Another school year has arrived, and that means it's time to recruit new players! If you already have a great bunch of rookies coming to practice then you'll want to skip ahead to How to Recruit Rookies to your Ultimate Team Part 2: Keep them Coming Back.
The quality and quantity of the players you recruit in the first part of the year will define your team culture, values, and competitive drive for years to come. As a captain, it's your responsibility to get it right for the good of the team.
When I was a senior captain for the Claremont Greenshirts, recruiting was a major part of my strategy for the season. In my experience, getting potential new recruits to attend their first practice was the biggest recruiting hurdle I had to overcome. Here's what I learned in my experience.
1. Make An Impression on freshmen Before They Get To Campus
Most colleges and universities create opportunities online for the freshmen class to get to know each other and their school a little better.
To find the frosh before they arrive on campus, try searching for a public Facebook group, and keep an eye on your school’s Twitter page. Eager n00bs will often tweet at the university about things like club sports and student life, and you can look for ways to (respectfully) jump in on the conversation and potentially win new players over.
If you can find a way to be a part of that orientation process, you’ll have an early opportunity to convince potential new players that the ultimate team is where it’s at.
2. Advertise the ultimate team
Most new students aren’t going to know that you exist unless you let them know, but with a little time and a creative plan, you’ll be able to reach a ton of prospects without too much effort.
At Claremont, we put up recruitment posters, emailed student lists, and even sought out freshmen in the dining hall. One of my old captains even encouraged returners to carry a disc around campus on the off chance that people stopped you to ask about it. It actually worked!
If this sounds like a ton of work for a single person to take on, consider asking your returners to help! Many of them will be eager to lend a hand.
Plus when you have a motivated group of returners, you can ask them to do things like scheduled throw-arounds with freshmen on the main campus quad, or running a booth in the cafeteria or other meeting place.
Need some help advertising?
Remember, your goal at this stage is to get potential players talking to one of your returners, or to reach out and contact you via email. Once they've initiated contact, you can begin to sell them on your team culture!
3. make a splash at the Club Fair
Most freshmen show up to the Club Fair to see what else it out there. The Fair is an excellent opportunity to make face-to-face connections with freshmen of all interest levels and get them excited about coming to a practice.
Your main goal: collect as many email addresses as possible!
You should also learn from my mistake: don’t use a paper sign up form! Typing in handwritten emails is a pain, and you’re likely to have trouble reading some of the handwriting. Have a laptop ready, and make sure everyone you talk to adds his/her email address.
Because making a good impression at your school's org fair is the most effective way to reach new recruits, we did a whole post just on that. Check it out here for more tips on getting the most bang for your booth at your org fair!
Bonus: Tweet a picture of your set up at the Club Fair to your school to get more attention!
MSU Nightmare Ultimate knows what’s up!
4. Follow up with a killer first email
Okay, you've collected email addresses and you've talked with a bunch of eager new students who might just become your newest players. Now it's time to get them to commit to coming to a practice!
Put in the time and create an email that conveys your team culture of fun, hard work, and Spirit, but don't forget to include necessary info about where and when you're holding practice. Use this email to show them just how excited, welcoming, and open your team is for new players, especially new players who've never played the sport before.
Once you’ve lured them into a practice or two, you'll want to make sure that they’re on board for the year (really for life, but shhh they don’t know that yet).
If you're ready to think about how to keep your new players coming back check-out our follow-up post!
OVER TO YOU
Do you have recruitment stories? Want to share a tried and true strategy that has worked for you? The people need to know!