I’ve had this question asked several times by players over the years, and again this past week it was brought up by one of my girls, “how do I tell a coach that I am not interested?”. This may be a question you face at different stages of communication with a coach, so I wanted to address a couple of scenarios and give you some insight into how I have my players address this topic.
If you receive an initial email from a coach at a school that you know you would not attend no matter what, it is still common courtesy to send a reply back. Even if your resume is much stronger than the girls who play for that program, NEVER think you are better than the players, the school, or the coach. We have all been at different stages in our games, we all have different goals of playing (and coaching) college golf, and many coaches work tirelessly to try and recruit better players, so the least you can do is show them the respect of at least replying.
The one thing I tell my girls is to stop and think about how they feel when a coach never responds back to their emails or phone calls. They are left wondering if the coach just isn’t interested, did they get the email, did they forget, did I do something wrong, are they done with their recruiting and so on. Although I do reassure them that coaches are busy and can’t always get back to everyone, but when a coach does take the time to respond that at least gives the girls a little better feeling. It may be a simple “thank you, but we aren’t interested” or “thank you but we are done with your recruiting class,” which can be hard for a player to hear at times, but at least they get an answer and can move on.
The same applies to the players when a coach emails them. You may think “yeah right, I am never going there to play” but it is still very important to at least respond back and give a polite version of “thank you, but I am not interested at this time.” There are several different ways that I have my girls approach this reply based on their reasons for not being interested but at least take the time to send a kind and respectful response back so that the coach can move on as well.
With all of that being said, DO NOT narrow down and disregard interest from a coach unless you know for sure that you have other options that are going to be legit opportunities. Yes, there may be some schools that you wouldn’t attend whether you played golf or not, which I understand factors with academics, size, location and intended major can determine that from the beginning which is completely acceptable. But if you don’t have any reason to not consider the school, except maybe some opinions of others or superficial reasons, then I recommend you at least take the time to learn more and have a conversation with the coach. Then you can make your decision and let the coach know your interest level of continuing to communicate.
I never like to encourage my players to waste a coach’s time if they are not legitimately interested in the school and golf program. Yes, there is a lot they can learn from communicating with coaches, but I know how valuable a coach’s time can be as well. Once a player decides to move on to their other opportunities or offers, I ask that they let that coach know ASAP. Depending on the level of communication up to that point determines whether or not I feel it should be a phone call to tell the coach or just an email. Either way, you need to be as honest as possible in telling the coach why you are no longer pursuing that school and program. They may be disappointed, which I know many times is the reason for a player to be hesitant to address this, but the coach will have much more respect for you if you let them know through phone or email and not just leave them hanging.
Brandi Jackson had a stellar collegiate career at Furman University, then she went on to play professionally for eight years on the LPGA and Symetra Tour. In 2012 Brandi was inducted into the Furman University Athletic Hall of Fame, and she serves on the Board of Directors for The Blade Jr Classic. She runs her own business out of Greenville, South Carolina where she consults junior golf families all over the world on competitive junior golf and the college recruiting process. For more information on Brandi Jackson, visit her website at www.brandijacksongolf.com. Follow Brandi on Twitter @bjacksongolf and Instagram @bjacksongolf.
For more information about college golf recruiting and competitive junior golf, including Brandi’s innovative online Golf Recruiting 101 Course and Recruit Caddy Service, visit www.brandijacksongolf.com.