There’s a big, big difference.
And quite honestly, most college coaches get it wrong.
When you’re trying to close a recruit, and get them to commit to your program, one of the worst things to do is to give them the feeling that they are being “pressured”. Pressure might lead to an initial commitment, but in the long run that athlete is going to be a strong candidate for transferring or talking negatively about the way he or she was recruited.
In my opinion, after interviewing hundreds of current college prospects on how they made their decision in committing to a program, pressuring an athlete is bad.
Passion, on the other hand, is good. Very, very good.
If you demonstrate passion to your prospect, it’s very likely you’ll achieve the same effects as you would hope to achieve by pressuring them: Excitement about your program, a strong reason for committing to you and your college, and a faster commitment.
Very few college recruiters, unfortunately, don’t do the passion part very well.
To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, and to show you what a big difference there is between the two, let me give you a few contrasting examples of “passion” versus “pressure” when recruiting your athlete:
Passion is when you tell your recruit why you like him, and what value you see him having in your program. Pressure is when you matter-of-factly tell your recruit who else you’re recruiting at his position, and what he’s going to lose if he doesn’t make a fast decision.
Passion is when you tell them that you’ve decided you want her to play for you, and they officially ask her if she’s ready to commit because you are really excited about her future in your program. Pressure is when you give her a 48-hour deadline after her campus visit to make her decision, or else you’ll yank the offer and give it to the next girl on your list.
Passion is when you smile and sit forward in your chair when you’re talking to your prospect. Pressure is when you lean back, look at your cell phone every two minutes, and seem like you’re ready to walk your prospect over to admissions so they can start their exciting two hour PowerPoint presentation with the assistant to the assistant Director of Financial Aid so you can get back to work.
Passion is an impromptu visit to the office of a coach of another sport on your campus to introduce you to your recruit on campus so that they see the opportunity is with an athletic department family, and not just their sport. Pressure is sitting with your prospect cooped-up in your office talking only about your sport.
Passion is taking a blank sheet of paper, sitting next to your recruit, and explaining to her what you see as the plan for her after she commits, and what the next twelve months look like for her when she joins your program. Pressure is you talking about how she’ll have to pay her dues and wait her turn if she decides she wants to play for you. (Note: Yes, that might be an honest assessment of their chances in your program. But most recruits want to hear about what they need to do to beat out that Senior returning starter…because most of them think they can, and they’d like to see that you’re on board with that dream, too).
Passion is getting him spend time with the Freshmen and Sophomores on your team and letting them sell him on coming there. Pressure is putting them with a 23-year old redshirt Senior who they have nothing in common with, and sending the two of them off to lunch together for two hours (true story example there…one of the more awkward observation sessions we did for one of our clients when we were on campus).
Passion is involving her parents in all aspects of the recruiting message, which is what most kids want according to our research. Pressure is what she feels back at home when you don’t do that, and she wants to go to your program but doesn’t feel like she can because mom and dad never really got to know you as well as your conference rival that she’s going to settle on.
Passion is consistently keeping in touch with her, showing him that you are in it for the long haul and don’t take them for granted. Pressure is what they feel when they try to figure out why you haven’t talked to them lately (they assume you might not be as interested in them as you once were, and begin to look for coaches who they think will be more interested).
That’s a short list, but an important list.
The big question now is: What are you going to do with this information, and how will it change the way you recruit this current class of prospects?
There is still time to team up with Tudor Collegiate Strategies and let us map out a successful recruiting message and strategy for this year’s class. We’ll bring a research-based methodology to your program, and help you create the best message possible for your prospects. It’s working wonders for college coaches around the country, and we can do the same for your program. Email Dan Tudor directly at dan@dantudor for a complete overview of what we do, and how we do it.