Recruiting is hard. It takes a lot of physical and mental energy to have a successful recruiting class. You know that, Coach.
But, there are ways to set yourself up for success in recruiting that will lead to less strain and burnout year after year.
I want to give you two of those strategies. If you can do these two things effectively it will help your recruiting in the long run.
They are not necessarily short-term, quick-fix strategies. And so, a lot of coaches might not follow through with them. But the coaches that do will be laying the foundation for a lot of recruiting success. Some in the short term but even more so as their career progresses with that program.
So, whether you’ve been coaching at your school for 30 years or are taking over at a brand new school this year, use these two strategies.
1) Establish a clear vision for the program, and plan to get there
If you want recruits to buy into your program, they need to believe in what they are buying into.
That means you need clearly define that vision for them. Spend a lot of time thinking about your goals for the program. And those goals should include but also go beyond the win-loss column.
What do you want your program to be known for? What do you want as the outcome for your athletes after their time at your school?
Once you have goals for your program and the brand you are trying to establish, you need to be able to explain to recruits how they fit into that vision.
What is your plan for them? How do they contribute to the program? The school? How will you make them better? How will you help them reach their goals?
If you don’t spend time establishing a clear vision for the program and explaining to recruits what your plan for them is within that vision, you will have a lot of steep uphill recruiting battles.
2) Recruit earlier
When it comes to recruiting, earlier is better than later. The priority should be the current class you are working on. But, if little to no attention is given to the next class, or even the next two classes, that important foundation is not going to be strong.
Have you heard this one before when you reach out to a new recruit?
“Sorry Coach but I have already narrowed down my list.”
You came in too late. And even though that recruit hasn’t made their decision yet, the idea of starting the recruiting process over with a brand-new school after they have narrowed down their list is not desirable.
The solution? Recruit earlier. Spend time focused on the juniors. And if you’re allowed to, even give some time to high school freshmen or sophomores.
Another benefit of recruiting early is that when a prospect gets down to their final two or three schools, the tiebreaker they often use is simply who recruited them first. Is it the best way to decide? Maybe not. But that is how recruits will often make their decision!
The main reason to recruit earlier is that it takes time to be able to show your value. Especially if you are not immediately the best option.
If you are not at the top academically, athletically, geographically, or financially, you still need to explain to your recruits why they should choose you. The best way to do that is with a consistent message over a long period of time.
Neither of these strategies are magical, quick-fix recruiting tips to help you land that top recruit. But, these strategies, if implemented well, will allow you to have a lot of future recruiting success!
Dan Christensen is a former college coach, sales professional, and advisor for Tudor Collegiate Strategies. He and our team help coaching staffs develop next-level recruiting communication for each class of recruits you’re interested in, and we can do the same for you. Click here to find out how.