Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Recruiting Season

Posted by admin December - 18 - 2009 - Friday

This is not about college coaches coming in to your school to recruit your players… it’s about YOU getting out in the halls at your school and visiting your feeder school and recruiting players for your program!!!
I had a coach write recently saying that they are really hurting for linemen— and need to find some real soon. I asked if he had been talking to kids around school. His reply was “Yes, but we don’t want to bug them to death.” He wanted to know if there was anything else that the coaches could do. My response was: take the example of what college recruiters do and emulate it! It’s a combination of utilizing good salesmanship techniques and just having a personality that will draw kids to you and your program.
As far as the “pestering” thing… think about how the college recruiters continue to “pester.” If nothing else, they are persistent! You need to be the same way. It’s not just a one contact thing. If you have your eye on a new “recruit” in your halls or maybe down at your middle school, you need to continue to make contact. Speak to him EVERY time you see him. Make it a point to go out of your way to find him at lunch or in PE class (whenever you can run into him) and talk to him. A public contact is good because other students will see him as an object of envy. He’ll begin to recognize this elevated status and be drawn to you and your program.
I would never advocate lying to a prospective player but you do want him to feel wanted. Again, think of the things that college recruiters talk to HS players about: playing time; helping win a championship; playing at the next level; people coming to see YOU play! Have you seen the movie The Blind Side yet? If not, it needs to be something you do over Christmas break! It’s a great story but what a classic example of people caring about and reaching out to a young man and “winning him over!” and I’m talking about the Tuoey’s… not the college recruiters! You might be that one person who lights the fire under that young man.
Invite a group of prospects to take a tour of your facilities. Show them your weight room; take them in the locker room; and show them your equipment room. Have a helmet for each of them to try on. Put a pair of shoulder pads on them… even a game jersey! Sell… sell… sell! In college, the culmination of the recruiting process is to get the recruit on campus. You can do the same thing. Invite a group of prospects over to your house for pizza. Show a highlight tape of your previous season. Or, show some game film. Point out what a former player did and now he’s at “State U.” on scholarship. Plant the seed that that could be you some day!
Be persistent. Be friendly. Be there for him (maybe he needs help in a class— set up some tutoring sessions). You have to sell yourself and your program. It’s not “beneath” you to get out there and talk to these kids. Don’t make promises you can’t keep but let them know that they are important to the future success of your program. I don’t understand how a HS coach can somehow think it’s demeaning to “recruit” players but when it comes to college coaches recruiting… a great recruiter is looked upon with awe and respect.
Get out there and talk to those kids in your school! Note that I said IN YOUR SCHOOL! If your school system does not allow proselyting, please don’t get labeled as a coach who goes and raids other schools’ players. Everyone of us has that overweight lug who doesn’t “look” like a football player. With some work and encouragement, he may end up looking like Nate Newton (Mr. Bad Body of the Dallas Cowboys… but he sure could play!) Don’t give up on a kid just because he doesn’t pass the “eye ball test!”
Merry Christmas!!! and remember: Jesus is THE reason for the season!

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