It all started to go right when San Diego State women’s golf coach Leslie Spalding had to leave campus and go out on the road to recruit.
At the last minute, she assigned the task of doing a video for a little trick shot contest to the young women on her team. She gave them no instruction. The last-minute project wasn’t planned out and assigned by Coach Spalding, and there were no adults nearby supervising and directing them. It was just the women on the team, an iPhone, an iMovie editing app, and took a little over an hour to make. They made up the shots as they went along. (The segment of the team putting 7 balls into the hole at one time? It took 25 tries!)
Fast forward a few weeks:
Their trick shot video has become an internet sensation. It’s approach 1,000,000 views on YouTube at this writing, and has received publicity in USA Today, various golf magazines, The Today Show, and more.
It’s received so much attention that the video has now been turned into a fundraising tool for the team, as well (come on, Coach…give a little something to reward these young ladies for their creativity!)
It’s matching the success that the Harvard University baseball team and SMU Women’s Rowing team had with their creative videos a few years ago.
And none of it happened until the coach let her team take over the project.
And therein lies an important lesson for college coaches:
If you let your team take more of a role in your recruiting efforts, good things will happen.
This generation of recruits tell us on a consistent basis that they look to your team to gauge whether or not they would want to consider your program and, ultimately, commit to your program. To be sure, you, your college’s reputation, and how you show your facilities all have a part to play in painting a picture for your recruits. But your team holds a big key to connecting with your prospect and making him or her feel like your program feels right to them.
Here are a few ideas to get you going:
- Give your team the reigns. Show them the videos and other ideas that other teams have done, and ask them to come up with ideas. Let them have fun with it!
- Focus on video. It’s the easiest thing that gets attention, and can be easily forwarded to experience by your recruits. Let your team come up with video ideas and execute it. NOT YOU, COACH!
- Consistency is key. Whether it’s once a week, or once a month, make sure you’re letting your team come up with something on a regular basis.
- Let your Freshmen and Sophomores lead the way. It’s not a universal “rule”, but your younger players are usually going to be the ones that approach this kind of project with more enthusiasm and more creativity. Give them a role in your program by letting them lead this effort.
- Your team can write a letter or email to your entire prospect list. Have them tell your recruits why they came to compete for you. Their voice is more believable, and more interesting, than your voice, Coach.
- Give your kids a bigger role. We’ve talked a lot about involving your team on the campus visit – including in our new book. What three aspects of the visits can you turn over to them that would add more energy and creativity to the visit?
The simple message is this: Take it to your team, and challenge them to beat what some of these other programs have done. Give them control. Trust their creativity.
When your team is given just a little bit of power to take control in the process, good things happen.