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You’re finally ready with your amazing athlete profile, impressive highlight video, and a well-crafted personal email. Here’s the thing, though. If you want to have any hope at connecting with college coaches you first have to get them to open that email. A poorly written subject line means there’s a strong likelihood that you’ll be skipped over. After all, the subject line is first thing coaches see. It’s their first introduction to YOU.
In this post I’ll share 5 tips for better coach email subject lines, to help you contact your potential future coaches and increase your chances at getting your foot in the door!
Coach Email Subject Lines: 5 Tips for volleyball recruits
I wish I could say there is one magic formula for this, but each coach and every institution has a different personality. You and that coach are each looking for the right match, and it may take several tries to get a match that “fits” the best.
My goal in this article is to give you a framework for your coach email subject lines. From there you should read this post for more tips on how to design the content of your email itself, or this one, for help with calling them on the phone (yes, that is still a thing).
Coach Email Subject Lines Tip #1: Keep it Short
With most coaches being in a gym, on a plane, or in a hotel room for much of the year, they are doing more and more of their business on their phones. Since the average width of a mobile screen will display about 5-8 words per line, it’s in your best interest to keep your word count near this amount (usually about 30-40 characters). Keep your email subject line short and sweet, with just enough to spur their recruit-o-meter into taking action and opening up your message.
Hint: If you already have an email address that consists of your first and last name (e.g., Johnny.Tsunami @gmail.com) then you might be able to omit your name in the subject line and save some space. By the way, if you have a not-so-professional sounding email (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org) now might be the time to get a new one.
Remember, they are receiving a ton of emails every day, so keep reading the rest of these tips to avoid being generic so that you can stand out from the rest of their crowded inbox.
Coach Email Subject Lines Tip #2: Use your digits
The human brain is naturally drawn to numbers. A college recruiting coach is drawn to numbers that will help his team. If you have such digits, make them known! Are you tall for your position? Do you have a great vertical jump? A killer SAT score? Putting relevant numbers in the subject line helps attract the eye and may get a coach to click open!
Example: Sally Setter 2021 6’5″ OH…
Coach Email Subject Lines Tip #3: Give them what they want
Put yourself in the coach’s shoes. Think about what it is that they want. Coaches are looking for recruits that will fit in with the vision of their program as well as school level requirements. Do some research. Follow their social media. Watch their games (most schools at least offer live streaming of their home matches). Visit the school’s website. If you live nearby, go to some games in person.
Questions you can ask yourself when doing this research:
- What kind of grades/SAT scores match the academic level of their school?
- What athletic ability level is their team (and can I contribute at that level)?
- What other value can I offer to this school’s program?
Whatever you can highlight, that “thing” goes into the email subject line. For example, if you know the school is highly academic and you have a 4.2 GPA, by all means call that out (in fact if your GPA is that high, call it out no matter what school you’re interested in)! If your grades aren’t quite where you’d like them to be, chose some other fact to share that can help make you marketable.
Example: Sally Setter 6’4″ OH 4.2 GPA…
Coach Email Subject Lines Tip #4: Give them what they need
It’s impossible to know exactly what kinds of conversations coaches are having with various recruits (or what the names on their office white board might be). That said, you can do your best to try to get them to consider you by focusing on helping them fill their needs – especially you’re lucky enough and the timing seems right.
This tip is similar to tip #3 except that you are now looking for specifics in terms of roster positions that the coach needs to fill. Be aware that rosters are worked on at LEAST 2 years in advance for most positions (more for hitters), and in the women’s game much earlier depending on the school. Things to look for as you try to project out to your date of graduation:
- What does their roster look like currently?
- Who will be graduating in your position in the year you would be entering?
- Can you play more than one position and would that make you more marketable?
Once you find out what their roster needs look like, you have another item to include in your coach email subject lines. For example, if a school will graduate three middles in the same year as you (a middle) will be looking to enter, DEFINITELY emphasize your position and graduating year in your subject line.
Example: Maggie Middle 2021 6’4″ MB 4.2 GPA
Coach Email Subject Lines Tip #5: Get personal
But what if you don’t stand 6 feet 5 inches tall or have grades that would make the Stanford coaches want to instantaneously drop everything they’re doing and come give you a home visit? Don’t count yourself out just yet! Avoid getting caught in the comparison trap because you have your own unique talents and gifts to share with the right school!
This is your opportunity to use some of the research you’ve been working on and personalize your email subject lines. Capitalizing on your strengths can help set your email apart from the pack. So get creative, be positive, and have fun with it!
Questions to think about that might help you with your coach email subject lines:
- Are you from a highly recruited high school/state/region of the country, especially in terms of a particular school’s trend in their recruitment lately?
- Do you have a former club/HS teammate who is a year or two ahead of you that goes to the school?
- Do you have the same club coach as any of the current players?
- Are you including a link to your athlete profile (and if not, go get one)?
- Are you including a link to your highlight video (and if not, go make one)?
- Do you have a sibling with some name recognition?
- Are you a lefty (especially good for setters and opposites)?
- Have you won any all-tournament team awards or has your team won a state championship?
- Are you about to attend a tournament and inviting this coach to see you play?
- Do you have a campus visit already planned and want to notify a coach of your dates?
- Have you already reached out once or twice and are emailing as a follow up?
- Are you thanking a coach for attending your match (whether or not he/she was specifically there because of your invite)
More Examples of Coach Email Subject Lines
David Defender 2021 5’9″ LIB from Punahou, Hawaii
Maria Middle 2021 6’5″ MB, 3.8 GPA, visiting 10/4
2021 5’8″ SCVA/Mira Costa libero, video attached
2021 SCVA 17s Open setter, SCVA qualifier Jan. 12-14
Following up with video (2021 SCVA/Mira Costa libero)
Following up after Lone Star (2021 MB from TAV)
Get the idea?
So to recap…
The best coach email subject lines are ones that:
- are to the point but not generic
- contain relevant information that the coach both wants and needs
- capitalize on what you have to offer
- have a purpose based on a personal situation or intent
Even with these tips in place, this particular coach you’re trying to reach out to may or may not end up being your actual college coach one day. Either way, your relationship starts from the very first email. Whatever happens, know that you are gaining valuable skills with each email you write (and that is something you’ll benefit from long after volleyball ends).
Before You Click Send…
Remember, your coach email subject lines are just way to get your foot in the door. The eventual goal is for you and the coach to get to know each other so you can figure out if you are a good mutual fit for the team.
With the sheer numbers of emails some schools receive, don’t take it personally if you don’t get a reply. Even if you never hear back, you always want to make a good impression. Be persistent, but be realistic for your academic and athletic level. Taking the extra time with your coach email subject lines will help more of your emails get opened and increase your chances of playing at the next level.
Ready to take it to the next level? Be sure to grab your FREE Done-for-You Email Templates to help you start connecting with coaches from your best fit schools by tonight!
Website Designer, Teacher & Volleyball Mom
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