Dear Coach….A Recruiting Breakup Letter

  7 SwimSwam | August 20th, 2014 | Featured, Lifestyle, Opinion, SEC

The most uncomfortable part of the college recruiting process is the “decline to sign”. For the swimmer, you have to try and let a coach down gently after he or she has spent a lot of their time and resources trying to woo you. You have to let that coach know that they weren’t good enough. For a coach, you have to accept the news with grace, and yet somehow bring closure.

Below, the head coach of one SEC team sent us a fictional letter that muses about this breakup process. He just keeps telling himself that there are plenty of fish in the sea. Or swimmers in the pool, same difference.

Dear Coach,

Sorry I haven’t been in communication much.  After my season ending meet I took a little break from swimming and started to really think about my future and where you may lie in it.  I’m writing to let you know that I think it’s best if we saw other people.  Our relationship over the past 7 weeks has been outstanding.  I mean even my parents liked you.   I still can’t believe that Pounces my cat actually sat on your lap when you came over for dinner.   She hates human interaction.

I appreciate everything you’ve done for me.  The handwritten notes sent to my home.   The morning phone calls to see how practice went.  The evening phone calls to see how my day was.  Even the phone calls on Monday to see how my swim meet went.  I can tell that you really did care for me.    That being said, I think is best that we move on.  This wasn’t an easy decision for me and I hate to be so cliché but it’s not you, it’s me.    I just don’t know if what you have to offer for me as a prospective student athlete matches what I am looking for in my four years in college.  I wish nothing but the best and I hope we can still be friends.

Swimmer X

PS: you can keep the mix tape of my swims

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7 Comments on "Dear Coach….A Recruiting Breakup Letter"

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2 years 1 month ago

In the final analysis, you have to do what is right for yourself – the coach will get over it.
If you make it clear in the beginning what your top 3 – 5 choices are, then the coach is more prepared for a realistic acceptance of your final decision.
If you feel that you are being pressured by the coach, rather than guided by your personal opinion of a school, you are on the road to disaster.
You will face acceptance and rejection at many levels in your life, and it’s better to make one of the most important decisions regarding your future based on YOUR needs.

2 years 1 month ago

I’ve had swimmers tell me stories of disaster breakups where the coach was a complete jerk to the swimmer when they told them they were no longer interested in the school. Puts the coach, the program and the school in a very negative light. And guess what? The swimmer goes back and tells their teammates about what a jerk the coach was. You have now closed the door on not only the swimmer you were recruiting (who knows, even after they go to school somewhere else, not liking it and transferring is still a possibility) but you have also closed the door for several of their younger teammates and swimmer friends.

Swimmers you recruit will say no. It’s inevitable. I encourage college coaches to show as much grace as possible when this happens.

2 years 1 month ago

Since almost every swimmer will make a living in a career other than swimming professionally and athletic aid, particularly for men’s swimming, is so limited, the choice is often not about the coach but about academic fit in combination with value net of all forms of aid.

For example, for a really good student and top 50 recruit do you go to an SEC school on an academic ride or go to a non funded elite academic school and pay full freight if swimming gets you in?

Sad swimmer
2 years 1 month ago

This is just as tough or maybe tougher on the swimmer. As was said, there are more fish in the sea for the coach, but the swimmer, if he/she has any feelings at all, agonizes over telling a coach, “No thank you.” The vast majority of coaches out there handle the rejection with class.

Sam I am
2 years 1 month ago

I have had 3 of my kids swim in college and telling a coach “no” was the hardest part of recruiting for all of them. If you are up front and polite with coaches, they will be the same with you in a large part, in fact my kids have run into these same coaches at meets and they were all very polite and asked how things were going.

There was one coach however who told my youngest, that he did not except her “No” and said that he was going to give her more time to think about it, that still floors me to this day. I truly hope that he is the only that does this.

2 years 1 month ago

It kind of tickles me when I read that a recruit has chosen a school because “the coaches were nice, and the team seemed like a family.” What are the coaches going to show you: a bad day at practice and the actual day-to-day interaction of the team?
I really think it’s imporrtant to spend part of the campus visit with a non-athlete, so you can see if the school really stands up to what the coach and brochures are telling you. If not, it’s like buying a shiny car without taking a test drive.

2 years 29 days ago

I for one think that it’s a bit creepy satirizing the recruiting process as dating (even with the many parallels) considering all of the scandals that the swimmer-coach relationship has been mired with recently…