There is little information on garnering attention from colleges and professional sports teams for young and aspiring athletes. Therefore, school, club, and junior college coaches have a tremendous responsibility to help promote and recommend their athletes directly to colleges via athlete promotions.
Athlete promotions are player profiles that contain an athlete’s highlight video, academics, contact information, coach evaluations, and a personal note for college and professional coaches to review.
For athletes, having your coaches promote you to recruiters is an excellent way to get seen by the right programs. And receiving athlete promotions is an ideal way for coaches to identify and learn about potential recruits.
In the business world, we use the term public relations to encompass this act of building connections and giving athletes the ability to be seen by more recruiters through brand awareness.
Let’s discuss how public relations and reliance on a coach’s guidance to cultivate relationships for student-athletes is essential for those on a mission to get to the next level.
Athletes Rely on Coach Support
For high school athletes, there’s nothing more significant than participating and contributing to their team’s success. They spend countless hours training and preparing for their next event, and to play in front of an audience with their organization is priceless.
An athlete’s coach is often considered the hero of their community. Whether they are school employees, retired celebrity athletes, fitness instructors, or retired sports figures, they are a bit hit in their community. This is because they hold influence over young athletes and foster their growth and development as both people and professionals.
Parents trust them to make the right decisions and instill good values in their children, and athletes trust them to guide and direct them in the right direction.
While a coach’s primary duties are to prepare their team for games and tournaments, implement fitness routines, and have their team participate in scrimmages, as we’ve discussed, they also do much more.
Aspiring professional athletes rely on the support of their coach to not only mentor and develop them, but have a solid process to prepare them for the future. They rely on their coach’s influence and ability to network and source PR and marketing professionals to build player’s individual brand identities.
A Coach’s Influence Goes Beyond the Game
As mentioned, a coach’s influence goes beyond the game. A coach is also responsible for helping athletes brand themselves, showcase their talent and brand identity on social media platforms, land endorsements, post their highlights on YouTube, and more.
A coach takes on this responsibility as they are the key person of influence in their player’s lives. They must ensure they are ahead of the game, so to speak, in understanding the importance of online appearances.
Further, a coach is much like a business manager—they deal with the money, budget, sponsorship deals, product endorsement deals, and speaking engagements.
College athletes, in particular, rely heavily on athlete promotions as they seek to network at celebrity golf tournaments, corporate hospitality events, and autograph signings. They also must attend college visits and camps with recruiters—coaches are responsible for setting this up, making sure the athlete is properly prepared, and have every opportunity to stand-out and get noticed.
Suppose a player is a big hit amongst organizations and develops a strong relationship with professional athlete coaches and management. In that case, they’re in an excellent position for the future—they just need to bring the game.
A Stellar Reference is the Golden Ticket
A stellar reference from a coach is the key to athlete promotions. Support from a sports coach on a personal website, social platform, or at an event is the golden ticket to interest from professional sports teams. It shows the player is coachable, collaborative, and committed to the team and the future.
A coach’s support is truly the best resource a player can have. And athletes should keep this in mind, respect authority, trust in their advisors, and commit to the game—it will pay off in the end.
Connections are the Most Valuable Resource
Another excellent idea for aspiring athletes is to partner with a leading sports marketing agency. By enlisting the help of marketing professionals, you can hone in on your brand identity, develop a clear mission statement, build a website, enhance your social channels and more.
Marketing employees ensure your visual and written branding is up to par, comments are replied to, and the quality of your messaging is high.
In the world of sports, marketing is also essential if you’re an athlete interested in athlete promotions as it builds your brand awareness. Brand awareness is the extent to which individuals recognize your brand under a variety of conditions.
For athletes, a brand identity includes the tangibles—a logo, website, design, typography, and color-scheme. It also includes the intangibles—personality, vision, purpose, and emotional connections. A marketing or sports branding agency is the perfect resource to develop these assets.
Public Relations is Critical to Brand Awareness
Public relations (PR) is critical to athlete promotions and brand awareness. Think about your favorite athletes. Are they engaged in product endorsements and speaking engagements? Do they have an athlete website, booking agents, and appearance fees? A public relations team handles each of these elements.PR professionals ensure the audience can easily search for an athlete online. They’re responsible for booking athlete appearances, corporate appearances, and even planning a VIP meet or corporate events.
For athletes who want to serve as thought-leaders in the sports industry and plan for a future beyond the game, a PR specialist is the perfect partner to promote your brand, land content opportunities, and get your name out there and in front of your target audience.
Cultivating Relationships & Scheduling Visits
Another part of athlete promotions by a coach is helping players understand negotiated deals, cultivate relationships, schedule visits with potential sports organizations, and create new avenues to success.
Before agreeing to speak with anyone, be it recruiters, collegiate or professional coaches, or management, ensure you do your due diligence. Look at each team’s branding, websites, services, and employees. Ask to speak on the phone and get advice from current athletes.
You might also want to speak with their sports marketing clients about the industry to see if they will represent you and your vision well.
When on a visit with a professional sports team, try to attend keynote speeches, schedule a discussion with their sports employees, and the general manager.
Your Coach Understands You
Any good coach will make suggestions, as they understand you, your fitness and playing style, and will help you understand good and bad deals. A good coach understands the services of professional sports teams, their budget, and will create the right opportunity to benefit you. In short, your coach is the key to finding the right fit for your future.
Finding the Right Fit
When you’ve found the right fit, there’s only one thing to do—celebrate and then work harder. Study sports speakers, network with current sports clients, develop a greater understanding of the industry, and continue marketing yourself on each social platform.
With this in mind, and the right coach to back you up with athlete promotions, you’ll ensure the greatest chance at a career in professional athletics.