Does your athletics department have the best facilities in the country? Does your school have the best academics in the country? Does your program have the most winning history in your sport?
I am going to play the odds here and assume almost everyone reading this article said “no” to these questions.
No matter what school you coach at, there are going to be competitors that beat you in some, if not all these categories. And unfortunately, these are some common categories that make people claim one program is better than another.
How do you compete when your recruits are looking at some of these “better” schools?
There are two core things you need to remember.
One, you can only control what you can control. You cannot control your school’s academic rankings or the history of your program. For most coaches, there is also little sway you have in terms of the final cost of attendance and the facilities at your school.
The second core thing to remember is that although cost of attendance and quality of education have recently become more important to recruits as a result of the pandemic, the other main driving factors in their decision revolve around feelings. The feelings they get from you, your athletes, and your campus. The feeling that they are wanted and will be connected at your school. That, you absolutely have control over.
So, with these main points in mind, here are two ways you can beat out better programs for high-level recruits:
1) Be the most consistent communicator of any coach recruiting your prospects
The word here is “consistent”, not “frequent”. Communicating too frequently can be uncomfortable for recruits. It can also be hard to sustain. And so, even if you were communicating very frequently in the beginning of the process, the chances that you maintain it are low. And once that contact becomes inconsistent, recruits notice and judge.
Be the coach that consistently provides recruits with reasons why they should choose your school. Prospects are looking for that throughout the entire recruiting process. Providing it is completely in your control. Be the best at it and now you start to stand out to your recruits, regardless of how good your facilities or academics are.
2) Show recruits that you want them the most
This certainly is done by achieving consistent contact. But, there are other ways this can take form. And again, all ways that are under your control as a coach.
First, simply be the coach that frequently says “I want you”.
It seems simple, but it is not something many coaches flat out say throughout the recruiting process. Recruits want to be somewhere they are wanted. If you can tell them you want them consistently, it will go a long way over your competitors that forget to say it.
Second, have the clearest plan for that prospect.
Besides just saying you want that recruit, show them exactly why you want them by painting a mental picture of what it would look like for them to be on your team.
Talk about how they fit in as a competitor but also as a teammate and member of your school’s community. Talk about roles you see them playing both on and off the field.
If at the end of the day, the recruit can most clearly see themselves at your school, that will go a long way in getting them to choose you over a “better” school that didn’t really give them that vision or feeling.
There are going to be some athletes that cannot afford your school. There are going to be some recruits that just fall in love with beautiful facilities and are being influenced to think facilities matter most. There are going to be coaches with a lot of scholarship money, at high academic schools, that are also great recruiters.
None of this should deter you from doing everything you can to win over high-level recruits. Being the most consistent recruiter that does the best job of showing a prospect you want them will help you go a long way in winning those recruiting battles for talented kids!
Another key element in making sure you win recruits and prove you’re the best program for them: Consistent communication and telling a better story than your competitors. We help hundreds of coaching staffs around the country do just that – and we can do the same for you, too. Here’s how.