Mar 29, 2022 • 5 min read
Attracting top talent is a very similar process to a company trying to reach the best candidates in a particular occupational field. In order to attract the best athletes or the best employees, you the business or the organization must have a strong foundation.
A strong foundation means that before top talent starts coming your way, a foundation has to be set with proven results. A lacrosse organization can attract top talent by making sure their foundation is set with strong leadership, a core group of coaches and team members, a clear club strategy and mission statement, proven results, and a pathway to the next level.
Let’s break this foundation down:
Lacrosse clubs with strong leaders are a reflection of the entire organization. People often look at the top when they first observe or learn about a club. Strong leadership at the top often trickles all the way down to the head coaches, assistant coaches, volunteer coaches, and interns. Organizations that have thoughtful, yet competitive leaders will be attracted to talented athletes and families looking at different programs. Having leaders that come from the lacrosse world is also a good move to attract talent.
Who knows how to get to the next level better than a professional, elite or a former professional or elite lacrosse player? Many lacrosse organizations are run by former athletes and coaches. One way to attract top talent is to lean on the strong leadership qualities of your managers and coaches. Let their actions and words be known by marketing and sharing the organization’s growth and successes.
Coaches are who the young athletes will likely be interacting with the most. In order to attract top talent, your lacrosse organization must have notable coaches. Good coaching, like anything, takes commitment, education, passion, and time. Make sure that you have coaches who take your club seriously. You want to make sure that everyone who works for the club has the same set of values and goals. Once the coaching staff are aligned, it will be easier to attract talented players. Athletes that are considering your club will look to see if they will develop and reach the next level by the mentorship of your coaches. Make sure that you have a properly staffed team of coaches that have adequate qualifications and experience. Offer to let the interested athlete come to a practice and get a first-hand experience. This is a great opportunity to showcase your organization’s top coaching staff and get to know the aspirations and level of the interested player.
Having a strategy and roadmap as a lacrosse organization is key for painting the pathway picture to interested prospects. Depending on what your club’s goals and values are, will likely determine strategy. If your development plan is to create well-rounded players and individuals, your strategy and roadmap should show that. Prospects and top talent will want to see an organization with a clear strategy. The athlete will want to know how your program will get him/her to the next level. If you’re a youth program, your strategy should be something that all of the coaches and staff know. Clear communication from the top will better prepare coaches for questions from parents and players. One strategy we’ve seen in the lacrosse landscape is having coaches following an identical practice plan during the week. By doing this, coaches are teaching concepts that fit into the club’s overall mission and development pillars. By following this kind of identical practice plan, it could be a club’s way of sticking to a strategy that leads to overall club cohesiveness and results.
Top players likely want to go to clubs that have a winning record. While winning isn’t everything, sports are result driven so even if your organization doesn’t win every year, or at every age group, some level of high-level performance will be a determining factor for most prospects. If your club has recently struggled to keep a winning record, you can emphasize what you’re doing to get back on top by alluding to the strategy, specific coaching hires, and athletes in the program that have been thriving. There is the case, though, when players choose program’s because of location, coaches, or if they want to be a big fish in a small pond. Consider all of the factors. Stick to who you are as an organization and speak to your strengths. If you’re looking to attract top talent, make sure to make the prospect believe and see how there is more to the picture than just a record. Emphasize how you will develop the athlete, show the pathway by providing recruiting information, and make it hard to pass you up.
Showing a pathway or proven record of taking athletes to the next level, whether that’s college lacrosse, professional, or semi-professional lacrosse, is a way to show and not just say that your program prepares athletes for the next phase. Be ready to explain to the prospect and parents how your training, games and tournaments are the best preparation for the next level. Playing college lacrosse and reaching the pros is all about getting recruited, so make sure that your organization has a recruitment plan and resources readily available to show prospective families. If you have examples of athletes within your club that have went on to play college lacrosse or beyond, use their pathway and how they get there as an example to share.
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