Start with college programs in your home state.
I live in the Buckeye state of Ohio! Here is a list of programs in Ohio:
1. Ohio State University
2. Akron University
3. Cleveland State University
4. The University of Cincinnati
5. The University of Toledo
This is just an example of college programs to send your handwritten letters to. Your list of college coaches and programs to write to may be different, but you want to choose college programs that you have a realistic chance of being recruited.
Now, what you want to do is find the mailing address to each of the athletic departments. You also want to get the head coach’s first and last name; this will be important because you’re going to write a letter addressed to that coach.
This is a great website: U.S.Universities By State
On this website all the colleges are listed by their state. Because I live in Ohio, I would first look at all the college programs in Ohio and I would make my selections.
For example when you click on the name of a college, it is actually the website to that college and not the athletic department. You want to look for the athletic department or student life because this is where you’ll be able to find the athletic department and the mailing address to that particular athletic program.
Now It’s Time to Write Your Letter!!
The most effective strategy in writing a letter I believe, is the one page handwritten letter approach.
You have to keep in mind that the college coaches are very busy and sometimes, in your eagerness to impress college coaches, you may tend to overdo it by having a typed letter with pages of information.
You may think you’re doing the right thing in this approach but really what you’re doing is wrong and, more than likely, a college coach will push your information to the side and not read it.
Tell the college coach what you can do athletically and how you are very interested in playing for them.
“Coach, I’ve been a huge follower of your program for years and I would like the opportunity to come play for you.”
That’s a great opening sentence because right away you are expressing your interest in playing for that coach. You’re not getting into a whole lot of statistics and a bunch of unnecessary information. Your goal is to keep it short and get right to the point.
“I am 7’0, 255lbs. I have a GPA of 3.95 and I’ll be taking my SAT the next time it’s offered.”
In this sentence, you covered your height and weight and your grade point average, all of which would be of great interest to any college program.
“My best game this season is when I scored 35 points and had 20 rebounds against Euclid High School. I play club ball for the Cleveland Superstars and will be traveling and playing in some of the big tournaments next summer.”
Give the college coach a taste of what you can do in your season. Also mention the name of your club team and maybe some of the tournaments you’ll be in.
“I’m working really hard in the classroom because I understand how important academics are. I spend a lot amount of my time when I’m not studying working to improve my game and I’m very passionate about basketball.”
What’s great about these sentences is how the focus is put on how hard you are working in the classroom and your passion for athletics. These are the things that college coaches love to hear. If you’re not working hard in the classroom and don’t have the passion for your sport, you will become invisible to college coaches.
“Coach, you can reach me by cell phone 216-555-5555 and e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The best time to reach me is after 7:00 PM Monday through Thursday.”
Basically, you’ve provided many ways a college coach can reach you. You’ve also been very clear on the times and the days of the week you are available.
Also, your home address is on the envelope that you’ve mailed to that college coach, so make sure your handwriting is very clear and easy to read.
Remember to keep your handwritten letter to one side of your paper and keep it short, brief, and to the point.
Why Use Notebook Paper When Writing the Letter?
The answer is simple: It’s a personal one on one relationship between the student athlete and the college coach. The goal in this approach is to get that college coach to write you back, asking for more information.
The college coach could also ask for your DVD, your transcript, your schedule for the season or your club ball season.
The bottom line for student athletes is to be recruited and the handwritten letter approach, I believe, is the best strategy to get the attention of college coaches and to get them to write back again and again.