by Dan Christensen, Tudor Collegiate Strategies
The other day I was talking with a new Total Recruiting Solution client and he expressed how he feels a lot of his recruiting is very reactive.
He just got his first head coaching job at the college level, a week or so before his team’s regular season began. He also has no assistant coach to help with recruiting.
And so, while trying to acclimate to the new school, get to know his current players, and prepare for several competitions every week, most of his recruiting is very reactive to whatever comes across his phone or email.
Now, I give him some credit because that is a tough situation to be in. But, I think for some coaches, they have trouble ever getting out of it and default to just reactive recruiting versus being proactive in their approach.
This can be a poor strategy for several reasons. Here are two:
1) Your time will be consumed by C level prospects
When you get an email from an athlete or some recruiting service trying to promote a prospect, what percentage of the time is it an A+ superstar in your sport?
How often is it someone you either straight up will not take on your team, or would only take if you really need the roster numbers?
Lower-level kids will reach out to you more often, trying to get your attention.
Higher-level kids will need to be sought out more often, in order to get their attention.
If you are truly trying to build your program to get better and compete for conference and national championships, focusing all your attention on B- or C level prospects won’t help.
Unfortunately, if you are a reactive recruiter this will happen a lot.
Be diligent about ranking your prospects. Be proactive in making sure those priority kids get consistent communication. Even if it means you have to delay getting back to that C level kid that sent you six emails last week.
Focus on how to move your priority kids forward in the process every single week. If you don’t, they probably won’t.
2) You’ll never uncover what prospects are hesitant about
Teenagers will rarely volunteer feedback that isn’t asked of them. Especially if it is something negative. A part of your team or school that they don’t like.
That kind of feedback is critical though. Proactive recruiters are always trying to figure that information out.
What is holding them back from committing?
Why do they not consider you a top 3 option at the moment?
What is the main reason they feel they might go elsewhere in the end?
Coaches need to figure that out.
Reactive recruiters don’t get to dig that deep because the conversations are often more driven by the athlete who again, will not volunteer that kind of information.
Coaches that are more reactive end up getting blindsided a lot by recruits they thought were interested but end up committing elsewhere.
Being a proactive recruiter is hard. It takes putting a serious emphasis on organizing your recruiting pool and recruiting message. But, no one ever said successful recruiting is easy. And it is the lifeblood of building a winning program.
Avoid being a reactive recruiter, Coach.
Want help being a more proactive recruiter? Dan Christensen and the team at Tudor Collegiate Strategies are helping 500+ programs refine their recruiting strategy and develop a consistent plan of communication to make sure they are being proactive with top recruits. Have questions about what that looks like? Email Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org.