by Mandy Green, Busy.coach
I have been a college soccer coach for over 18 years now.
When I first started out as an assistant in my early 20’s (and not married yet), I LOVED going out and watching potential student-athletes play for 10 hours a day at tournaments. I really liked the process of writing to them, hearing back from them, getting them on campus, and then ultimately getting them to commit to our program. At the time, I could afford to spend 40+ hours a week on recruiting.
Then I became an associate head coach, had to take on all of the responsibilities that came with it, and was in a serious relationship. Even with all of these new responsibilities, I wanted to continue to spend as much time on recruiting as possible because I knew that the success of the program depended on it. I gave it my best effort for a while and then reached a point where I was frustrated, burned out, and had the hopeless feeling that I wasn’t doing any one of the things I was responsible for well.
I knew something had to give but I just wasn’t sure what.
First, I went out and spent a fortune on coaching books and soccer conferences. Then I decided to try Dan Tudor’s “Building a Winning Recruiting Message” workshop in California.
At the workshop, I was like a sponge. I frantically wrote down every piece of information as Dan showed us how to get our story out there to recruits, how to write more effective letters, gave us better questions to ask them on the phone, taught us a new way to deal with objections, showed us new ways to recruit parents, took us through a recruiting plan, among other things.
I sat and talked to my assistant that night after the workshop about all of the new, productive, and more efficient ways we were going to go out and recruit. I was so excited about all of this new information that I couldn’t sleep for days.
Then I got overwhelmed with all of it. It was all such great information, but when and how was I going to find the time to apply all of it to my program with all of the other stuff I had to get done?
I needed a plan. I thought back to the process that Dan took us through at the workshop, pulled out the forms he gave us to use as an outline, and started writing.
First I wrote down and evaluated everything I was doing from a time perspective. I made a list of all the recruiting activities I was doing in a week (watching games, writing letters, emails, phone calls, on-campus visits) and determined how much time I was spending on each. What an eye opening exercise that was for me. I realized that I was being inefficient, I was unorganized, and was spending too much time on things that weren’t producing results.
I prioritized my list of recruiting activities to make sure I was focusing on things that would generate the greatest results, I figured out what time of the day was best for me to get my recruiting business done with the fewest interruptions, and I gave each recruiting activity a specific amount time to complete. Just by managing my time better, it was amazing how much more time I had in the office to prepare for training or for managing the team. I got into the office at the same time as I usually did, but was able to leave earlier with less stress and more of a satisfied feeling that I had actually accomplished something.
The next step I needed to take, and probably one of the most important activities that I learned at the Building a Winning Recruiting Message workshop, was to lay out a 12-month recruiting calendar.
In the 10 years that I had been a coach prior to that workshop, I never sat down and planned out a year in advance. First, it never occurred to me to do it because I thought I was doing things on the fly. Second, I didn’t think that I had the time to sit down and plan a year in advance. It took me about a week to get a good foundation, but boy was that time well spent.
I created my plan by focusing on themes and topics for each month of the year. I used Dan’s advice with my letters and emails to shorten them and change the message to get more of a response. And I worked my message around important deadlines or events on campus. I also figured out when and how I was going to recruit parents, their club and high school coaches.
Planning ahead of time what I was going to say to recruits, parents, and club coaches each month was such a stress reliever for me and I know that it will be for you if you take the time to plan your next recruiting year.
Interested in learning more about how to organize your recruiting plan, your social media, and how to work better day by day, go to www.busy.coach. If you have a plan that you have already written and would like feedback on, feel free to send it my way at email@example.com.