6 Reasons to Invest in Recruiting Software This Off-Seasonby: Michael Parker
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Walk into any college football coach’s office and, chances are, his desk will be covered with recruiting clutter. Questionnaires, transcripts, evaluations, DVDs, Post-it notes scrawled with contact info. This is the reality of the college game today. The pressure to win now rarely affords you the time to get organized.
Fortunately, the days of legal pads and file folders covering the office and frantically trying to track down a DVD from that four-star kid in Texas from the last coach who watched it are coming to an end. Technology is making things easier. And technology isn’t just for the haves of the college football world. For roughly the price of a tackling dummy, you too can benefit from the best that software has to offer.
Here are six reasons no program – no mater how small – should live without recruiting software.
The most important element of recruiting is how you communicate with the potential student-athlete. The challenge is managing all the information you need to maximize your chance of landing the recruits you want to land. Software companies like Cybersports and Recruiting Pro Software were started by coaches for coaches to handle the informational tidal wave and keep up with your contacts.
Paul Costanzo, the president of Recruiting Pro Software, left the big-time basketball coaching ranks and founded Recruiting Pro. “We give the coach the ability to send out a mass amount of emails and letters without making the final product feel like a mass-mailed letter,” said Costanzo. “ It’s great to be able to send an email that says, ‘Dear Charlie,’ or ‘Dear Fred.’ And if you’re going to be sending out an email or letter to your top 50 guys, there may be five or six that are special. We have the ability to add a special field to the letter body for those five or six guys so you can throw another line or two in there. Even though the player gets a million emails a day, with that added field he knows it’s something specific for him.”
2. ACADEMIC TRACKING
Landing the nation’s top recruit means nothing if they aren’t eligible when they get to campus. Keeping track of an athlete’s grades, classes, and test scores as he finished high school is more than just glancing at his transcript before signing day. With the right recruiting software, everything is kept in one database, making it easy to double check and ensure you won’t have any eligibility issues come fall camp.
Even the best generic data management software on the market isn’t as useful as something designed with football recruiting in mind. Both Recruiting Pro’s Costanzo and Cybersports’ National Sales Director Jodi Murphy – who was hired away from a major BCS program’s recruiting office to help develop more coaching solutions – have spent years refining their companies products to be more useful for coaches.
Costanzo said he is continually hearing from clients saying exactly what they need. “One of the issues we hear a lot is from smaller schools that can only recruit 20 players a year because that’s all they can handle,” said Costanzo.
“They say they don’t have the budget, the manpower or the time. We give them the organization and the efficiency that they need.” We are now going to give you the technology to spend what you normally spend recruiting those 20 kids with the same amount of time to recruit 200 kids.”
The volume of information is growing. Kids today are going to be more and more difficult to keep track of with all the technology advances that cater to teenagers. According to Murphy of Cybersports many kids have 2-3 phone numbers as well as 2-3 email addresses. “When you have a number of emails and phones available, it really gets tough to manage, “ said Mitchell. “All of the information that is available today to coaches about kids is just unbelievable.”
4. RECRUITING SERVICE
Virtually every college uses some sort of content provider to evaluate recruits, even if it is the local coaches association. Recruiting software companies can’t replace those services, so they have made it possible to keep your existing relationships with providers and incorporate that into their new systems.
“We want to help coaches manage the data they’ve purchased from all the different services,” said Cybersports’ Murphy. “ One of our partnerships is with CoachTracker, which provides us with all the high school coaching changes. They provide us a data file in a format that can be brought directly into the system. We’ve built in integrated news feeds into the database so all they have to do is click on the name, then click on the news feeds and all the articles are pulled up automatically.”
5. MOBILE ACCESS
Obviously, not all the recruiting happens in the coaches’ office. The most crucial recruiting contacts happen in living rooms and high schools. Direct connections to the network database back in the football office are available for laptops and web-enabled cell phones with both Recruiting Pro and Cybersports.
According to Murphy, one of the biggest challenges with a staff having everyone on the road is all being on the same page. “The mobile component is important,” said Murphy.
“If a coach is on the road recruiting in Texas and someone else is in Florida, and they are both looking at a kid’s record on their phone, they need to know that the information is the latest and it’s correct.”
6.VIDEO LIBRARY ORGANIZATION
One of the biggest components of recruiting is video evaluation. Video editing companies like Webb Electronics have made video acquisition and organization much easier and more useful.
Robert Giddens is the Director of Products and Engineering for Texas-based Webb Electronics. “What we provide is the technology to be able to play the content – using our Cowboy remote – and being able to bookmark it with our windows media product,” said Giddens. “This will also play back DVDs, and the big thing is that they can use the same remote they use for coaching video, which most coaches like because it’s what they’re most comfortable with.”
Recruiting Pro’s Costanzo points out that when a school buys data from Collegiate Sports Data, CSD will send them 10,000 names. “When those names are dumped into our system,” said Costanzo, “for a lot of them it will immediately tell you that you have video already available and here is where it is. So, they have games from last year and they can quickly go in and start their evaluations.”
There are also many content providers who are collecting video footage and data, making evaluations and providing that to subscribers. LRS Sports has jumped in to the recruiting content business as well as continuing to be one of the leading providers of video editing systems for teams at all levels.
“We have four scouts who are talking to coaches, evaluating and rating players and creating a database with these kids and their information,” said Dan McCain, a Senior Manager at LRS. “All of our scouts have coached. It’s really important that they are right on their rating so it doesn’t hurt a player’s chances of getting a scholarship. We do all the things necessary to make sure we have the right evaluation and the right information.
“The video that we have for these coaches is available for immediate download,” said McCain. “Filmers can upload a game the same night so college coaches can download it right away and not have to wait for a DVD to show up. They can watch it on their computer, burn it to a DVD or put it on their network for everyone to see. Any colleges can subscribe to this. They don’t have to be customers of ours and have our video editing system to use this data.” p