By Tori Plugge, Texas State Women’s Volleyball Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
Managing the recruiting calendar is a challenge for all college coaches, especially once you are in season. But, regardless of the time of year, it can be tough to decide how to recruit most effectively.
Right now, coaches are attending high school matches and practices, and staying in touch with prospects. In the new year, there will be over 150 club tournaments between Jan. 1 and Aug. 1 alone, plus you have to factor in camps and clinics.
With practically endless opportunities to see prospects live, how do college coaches make decisions on what events to recruit? There are five main factors coaches should consider when creating their recruiting calendar:
- Understand Your School’s Location — If you’re a school from a major area that primarily recruits players from that region, you can stay more local. Alternatively, if recruiting regionally isn’t going to work for your program, be prepared to travel to recruit.
- Budget — Sit down at the beginning of the year and have a realistic expectation for what your recruiting budget will allow. If you’re working on a tight budget, do you allocate those funds to attend a handful of major events to see the greatest number of players? Or do you choose to stay local and see fewer players more often?
- Recruiting Days — Division I coaching staffs only get 80 days from Aug. 1–July 31, with some quiet and dead periods mixed in, while DII, DIII, NAIA, and junior college coaches have far less restrictions. Learning how to manage those days while staying on budget is very important.
- How Many Players You Need — If you’re going to be filling three or more scholarships or roster spots, you’re probably going to need to devote more time and budget to recruiting than if you’re just looking for one to two players.
- Priority of Recruit — You’ll likely spend more time and energy recruiting the players at the top of your list, so figure out what tournaments they will be at, and prioritize those events. If you get to see other players along the way, that’s just a bonus. A good strategy if you’re just beginning to build your list is to go to a large tournament where you can see the most players.
Last thing to note: There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for recruiting. Figure out what is important to your program, make a plan, and stick with it!