We’ve always talk about how most coaches were never formally trained to sell, communicate and recruit…and that was during normal circumstances! Now, we’ve thrown COVID-19 into the mix. It’s making for a seemingly overwhelming task, and yet, the responsibility to carry on and build your roster as usual. Because, the truth is, things will be back to normal, and you’ll get back to coaching your team again.
There are plenty of individual situations that could, and should, alter any recommendations we’re about to make here, but this is where you can start:
- Recruiting and communicating by video is something every coach should be doing. Your consistent recruiting communication is needed now, because most prospects are nervous, disappointed and stressed out. Much of their social world has been disrupted, with new restrictions on schools and larger gatherings. There is an opportunity to make a connection with recruits like never before, and that should be done with video. The combination of your face with your voice makes your communication more real, and more personal. Don’t worry about being an expert at it, just start using it. (If you’re a client or Honey Badger Recruiting subscriber, click here for a new mini-podcast on three important steps that you’ll want to do to stage an impactful call with your recruit).
- Consistency counts more than ever. Recruits are going to be looking for someone to latch onto during these stressful times, and your consistent communication with them could enable you to form a very strong relationship, very quickly. We’ve preached about the value of telling your program’s story every 6 to 9 days throughout the recruiting process, and that has never been more important than it is now. Consistency equals trust, and if there’s one thing we know prospects are looking for right now, it’s someone they can trust. Additionally, our research shows that consistent communication tells your recruit that you are more serious about them than other coaches who are inconsistent, which is another recruiting win that you can chalk-up for yourself.
- Answer questions about the process. If you’re looking for something to talk to your recruits about, focus on the recruiting process and what you want them to do during the coming weeks and months. When you do that, you’re going to insert some normalcy into their lives, which is critically important right now. Give your recruits a roadmap, and explain what you want them to do, while making sure to answer their questions along the way.
- Specifically reach out to parents. We’re finding that much of the anxiety about this situation is coming from parents of recruits. They’re seeing a dream they’ve had for their son or daughter possibly slipping away, as well as dealing with their own family’s stresses brought on by the COVID-19 virus: Their work or business is in jeopardy, their loved ones are at risk or already dealing with the virus, and they are seeing their lives disrupted. Another thing they’re dealing with: Sadness and depression. Your role as a coach in communication with parents of your recruits should be to take an interest in how they are dealing with this as a family, and offer your support and concern on their behalf. In other words, be human…show kindness. That’s what is going to be remembered and valued in the months to come.
- Be doing something every single day that builds your program and makes you a better coach. In a crisis, a lot of people have the temptation to fall into a type of paralysis: They’re scared, stressed and not sure what to do next. Coach, fight that feeling. Use this time to become a better coach, a better recruiter, and building a better overall program. You don’t usually get this kind of time to focus on getting better with some of the big picture things that can truly mean great things for a college program in the long term, but now you do. Make a vow to do one tangible thing, each and every day, to improve your abilities, and your program’s worth to the student-athletes you serve.
You’re going to get through this, Coach. And that’s what I’m suggesting you focus on…engaging in tangible activities that can change yourself and your program for years and years to come.
You can’t change your present situation, but you can create change for you and your program by taking the time to focus on these activities in the short-term.
Tudor Collegiate Strategies is the national leader in recruiting and coaching information, and provides many free and low-cost services and training resources for college coaches. Visit our website at www.dantudor.com for all of the ways we can help you build your skillsets and talents, now and in the future.