by Greg Carroll, Tudor Collegiate Strategies
What went wrong!
I’ve heard that from a few different coaches over the past month or so as they reflect on the past fall season. They came into preseason camp in August with terrific expectations, excited about their incoming class, the return of some seniors who were taking advantage of their extra Covid year. Everything was on track for a championship season.
But along the way things didn’t go the way they were supposed to. Rarely does a disappointing season come down to just one factor. It’s usually a combination of things. Perhaps your schedule didn’t align like you wanted, a member of your staff left at the last minute, a key player decided not to return, etc. In most cases, however, the roots of the disappointment are in your incoming class. They simply weren’t as good as you thought OR their skills weren’t better than what you already had.
If you want to get better you have to recruit players who are better than those you already have. That part’s simple!
When we come to a campus to do a workshop, one of the things we often find ourselves talking about is evaluating not only the athletes you’re recruiting but also your current roster. In order to get a sense for your needs you have to be able to assess what you have against what you need and doing so can be a very simple process. When we walk coaches through this we ask them to identify five essential qualities necessary for an athlete to be successful in that position and then define (write this out so you have it for the future) what those attributes look like. Then, one a scale of 1-5, score your current players on each attribute. If one particular attribute is more important than all others multiply it by two so it reflects the added emphasis you’re placing on that skill. This will give you an actual number or score for each member of your team.
So, the next step is to go through the same exercise with the group of athletes you’re recruiting. Hopefully, when you do this you’ll find the athletes you want on your bench next year do indeed reflect the skills you need to take that next step competitively.
Of course, there is the variable of progressive development. The senior point guard has had four years to develop while the high school senior you are currently considering has not had that opportunity. If you use this process each year you will be able to assess how much your athletes develop from year to year and you can get a sense for what a recruit’s score of “20” might translate to by the time they become a senior.
What comes next? The next challenge is actually getting those recruits you need to choose you and your school. That requires absolutely nailing a variety of tasks including a consistent and compelling messaging strategy for your recruits, building out awesome campus visits, having a plan for how you will win the favor of your recruit’s parents, establishing a timeline that keeps you out in front of all those other programs your recruits might be considering. And it doesn’t end when you fill that last spot on your roster. It simply starts all over again. It’s an ongoing process of evaluating what you are doing and how it is working. At each juncture the programs that get the recruits they want each year the coaching staff assess:
1. How did your campus visits go?
2. Were you on the mark in terms of identification (did their scorecard work, were your really evaluating your needs accurately or does it need tweaking)
3. Were you late getting your offers out and do you need to reevaluate your timeline
4.Were you telling the stories about your program that were describing how you are different from other schools and why those differences are important?
If this sounds like a lot, it is! And if you would like some help you might be a candidate for TCS’s Total Recruiting Solution client program. Learn more about that at https://dantudor.com/total-recruiting-solution/.
If you’re one of those coaches who is now looking back on the season that wasn’t you need to take an honest look at the causes. It’s likely that you simply didn’t go after the players who would have made you better in the long run. And that doesn’t mean you have to get the commitment of the All World recruit. Getting more of those players who are even a little better than what you currently have each year and coaching them up each season will lead to consistent success down the road.
Want help figuring out where things went wrong for you and your program? Set up a strategy call with Greg Carroll by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.