Initial Contact

If you’re a standout athlete, be prepared to be contacted by some college coaches on June 15 or sometime soon thereafter.  You may receive calls, texts or emails from some of the coaches whose questionnaires you filled out.  Additionally, via social media, your high school coaches, or your high school guidance counselors, you may be contacted by other college coaches who have been following your progress through Milesplit. 

The initial contact might be a brief conversation, with the coach’s goal being to express an interest in you and to arrange a follow-up session.  Remember, coaches are making many calls on June 15.  It’s possible that the coach calls to speak directly to your parents, and not you.  It’s also probable that the call is a lengthy conversation.  Be prepared to show some knowledge about the program and the coach’s background; and be prepared with questions to ask the coach as well as talking points about yourself.  But, you probably won't get everything covered in the initial conversation. You want to be thoughtful, engaging and relaxed, while not sounding arrogant.  Take notes because it's all going to become a blur. 

 

It's not recommended to initiate a discussion about money during the first conversation.  It's quite possible that a coach presents an offer in the early stages of your communications. If not, as the relationship between you and the coach develops, it's appropriate to ask if scholarship money will become available in the coming year for your event and what you need to achieve to earn a scholarship.  You build the relationship when you and the coach learn important information about each other.

Over the course of multiple conversations, coaches would want to know the following about you:

  • Your academic capabilities

  • Your athletic strengths

  • Event preferences

  • Areas you’re working to strengthen

  • Typical week of training

  • How many rest weeks do you take over a one-year period

  • High school goals

  • Relationships with high school coaches and teammates

  • What value you could add to the college program

  • What’s your goal as a collegiate athlete

  • What are you looking for in a team

  • What do you like about that college’s track program

  • What are you looking for in a coach

  • Why are you interested in the university

  • What concerns do you have about the university

  • What’s your intended major

  • What’s your schedule for taking standardize exams

  • Are you interested in abroad studies

  • Are you seeking financial aid

  • Do you see yourself going pro

Over the course of multiple conversations, you would want to know the following about the coaches:

  • What are your strengths as a coach

  • Who would be my primary coach/my primary training group

  • How would you help me improve my signature event

  • Can you run me through a typical week of practice for my event

  • What goals do you have for your team this upcoming season

  • What impact do you see me having on your program

  • What events do you see me contesting in your program

  • Would I have a say in which events I contest

  • Can you run me through the recruiting time line as to when commitments are made and binding

  • I know that you are recruiting two classes, how is the recruiting going for the other class

  • What are good academic goals to get admitted to your institution

  • What is the team’s GPA

  • What are the most common majors on the team

  • What kind of academic support will I receive

  • Is there flexibility in training hours to take into account exams, course conflicts, etc.

  • Can I meet with you on an unofficial visit

  • Are there current athletes on the team I can speak with

  • How can I update you on my progress

  • Are there opportunities to earn a scholarship for your program

  • If you were to leave the university, how would that affect any commitment made

  • When does your coaching contract expire

You may not be contacted by some of the coaches whose questionnaires you filled out.  Don’t limit yourself to coaches who have contacted you; you should pursue all the programs that you are interested in.  Send emails to introduce yourself to coaches who did not contact you after you filled out their questionnaires.  In a letter format, you want to include certain basic information:

  • Your name

  • High school and location

  • Personal records for two to three signature events

  • Highest level of competition, highest achievement

  • Reference an athlete on the coach’s team with a similar profile as you

  • Congratulate the coach on a recent accomplishment

  • Request an opportunity to talk to the coaches at their convenience

Follow Up

After your initial conversation with the coaches who have expressed interest in you, send each an email to thank them for taking the time to speak to you about the potential for you to join their collegiate program.  Personalize the correspondence by mentioning something positive that was discussed in the conversation and a particular strength of the program.  Provide any additional information that the coach had requested, like a transcript.  Reiterate your desire to continue the dialogue at the coach’s convenience.  Make no mention of scholarships.

Other Steps