Recruitment Tips from 2010-11 Gatorade Contest Winners


Earlier this year, USA Cycling announced the winners of the Gatorade membership contest for the 2010-11 academic year:

Established Team with the Most Growth in 2010: Florida State University, with 26 more members than the year before

Biggest New Team for 2010: Louisiana State University, with 22 new members

First Team to Reach 15 New Members in 2011: Tulane University, achieved by December 21 2010

So how did these teams recruit so many new members? Take some notes; here’s what they did:

Jordan Lambert, Tulane: “For us the recruitment process was mostly about easing the apprehension about racing.  Most of our club members are new to the sport and along with that comes questions like, ‘What should I expect in a race?’ or ‘Will I be fast enough?’ Educating our members about racing and providing structured training alleviates those concerns and boosts the confidence of our riders.

“We encouraged members to commit themselves to racing by getting licensed and using that as a motivator to train through the winter.  I also frequently touted the longer term benefits of demonstrated club growth, pointing out that showing our enthusiasm for the sport now could pay dividends in terms of our appeal to a potential sponsor later on. 

“Last but not least, there was the Gatorade factor. Unquestionably, this was the key motivator for some to sign up.  And hey, if the promise of some free electrolyte-packed drinks is all it takes to get some of these guys and gals into racing, then I'm off to Sam's to buy another palate of the stuff!  Students seem to do anything for free stuff... including buying a $30 racing license.”

Dustin Drewes, LSU: “The team became an official student organization in January of 2010 after interest had been spread around the previous fall and the proper paperwork had been put through over the winter. News of the new cycling team spread throughout the student body through word of mouth, emails, and with the help of the LSU Triathlon team. We kicked off the 2010 season with a winter camp taking place in Natchez, MS over the Mardi Gras break where friendships were made and excitement for racing really swept over all of the new recruits. The majority of the 22 members racing last year had little to no racing experience going into the season and a handful have already cat’ed up for this coming season. A few other ways our team gets the word around is through our website and through the student organization fair held at the beginning of every semester.”

Jack Tomassetti, FSU: “USA Cycling may have noticed that Florida State University’s racing licenses went up from seven members to 33 members as a club last year.  However, what USA Cycling does not see is that the club went from about 20 members in 2009 to about a 100 members in 2010.  The tremendous growth for Florida State University’s Cycling program can be attributed to great organizational structure, diversity in cycling styles, and a focus on new riders.

Organization: My club officers and I do a lot of behind the scenes work that the members of the Florida State University Cycling Club (FSU Cycling Club) are unaware of.  We are in constant contact with Florida State University's Sports Club Office, USA Cycling, South East Collegiate Cycling Conference, local cycling groups, sponsors and many other organizations which keeps our club an active member in the school as well as in the community. With so much support, our riders can enjoy cycling without any worry.  On top of that, we are constantly sending our members weekly e-mail updates on what is happening in the club, where and when our daily rides are, and what to do to join us for a race weekend.  Everything our club does is planned out months in advance.  This organizational structure lets our members and others know we are a serious and active group.

Diversity: FSU Cycling is open to all disciplines of cycling, not just your typical road, mountain, track and cyclocross riders.  We actively recruit triathletes, commuters, bmx, casual riders, and whoever wants to ride a bike.  We are currently trying to incorporate a group of 10 unicyclists on campus to the club.  All of these members have a potential of racing and the cycling club presents a gateway for them to race at the collegiate level. Also by having so many members on our club roster we have good leverage when working with the school to request more funding and a good source of volunteers for the multiple races that the FSU Cycling  hosts. 

Focus on new riders: Of our big roster of cyclists, I’d say only about five or six members actually raced bikes before joining FSU Cycling.  Everyone else started by joining the club and taking part in a collegiate race.   The club focuses on the newer riders and gradual develops them into racers.  For these riders we offer slower, shorter distances rides with focus on the enjoyment of riding.  As these riders gain confidence in their riding ability, we introduce them into racing and continue to develop them.

“The FSU Cycling program has seen a tremendous growth in the past year because of its organization, diversity, and its focus on beginner riders. We hope to continue our growth and help develop a stronger cycling community on campus and locally.”

Thanks to all who participated! Here are the final rankings for team growth in 2010:

Related Articles