This post details the onboarding process onto our platform for the Los Angeles Volleyball Academy (LAVA). The post describes how the club implemented technology midseason with great results, and includes audio throughout from LAVA Recruiting Director Andre Lennox.
The Los Angeles Volleyball Academy strives to do things differently—to do things better than the average club sports experience by providing its members not only quality volleyball coaching and training but quality education and resources as well. In order to live up to that guarantee while continuing to grow its number of members, LAVA needed a tool to help manage their efforts.
LAVA used technology in the past and were less than thrilled with the results. So, the next time around would have to be different. With the goals of educating its members on how to tackle each part of the recruiting process and providing them best-in-class resources to manage those many moving parts, LAVA seamlessly incorporated the SportsRecruits club management tool to into its existing recruiting philosophy—and saw early, widespread adoption.
LAVA’s RECRUITING PHILOSOPHY
“There’s a school for everybody out there” according to LAVA’s Recruiting Director, Andre Lennox. Andre heads up the recruiting efforts of the entire LAVA club–about 230 high school-aged players in multiple locations–and has a rather simple approach to his task. As he sees it, it’s his responsibility to help educate the families in his club, inform them on the recruiting process, and show them the steps necessary to be recruited. While Andre certainly does his part in promoting the club’s players to college coaches, his view is that “it’s a process they need to own, and we’re here to help and give them all the tools necessary and all the support we can, but ultimately it’s going to be up to the player to do the work.” With so many recruitable-aged athletes, Andre quickly realized one of those tools would need to allow him to reach and support each family engaging in the recruiting process.
In their first 60 days on the platform, student-athletes on LAVA’s 2017 team contacted 452 schools.
Although it was the middle of the club’s season when they integrated with SportsRecruits, LAVA was confident it had a plan to unveil this new recruiting tool to its members in time to utilize it during the busy spring tournament season. Keeping in line with their principle of educating the club’s members, Andre coordinated a series of recruiting workshops at the club’s largest locations. The goal was to break down the key stages of the recruiting process through a face-to-face explanation from LAVA staff that had experience as former college coaches. Andre coupled that message with his unveiling of the club’s new technology integration and made clear to families each piece of the recruiting puzzle could be efficiently managed using SportsRecruits. In the matter of a few weekend sessions, LAVA made resoundingly clear its commitment to providing its members quality education and resources.
BREAKING DOWN THE BIGGER PICTURE
In order to see an immediate impact from this new technology integration, though, Andre knew he would need his own game plan. So he targeted his expectations for each age group in the club, knowing that players need different goals depending on the stage of the recruiting process they’re in: For the 16’s and 17’s, “that’s the age in which you need to be actively contacting schools,” says Lennox. Whereas the message to the freshmen was to “get your profile built, and really just start researching schools and seeing what might interest you.” By varying his expectations across the club, and utilizing SportsRecruits’ insight into player activity, Andre and the club were able to see value from the software right away. With this approach in mind, the impact of LAVA’s new recruiting management platform would quickly extend beyond their recruitable-aged athletes. As Andre put it, “our goal is to set this up as a culture that every year these kids get more and more ingrained to it…where the 14’s, when they come up into the high school age know ‘alright, I’m going to start building my profile, going to start doing my research…so that when I’m a sophomore and junior I’ll have video on my profile, I’ll have all my transcripts up, and I can really start getting into it’”. Such macro-level thinking allowed the club to earn small, yet meaningful, victories in the early stages of its integration. Take for instance LAVA’s junior class, who in the first two months alone contacted 452 schools, added 732 programs to their list of favorites, and received 651 profile views. With only 47 players at that age group, there was plenty for Andre and the rest of the club to be thrilled about. Not only did they have analytics around their players’ recruiting efforts, but the numbers showed the players at the most crucial stage of the recruiting process were also the ones most eager to take advantage of the new resource provided by the club.
In their first 60 days on the platform, student-athletes on LAVA’s 2017 team received 651 profile views from college coaches.
IMPLEMENTING A GAMEPLAN
For a successful integration, LAVA knew it could not simply tack technology onto an existing program or offer the tool as an option to its members. Rather, from the very onset, SportsRecruits was weaved into the club’s existing mission and recruiting philosophy. Its recruiting director told families face-to-face how this technology will help their efforts to be recruited. The club’s message to families was widespread, ensuring that younger athletes had a concrete recruiting program to look forward to. And the members themselves were given varying goals so that each player, regardless of their graduation year, felt they were actively taking control of their recruiting process. With this holistic approach to integrating new technology into its business, LAVA held true to its core principles while adapting to best serve its growing membership base.