Midway and later in the recruiting process, you need to give them reasons to follow
Our dog Phin usually does what we want him to do with a simple word that seems to turn his world around in the blink of an eye:
He comes running. He stops whatever he wasn’t supposed to be doing, and comes to attention. I wish it didn’t seem to always come down to that, but his primal instincts seem to win out over whatever was distracting him a minute ago (ironically, it could quite literally be a “Squirrel!”)
Your prospects - especially as they get just past the midway point, and towards the last third of the recruiting process - need enticement as well.
(The main ideas behind this whole concept we see playing out are outlined in this short article that ended up working for a lot of coaches who read it. Take a look.)
Building on that previous training, I want to strongly suggest that you very deliberatively move them into a position you want them to be in as a recruit by enticing them. Not bribing, not pressuring, and not threatening…enticing. The dictionary definition of the word means, “attracting by offering pleasure or advantage.”
What kind of pleasure or advantage could you use - ethically and, or course, legally - to entice them towards action you want at this point in the process?
Talk about the fun things that can start after they verbally commit to you and your program. “Once you decide we’re the place you want to play, you and I can spend some time going over the kind of defense we play, and how I see you being able to help us on the court.” Or, “after you tell me for sure that you’re coming, I’d love to try and figure out who your ideal roommate in the dorms would be.” Coaches don’t talk about the fun stuff as a recruit is slogging their way through the process…and they should. Prospects respond to it.
Talk about the advantages they’ll get when they commit and put an end to the process. Most of the time, that’s going to be a little thing that doesn’t mean much to you as an adult, but really gets a recruit excited about their upcoming college experience.
First choice of their dorm room.
A better chance to get to know the returners on your team.
The chance to just relax and enjoy the last part of the high school experience.
Getting a jump on scholarships and grants offered by your college.
Is this an exhaustive list? Of course not. But I wanted to use it as an example that emphasizes the bigger point it’s important for smart college recruiters to embrace:
It’s your job to get them to move through the process and towards you and your program, and the best way to do it is through enticement.
What other ways can you think of to prompt movement for the prospects you’ve been recruiting for a while now?
Why are they seemingly losing the momentum that you felt them had a few months ago?
What would have moved you towards a program as a teenage student-athlete looking for the college that felt right?
What could your staff’s version of “treat!” be?