by Greg Carroll, Tudor Collegiate Strategies
It’s approaching like a freight train going downhill and before you know it it will be here. Yup, the Fourth of July! For my family and friends that always represents a sort of “Summer Sweet Spot” as kids are done with school the weather has turned to real summer, and vacation time has hit.
For me as a college athletic director, it meant that time was growing short for all those things I’d told myself I was going to get done before the start of the fall season and everyone hit campus for preseason in August.
If you have a list of things you were hoping to switch out or changes you want to make for the 2022-23 year – congratulations! That’s terrific because if you do the same thing next year that you did this year, rest assured you’re going to get very similar results. That’s great if you won a national championship but most of us have things we could do to improve.
At Tudor Collegiate Strategies, there are certain pillars we believe support a well planned, strategic approach to recruiting success. Consistent messaging, parent engagement, and the use of timelines are among those practices we believe drive other strategies.
Aside from those, here are a few other ideas for things that you can consider taking a look at during the remaining weeks of summer that might offer opportunities for greater recruiting success for the coming year.
- Home Visits – Yeah, I mean the old school home visit where you meet the recruit and his or her parents, sit on the porch and have a glass of lemonade! It’s summer and travel is easy (other than gas prices!) so plan a trip to see your top recruits. I promise you will get “rock star” treatment from them and it will prove 100 percent how committed you are to them. Maybe you can tie a couple visits together to recruits who live in the same area. Maybe you’re working a summer camp near some recruits’ homes or maybe you can tie visits to a family outing. I know (but if you’re a coach there’s very little separation between your team and your family). When you visit, keep it light. You’re a guest, not a vacuum cleaner sales person or someone selling encyclopedias. This is a personal visit so make it personal. Talk about your family, their summer plans. If you leave without trying to sell them you will have sold them. Trust me on this.
- Office Redo – When was the last time you changed out your office? You may not realize it but your office speaks volumes about who you are. If you have pictures from your teams in the 2000’s what does that say about your commitment to your more recent teams? Have you integrated technology into your office or do you still have a VCR to watch video (ok, that’s extreme but I’m sure you get my point). Your recruits want to see that you are using the most recent technology breakthroughs to compete. Big screen television with video breakdown software, wireless technology, etc. If this is all too much, get trained and get current. Your recruits notice that stuff. Take a look at anything in your office that speaks to who you are and what makes you tick. Pictures of family, books in your bookcase, even how neat your desk is. Maybe it’s simply time to clean house. Not only will this offer a better picture of your program you will also find that you will feel better about hitting “reset” with the start of the new year.
- Connect With Alumni – Similar to the points about home visits this is a great time of year to walk down memory lane with former players. Take a few road trips!!! Put together a couple golf outings so you can reconnect. There should be a variety of goals. Talk about their experiences with full disclosure. Ask them about what they liked and didn’t like. You can also ask them if they would like to remain connected to the program and then describe opportunities for them to do so. One of those ways could be seeing if they’d like to talk to recruits about their current positions and how their degree prepared them for professional success. All this leads to an improved likelihood they will financially contribute to your program. You can even ask them how you should go about a fundraising plan. “Greg, I could use your help developing a capital campaign for the program. What suggestions would you have?” Now you’ve put it directly in their lap to respond in some fashion. Hopefully with a check!
- Build A Strategic Plan: Have you taken the time to do a long term (3-5 year) strategic plan for your program? It’s hard to get to where you want to go without a road map. A good strategic plan goes well beyond something you scratch out on a Burger King napkin. Get your staff together over some burgers and beverages and talk about your goals, share ideas and take ownership for different tasks. And most importantly, set a schedule (timeline for future meetings with dates of completion for different tasks. If you need help I’m sure there are people on your campus or in your department who would be happy to help (ask your AD!!!) This can be tremendously motivating. My suggestion is to start with really attainable steps, build momentum and make the goals progressively more challenging. As you check the boxes you will get excited about change and the possibilities positive change brings.
Now get to work! Just kidding but seriously, these are things that can be fun, will provide value as you head into next year, and you probably don’t have time for during the year. I wish you a great summer!
If you need help making the most of your summer, connect with Greg Carroll. He is part of the team at Tudor Collegiate Strategies helping college coaches build winning programs. Email Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a strategy call.