Inside the West Liberty University Acrobatics and Tumbling recruitment process

With the spring semester right around the corner Coach Kelsey Kyle discussed how important athlete recruitment has been for the program. Kyle was hired as the Hilltoppers Head Coach in 2019, and has elevated her team to new heights not previously seen before. Kyle had a lot of positive feedback to share regarding her squad, and was more than willing to share it with us.
The Hilltopper Acro. & Tumbling team earned a #2 ranking in the Mountain East Conference preseason poll in 2019, and when asked about the success of that season, along with how important early recruiting has been, Kyle had much to say. “As for last season, I really think that our ranking and performance, in the three meets that we were able to compete in before COVID, really helped us get our team’s name out there. I think that our ranking helped recruits realize that West Liberty has improved so much since the inaugural season, so now we are a competitive team within the conference and the nation.”
Every coach has a specific set of attributes they look for in an athlete when recruiting “First off, we look for the compulsory tumbling skills (standing back tuck, straddle jump back tuck, standing back handspring back tuck, and round off handspring layout). After that, we look at specialty tumbling skills like back twisting skills, fulls, 1 & 1/2’s, front tumbling, whips, and specialty tumbling skills. We also look for athletes who could execute skills as both a top or a base. Finally, we look for athletes who are hard workers and excited about being on our team.”
When discussing primary target zones for recruiting athletes, Kyle expressed that the staff recruits not only locally, but also from across the country. “We honestly recruit athletes everywhere across the nation! We use our social media, specifically Instagram, for most of our recruiting. The signing period just began [11/11/20] and so far, we currently have athletes signed from West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, California, Washington, Iowa, and North Carolina. We also just added six new athletes for next season, which provides us athletes from Oregon, Maryland, and Texas. We do recruit locally in the valley (Wellsburg, Moundsville, and St. Clairsville), but we definitely don’t limit ourselves to one region for recruiting.”
It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected recruitment for athletes nationwide but Kyle remains as optimistic as ever. “COVID has definitely impacted our recruiting. We would normally have a lot more in-person recruiting visits, overnight visits, and recruits practicing with our team. Instead, this year we have done a lot more phone calls, FaceTime tours, and Zoom tours. It seems to be working because we are still signing girls from all over the country!”
The WLU Acro. & Tumbling team has high expectations for this upcoming season, and look forward to repeating their success established in years past. Any potential recruits interested in joining the team are encouraged to contact Kyle.