Contacting coaching staff for a basketball tryout can be a daunting task. Here are some tips and templates to make that email or phone call as smooth and effective as possible.
These are methods I have used throughout my basketball career to get several gigs. The most effective for me is email. What do you feel comfortable with?
Google is your friend
Depending on where you want to play and which league a quick Google of the team or teams will easily get you contact details. Another site that is great for getting contacts is www.eurobasket.com. A list of teams and leagues with referring team websites.
If all you have is a website URL visit it and find the contact us section. Most of the time the coaches email will not be displayed. Email the office staff (most cases they forward the email to the coach) and ask for the contact details for the coaching staff. In the email be sure to leave enough information for a coach to be keen enough to contact you. If you have a basketball resume and or youtube clips of your highlights include them as well.
Contacting coaching staff via phone
Contacting clubs and coaches using a phone as an initial method of contact can be costly especially if they are international. Most of the time the phone numbers listed on websites route to receptionists and club or team managers.
Even as I write this article I am struggling to give you advice on how to do this as I personally had very limited success cold calling.
These are some steps that worked for me:
- Have notes ready
Always have a page of notes ready, if they are handwritten ensure it is legible. I used to make notes on MS Word and print it.In your notes have:
- Contact number including international dial code
- Coaches full name (make sure if it is an unusual name you find out how to pronounce it)
- Back up coach or contact to speak to if the primary contact is away. Remember most of the time a receptionist will answer the phone so be prepared.
- Notes of your intention eg “calling for a tryout”, “interested in playing”, “got some game tape I’d like to send for your consideration” and so on.
- Have your basketball history on hand. For example teams played for and stats.
- Address the contact appropriately
If you get a member of the coaching staff ensure you address them appropriately. If it’s a member of the coaching staff you were lucky enough to speak to address them as Coach <First name> or Coach <Last name>. American college coaches are always addressed this way and in my experience when I addressed coaches in the professional teams that I have played for in Europe, they absolutely loved it. Respect goes a long way! If you communicate like a professional you get taken serious like a professional.
- Thank the coach or contact person for their time
Head coaches and assistant coaches are extremely busy people. If they take the time to talk to you begin by thanking them for their time and also end the conversation by thanking them. This may seem obvious, but unfortunately from what I have seen with the younger generation these days something so obvious isn’t to some.
- Have an email template ready to go
Creating an email template is easy if you follow the article I wrote about building a basketball resume. The resume can easily be tweaked into an email which you can send to the contact you are speaking to whilst you are on the phone. This is a great way of also confirming that the coach has your contact details and your email isn’t sitting in their junk inbox.
- Speak clearly and confidently
If you are battling nerves or just not all that confident practice going through your list prior to the call. Nothing wrong with a bit of prop. I used to speak to myself in front of the mirror so it felt like I was talking to someone right in front of me.
These were some of the steps I used to contact college coaches when I was looking for a school to go to in America. I was lucky enough to contact some D1 schools that were able to give me more contacts which was how I landed my first school in America, Solano community college. Thanks to reaching out to the University of Pacific coaching staff they were able to make some calls on my behalf and get me a tryout at Solano.
If you are looking to go overseas and play ball but you don’t have any contacts this challenge is for you. I want you to contact at least one coach, doesn’t have to be a head coach, an assistant coach is fine. I want you to implement what I have spoken about in this article and comment below to tell me what the outcome was.