the research and technology issue

The Research Behind the Recruit

Saturday saw both the North Dakota State men’s and women’s basketball teams play their final home games of the season, which meant Senior Day. After the games, both coaches shared a word about the out-going seniors, and men’s head coach Dave Richman started his comments on his two seniors the same way.

“It all starts with recruiting,” he said.

In an age where technology is evolving, recruiting is incorporating technology into the research of the potential prospects. It’s a challenge to keep all of the information that comes with a potential recruit in place, but there is now technology helping coaches and scouts keep all the information in line.

NDSU soccer head coach Mark Cook said that when recruiting, he and his team use the Sportsboard app. The app allows coaches to evaluate, track and scout players.  A big feature is that Sportsboard allows coaches to rank players’ skills and prioritize the ones they are most interested in. This data can then be shared with the rest of the coaches.

“The app allows me to take notes on a player, and then my assistant can look at my notes the next day,” Cook said.

Cook also stated that there is some more technology used.

“We still use spreadsheets of players we are looking at.” While this seems like a low-tech solution, it works for Cook, who also made point that most of the research still happens in person. “Firstly, we go and evaluate the players, then after that, we talk to coaches to get an understanding of the person we are watching.” Cook wants to know about just as much about the player off the field as he wants to about them on it.

While recruiting in different sports is similar, it is not identical. Maren Walseth has a slightly different approach.

While most of the research is done in person, it’s not possible for the coaches to go to every game. To help supplement research, the women’s basketball team uses Hudl, a video service that allows high school teams to send in game tape.

Walseth said with a chuckle, “Long gone are the days when teams send in DVDs.”

This allows the coaching staff to look more at players and look more in-depth. Hudl has programs that can track and analyze the game and offers a variety of stats.

The most important research is finding out what type of person the recruit is.

“The research we do is more detective work, in building relations with coaches to get a good feel who they are as people,” Walseth said. This is work that does not need fancy technology to get done. “Most of that is done with phone calls.”

Social media also allows coaches to get to know the recruits.

From an organizational prospective, the ARMS software is used by the women’s basketball team. ARMS is a cloud-based software that incorporates many levels of users, from coaches to administrators. The software serves as the central database, where the information on the recruits can be stored, making it more efficient for coaches meaning they can spend time elsewhere.

As much as technology enhances and streamlines the recruiting process, it is still not the only part of recruiting.

The point that was hammered home by both coaches is the importance of meeting the players themselves.

“Nothing replaces the on-campus interaction,” Walseth said, “Or going to see them with my own eyes.”

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