Building a championship program involves looking to always do things better than you have been. It also means looking to doing things better than the teams you compete against.
If you want more of an edge in recruiting, try doing more of these two things. They are valuable on their own but provide added value just by the fact that many coaches are not doing them. If you want to stand out and be a stronger recruiter, you need to go above and beyond what the average coach does.
1) Writing handwritten letters
In this age of such advanced technology, a handwritten letter can actually be one of your most powerful tools as a recruiter. Kids love being on their phones, doesn’t it make sense to just try and reach them there through texts, calls, and emails?
Yes, but that is also where every other coach is connecting with them. Again, you want to do things above and beyond what the average coach is doing.
Many of the players you recruit have never received a handwritten letter from anyone except maybe a grandparent or other relative. That will make you stand out. The physical nature of it is also different than all their texts and emails that are one swipe away from being deleted or ignored.
Handwriting letters is hard. It can be time consuming and I know you really don’t have much free time in your schedule. And that is exactly why many coaches are not doing it. If you are not already incorporating handwritten letters into your recruiting message, start now! You’ll find some immediate responsiveness in the short-term and deeper conversations with prospects in the long-term.
2) Setting and sticking to YOUR recruiting timeline
When you talk to prospects, hopefully there is a conversation about when that prospect wants to make their decision. There should also be a discussion about when YOU will be wrapping up that recruiting class.
In order to tell the recruit when that is, you need to have a date picked out ahead of time. If your timeline is completely based on when your prospects make their decisions, it will be up in the air and cause your coaching staff added stress and uncertainty year after year.
Figure out when you want to wrap up your recruiting and let your recruits know when it is, early and often. You’ll actually find the prospects appreciate the guidance and will be more ready to make their decisions than if you don’t give them a deadline. If you don’t make your recruiting on your terms, you give up control to the prospects and other coaches that are giving them deadlines.
Dan Christensen is a former college coach and sales professional, and now consults with coaches and athletic departments for Tudor Collegiate Strategies throughout the Atlantic Region of the U.S. To contact Dan, email him at email@example.com.