You want to email a college coach. But what should you write?

Email is an easy way to say hello to a coach and to learn about a team. Your first message can be simple: Say a few things about your season and school year, tell the coach what you like about the program, and link to your CaptainU profile. Coaches can’t connect on a personal level until your junior year, but you can give your high school coach’s contact info and let them talk. If you don’t hear back, then keep the talk going—follow up with updates on your season and school year.

It’s time to get a coach’s attention. You’re excited about his or her team and want to make sure you’re on the radar. Reach out with emails, an easy way to let the coach know you as a person and an athlete. Some of what you write in your emails will depend on your sport and your year of high school, but the basic idea is the same for everyone: help the coach remember you and your passion.

Your first message sticks to basics. This one kick-starts the conversation. Introduce yourself and say why you care about the coach’s program. Share a few things about how your season is going and how you’re getting better at your sport. Add something about your classwork and what you do to be a good student. The coach will like getting a sense of you.

Be sure to reach out with an athletic resume or profile. This helps coaches better know you as an athlete! When you reach out with CaptainU’s “mail” tab, your message always includes a link to your profile. So make sure the coach has plenty to look at on your page. Keep your profile loaded with highlight and skills videos, action pictures, and coach and teammate endorsements.

There’s a chance the coach won’t get back to you, at least not right away. It’s OK to follow up. Write again with more info about your season. You can also share your schedule—mention any camps or clinics you’ll attend so the coach knows he or she will have a way to see you play in person.

If you don’t hear back from a coach, then your age might be the reason. Because of NCAA rules, Division I coaches can’t send you general emails until around September 1 of your junior year. If you’re looking at Division I schools but aren’t yet a junior, share your current high school or club coach’s contact info—they can chat more about what you’re looking for in a program! You can also reach out to college coaches and ask them about any showcases or ID camps they’re going to host or attend. College coaches are able to respond to these general!

Feel free to follow up again if you still don’t hear back. Show the coach you keep an eye on his or her program. Send your congrats for the big win the team pulled out against a big rival. Tell the coach you’re excited to see the team do well and to picture yourself being part of those wins in the future.

With all of these emails, take them seriously. Be yourself—your greatest self. Use your best writing and show the coach respect. Make the most of each message, and the coach’s time, by asking a few good questions and doing your part to learn more about the team.

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