The wait is maddening. You’ve sent an email to a college coach, but you have not heard back.

If you are really interested in this school, you will likely want to reach out again to ensure your message was received, to see where you stand, or some combination therein.

But how do you strike the delicate balance of ensuring the coach is seeing your information without annoying them or being seen as a nuisance? We spoke with a former Division I assistant lacrosse coach, who provided advice that is relevant for any sport.

Here are three keys to successful college coach engagement.

1. Building Relationships is Paramount

At its core, the recruiting process is all about building relationships. Interactions with coaches serve as ways to build and foster these.

Be sure to respond to any messages where you can help forge this relationship, and be sure to include information that helps the coach get to know you as a person – not just a student or athlete.

“This worked in a couple of ways,” the coach said. “One, it helped build a rapport between that athlete and me — the recruiting process is about building relationships after all, not making transactions. And two, simply seeing a athlete’s name and hearing updates about their other sports or test scores helped to keep them on my mind.”

Again – discretion is key, but reaching out and reengaging with personal information, as part of a larger update can be helpful.

“This is, of course, a delicate scale,” the coach continued. “A flurry of frequent messages containing fluffy info can be overwhelming and off-putting. But appropriately timed messages with worthwhile updates are a great way to reach out more than once without feeling like a nuisance.”

2. Reengage When Pertinent Information Has Changed

One of the best and easiest ways to reengage a college coach is when you having something meaningful to update them with. This doesn’t mean updating them on how great a practice you had; it means something substantial has changed – be that new SAT scores, a new highlight reel or something of that gravity.

“Personally, I found athletes that reached out with succinct, personalized messages about significant updates to their athletic and/or academic career had the best chance of staying on my radar or working their way on to my list,” the coach said.

So, if you re-took the SATs and have updated scores, let the coach know. If you have an updated highlight reel, that is a great time to reengage. Should you be attending an event you know that school will be represented at, all the more reason to reach out.

Keeping your re-engagements to relevant changes only will ensure you are not overdoing it while keeping yourself on their radar.

3. Don’t Get Discouraged

If you have not heard back from a coach after multiple contacts, it may very well be that the coach does not see you as a fit for the program. This could be for a variety of reasons. Maybe they are full at your position, or your grades are not what the school would need. However, don’t be discouraged by this!

For one, maybe the school is simply not the right fit for you. That is ok, and does not mean you are a bad athlete. However, there is also the silver lining: Your timing simply may have been off.

“While a coach’s lack of response may indeed mean s/he is not interested in an athlete, it alone is certainly not a definitive answer,” the coach said. “For starters, remember every sport has NCAA regulations for what age a coach can contact athletes. On top of that, there are “dead periods” and “quiet periods” throughout each sport’s calendar that restricts or halts recruiting activities for coaches of that sport.”

Going further, don’t forget coaches have, to put it mildly, a lot going on.

“Beyond those official restrictions, coaches are incredibly busy,” added the coach. “Most head coaches delegate the majority of recruiting business to their recruiting coordinator, and even that person is juggling multiple class years of recruits with the current group of athletes on campus s/he is trying to coach to a championship. Time and resources are limited, and sometimes coaches spend days or weeks before sifting through their crowded email inboxes. I’d suggest being patient, sending messages to multiple coaches on staff, and trying them on the phone if you’re able to track down their number. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of catching the right coach at the right time.”

So, there are three suggestions to make your interactions fruitful. While on the subject, we should note that through our platform, you can track the messages you send to coaches, meaning you can see if they were seen, if your video was seen, and more. It takes the guesswork out of the equation. Whatever path you choose, though, ensure you are making these keys a part of your interactions with college coaches.

Want more guidance?

Everything you need to know about contacting college coaches →