March 3, 2014

College Volleyball Recruiting Outreach

Coach -

Thanks for all your thoughts and suggestions in the past -- and most recently your thoughts on short intro letters and video links.

My daughter (Class of 2017) sent out some intro emails/video over the last 10 days or so.  She covered our state pretty well at the D1 level and also some D1 schools in neighboring states.  She also hit the Ivies and a couple dream schools/programs.  They've pretty much all been D1, but it was a mix of big schools and smaller.  The schools she sent emails to range from a few traditional powerhouse programs to teams ranked as low as 300 or so.  Honestly, we didn't even look at the school's rank in determining who to contact, we were more focused on the geographic area at this point.

It's been interesting to see the responses, and maybe we're starting to get an idea of the level where she will project.  We've had responses from teams in the top 50, and some much lower than that.  None of the powerhouses have responded.  But then again, neither have a lot of lower ranked schools.  She's still very young, so who knows how it will all turn out.  

It's clear that the responses are basically form letters, which not surprising.  There are bits and pieces in many of them that show some "human" element, but I still suspect that they are essentially form letters.  Some seem more personal than others -- perhaps just better form letters.

But, that raises a couple of questions.  Do most coaches who look at an email send some sort of a response?  There are still a lot more schools that didn't respond at all, but responses are still coming in (two more today) -- and it's only been 10 days.  Does everyone get the same response?  Or are there responses for prospects that you're interested in, and other responses for those you are not?  I've been surprised how many coaches have given their cell phone number and an invitation to that par for the course?  Honestly, if I were in their position, I'm not sure I'd want my cell number out there.  I suspect that PSAs (and their parents) could make a coach's life a little difficult.  But maybe that's just part of the job.

As always, thank you for your thoughts and advice.  We appreciate your help. R.P.

Glad to help and my edoor is always open!!!

College program's response to outreach efforts from recruits depends on their staffing.  The better staffed the program, the quicker and more 'personal' the response may be.  Not all DI's are created equal and you would be stunned at how poorly some NCAA Division I Athletic Departments support their volleyball teams.  

In general, there is a standard response email/letter for when a PSA reaches out to the program, based upon the PSA's year in school.  There is also consideration provided to what region of the country the PSA is from; a California/Texas/Hawaii kid will get a better/quicker response than a kid from Alabama/New Jersey/New Hampshire.

There will be a different letter send based upon if the recruit emailed the coach, or if the coach saw a PSA at an event and emailed them.  This is all part of managing the PSA database which can easily run into the 500's with a graduation year which has multiple scholarships available.

College coaches are scared of missing that one 'needle in a haystack' recruit, and because of this will give out their cell phone number; but giving out the cell phone number and answering the cell phone are two different matters!

It sounds like you folks are going about the process well, and using the outreach letter as a research/filtering mechanism which so many families never figure out to do!

Good luck!

Coach Matt

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