Do you have any recruitment tips for getting freshmen hooked?
Tell them what got you hooked. Be honest and don’t sugarcoat things (like the cold weather, erg tests, early morning practices, etc.), even if you’re desperate for people to sign up. Tell them about the regattas, traveling, spring break training, etc. How much class time can they anticipate missing? Throw in some info on a fun rowing tradition, like shirt betting or a tradition your team has. Tell them the history of your program (regardless of how long you’ve been around) and what makes it an extra-curricular worth participating in. What makes you stand out? “Crew is just awesome/better/more fun, duh” is not a reason. Also, please, I beg you, do not give them the standard spiel of “teammates, family, great coaches, etc.”. It’s so played out at this point and doesn’t even sound like a legitimate reason when people say it anymore – it sounds rehearsed and like you have no other reasons why they should consider joining.
Another thing, don’t be awkward and overly enthusiastic when you’re recruiting people. You know the type of person I’m talking about too. Don’t be those people. The kids you’re trying to recruit feel awkward enough as it is, don’t make them feel even weirder. If you have any trophies or medals from previous regattas, bring them. Have a coach, coxswain, team captain, senior, junior, sophomore, and freshman there so that the people you’re recruiting can get perspective and information from someone at every level on the team.
Have a FAQ handout prepared beforehand with the contact info of all the relevant people on the team listed on it. Don’t forget to include the handles/links for your team’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and/or website. If you include any or all of those things, make sure they’re regularly posted on and up to date. I guarantee you, if I went to your team’s Twitter and saw you hadn’t tweeted since last spring or that the most recent results on the website are from 2009, I’ll write you off immediately. It’s hard to take you seriously when you talk about how much commitment rowing takes when you can’t even keep your own team information up to date. That’s important stuff that people do look at.