by Greg Carroll, Tudor Collegiate Strategies
As coaches we are all too familiar with the athlete who is REALLY good at a particular aspect of their game. If it’s basketball maybe they’re a great shooter. But put that player on the free throw line and it’s brick city. Or if they’re soccer player they’ve got amazing skills with the ball but they can’t defend to save their life.
I was the same way as a runner. I was the outlier on our team because I LOVED going to the track and banging out intervals but the Sunday morning 10 miler was like a root canal. Given the choice, I’d go to the track and do repeats.
It’s human nature to gravitate toward doing the things we like to do, the things we’re good at. Why? Because they come easily, we’ve seen our successes, and we get positive reinforcement from others about how good we are.
As I regularly talk with coaches about their recruiting efforts. Invariably I hear the comment “yeah, I know I should be doing that but ….”
There’s always a “but …” That’s the same coach who will keep the great shooter after practice to make 20 free throws or the soccer player to take ten shots on goal before they go to the locker room. Sometimes it’s just hard to find the same discipline in ourselves when no one is there making us stay after practice!
Here’s a short list of things that typically fall into that category of things coaches know they should be doing but find reasons to put on the back burner. They’re not in any particular order …. But ….
- Take a critical look at your own recruiting skills and address the shortcomings. What are three things you could do today that will make you a better recruiter? Make an investment in becoming a better recruiter. For most coaches, going to your sport’s annual convention is an absolute must. So you go and hear much of the same content spun a different way from last year! We have a solution for that coming up this summer as Tudor Collegiate Strategies’ National Collegiate Recruiting Conference (NCRC) is back and will be held in Chapel Hill July 18-20. Three days of speakers talking about recruiting strategies, recruiting wins and losses, and fresh data about how this generation of recruits are making college decisions. Plus the chance to collaborate with other coaches and find out what they’re doing to win recruiting battles. There are other options available through TCS as well, including our “Total Recruiting Solution”. That’s an inclusive plan that includes the convention, Tudor University, access to one of our recruiting experts, a 12 month message playbook, and a ton more. I have seen a lot of really good technical coaches fail because they never made the investment in becoming informed about recruiting.
- Recognizing the necessity of involving parents at the beginning of the recruiting process. So often a coach is 100 percent in agreement about the depth of a parent’s involvement in the recruiting process and understands how beneficial it would be to be recruiting them as deeply as they are the recruit. Yet, they find it difficult to take that step forward. The reasons vary. Time is always something that comes up (that’s a separate article…). My response to the time challenge is if you know that it is important you can find the time in the same way you find time to scout an opponent, go over game video, and prepare for practice. If you don’t have the players nothing else matters.
- Quantify their recruiting needs and then prioritize them accordingly. Far too many coaches take a subjective approach to their prospects. They “look” like they’re better than what I’ve got and I “think” they are faster than my current players. It’s very easy to simply assign a score to the five or six key attributes you’re looking for in a position player and then do the same with your recruits. Looking at a definitive number moves you a lot closer to knowing whether or not that prospect will in fact make you better.
- Appropriate prioritizing your recruits. Most coaches have a rating system. That’s the easy part. Having a rating system that works for your program is a different matter. The most successful coaches we work with create “buckets” where their “A” bucket is filled with the A-/B+ players based upon the recruits they have been getting. That is, a B+ player at a three time defending national championship program is different from a B+ player where the coach is rebuilding. Those B+ players will make you better if they become your initial focus. If you can wrap up a class filled with those players you’re going to be improving every year and have great roster depth. The all-state players will still be there for you because our research shows that they typically make late decisions because of the choices they have.
- Train your assistant coaches and delegate responsibilities to your assistant. This goes back to the first couple points about investing in professional development for yourself and your staff. If you find you don’t have time to do things like engage with parents, instruct your assistant coaches on how to take on some new duties so you have more time recruiting tasks.
Have questions about how you can better challenge yourself to improve in recruiting? You can email Greg to set up a strategy call at email@example.com.