by Dan Christensen, Tudor Collegiate Strategies
Many coaches do not intentionally create a timeline for their recruiting process. Some concerns that cause them not to do so include:
- I don’t want to put pressure on my recruits to make a decision when they are not ready
- Every player is different and I don’t want to just have one timeline for everyone
- I need numbers. What if I don’t have enough players by my deadline?
- It just sounds like a lot of work and I am comfortable the way I always do things
For those of you that might relate to thoughts above, I would like to make the case that a clear timeline that is communicated early and often with your prospects and their families will actually solve these problems better than if you did not have one. There are many benefits to having a timeline but there are two that especially stand out:
The ability to be in control of your recruiting class
When a coach decides to leave their recruiting open ended, it essentially creates a process that gets random results.
As a coach, you have steps you feel your prospect needs to take in order for them to make their decision. This could include an official visit, filling out the application, or filling out their FAFSA.
How often do you struggle to get your recruits to take these steps? One of the best ways to overcome that is to lay out what the recruiting process should look like from the start. If a prospect knows that in six months, you’ll be done recruiting their class, they’ll want to get everything done that they need to before that time comes. If they don’t, it is a red flag and probably means that player is not serious about you and your school.
Without knowing when the end of this process is, the rate and timing at which these prospects take the necessary steps will be random. That means you don’t truly know when they will make their decision and help you finish your recruiting class.
Coach, we don’t want you to have that added stress and anxiety that comes with uncertainty. Especially when it comes to one of the most important parts of your job. A timeline established by you puts you in control of the process. And you will probably find many recruits and their families will actually appreciate your timeline because without it, they might be just as anxious and uncertain as you are.
A defined end to the process adds value to your program
Think about job offers you may have received in the past. How often did the person hiring tell you, “this offer is open-ended. You can decide whenever you are ready. No pressure. Take your time.” I would guess very few of you have received that kind of offer. If you did, how long would you take before accepting or denying that job? A day? A week? A month? From the employers perspective, it would be random.
Instead, they offer you the job and tell you how long you have to decide. Why? Because there are other people they want to hire if you do not accept. They have something valuable to offer and they cannot wait too long because they want to offer it to someone else if you reject it.
It should be the same with your recruiting timeline. Make it clear, early and often, when you will be wrapping up your recruiting class. It will create for your recruits a sense of value, in that there is a line of kids that want the spot you offered to them. There is some scarcity to how many spots you can offer and with scarcity there is value.
Without a clear end for the process, your recruits will delay their decision. And if you seem like the kind of team that is taking players at any time, they might think you’re not the best option out there. And my worry Coach, is that your competitor will not leave it open ended and will make it clearer that their spot is more valuable and desirable than yours.