Day 19 – Contacting University and College Coaches

This is the nineteenth day of our team’s virtual mid-season training camp. Each day, there will be a short assignment for you to do to continue your development. These assignments are mandatory for players and coaches. Parents are also encouraged to participate.

Today, we’re going to talk about how you should contact university coaches and recruiters. In most cases, you should initiate contact by email. This email should serve as an introduction. You want to show the coach that you’ve researched their program and have the potential to be a student athlete with their team.

Many schools now have online recruiting questionnaires that they’ll want you to fill out, but you should still start with a personal email to the coach. Before you start a recruiting questionnaire, you’ll want to have completed your Athletic Profile. Most of the questions will be answered by your profile.

  1. Before you start, be sure to do some basic research about the school and the team. First, make sure that the school offers the program of study that you are interested in. As for the team, at a minimum you should know the coaches names, the nickname of the team and where they are in the standings.
  1. Keep it personal. You don’t want to be sending out dozens and dozens of impersonal messages. Coaches see hundreds of emails from prospects and they know right away if you’re using a form letter. Remember, coaches are looking for good students who LOVE hockey.
  1. Keep it short. Limit your message to three or four paragraphs. If you have more to cover, that would be included in your attached Athletic Profile. You are just trying to highlight the key information and things that will make you stand out.
  1. Send the message directly to the Head Coach. If the team website lists a Recruiter, you should also copy them on the message. It is okay to also copy one of your parents in the message. Coaches do not expect high school students to navigate this process on their own.
  1. The SUBJECT line is critical. Make sure that the coach wants to open the message. Include your name, position and graduating year in the subject.
  1. Start with something that shows you know a bit about the team and the school. You might comment on where they are in the standings or that you are looking forward to watching a game live.
  1. Include your general information. Your name, graduation year, high school, current team and jersey number. You might also want to drop in a head shot (ideally in your hockey jersey) so that the coach can find you at the rink.
  1. Include your contact information. Your email and phone number and the email and phone number of your coach.
  1. Include the contact information for your coach. Email and phone number. In some cases for U.S. schools, coaches may have rules that they must contact you through your coach.
  1. Athletics: Summarize how you will be able to help their team. If you are the leading scorer or the captain of your team, let them know. Are you a top defender with a big shot or a tireless forechecker? What other sports and teams do you play on?
  1. Include your basic academic information: Your graduating year, high school average (% or GPA), test scores (if relevant) and program(s) of choice at the university or college.
  1. Let them know where and when they can watch you play. You might provide a link to your team calendar. Let them know about any showcase tournaments your team will be playing in. Many schools have summer camps that are run by the coaches and players on the team. This is a great way to meet the coaches.
  1. Attach your Athletic Profile. For more information on putting your Athletic Profile together, see this post.
  1. Attach any reference letters that you have from coaches or teachers. It may be easier for you to just include these in the same file as your Athletic Profile.
  1. Include a link to your highlight video. We’ll talk more about video in a separate post. Do not send video files. A link to a video in YouTube is better. You can always keep it up to date by doing it this way. If you don’t have one ready yet, it can wait.
  1. BEFORE YOU SEND IT… Have several people proof read it for you. Check all your grammar and spelling. A favourite coach will be able to look at it from the perspective of a recruiting coach.

Sample Email to a Coach

SUBJECT: Veronica Smith #17 (C/RW) 2024 wants to be a hockey WARRIOR! (Top scorer, All-star and A+ student)

Dear Coach Reagan,

My name is Veronica Smith and I would like the opportunity to be a part of your women’s hockey program. I will be graduating from Ancaster High School in Ancaster, Ontario in 2024 and hope to join your team that fall. I’ve looked at your team roster and noted that you should have some openings on your team at that time.

This week I will be attending your UW Elite Girls Hockey Camp and look forward to meeting you and discussing the possibility of becoming a Warrior in 2024. My current game and tournament schedule is here. [Editor’s note: Normally this would go lower down in the message, but because of the urgency, it was moved up here.]

I am a right-shot center (5’9″/143lbs.), currently playing for Ancaster Avalanche Midget AA as well as varsity hockey for my high school team. My AA coach is Ryan Smith (, 905-444-1234). I’ve led all my teams in scoring for the past four years and had 46 goals last season with my Midget AA team. I play lots of other sports including regional soccer in Burlington where I am playing up a year.

While your hockey program is a part of my interest in the University of Waterloo, a bigger factor is the academic programs offered by the school. I have a 94% average after completing tenth grade. While not completely sure of my plan after graduating, I am interested in studying Engineering or Kinesiology amongst other options that are offered at the University of Waterloo.

I have attached my athlete profile as well as reference letters from my coach and one of my high school coaches. You can watch my highlight video on YouTube here.

If there is anything I can do to help you decide if I am a good fit, please let me know. Hopefully, I can be an important contributor to multiple championships with your team.

Thank you for your time,
Veronica Smith – #17 Ancaster Avalanche Midget AA

Today’s Assignment:

For today…

  1. Complete today’s workout on the TeamBuildr app. Be sure to mark each exercise complete as you finish it.
  1. Think of something unique or interesting that you might want to include in your introductory email to a coach. Post your answer to the team WhatsApp group.