Most coaches want to master their sport. As a coach, certainly, and sometimes even as a recruiter. The better you recruit, the easier it is to coach.
That’s one of the reasons we produced two specialized recruiting guides for college coaches who want to master their sport. Most coaches want to be the best at what they do. You probably have that same goal.
But stop and think about it. What does it take to truly master your sport as a coach? As a recruiter? How long do you have to study, get experience in the battle of athletic competition, or lose a prized recruit to your rival before you’re classified as a real "master"?
Marketing guru and author Jeffrey Gitomer got the answer to what it takes to become a master from an unexpected seat-mate on a recent airline flight. He found himself seated to Zach Johnson, the pro golfer who recently won The Masters.
Johnson said his rise to golf stardom was a slow, deliberate one. Here are the lessons that he learned about being a "master" at his game:
- He doesn’t get upset at a bad shot or a bad round.
- He plays consistent as a golfer and a golf strategist.
- He stays in the hunt and is always there to make a run at winning.
- He doesn’t get nervous at the end of a round. (One of the first questions Gitomer asked Zach was whether he was nervous on the 18th at Augusta. "No," he said. "I just played to win. And played my best.")
- He plays for fun. (He loves the game, the competition, the thrill of winning, and the youthful exuberance of just "being there.")
- He plays to win. (Every time Zach Johnson goes out on the course, he believes he’ll win the round, and win the tournament.
"It’s a job – a fun job. But it’s a job." Zach adds as he smiled broadly. "It’s my number four priority. Family. Faith. Family. And then fairways."
So what does all of this have to do with signing great recruits? As I read the comments from Johnson, it sounds like being a master coach and recruiter is the same thing that it takes to be a master professional golfer: Perspective, passion, a non-stop pursuit of the skills that will help you to improve, and the expectation that you’ll get the recruit you’re aiming to sign.
Too many coaches I meet have a negative, defeatist attitude when it comes to recruiting. "I can’t compete against so-and-so…we don’t have the facilities to get the great athletes here…our area isn’t attractive to prospects." On and on and on. Excuse after excuse after excuse.
On paper, Zach Johnson wasn’t a big favorite to beat a guy like Tiger Woods. But he stuck to his principles, and became the master that he’d always dreamed of being.
My question for you: Are you on that course towards "mastering" your skills as a recruiter and a coach? If the answer is no, make that a priority as we head towards the new year. If you’re a SFC Premium Member, we’ll tell you about three smart ways to become a master recruiter who dominates their competition. Look for it later this week in your Inbox, plus some extra stuff that we think will help you close out the recruiting year successfully.