I asked a high school coach the other day, “Do your athletes have a college recruiting plan during the Covid-19 pandemic?”
Let’s face it. These are some of the most trying, complicated and uncertain times we have ever experienced.
And for high school student athletes who dream of earning a college scholarship, parents and coaches are left wondering how to manage the college recruiting process sans campus visits, camps, tournaments and in-person recruiting (which has been prohibited by the NCAA until at least August 31, 2020.
So what should prospective student athletes do to keep their college athletic dreams alive?
Here are 5 ways to keep your recruiting journey on track during Covid-19.
Start Conversations. Even though the dead period has been extended to August 31, college coaches can still communicate with prospective recruits and transfers so long as it is not done in person. Calling, texting, DMing, emailing, Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, etc. are all permissible. Which means, PSAs need to be ultra proactive when it comes to engaging college coaches. Start by emailing or texting good questions. Ask about active rosters, current recruiting needs, degree programs, and/or how Covid-19 has impacted their recruiting efforts. Ask if they have viewed your film and if so, can they offer any constructive feedback.
And don't worry if you don't get a response right away. College coaches are trying to figure all this out, too. In fact, it's possible 50% of them may even delete your email. That's the way it goes in "marketing." Don't get discouraged. It might take 3-4 emails to a coach over a 30-60 day period to get a reply email back.
Not sure what to say to college coaches? The SAS Starter Kit includes, among many other valuable resources, ten (10) email templates that are guaranteed to generate responses from college recruiters.
Maximize your online presence. There's a saying I like to use: "If you are not seen, you are not remembered." In other words, keep your information in front of college coaches. Make sure your online recruiting profile, your video(s), and your social media pages are all up to date. This is your opportunity to make an impression, so make sure they're complete, accurate, free of mistakes. Is your film outdated? Here's a simple idea: Film a virtual workout and add it to your profile and share it with college coaches. Be sure to include a short personal intro! Need help with this?
Invite college coaches to a Zoom meeting. Video conferencing is extremely common now. It's a great way to get to know coaches and make the conversation much more personal. If a coach is willing to Zoom with you, take this as an extremely positive sign. But be sure you come prepared. Dress appropriately. Have 4-5 questions ready to ask. Treat this meeting as an in-person recruiting visit!
Virtual College Tours. Many college campuses in the US will be delaying the start of classes. Some have even decided to go 100% remote learning. Either way, visiting campuses will be a challenge for a while. Solution? Visit them virtually. Of course, it’s not the same as being there in person. But it's better than nothing.
Two resources I recommend are YouVisit and Campus Tours. Spend time visiting as many campus virtually as possible. This is important research, and may even help you construct good questions when communicating with college coaches.
Train Hard. Practices and games are slowly but surely getting underway. As we've seen already, though, things can change at a moment's notice. Still, stay focused on your training regimen. You may have to get creative when it comes to where and when. But don't lose sight of the goal. Run, lift, and work on your skills nearly every day. While many things are beyond our control right now, YOU control your level of training.
Need some a better college recruiting plan? Contact Rex Grayner directly.
Other resources you might find valuable: