So I do what any traveler does when they are guaranteed a very good seat, with plenty of overhead storage availability: I show up early to try to be first in line.
And I’m not the only one. You’ve seen first class passengers waiting to board, right? Serious looks on their faces. Body language that tells others not try to cut in line. And when they’re called to board, they do it with authority. Serious looks, no nonsense, and competitive with each other…for no good reason.
Does it matter if I get on the plane sixth instead of first? No. Except when I get upgraded, something kicks in…a competitive spirit, and a desire to keep up with the other first-classers.
So, what does all of this have to do with recruiting? The mindset of many of your recruits.
There’s a psychology to being first that affects me when I’m line to board, and when your prospects are starting to get recruited. And since you’re not too worried about my irrational need to be competitive in the first class boarding line, let me focus on the student-athletes you’re recruiting – and the mindset they’re taking in to the process with you:
- Many of your prospects have an innate desire to know where they’re going early. Really early. Not all of them, but a significant number. Especially when it comes to the best athletes. Why? Because for years, they been trained to think that if you’re a good athlete, you should know where you’re going earlier rather than later.
- Many of your prospects want the security of knowing where they’re going. We as coaches would look at the news of a 7th grader committing to play their sport in college and cringe; the athlete, and the family, looks at it and feels a sense of relief…college is paid for, and they can relax and just enjoy their high school years.
- Many of your prospects, through the process I’ve just described, feel validated that they are indeed a good athlete. Their hard work has paid off, and the parents look brilliant in the way that they’ve helped their son or daughter maneuver through the complicated recruiting process. That makes them feel good, along with their son or daughter.
Like boarding for first class, there is an almost irrational feeling of security that comes with getting seated – or committing to a college – earlier, rather than later.
My message in all of this is simple: Understand that your prospects’ desire to commit early, fueled by our country’s quietly effective subliminal message that ‘if you’re a good high school athlete, you will get early offers from college coaches’, seems normal and intelligent.
I’m not saying it’s right, and I’m not asserting that college coaches need to now recruit all of their athletes early. What I am saying is that college coaches need to understand what’s driving their motivation.
If you understand why they’re drawn towards the comfort, safety and validation of “boarding early” in the recruiting process, it should lead to you approaching the conversation with your prospects differently. Maybe it means you end up recruiting earlier, or maybe it means you tell your prospects and parents why you feel it’s smart to wait.
Here’s what I know: Not addressing early recruiting, either through changed actions or compelling words, isn’t an option anymore.
So what are you going to do?
Want to learn more about early recruiting, and how to do it the right way? Join us this Summer, along with coaches from around the country, at the National Collegiate Recruiting Conference. It’ll take your recruiting skills to the next level! Click here now