Somewhat often, I receive questions from customers re: the how-to of recruiting. I received another request for advice yesterday afternoon from a women’s volleyball customer. The question had three parts.

  • Photo via the Associated Press

    How often should I reach out to coaches?

  • Should I reach out to only the head coach, or assistant coaches and graduate assistants, too?
  • There are 100-200 schools that the athlete I’m working with is interested in. Is there a way we can send emails all at once? Sending that many seems like a lot.

I’m not a recruiting expert or a specialist, but I’m closing in on five years of running this company and being in this world. I also run the Contact College Coaches marketing, which does email campaigns on most every weekday. So I have some background in these two worlds.

Here was my response to the email I received.

To answer your second question first, I would reach out to everybody. A lot of assistant coaches and graduate assistants are very involved in recruiting, so it’s better to cast a wide net, in my opinion.

I would suggest emailing them every few weeks, if you aren’t up against a hard deadline of some kind. I would send a relatively short, introductory message first — with the basic information, like: height, weight, age, GPA, position, a highlight video, etc. And then follow up every few weeks after that, if you haven’t received any word back.

Related, I would strongly suggest using a mail merge to email all of the coaches at once. You can send them all a message at the same time via a bcc message (outlined here), but a mail-merge would allow you to customize the name in your message — using their first name instead of just saying “Coach” — and also track who’s opened your email and who hasn’t. If a coach hasn’t opened it, then you could try to send a follow-up message and/or a direct message on social media, using that information on our list. I use the YAMM Google Chrome extension for work, and I’d recommend it. It’s only $20 or so for a year, and it’s really easy to use, if you use Chrome.

One of the most-important things you can do is make sure the subject line of your email is a good one — not too long, and be direct by describing what’s in the email. I’m not a recruiting specialist, but I’d imagine something like this would be effective: Athlete X (6-1, senior, MH, 3.8 GPA). The other thing I would really emphasize is to send your emails during the middle of the day, during the week. Don’t send them on weekends, if you can avoid it, as studies have shown that emails are more likely to go unread on weekends.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Good luck with the process!

If you’re looking for advice, feel free to reach out via email at or text (312-210-0535).
-Eric Van Dril (1/22/22)
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