Your Guide to Personal Outreach

Marketing yourself to the College Coach

You are tired of sitting around hoping for that college coach to come to you.
You wish to take your recruiting efforts into your own hands.
While the numbers are low, every once in a while, reaching out to a college coach can yield you a good result.
It is important to note that a college coach is not attracted to the email sent through a recruiting service. You will get better results if you personally send your emails.
We have put together this guide to ensure that you approach your outreach with the right mentality and the proper strategy to maximize your chance at getting a response.

To start... the factors that determine the outcome of an athlete's recruitment:


These are the things the coach will be interested in and will be how he determines if you are worth watching.
Devise your messages to the college coach with this in mind.

Desire - If you did not desire to play at the coach's university, you would not be reaching out. Step 1 is covered.
Grades - It does not matter if you are the best player in the country, if you do not meet the minimum requirements set forth by the NCAA, you will not be playing college ball. Beyond that, many universities have their own, even stricter grade requirements.
The college coach's inbox is full of talented, ineligible recruits. Including academic information in your outreach will let the coach know that he is not wasting his time watching an ineligible player's film.
Football Skills (speed kills!) - For the most part, this can only be done with your film. Coaches do not put too much weight on stats and accolades. They put weight on what they see on tape!
You can include stats and accolades in your message, but only if your message stays pleasant to look at (no one likes reading long paragraphs!)
If you run track, your track times are great to include in the message. A screenshot to PROVE it is even better.
Height and Weight - Coaches are superficial. If you are a baller at 5'8"....they would far rather have a baller in your same position at 5'10". It is unfortunate because sometimes we can be screwed by genetics, but that's life.
A coach will be interested in you if you fit the profile of his ideal recruit. Include your height and weight in the email and the coach will know what he is getting into when he decides whether or not to watch your film.
Leadership - Coaches love captains! Include the fact that you are the captain of your team. It shows you are talented and have strong character. A great addition to a team.

What to expect

Every year, there are thousands of athletes who want the attention from a college coach.  
College coaches at big time universities have their inboxes absolutely FLOODED with emails and DMs from these athletes, most of which do not fit the profile of that schools' ideal recruit.
Because of that, you are unlikely to get your email opened when you send it to a coach at a big school. Even less likely than an open is a response.
As the school's notoriety shrinks, their inboxes get less and less full of recruits. 
At the Division 2, 3 and NAIA levels, your emails are far more likely to be opened, your videos are far more likely to be watched, and you are far more likely to get a response.
These universities have less resources than the Division 1 schools, so they naturally will be more open to athlete's coming to them especially when you follow the guidelines we lay forth on this page.

Getting a Coach's Contact Info

Step 1: Do not pay a service simply to email coaches. Coach contact information is, for the vast majority of college programs, made accessible to the public.Step 2: Head to the program's roster on the university athletics website.Step 3: Find "Coaching Staff". It may be on the same page, it may have a link above the athlete roster to take you to a separate page.
Different universities have different roster presentations. Some school's will have their coach's phone, email, and social media. Other universities will provide some combo of one or more of those channels. Other universities will provide no contact information at all.

When the roster has no contact information

If the university does not present the coach's contact information, it is likely because it is a Division 1 program and its recruiting process does not at all depend on athletes reaching out to the coaching inbox.
However, that does not mean you cannot find their info and give it a shot.
In this case, here is what you will do to find the contact info:
Step 1: Google search for the university's faculty directory.Step 2: Search for the names of the coach's on the roster in the directory.

Personal Marketing


Your personal outreach campaign is simply a marketing campaign.
Prepare your approach like a marketer, execute your plan like a marketer, and expect results like a marketer.
Do those 3 things and you may find some success.
So what exactly does that mean?

Prepare like a Marketer

"Failing to prepare is preparing to fail."

That goes for an email marketing campaign, it goes for the game of football, and it goes for most other aspects in life.

Create the best highlight tape you can, following the AO Highlight Tape Guide.
Create a list of schools you would like to attend. - Create a large, diverse set of schools. That means schools at EVERY DIVISION. When you limit your list, you limit your results.
At each school you choose, reach out to the coordinator on your side of the ball and the position coach.
Draft your message following the guideline we draw out below.
BE REALISTIC - Yes, we would all love to play at Clemson, Alabama, Stanford and the like. Their ideal recruit is a special kind of athlete that most of us do not qualify as.
These schools also have rigorous recruiting processes and do not sit in their email inbox waiting for the top 1% of recruits in the country to email them. Your film will most likely not be watched and your emails will likely go unopened/unresponded.

Still want to reach out? That is fine, but DO NOT limit your emails to top schools like this. Have a diverse set of schools.
Keep it short and sweet and grab them with the subject line - The subject line is everything in email outreach.  
Once they open the email, do not write an essay on why you want to go to their school. That won't matter.
Your numbers (grades, height, weight) matter and your performance on film matters.

Execute and expect results like a Marketer

Email marketing is all a numbers game. 
You send out 1000 emails and only expect 100 to be opened.
Of those 100, maybe 10 will be interested.  
Approach your outreach with this in mind.
Depending on who you are sending your emails to, your numbers may not be as dismal as the ones a marketer expects.
But don't call your efforts a failure after 10 emails go unreplied.
Follow up!
If you do not get an open/response right away, wait a few months and try again.  

Good email template

Illustration

Not so good email template

Illustration

Notice the difference between the above messages...

In Closing...

Remember, your rates of success here are going to be higher and higher as the size/notoriety/division of the schools go down.
This is a great move to try to secure an offer/relationship with a smaller university as you work for that D1 opportunity.
Be proactive. Reaching out during the winter of your season is going to only decrease your chance at garnering interest. Reach out during your sophomore and junior years.
Be persistent. It is a numbers game! Hit up lots of coaches and follow up with them when you do not hear back.
Be prepared. Create your highlight tape, plan your approach, prepare your messages.  
The preparation that matters most is done on the field and in the film room.