For all but the elite athletes, getting recruited requires you to put in the time and effort to promote yourself and make it happen. In other words, you have to market yourself. While marketing is essentially “selling,” it takes a bit more effort to market yourself successfully to a college coach. And to do that, just follow these steps…
Understand Your Market
The first step to marketing yourself to college coaches is to simply understand the market, and then market yourself according to those preferences and values. As it applies to recruiting, understanding the market means assessing your skills and talents and then identifying the programs that recruit athletes of your caliber, schools that will offer you the best fit, or simply a coach looking to fill a specific position. You’ll have more success marketing yourself to coaches when you understand where you fit in the market, and who’s in the market for an athlete like you.
Sell What Makes You Unique
Marketers always focus on the universal selling proposition, or that particular value promise that a brand makes to its customers. What’s your universal selling proposition (USP)? What makes you different from other recruits, athletically and academically? What can you bring to a college program? Remember that there are hundreds of athletes out there just like you. What makes you stand out?
If you’re not sure what your USP is, ask your high school or club coach for their take. Think it through and then, be able to articulate it to coaches via email, on the phone, or in face-to-face meetings. Your USP may be specific to you, or it may be specific to a particular program. But being able to sell a coach on your USP can go a long way toward selling a coach on you.
Sell Yourself As A Student-Athlete
When reaching out to a college coach via email, it’s important to include not only your recruiting profile, experience, and highlight reel, but also your GPA, entrance exam scores, transcripts, and references. Grades matter as much as athletic ability and showing a coach early on that you’ve got the full package of athletic and academic abilities is a good way to get their attention early.
Demonstrate Your Coachability
Another element of marketing yourself is demonstrating to a coach that you’ll fit into the team. And the best way to do that is to show that you’re a team player. Remember that coaches not only watch you in competition, they also note your attitude and body language when you’re interacting with your coaches and teammates. Ultimately, a team-first attitude and showing that you’re willing to listen and can apply the instruction you receive from coaches, demonstrates that you’re coachable.
Social Media That Sells You
Coaches also consider a recruit’s character outside of their sport. And to do that, they’ll usually look at your social media accounts. They look at how you present yourself, what you post, and even how you interact with others. Ideally, your social media accounts should help you sell yourself as a recruit, not sink your recruiting.
In marketing, there’s no better way to lose a customer than to make promises you can’t keep. And the same goes for marketing yourself to college coaches.
If you have an understanding of your market, then you should be confident in your athletic abilities, academic standing, and performance history. But, if you lie to a coach about stats, grades, a personal matter, or something else entirely, you can be confident you’ll be marked off that coach’s recruiting list. If a coach can’t trust you as a recruit, then he or she definitely won’t trust you to represent their program in college.
Stats, awards, and size can get you on a college coach’s recruiting radar. But being able to market yourself to college coaches is what can close the deal and earn you a college scholarship.
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