The growth in the number of clubs & organizations involved in youth sports in the US over the past two decades has led to a very competitive landscape. While these organizations certainly compete with one another for wins on the field, they also compete off the field for player registrations. How does your organization stand out as the preferred choice for families?
Question: What Are Families Looking For?
Families consider a number of factors when comparing their youth sports options, including: location, price, reputation and more. With 30 years combined experience working with clubs, colleges and families, the Athlete Match team has identified the ‘college pathway’ as another very important factor in this decision making process. Families often see their investment in youth sports as a stepping stone toward a college roster, heavily incorporating the perceived ability of an organization to contribute toward this goal into their decision.
So How Do You Grow Your Enrollment?
Identifying the importance of your college pathway gives you the platform to strengthen your message, appeal to families, and grow your enrollment in the process.
At this point, you should ask yourself these two questions:
- What are you currently doing to strengthen your players college pathway?
- How are you communicating with current and potential families about your college pathway?
If there is room for improvement in either department, there is room to grow your organization. Improving your pathway to college and more effectively communicating this pathway to current and prospective families will help you to differentiate your organization from the competition. Communicating with prospective families about your college pathway makes your organization more attractive than the alternatives, while informing current families about this pathway makes it easier to retain them.
3 Steps To Success
The first and second step of the process toward growth involve improving your college pathway. This means providing your players with the resources they need to maximize their chances of ending up at a college that is a good fit. These resources can be split into two categories, technology and guidance.
Step 1: Technology (Giving Families The Tools)
The rate of technological advancement has changed the way many industries operate and the recruiting industry is no different. Technology has improved the convenience and efficiency of many of the steps in the college recruiting process. Providing your athletes with a technology platform that allows them to more effectively engage with each step of the recruiting process is a positive step toward a strong college pathway and a significant selling point to prospective families. Technology can help players find schools, make highlight reels, communicate with coaches and track their progress, while allowing club coaches to monitor and advise players on their progress.
The Athlete Match Platform provides your athletes and coaches with all of the above and more, allowing you to provide the tools for a stronger college pathway.
Step 2: Guidance (Show Families The Way)
Consider this metaphor: using recruiting technology without guidance is like driving in a foreign country without a map – the car will help you get somewhere faster, but will you arrive at your desired destination? Probably not. What does a family’s ‘desired destination’ look like in the recruiting process? It looks like committing to a school that is a good fit academically, financially, socially, geographically and athletically.
Technology needs a map (or guidance) to work the way it is intended, and clubs considering strengthening their college pathway shouldn’t neglect this important fact. Showing families that you have the technology for the recruiting process is great, but showing them that you have the ability to guide their use of this technology, through continued education, is even better.
What does ‘Guidance’ look like? Guidance is any resource that provides your families with accurate information about the college recruiting process. Athlete Match provides guidance to your families in the form of a comprehensive online educational course detailing all the steps of the recruiting process: The Pathways Course, featuring over 10 hours of content across 5 key modules. Topics include – ‘finding the right fit’, ‘communicating with college coaches’, ‘gaining coach exposure’, ‘making the final decision’ and more.
Step 3: Marketing (Tell The World)
A clear college pathway will help your players, but it will not help your club grow and attract more families if not clearly communicated. Your club should be shouting about your clear pathway from the rooftops. This means talking about your pathway through your marketing channels. The club website should have a prominent section featuring all aspects of your college pathway for interested visitors and current families. Social media and email strategies should include messaging, graphics and information about your college pathway. To put it simply, your families and potential families should have no doubt about the technology and guidance you provide to assist high school aged players on their pathway to college. Athlete Match will provide you with some resources that can be used to tell the world about your new college pathway, including website content.
So what should you do? Evaluate your current pathway, and your current marketing strategy. If there is any room for improvement, schedule a short demo with Athlete Match today.
Extra Tip: Streamline Your Recruiting
In addition to strengthening your college pathway, Athlete Match can help you streamline the recruiting at your organization, saving you time for all of the other important things you do for your families. Learn more here.