Marketing and promotion hasn’t always been a top priority for college and university athletic training programs, but times are changing. Today’s prospective college athletes want top-notch training facilities and are willing to move on to the next offer if one program can’t deliver. Improving the reputation of your athletic training program is essential to helping your sports program attract the best athletic talent and ultimately increase profits and funding. These tips will help you make your training program stand out in a competitive playing field.
1. Evaluate Your Program
Before you can make any changes to your program, you need to identify weaknesses that may be affecting your reputation. Evaluate your facilities, staff, training philosophy and relationships with coaches, athletic directors and others in the university. Survey current players and ask them to share their opinions regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the college’s training program. Once you have a clear idea of your training program’s deficits, you can tackle any deficiencies that may affect your reputation.
2. Update Your Equipment
For years, colleges and universities didn’t spend much money on training rooms. After all, what’s the point of spending money on high-quality rehab equipment if only players and coaches ever see the rooms? Although drab facilities with outdated equipment may have been the norm in the past, the best players expect more today.
In fact, in a Galain survey, football recruits ranked a team’s playing facilities as the fourth most important reason for choosing a school. Persuading your administration to spruce up your facilities and pay for cutting-edge rehab equipment will not only help attract top players, but also ensure that you have the tools you need to treat them.
3. Embrace Branding
Branding differentiates your program from your competitors. Developing a strong brand starts with identifying the focus of your training program. Think of a few words that describe what you do best, such as conditioning and injury prevention. Emphasizing that mission in your promotional materials, website and social media accounts, will help you strengthen your reputation.
As part of your branding efforts, use consistent logos, fonts and colors in promotional materials as well as on your athletic training facility equipment, either online or offline, to ensure that recruits can quickly and easily identify your program.
4. Don’t Be Ignored
If you don’t tell recruits what’s great about your program, chances are they’ll never hear more than a cursory description of the athletic training program. If you don’t already have a website or a few dedicated pages on the university’s website, it’s time to create a web presence. Show photos of your equipment, the training room and your staff, and provide a detailed description of the services you provide.
Take advantage of the power of social media to spread the word about your program and your facilities. Share what you do in tweets, posts and photographs and provide useful information about issues that affect players, such as concussion protocols. Your account doesn’t have to be all business. Show your playful side by engaging in a friendly rivalry with the opposing team’s athletic training program on game day.
Improving the reputation of your athletic training program can pay big dividends when recruiting top talent. With a little work, you can develop a strong brand that has a real impact on the recruitment process.