Congrats kid! You just finished a showcase playing in front of 50+ junior programs from all across North America. You’ve talked with a bunch of scouts/coaches and exchanged your contact information about possibly playing for their program. Hell, you might have even received a contract or a tender from said scout/coach. Of course you told them that you are appreciative of their interest in you and you’ll remain in contact with them, but you need to do your homework first and review all your options with your parents to find a program that fits best for you.
One week later….
The scouts/coaches have tried contacting you since the showcase but you either ignore their call/text’s or you answer back and tell them you’re still looking at your options. You’ve pretty much already have your sights set on a few teams and everyone else you have put zero thought into, but you haven’t told them that. Outside of the select few teams you are interested in, every other conversation is basically a race to see how fast you can end the call.
Two weeks later…
The scouts/coaches continue to try and contact you, and you either still ignore their call/texts or you still answer them back saying you are reviewing your options or you haven’t made a decision yet, but soon will. You’ve narrowed your choice down to two, possible even down to that final team, but outside of those select teams, every other organization that keeps trying to make contact with you is out of the loop. “Damn,” you think “I really wish there was a way for these teams I’m not interested in to stop calling or trying to contact me”.
So what problems are here:
Scouts/Coaches keep calling you, texting you or emailing you about playing for their program which you are not interested in. This is a wasting your time because your phone keeps ringing and you have to keep sifting through texts/emails every other minute about (insert team here) and what they have to offer you.
Is that the only problem?
As much of nuances you think these scouts/coaches are, you need to realize that this line of communication is a two-way street and you have kept stringing them along. “But how?” you might be thinking. “I haven’t told them I was interested in playing for them” which I would agree, you haven’t told them that. But, you also haven’t told them you are NOT interested in playing for their program. (If you have explained that you have no interest whatsoever in playing for a team too, then you are being harassed and that’s a separate situation entirely). So in the scouts/coaches mind, they are under the assumption you are still interested in their program and because of the way the junior hockey scene is today, you’re still a potential prospect. So these scouts/coaches are going to keep spending their time trying to get a hold of you and keep trying to sell you their program and why you should play for them this upcoming fall season.
So how do you stop this?
You might have noticed above that I put in 'bold' and 'italicized' the word “time” in the above paragraph. That’s because when a scout/coach calls you they aren’t only doing so on your time, but also on THEIR time. Let me rephrase this; when a scout/coach calls you they are doing so because they still think you are a potential prospect for their team. They're investing their valuable time because time is the only commodity you can’t get back) on what will eventually be a dead end (unbeknownst to them). Maybe they even offered you a contract or a tender and they are just trying to find out what the status is on it. Teams don’t really have an abundance of these so for you to sit on a contract/tender with the intent not to sign, you’re only hurting the team who you are not interested in from going after a player who might be interested in them. So what can you do?
Don’t worry about being “too nice” and worrying about hurt feelings. Rejection is part of the job, we (most of us) can handle it.
Explain that you are appreciative of the team’s interest in you, but you are not interested in joining their program, or if they offered you a contract/tender that you will not be signing with them.
They may ask “why” and you can either answer them (but be aware that this is just going to extend their pitch) or just reiterate that you are looking elsewhere and their program is not one you are going to sign with or are looking into any further.
Again, be thankful, polite and to the point. Don’t say anything that would give the scout/coach a hint that they might still be a team you are interested in. Just pull the plug.
THAT’S IT! Not only have you ended all those endless calls and texts that take away your valuable time, but you are also saving the scout/coaches valuable time that they could be using on kids who are interested in their program. Will the scout/coach be upset? About 99% won’t be if you do this as soon as you know playing for their program isn’t an option for you and you tell them this the next time they reach out.
Time is a precious commodity, so make sure you aren’t wasting someone’s who is interested in you as a potential player for their organization. Plus, you’ll save plenty of your own and not have to worry about trying to dodge every phone call coming your way.