How To Get Recruited
A Guide For Juniors and Parents
On June 16th, we asked college coaches how many recruits they reached out to? In total we received 75 responses, including 55 from D1 coaches. 80% of respondents suggested that they reached out to less than 25 players, with 13% suggesting they reach out to less than 50. This data is critical to prospective student athletes because if you are serious about playing college golf, then you need to attack the problem like you are the one recruiting the coach! How do you do this? Here are some tips:
Do your research
Junior golfers and their families need to understand how ranking relates to the college recruiting process. The data that I have collected over the past several years clearly demonstrates that recruiting is a meritocracy. The tipping point for players seems to be when they are ranked within the top 100 of their class and have scoring differentials of at least -1 or better on National Junior Golf Scoreboard (NJGS). These players can expect to receive between 10-15 inquires, depending on several other variables including academics, reputation, skill and physical ability.
For everyone else, the search process is very grueling. My data suggests that the average junior golfer spends about 35 hours emailing coaches, while getting few to no responses. While this can be frustrating, it is also a clear signal; the market is flooded with great players who are emailing coaches and searching for their own opportunities.
If you don’t know where you fit, I suggest you review some of my other articles, which examine how your NJGS ranking relates to opportunities to play college golf. They can be found at: www.golfwrx.com/brendanryan
Tip when emailing coaches: Put in the subject line of the email your NJGS ranking, SAT and GPA and send emails on Wednesday’s or Thursdays, the days coaches are least likely to be on the road traveling with their teams.
Be a fan
Congratulations; your hard work and research has resulted in the coach emailing you back! Now what? In the response to the coach, you should thank them, as well as ask what the best way to communicate with them moving forward. Many older coaches may prefer calls or emails; be malleable to their preference.
If the coach is really interested, it is likely they will want a phone conversation shortly. Keep in mind when having these conversations, coaches have very low expectations; they are used to carrying the conversation and much of it will likely focus on golf. This does not mean however you should not prepare by having both a list of questions, as well as a strong understanding of the golf program including their team scoring average, tournament schedule and facilities. Most importantly, know their recent results and start the conversation with something like “I saw your team played great this week at X event” or “Wow, I saw Y shot 68 yesterday, that’s awesome!” This level of due diligence on your part will go a long way.
Regardless of the conversation, it is important to follow up promptly. My advice here is to send the coach a thank you note, hand written via mail. This demonstrates some investment of time and resources and will surely separate you from other candidates.
Manage your expectations
Keep in mind that many coaches respond to emails with what the industry calls a form letter. These letters are vague responses, which generally say thank you for the interest and keep me up to date on your scores. It is important you interpret these emails correctly; they are not necessarily interested; instead the coach is being polite and is grouping you in with many other prospects that are also keeping them updated.
In addition, emailing coaches without a scoring average of at least 75 or better for boys and 76 or better for girls is unlikely to get a response. This does not mean you cannot play college golf; however, you will likely need to be specific in your search.
Some final thoughts….
College athletics requires individuals who are excellent communicators and promptly respond to email, text and phone calls. Although you may not be used to checking your email each day, I would highly recommend you do. You should also check your junk mail at least once a week. Missing an email sets a very poor precedent in the relationship.
Building a proper rapport with the coach should lead to about 4-6 text messages per week and a phone call about every 7-10 days. If you have not heard from the coach in 5 or more days, I would recommend contacting them via their preferred method of communication.
As a fan, I would also make sure to check their scores every day when the team is competing in a tournament. When results are posted, send the coach a comment, which shows you are interested in the team and their results.
Beyond scores, being a fan in the recruitment process makes a big difference. Junior golfers need to take an active role in their recruitment by liking and following teams on social media and making consistent attempts to reach out to the coach in a constructive way.
Keep in mind that Golf Placement Services has sent 55% of their clients to Division 1 schools, with many going on to play at Major Conference schools. If you need help with your college recruiting process, please consider reaching out to see how we might be able to support you in the pursuit of your dream!
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