November 11, 2020
We recently hosted a webinar for student-athletes and families to discuss the current state of high-academic recruiting. The impacts of the ongoing NCAA Division 1 dead period, as well as many schools implementing school-specific travel restrictions for coaches and staff members means that the recruiting landscape looks different today than it ever has before, and navigating it is challenging.
On this webinar, we discussed the current state of high-academic recruiting, including what’s changed and how it looks moving forward, and also what student-athletes can do right now this fall and winter to advance their recruiting process at their target schools. You can watch the full webinar via the link above – or take a look at the outline of topics covered below to skip directly to the most interesting or relevant topics and questions.
Introduction & Agenda
Themes of the Webinar (Be PROACTIVE!)
Jenna Orlando – 4-year player and former team captain at Lafayette Softball
Max McKenna – 4-year player and former All-NESCAC pitcher at Amherst College
The Status of High-Academic Recruiting
Timeline of High-Academic Recruiting –
Since last March, college programs and coaching staffs across the country have been adapting to the new recruiting landscape by re-focusing their efforts on digital outreach, video, data, analytics and more. While many programs did have some lull in their recruiting last spring, most have since gotten comfortable with the “new tools” of recruiting, and have picked up their pace, particularly with 2021s and 2022s.
Jenna’s Recruiting Process –
Before we look forward to what has changed and is continuing to change in recruiting, we frame up the conversation by looking back a couple of years to what Jenna’s recruiting process looked like.
The “New” Tools of Recruiting –
Video, video, video – as well as increased data and analytics. We cover how coaches are using these new tools and how student-athletes can best take advantage of them.
Video in Recruiting
How to collect both showcase and in-game footage that college coaches need to see to be confident knowing you as a player enough to recruit you.
Email “Plus” in Coach Communication
Coaches also want to know that you’re the right holistic and culture fit for their program – how can you use email and other digital connection tools and platforms to give coaches a good sense of who you are as a student-athlete?
Data & Analytics in Recruiting
From their important role over the last couple of years as player development tools within college programs, data and analytics tools like Blast Motion and Rapsodo are becoming increasingly important in helping coaches recruit the right players for their program.
How Coaches Use the “New” Tools of Recruiting –
Based on conversations we’re having with our college coach partners, we discuss how they’re using these new tools and new or adapted events like the Showcase PLUS to advance their program’s recruiting.
What Players Should Do This Fall & Winter
Verified Video & Data –
Now is the time to build up a library of video for yourself to give coaches insight into your play, and to set the foundation for future communication, as well.
Coach Communication –
Don’t wait to put yourself on the radar at your target programs. Now is a great time (once equipped with verified video and data) to be in touch via email with your target programs to get on their radar.
Academic Focus –
The classroom may look very different right now – but it’s crucial that you keep your foot on the pedal academically and continue to keep your grades up, as well as think about preparing for standardized tests.
Do. Not. Wait! It’s tempting to sit back and wait for the recruiting landscape to be “normal” again, but those athletes who we’re seeing have success are those who are doing the best and accomplishing everything they can within the restrictions currently in place. Do what you can now!
Effective Coach Communication
Efficiency – Online Profiles & Building a College List –
Create a one-stop-shop for yourself through SportsRecruits, and be efficient in your coach communication by identifying your key and target programs so that you can keep up with the communication and thoughtfully personalize each correspondence.
Personalize Every Touchpoint –
PERSONALIZE your emails to college coaches! If you’re not getting responses to your emails, chances are they’re too generic – let coaches know that you’re genuinely interested in their school and program, and let them know why!
Emailing College Coaches –
Tips and tricks for success in emailing college coaches, as well as some of the challenges of it being so ubiquitous.
Non-Email Touchpoints –
It’s important to take some of your communication out of the inbox and into other channels – like handwritten letters!
Upcoming Headfirst Showcase Events
Southeast Showcase PLUS: December 5-6, St. Petersburg, FL
West Showcase PLUS: January 9-10, Palmdale, CA
“What if college coaches aren’t responding to my emails?”
“Can college coaches contact me via email or call me?”
“How can I best use handwritten letters in my communication with college coaches?”
“What’s good content for an underclassmen ‘introductory’ email to send to coaches? What should that intro note include and look like?”
“How can I build a good school list, and what role should school Division plan in building that list or communicating it to coaches?”
“How do I handle multiple offers?”
“Can coaches give feedback on videos to underclassmen?”
“What is going to happen with the ongoing dead period? What can players do if it does or doesn’t expire soon?”
“If you get an offer from a school, what do you say if you want to take some time to think about it?”