July is a tough month for college coaches. Looking for future student-athletes is a task in itself, but imagine transitioning to a new school and having to jump right into July recruiting? This situation is very much a reality for Ann Dorris, who was hired in June as an assistant coach at William-Smith College. She previously served as the assistant coach for three years at her alma mater, Lynchburg College, where she helped the Hornets win their first conference tournament title and NCAA Tournament win in program history. Whether you’re amidst a transition or returning to your previous school to coach, Dorris’ advice regarding the recruiting trail will help make your July less chaotic.
Listen, Learn, and Watch Film
Dorris made it a point to have very meaningful and intentional conversations with her head coach before July recruiting began. She wanted to know more about the type of players her head coach looks for when she recruits. “Observe your head coach and listen as much as possible in order to learn and absorb,” Dorris suggests. Asking questions shows your head coach that you want to know more and it helps you get to know them on a more personal level. Questions lead to conversation, which can help you feel more comfortable and knowledgeable in your position.
Dorris watched endless amounts of film in order to recognize which players would fit well in their system and culture at William Smith. Division III coaches cannot work out their players at all during the summer, so most of the student-athletes return home for the break. Watching film helped Dorris get to know more about her team’s returning players, as well as what they will be losing from the previous season. She made sure to take detailed notes so that she knew exactly what to look for in July.
Communicate While On the Road
Every head coach is different and assistants have to learn and adapt to what level of communication their head coach prefers. Do you call after wrapping up a full day of recruiting? Do you text them immediately about certain players? Find out what your coach likes and make it happen. Dorris noticed that her new head coach uses Front Rush to write detailed evaluations of their recruits; so she knew to do the same. This ensures that her player evaluations are saved to a database, which Dorris and her head coach can later view and discuss. Dorris advises, “The biggest thing is to make sure every recruit you liked is entered into the recruiting database. List their strengths and contact information so that your head coach can then decide the plan of action.”
Managing Your Priorities
July is a month of traveling, eating on the go, and feeling crunched for time. Dorris laughed as she said, “Try not to lose contact with everyone else in the world.” July is a difficult month to stay connected because you’re either prepping to hit the road or you’re sitting in a gym for all hours of the day. This means there is little time for working out and eating healthy. Remember not to be too hard on yourself! July is a huge time to help your program be successful by finding good players. Do the best you can and get back on track when the madness comes to an end.
Ann Dorris Bio:
Ann Dorris is taking her talents to Geneva, N.Y., where she will serve as an assistant coach for William Smith College. Dorris spent the last 3 years as an assistant coach at her alma mater, Lynchburg College. Dorris helped lead the Hornets to an overall record of 66-21, including a 40-8 mark in conference play. Lynchburg finished first in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference regular-season standings in each of the past two seasons and won the program’s first Tournament Championship in 2016. The Hornets made their first NCAA tournament appearance in 2016 and earned the program’s first NCAA tournament win in 2017.
Guest Writer Sammi Goldsmith:
Sammi Goldsmith is in her second year on the Virginia Tech women’s basketball staff, serving as a graduate assistant.
A 2016 Lynchburg College graduate, Goldsmith earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies. She was a four-year starter on the Lynchburg College women’s basketball team, serving as a captain for her junior and senior year. Goldsmith led her team to their first ever Conference Regular-Season Championship, Conference Tournament Championship, and NCAA berth during her senior campaign. She holds records for most assists in a game (14), most assists in a single season (187), and all-time assist leader (504). Goldsmith was also voted the 2016 HERO Sports best guard in D3 Women’s Basketball.
Goldsmith plans to pursue a career in coaching women’s basketball at the collegiate level. She is currently working toward earning her Masters of Arts in Education in Curriculum and Instruction.