by Dan Christensen, Tudor Collegiate Strategies
Whether you realize it or not, you already have a recruiting timeline.
For some of you, there is a certain day that you can begin contacting your next class. For others the start is a little more flexible, but it begins whenever you start contacting your next class.
For some of you there is a deposit deadline of May 1st of a recruit’s senior year. For others that deadline might simply be the first day of classes in the Fall.
But, these points in the timeline, especially the deadlines are not ones that you came up with. They more so follow the institutional timeline of your school.
What I want is for YOU as the coach of your program to be in charge of your program’s timeline. A clear timeline provides benefits to you as the coach, to your program, and to the recruits you are talking to. Here are a couple reasons why:
1) It gives context to the rest of the recruiting process
What are the key steps in the recruiting process?
Something like initial scouting, initial contact, further evaluation, campus visits, applying, acceptance, and then a decision. The order changes depending on the school and program but these are some of the general markers that happen along the way.
If there is no clear timeline as to when recruiting ends for your program, why should your recruits come visit in the spring of their junior year versus fall of their senior year?
If there is no clear timeline, why should your recruit apply early action in November instead of just applying in February?
If there is no clear timeline, why should your recruit commit in the fall of their senior year and not just wait until May to make their final decision?
Without a clear timeline for your program, the timing of all these steps in the process is really just random. And randomness in recruiting is not a good formula.
As the leader of the program, I want you to be in control. I want you to be able to effectively guide your prospects through the recruiting process. And I want you to have some predictability when it comes to the decisions of these 16, 17, and 18 year old kids (seems like a big ask, I know).
When you have a timeline that guides when things should happen, it also helps you know sooner if a recruit is not on the right pace.
For example, if you want to wrap up recruiting by the end of January and you have a recruit who in the middle of November still hasn’t visited, that is a big red flag. At this point, there are only a few weeks until the college students go home for winter break and won’t be back until right about the end of the recruiting timeline. And a visit without the current athletes there probably won’t be that great of a visit.
I would have a conversation with this recruit and their family about how serious they are about your school. If they come to the conclusion in early November that they are no longer considering you, I would like to know that with 2-3 months left so we can focus on the more serious recruits. Otherwise, you’re probably going to keep trying to stay in touch with that recruit through January, even though in November they knew they weren’t coming.
Without that timeline at all, you might keep contacting that recruit through April or May until they finally commit to that other school. Which leads to the next benefit of having a clear timeline…
2) More sanity in your life as a college coach
Life as a college coach can be crazy. And I know I am preaching to the choir here.
One thing that can drive coaches crazy, lead to burnout, and make them less productive in all the other areas of their life is spending way too much unnecessary time recruiting.
Be honest, do you like the idea of recruiting throughout the late spring and summer for the upcoming Fall?
Of course you don’t. You’d rather get deeper into your next class, focus on your team, and maybe even spend some time with your family.
If you can set a clear timeline for your program, effectively use it to guide your recruiting process, and be committed to moving on once you reach the end, life will be much better for you.
You’ll have more time, bring in stronger recruiting classes, and feel less burnt out when you step into the office every day.
Know that you need a clear recruiting timeline but want help creating it? Dan Christensen and the team at Tudor Collegiate Strategies are helping coaches use this strategy to bring in winning recruiting classes. Email Dan to set up a strategy call at email@example.com.