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writing a letter of recommendation HOOPZONE
Coaching

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Over the years I've been ask to write a number of "letter of recommendation" for athletes and coaches. Below are some of my thoughts and examples.

Guidelines for writting a letter of recommendation:

+ Explain how you know the athlete. If you've known him/her for a long time, you can state that fact.

+ State your own qualifications. Why should the reader be interested in what you have to say? How many other people of the caliber of the athlete have you known?

+ List the athlete's exceptional qualities and skills, especially those that are specific to the athlete's sport. For example, competency in his/her sport (stats), organizational and communication skills, academic or other achievements, interaction with others, sound judgment, reliability, etc.

+ Emphasize key points that you want the reader to note. Be sure to meaningfully elaborate, don't simply restate.

+ Give your value judgment of the athlete and his/her qualifications and potential. Why should he/she be considered over others? In your opinion, how does he/she compare to others? Omit weaknesses. If you can't write a positive letter, you should respectfully decline in the first place.

+ Give specific examples to back up what you have said in the letter. Again, providing vague praise is a waste of space.

+ Unless it is absolutely relevant, do not include references (direct or implied) to the athlete’s race, religion, national origin, age, disability, gender or marital status.

+ Don't be too brief. One or two short paragraphs are death. But be succinct. Make every word count.

+ Make the ending strong without overdoing it. Undo praise can be viewed as biased or insincere.

+ List your contact information if you are willing to receive follow-up correspondence.

+ Proofread! The letter represents both you and the athlete.

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Here are some I've written:

For an athlete for student scholarships:

October 29, 2008

Letter of recommendation for Jane Doe

To whom it may concern,

This letter of recommendation is written for Jane Doe with much pleasure because of the potential I feel Jane has and the positive effect she has on others.

I have interacted over the last five years with this wonderful gal.  As a basketball coach for Jane at Anytown I’ve watched her be involved with practices, games, fundraisers and community events and her interaction with fellow teammates has been great.  She is very punctual, has solid team work ethics, good leadership qualities and is a good person of character.  She applies herself to what she is learning and strives to become better at what she does.

Outside the gym I’ve seen these same characteristics demonstrated by Jane as she interacts within the community.  Jane is always willing to volunteer, take control and get the job done which is hard to find sometimes within this age group.

Jane Doe displays high academic achievements, is well liked by all and will be missed as she graduates from Anytown High School!

Sign it!

 

To whom it may concern,

This letter of endorsement is written for John Doe with much pleasure because of the potential I feel John has and the positive effect he can have on others.

I have interacted over the last two years with this great athlete.  As the head coach for boy’s basketball I’ve watched John involved with practices, games, fundraisers and community events.  His interaction with fellow teammates has been great.  He is very punctual, has solid team work ethics, good leadership qualities and is a good person of character.  He applies himself to what he is learning and strives to become better at what he does.

Outside the gym, as our team has interacted with the community in running camps, fundraisers and community service John has once again volunteered and displayed great abilities in interacting with all he comes into contact with.

John Doe displays high academic achievements, is well liked by all and will be missed as he graduates from Anytown High School!

Sign it!

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This was for a coach we lost due to moving out of state:

May 10, 2005

To Whom it May Concern,

This letter of recommendation is written for Steve Doe with much pleasure because of the potential I feel Steve has and the positive effect I feel he can have on athletes and students.

I’ve coached in the high school level for 10 years, beginning at the freshman level, then JV and now varsity for the last 4 years.  I observed Steve’s coaching styles at the boy’s high school JV level a full year before I hired him as JV girls coach.  His leadership and communication skills with his team were noticeable and when an opening occurred within my program I quickly asked him to join us.  Steve has never given me any reason to doubt his judgment on and off the job.  I’ve never seen him lose his composure, even in difficult game situations and challenging parental discussions.

Steve demonstrated a good work ethic, good leadership abilities and a high moral standard.  He worked hard for us both on and off the court.  Steve had proven to be punctual and completes his work with a high level of quality.  He has a high regard for authority which in return has earned him the respect of our coaching staff, players and myself.  Steve has always been willing to work our summer camps and open gyms with no monetary gain for him, only the satisfaction of bettering the teams.

During our many bus rides together and conversations in the gym Steve has time and time again shown me his love for sports, education and the development of young athletes.  Steve is not afraid to make the call in team situations, for Steve knows the meaning of hard work, dedication and discipline and had demonstrated these strong qualities.  He is confident and will be successful wherever he chooses to go.  I give Steve my highest recommendation for he is one incredible coach and individual.

Sincerely,

Sign it!

 

 

Coach O

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