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How to Write a Recommendation Letter for Athletes

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Recommendation letters for athletes focus on work ethic, teamwork and personal development. Athletes endure extreme exercises to build strength, speed and agility to compete with other teams, which provides a platform for improving self-discipline. If an athlete requests a reference letter, discuss characteristics essential to the job or school to which the athlete is applying. Coaches can present an invaluable letter to inform prospective employers or academic programs of the athlete’s abilities to accept constructive criticism, work hard and develop necessary attributes as a successful team player. Write a concise and honest letter pertaining to the student’s progress in his athletic program.

Review the requirements of the athlete’s reference request. Make a list of the player’s characteristics, contributions to the team, any rewards received and details of her ability to understand and use constructive feedback. Review the list to make sure you have breadth and depth in your reference letter. Add examples of the player’s leadership role while on your team, and expand into reasons why the player would be a good fit for the job or program.

Write a rough draft of the reference letter by addressing the recipient mentioned on the reference request. State your own qualifications to gain interest from the reader. Use your characteristics list to write 200 to 250 words, broken into two or three short paragraphs; use both short and long sentences to establish momentum for readers. Use bulleted lists if possible to pinpoint statistics, awards and honors the athlete received. Review the first draft and add any missing information you did not mention in your character list.

Open the word processing software on your computer and type the rough draft. Save the document for further review. Leave the letter for three hours and then return to add any final touches or edits. Before printing, read over the letter to make sure there are no misspelled words, that your grammar and punctuation are proficient, and that you're using the correct format based on the reference request.

Print the document and then complete one more read-through for style and presentation. Read the letter aloud twice, fix transitions for a smoother flow of the material and check line spaces to make use of white space. Print one more copy of the final reference letter, sign your name, place in an envelope and send it off.


Monitor the tone of your voice, style and momentum. State positive and negative characteristics clearly in your letter. Run an extensive spell check.


Do not embellish an athlete's letter.

  • Monitor the tone of your voice, style and momentum.
  • State positive and negative characteristics clearly in your letter.
  • Run an extensive spell check.
  • Do not embellish an athlete's letter.

Tahjia Chapman is an enthusiastic writer, engaging, and promising to audiences.Her motivations include developing high quality content that engages an audience while educating them in various industries including technology, business, and health.

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