Many teams struggle with recruitment – especially those where the weather is cold for 6+ months of each year. I’ve talked to some alumni that have been through this experience. Here is some advice!
Austin Voss, Missouri State University (Graduated 2010)
“I would advise treating summer tournaments like the fall. Go as a team, cheer for each other, help out with driving, scoring, etc. Get to know the Boys 3 and Girls 3 skiers, ask them what their future plans are, and if they are interested in your team or school. If they come for a campus visit, meet up with them, show them around, and introduce them to the team.”
Brett Mommer, Iowa State University & University of Illinois (Graduated a bunch of times)
“In addition to the traditional on-campus recruiting tactics, I would suggest getting your skiers involved in other sports clubs at their universities. They’re a good place to meet other athletic, like-minded students who perhaps just haven’t had the opportunity to ski, but who nevertheless might be interested once they meet a few skiers and see how much fun the collegiate tournaments are.”
Michael Testa – Marquette University (Graduated 2015)
- Bring a boat on campus – this was huge for our team. We try to do this at least once per year, if not twice. Anyone who has been on a boat will swarm to you, and this raises awareness that a water ski team even exists. This is also a good time to promote upcoming fundraisers or hand out old t-shirts and stickers
- Day at the Lake: This knocks down barriers to entry. We use some of our own fundraising dollars to keep costs for the day at the lake down, and charge potential new members $10 to come and ski for the whole day. This includes USAWS guest membership (we don’t pull them off the ramp), as many pulls as we can fit, plus lunch and a day hanging out at a teammates lake house. This minimizes the intimidation factor of jumping in a car with total strangers for an entire weekend, and is cheaper, too.
- Team Dues – often a barrier to new members joining. We let new members try their first tournament “risk-free,” meaning they don’t have to pay dues until the second tournament. This is awesome because, like chips, you can’t have just one!
Are you an alum of the NCWSA? Want to help contribute to the alumni articles? Want to be a primary interview target? Do you have additional thoughts on topics that we have covered? Please email your thoughts, ideas, or contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org and Kathleen will be in touch!
P.S. – For all you Cubs fans out, there – Go Cubs Go!