3 steps to overcome 'recruiting overwhelm'

written by Erica Quam

When did recruiting get so cut-throat, competitive, and chaotic? I've talked to so many coaches this week who are already overwhelmed - and it isn't even July 1st!

The recruiting process CAN be overwhelming...if you allow yourself to be stressed, anxious, or panicked by it.

Overwhelm is a mindset issue. It stems from a lack mentality. If you say, “I just wish I had more hours in my day! I don't have enough time right now to keep up and get everything done that I need to.”

Lots of coaches I know take this ‘lack mindset’ with them into the recruiting process.

I talk to them and they say things like, “I feel like I’m behind..like I haven’t done enough in recruiting by the time July 1st rolls around. It’s time to start making all these calls and I feel like I’m still just catching up.” 

This is NOT a time issue. It's NOT about being driven or disciplined enough. 

This is a MINDSET issue.

This week, pay attention to how many times you think or say 'not enough...': not enough time, not enough information, not enough money, not enough success, not enough experience, not enough resources, not enough help, not enough...fill in the blank.

Also notice when you're trying to perfect things to avoid future challenges: needing the right strategy, thinking of the perfect question, or making sure you discover everything you can about this athlete...so you won't get screwed in the end.

Scarcity and perfection go hand in hand.

When you are feeling this way - stressed, anxious, or panicked - you're brain is goes into fight or flight. It thinks it needs to protect you...so your heart rate goes up, breathing increases, your muscles tense, and you're no longer thinking clearly.

This is definitely not a great time to be making recruiting calls!

During this recruiting season, when you begin to notice a crazy, chaotic energy within you...follow these three steps. 

  1. PAUSE - stop what you're doing to slow down
  2. BREATHE - take 3 long slow deep breaths
  3. FEEL - be in your body and get out of your head. (You might even put your hands on your heart and close your eyes.)

Remember why you coach. Remember what you're trying to do. Connect with your potential student-athletes with THIS energy.

The great coaches I know coach because they genuinely care about people and they want to change lives. They want to help their athletes learn and grow - into better leaders and better people.

There's a magnetic energy around these kinds of coaches. People want to be around them and want be part of what they're trying to accomplish.

Yet when it comes to recruiting, it's easy to forget and show up all chaotic, driven and competitive - in an effort to "sell" your school, your team, and yourself. If you're a coach who is all about relationships then this cut-throat approach will do more harm than good - for both you and the recruits!

Use the power of your intention before each call:

1. Write out the ideal OUTCOME for your conversation. 
What do you WANT to happen on the call? What am I leading them towards? What action will they take next?

Don't figure this out as you're talking. Know it going into the call.

2. Identify your prejudgements and assumptions.
What are my prejudgements about this person and talking with this person? What are my assumptions about my role in this conversation?

What's the history here? Do I have prejudgements that may play into this conversation - from their coach or parent or another athlete? It's important to at least have this awareness.

3. What's my truest intention for this conversation today?
Who do I want to be in this conversation? What do I value when I talk to people? What can I do to bring more of those qualities?

You can't control how other people will act or respond in a conversation...you can only control yourself. Yet, if you allow yourself the time to set a strong intention, you're always going to have a better interaction with the person on the other line.

Recruiting is all about relationships - not just checking off calls.

Wouldn’t it be nice to let go of the energy of convincing to focus more on connecting? Use each recruiting conversation as a way to listen deeply - so you can get clear more clear on who is a good fit - for you and your team. Get clear on who you’re no longer willing to spend your time, energy, and resources on - and ‘release them’ to the other teams and coaches who are a better fit. 

Shift away from lack to a mindset of abundance! Set an intention that you'll find the right people who will be fun to coach who want to come and be a part of your team. 

Try it this week and then check back in here. What did you notice? Share your experience in the comments below.