As we learned in our article how to write a cover letter to a college coach, the very best way to introduce yourself to a coach is with a personalized cover letter. At CaptainU we provide a few best practices for writing those introductory cover letters. We also provide 7 things to avoid:
1. Bragging about yourself
"I will be the best player on your team. Give me a full scholarship and I'll win every game for you."
You can't make the team just by having a strong cover letter, but the wrong first impression could result in you not getting a chance. Be confident and professional without bragging about your accomplishments. The cover letter is to introduce yourself and get on that coach's radar, when this happens the coach will then judge your ability through your performance, not words on your cover letter.
2. Putting coaches to sleep
"I am very interested in being on your team which is a really, really good team at a college which is right for me because I am a pretty good student with a 3.3 GPA."
Zzzzzzzzzz. Nap time. Coaches have stacks of cover letters from athletes that often say the same things. Try to stand out and keep your cover letter crisp and to the point to avoid boredom for coaches reading them. Include your CaptainU recruiting profile as a link so the coach can dive deeper into your GPA, highlights and other personal information.
3. Begging for their attention
"I know you're very, very busy, but if you can find the time, I would love for you to send me some information about your team."
Be confident, not desperate. You want the coach to know that you are a great candidate for his or her team and for the school. Begging sends a message of desperation or that you are intimidated by the opportunity. Portraying confidence (not arrogance) will let the coach know that you mean business and are serious about their program and your future.
4. Asking for too much
"I look forward to being flown out on an official recruiting visit." Or, "Please send one of your scouts to watch my game in Timbuktu."
Be respectful of the coach's time. The cover letter is an introductory note to get the process going, so don't assume that just because you're reaching out the coach is going to bet the farm on you. Instead, send the coach a high school or club schedule in a later message so they can come watch you play at a time that works for them.
5. Using clichés
"In college, academics will be my first priority."
Coaches have heard that line a million times. As a student-athlete this mindset is expected. Try to be original with your letter and avoid saying things that everyone says. You want to stand out and not just be another email or paper in the stack. Be original, and specific about your story to make a lasting impression.
6. Stating your name in the first sentence
"Dear Coach Firooz, my name is Chadwick Bugg and I am a senior at Tiberius Claudius High School in San Francisco, California."
Your letterhead already says who you are. Instead, use your first sentence to state your purpose and attract the coach's attention. Let the coach know why you're writing them, and why you're interested in their school. Be specific; coaches love that you have done your research and aren't just spamming as many coaches as you can.
7. Too many 'I's'
"I am interested in your school. I would like to learn more about your team. I would like to come out and visit."
Don't begin every sentence or paragraph with the word "I." Overuse of the word "I"can paint a picture that you are all about yourself and your own accomplishments. No one likes a ball hog. You want the coach to know that your presence will have a positive effect on the program, not just your own aspirations.
Ready to start messaging college coaches? Create your free recruiting profile here.