If you’ve recently integrated with the SportsRecruits platform, you’ve made the first move towards happier staff, fulfilled players, satisfied families, and a stronger club. But what separates the most successful integrations from the least? What approach can help you make the most of your new integration?
Momentum is a crucial factor in determining integration success. It’s important to get into a rhythm with the platform from the start. This is why we’re rolling out a new series documenting a SportsRecruits integration from inception. So you can have at your disposal a realtime view of how a club may leverage the SportsRecruits platform to achieve results.
You can’t say with certainty that your kids don’t want to play in college. You must provide them with the tools and encouragement to explore their options first.
“You want them to avoid the pitfalls of shutting themselves off from opportunities too soon,” said Ali, “And then knocking on a closed door a few years down the line.”
The best way to set your kids up for success is to:
- Build relationships with them.
- Learn their honest goals and interests.
- Supplement in-person practices with online guidance. Being there for them will make them more likely to take your advice when they consider their options.
- Kids do a lot on their own behind a computer screen.
- Kids often aren’t truthful in person.
The Daily Connection
“In the absence of a strong emotional connection,” says Ali Hellmuth. “You’ll seek other hobbies to fill the void.”
The key is to build relationships with the kids. When you establish rapport with your players, you want them to thrive. Caring for players on an individual level provides intrinsic motivation that curbs complacency. It does not feel like work, because you want to help.
Like the phrase “emotional investment” implies, you must invest the time to meet this degree of connection. So to build connections, you must have constant contact with your kids.
“In the absence of a strong emotional connection, you’ll seek other hobbies to fill the void.”
– Ali Hellmuth, Field Hockey Coach
According to Ali, constant face-time is critical. Ali found the best strategy for staying attuned to her players’ needs is the daily ritual of practice.
The interaction (three hours everyday at practice, additionally on some weekends) allows Ali to not only understand her players as athletes, but as people. Ali gains organic insight into their fears, concerns, goals, and aspirations. This exposure to player emotions – their reservations about the recruiting process, the level they want to achieve, the places they’d like to go – incites Ali to help get them there.
The excellent news is that every club member has access to this powerful source of motivation.
What They Won’t Tell You
Ali observed that some athletes are more private than others. Many kids are less likely to open up about their aspirations in person than their more vocal peers.
According to a recent study we conducted, the majority of players are more likely to communicate honestly online.
What does this mean? Regardless of how motivated you are, it amounts to nothing if your players don’t let you help them.
You might think these findings contradict the notion that in-person interaction is important for relationship-building. To the contrary, they led Ali to an important discovery.
Tracking player activity on SportsRecruits, Ali observed two insights that emerge between practices.
Ali noticed kids who were silent among their teammates were communicating in other ways. Many went home and put tremendous effort towards researching schools. They were thinking a lot about their future, they just weren’t talking about it.
On the other hand, some kids expressed that they’d like to pursue similar paths as their peers. Meanwhile, their online activity painted a different picture. Players noted interest in popular schools, then went home and searched for lesser-known liberal arts colleges.
Honest motivations surface in private. In safe spaces that are free from social influences.
Best of Both Worlds
A motivated Ali put the two insights together to create her guidance strategy.
Having the kids show up everyday for practice is enough to make Ali feel connected to the kids. But to help the kids connect as well to Ali, she has to meet them halfway. Becoming a source of motivation in their domain proves to her kids that she is there for them.
“Regular face-time is important,” said Ali. “But between practices is when you put the pedal to the metal online.”
Ali realized that combining face-time with online interaction results in a stronger bond with her players. A stronger bond means Ali is fully invested in her players. A stronger bond means her players are more likely to open up to Ali, whether in-person or online. Interacting on SportsRecruits between practices ensures that Ali has all bases covered. No player slips through the cracks. Under no circumstance will a player’s comfort zone lock him out of an opportunity to receive Ali’s guidance.
This way, Ali can guide her players to make informed college decisions. Informed college decisions lead to fulfilling college experiences.
How do you stay motivated? Let us know in the comments.