April 26, 2020
Hi everyone – welcome back to our continued recruiting series. We’ve hosted a handful of webinars recently for both travel and high school coaches and also for student-athletes and parents (which are posted on our blog, if you’d like to see the recordings). From those and the questions that we’ve gotten from families, we’re going to do another series of videos and posts on the questions that we’re getting, and on important areas of focus for student-athletes looking to advance their recruiting. The topic here will be scheduling your exposure for recruiting this summer.
Scheduling for an uncertain summer is incredibly difficult for student-athletes and families who are navigating the recruiting process. No one knows what the summer calendar will look like yet – and the only safe bet is that it won’t look exactly like the perfectly planned summer of recruiting exposure that you laid out in December and January. It’s going to be necessary to be flexible – and also to be very selective in the events you do target to make sure they deliver the efficiency necessary in a shortened recruiting cycle.
The High-Academic Recruiting Process
For student-athletes targeting high-academic programs, the recruiting process already looks different, and requires specialized exposure and additional considerations. For you, it’s not just about getting exposure willy-nilly to whatever schools happen to be at a tournament, but rather targeting your exposure to focus on the schools that are on your lists – and also schools that have a similar profile to the schools already on your list. Quite honestly, this is exactly why Headfirst Honor Roll Camps exist and have had success over the years – they deliver guaranteed exposure to a curated list of high-academic schools, giving both student-athletes and recruiting college coaches the efficiency they need to be effective in their recruiting.
The good news and the bad news for high-academic student-athletes in current times. Good news: you’re already used to thinking critically about the exposure opportunities in front of you – so needing to do so this summer will be nothing new. Bad news: re-focusing and doubling down on targeting the right events during a potentially shortened recruiting cycle will require even more judicious, and potentially difficult choices in how you’re spending your time and recruiting budget this summer.
Efficiency in Exposure – the Right Schools
Getting efficient exposure in your recruiting is a combination of guaranteeing access to the programs already on your list – and also growing your list to “lookalike” schools that could also offer a great college fit. This is what we mean by “the right schools”. It’s more than just the programs you already know about – it’s also the schools that have a lot in common with them, but that are in a different part of the country or that you might not have on your radar. “The Right Schools” means getting guaranteed exposure to a wide variety of programs from across the D1 to D3 ladder, all focused around great academic fit.
This year more than ever, it’s going to be important for student-athletes to prioritize the exposure opportunities that put them in front of the right schools, so that they can gain this efficiency when they need it most.
Efficiency in Exposure – the Right Format & Tools
To really make strides, it’s also important this summer to focus on opportunities that deliver more than just coaches’ eyeballs. This is an important starting point, but in a summer when recruiting college coaches are going to need to make decisions more quickly – where they might have the time to see you play 3, 4 or 5 times – they need more complete insights more quickly. Which for most programs means having access to your video, as well as to data and analytics that they can use to deepen their understanding of your play. It will be key this summer to prioritize whenever possible the opportunities that you have to give coaches a complete look at you as a player – beyond simply seeing you on the field.
Data and analytics can help coaches put numbers to what they’re seeing on the field, so they aren’t purely relying on the “eye test”. Putting data to what they’re seeing gives coaches more comfort in making recruiting decisions, because they have deeper insight into not only who you are as a player, but your on-field potential.
Video is another way to gain efficiency in your recruiting, because it can help your scale your recruiting outreach. If – during an uncertain summer that is sure to feature a lot of restructuring, changing plans and potentially cancellations – you’re unable to get in front of a specific coach or program, you can always use video to get your foot in the door to create some initial interest. So, prioritizing getting good quality video this summer can help you both over the summer and through the fall and winter as you progress through the recruiting process. Another note on video – it can effectively put you in front of the entire coaching staff at your target program. Ultimately, the recruiting process for a coaching staff is a collaborative one, requiring cross-checking and buy-in from the whole staff. There are simply too many prospective student-athletes to see for it to be the work of a single person – coaching staffs will have as many people as they can out on the recruiting trail to maximize the players they’re able to see. Especially this summer, when they could be facing calendar restrictions, as well, it’s even more important for programs to leverage their entire coaching staff to see as many players as possible. If you have video in addition to the in-person exposure that you target this summer, it can help the coach who saw you play “cross-check” you with the rest of the staff – if you come to an Honor Roll event and meet the Recruiting Coordinator, they can then pull up your NextPro video from camp (which is distributed to all college coaches in attendance for free) in the softball office for the entire staff to see what they saw when they were at camp.
I hope that this helps in framing the conversation for families and student-athletes around recruiting exposure this summer, when efficiency is going to be more key than ever. Stay tuned for the next posts coming up, which will address some of the most frequent questions we’re getting right now from student-athletes and parents.