevant stats, academic info, etc. in a resume and send it along as an attachment. This allows you to include a few more details in a much more easily digestible format and gives the coaches a chance to get to it when they have time. Ed  Slater from Trinity College suggested this and several coaches agreed that they’d much prefer a resume (provided it’s professional looking and not just sloppily thrown together) than a dense detail-filled email. Something he said to avoid doing though (regardless of whether it’s in a resume or email) is to leave out “projected” scores – projected 2ks, GPAs, SAT/ACTs, etc. He used an example where he received an email from a prospective recruit that didn’t say what his current score was and the score that was given wasn’t representative of where he was at at that time. Instead of omitting stuff like that and thinking coaches aren’t going to notice or care, just be up front and say that your GPA, 2k, whatever isn’t where you want it to be yet but it’s something you’re actively working on to improve.

Another question that was spun off the “how much info is too much” one was about multi-sport athletes and whether or not that was something coaches would be interested in hearing about, to which everyone responded with a unanimous “YES”. This is definitely something you can briefly mention in your intro email and then get more into later as you start talking more. Multi-sport athletes are great because being an athlete and learning over the course of many seasons how to win, what it takes to get better at something, etc. are important traits that can give you a an edge because it shows coaches that you understand what it means to be passionate and committed to something.

It also helps because an athlete who pulls a 6:30 2k and only rows in the spring season but is a captain on the swim team and has set a school record in the butterfly is going to stand out a bit more than an athlete with a 6:30 2k who rows year round. (That in no way however means that you should go pick up another sport right now just to say you’re a multi-sport athlete and it’s not saying that you’re at some monumental disadvantage if you only participate in one sport.)

Next week: Laying out who you are and contacting coaches if you’re not a senior

Image via // Sofia Donnecke

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