Dear Coach Bryant,
My daughter plays high school soccer and is just about to start the recruiting process. We thought we knew what to do- but now that this pandemic has changed the rules, we don’t know where to start! Do you have any advice on how to be a “virtual recruit”?
Don’t Know Dad
Dear Don’t Know Dad,
Don’t panic! Despite all of the changes we are seeing, many core recruiting principles remain the same. However, there are a few things you need to know about being a “virtual recruit”. I’ve provided some tips for you and your children as you embark on this journey of virtual recruiting!
Virtual Recruiting 101
The Initial Contact
You do NOT need to use a professional recruiting service or have a professional profile prepared before you start reaching out to coaches! In my 20 years as a coach, I have never once recruited a player from a professional service. A well-crafted email is more than enough to catch a coach’s attention, and actually provides a great opportunity to make a strong first impression. Remember- coaches are sitting at home, waiting for your email. Don’t wait for your dream coach to contact YOU. Be proactive and take the first step.
Include a Video
Given that most tournaments and showcases are cancelled for the foreseeable future, it is also important that you include a video in your first email. Again, it does NOT need to be a professional video, nor should it be a compilation of all of your “best moments”. Coaches want to see you on your average day so that they can get a genuine idea of the kind of player that you are.
Do not make calls or send texts/emails on your child’s behalf! This is always a good rule to abide by, but it is relevant now more than ever as your children do not have the excuse of being too busy to contact the coaches themselves!
For more specific advice on how to craft your email, you can contact me here.
The Virtual Meeting
As I discussed in my previous blog post, many coaches are opting to conduct “virtual visits” in light of COVID-19. These virtual meetings are a mutual assessment– meaning that teams are evaluating you, just as you are evaluating them. In order to put your best (virtual) foot forward, it is important that you adhere to the following principles:
- Be Prepared
Plan your questions and responses! It is important to show the players and the coaches that you’ve done your research. Ask them questions about their program and inquire about how COVID-19 has impacted them personally. Coaches and players are humans too! They will appreciate your interest in their current situation.
- Be Engaged
Express genuine interest in the program, even if it isn’t your “top choice”. It isn’t enough for a team to be interested in you- you must also show that the interest is reciprocated. Also be sure to conduct the meeting in a place where you will be free of distractions. This will show the team that you are giving them your undivided attention.
- Be Thankful
The coaches and players are spending time and energy setting up these meetings with you. Be sure to express a genuine appreciation for their effort.
- Don’t assume you’re invited to the virtual meeting! But if you are…
- Don’t offer information about your child that you think the coach needs to hear. Let your child be his/her own advocate!
- Don’t ask questions that your child can ask him/herself. You can work with your child to prepare the questions, but leave it at that! Lead your child to take the Lead!
What a coach is looking for
From the beginning, coaches are assessing academic rigor, ACT/SAT scores, and financial viability to see if all three align with the standards set out by their institutions. Beyond that, it comes down to who YOU are. After recruiting players for more than 20 years, I’ve devised the formula for the perfect recruit:
25% Team Player
20% Fire Fire Fire
10% Genuine Interest
It is important that you not only possess these qualities, but also that you demonstrate them to the coaches! To learn more about how your child can do this, contact me here.
College athletics is adapting to temporary restrictions on recruiting, so it is important that your child does the same. Not to worry- it is still possible to find your dream program in these uncertain times! Need to know more about how your child can be the perfect recruit? Contact me.