Dan Tudor

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Should You Say “No More!” in 2008?Monday, December 31st, 2007

by Charlie Adams, author of "Stoke the Fire Within" 

Last April I was delivering a program with some other motivational speakers in Michigan. I think I’m tall at 6’6", but when I saw a guy named Tim McCormick come out to speak, I felt like a shrimp. Tim is 6’11." Now that’s tall! As you can imagine, Tim was a basketball player at the college and professional levels. 

He shared a story that really hit home with me when it comes to slamming the door on the things that keep you, or your team, from performing at your best.

Tim recalled a time when he was a reserve for the New York Knicks. Pat Riley was their coach and his job was to turn them from losers into winners. This was at the time when the great Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls dominated them and just about everyone else. The Knicks hadn’t defeated the Bulls in forever, and during that losing streak Jordan routinely dribbled right through them and dunked on their heads.

As McCormick reveals in his outstanding motivational keynote speech "NBA" (Never Be Average), Riley knew that the Knicks had to cut off their wimpy ways. The Knicks were getting ready to play the Bulls for the first time under Riley’s leadership. They had just finished pre game warm-ups when Riley called them into the locker room. A video monitor had been set up that showed Jordan dunking easily on them during that long streak of losses to the Bulls. It was rather pitiful.

Riley let them have it! He accused them of being in awe of Jordan and playing like they wanted his autograph. The players just sat there. What could they say?

Riley then sternly informed them that things were about to change. He said the first time Jordan came flying towards the basket for an easy dunk he wanted someone to foul him with authority. He didn’t want him hurt, but he wanted Jordan to get a message. Riley said he wanted the Knick to lean over Jordan and say two words:

"No more!"

Sure enough, the game started and Jordan started swooping in for his easy Knick dunk. Wham! He was fouled convincingly and went crashing to the floor. A Knick leaned over him and said, "No more!"

The Knicks surged to a huge lead and went on to win. Things had changed. They had made a decision to excel, and a part of that was saying "No More" to the things that had kept them in mediocrity and below.

It requires taking a hard look at yourself and being honest about everything that is holding you back from being your best in 2008, whether it involves recruiting or coaching your team. The fire within in you has to say, "No More!"

Some of us have the strength to say that and slap the floor and the door is closed to whatever has held us back. For some, it’s much more complicated. There is a process to go through that often requires the help of others. Saying "No More" can range from serious issues, like alcohol abuse, on down to such things as eating late at night.

Saying "No More" doesn’t guarantee you the challenge is about to be obliterated. ‘Yours truly’ – motivator speaker man – is notorious in that area. I can’t tell you how many times I have noticed a Men’s Fitness magazine in the grocery story that has some guy with abs of steel on the cover. I stand there and say "No More" to sweets and eating junk at night. I don’t slap the floor as other grocery shoppers would probably go get the manager, but I mentally say it. Then I go buy frozen chicken breasts and broccoli.

Why? Because I read that’s what Tiger Woods eats and he is built like a rock. I go home determined to eat nothing but chicken breasts and broccoli. That lasts about two days.

But you know what? Even though I haven’t had the willpower to go to my original extreme intention, my eating habits improve every time I do the "No More" routine.

s you make or think about New Year’s Resolutions, you might consider something you need to say "No More" to, Coach.

Charlie Adams is the author of "Stoke the Fire Within: A Guide to Igniting your Life".  He is the Motivational Expert at Selling for Coaches, and also serves as SFC’s Media Message Expert following two decades as an award-winning sports broadcaster covering college sports.  Visit Charlie’s website at www.StokeTheFireWithin.com

Recruiting Smarter in 2008Monday, December 31st, 2007

You’ve probably heard the saying, "Work smarter, not harder."

Frankly, that’s tough for a lot of coaches to swallow.  In sports, we’ve grown-up with the idea that the harder we work, the more time we devote, the more sweat we shed, and the more sacrifices we endure, it will pay off in the end.

In athletic performance, there’s no question that’s true.

In recruiting?  There’s nothing wrong with recruiting harder than your competition.  But I think I could convince you that it’s also crucial to recruit smarter than your competition, as well.

The smarter you recruit, the better kids you will get to commit.  The more proven communication techniques you weave into your recruiting plan, the better you will be able to tell your story and connect with the athletes you really, really want.  

So as you read this as we’re starting the new year, let me give you a few suggestions – or maybe even "recruiting resolutions" – on how to recruit smarter in 2008.

Develop a 12-Month Plan.  Sounds pretty basic, I know, but as we continue with our "Building a Winning Recruiting Message" workshops in the first part of 2008, we’re finding that coaches haven’t built a logical, consistent plan that guides them through their recruiting efforts over an entire year.  You need to do that, coach.  Having a master guide that will keep you on track for consistent recruiting throughout the year. 

If you need help with developing a plan, stay tuned for news next week on our national workshop tour that you can attend.

Go where your prospects are.  Where are they?  Online.  Where do they get information?  Online.  Where can you get your message across to them before the summer after their Junior year?  Online. 

I’m talking about having a team MySpace page.  Having yourself on social networking websites like Facebook.  Writing a blog.  Posting team videos on YouTube.  If you want to reach today’s prospect, you can’t just rely on them opening your mail.  If you’ve read our special report, you know that just doesn’t cut it.  More and more smart coaches are starting to look at their online exposure, and how kids are trying to find them.  My advice to you is to do the same thing.  If you need help, call us here at SFC.

Ask for the sale.  Make a commitment to ask early, and ask often.  Most coaches aren’t doing it, and if I’ve been on your campus or you’ve been to one of our workshops, you know how valuable I think this simple strategy is when it comes to "sealing the deal" with a prospect.  Ask your prospect to come to your school, and commit to your program, every chance you get.  Its the simple – and smart - thing to do.

Make your mail and e-mail look more professional.  That’s something that I’ve committed to doing as we start the new year.  I’ve subscribed to the same service I recommend for college coaches, which is Front Rush.  It’s going to allow me to be a better communicator, better organized, and send more eye-catching e-mails that I can track more easily and keep better organized.  I think you should take a look at your e-mail and postal mail organizational system, and if it includes too many file folders and Post-It notes, you should take a serious look at a web-based organizational system like Front Rush.

Recruiting smarter isn’t rocket science, and you can do some real simple things to start off the new year more organized, and more effective, when it comes to prospecting for recruits.  Are you ready to make some simple – and smart – changes to the way you recruit in this new year?

SFC Premium Members – Be watching your Inbox later this week as we give you even more ways to recruit smarter in 2008.  If you need one-on-one help with your plan for the new year, let us help you!  It’s a part of what gives you the inside edge as a Premium Member!

The Best Tips of 2007Monday, December 24th, 2007

As is our tradition here at SFC, we wanted to use this final message of 2007 to look back at our most-read recruiting tips for the past year.

If you’re new to the Selling for Coaches Tuesday newsletter, this is a great way to catch up in a hurry on the best-of-the-best from the past 51 newsletter issue.  If you’re a seasoned veteran of our tips and training, you’ll be interested to know which articles ranked tops with you and your fellow coaches based on statistics we get from our newsletter.  Just click on the title link of any article that interests you.

So, here we go…we present to you the Top 5 SFC articles from 2007:

  • How to Know If Your Prospect is Ready to CommitThis article from back in January highlighted a proven way to gauge whether or not your prospect was ready to commit to your program.  It featured a highlight from one of our recruiting guides for coaches, and offers some good tips to help you know when to approach your recruit with the idea of playing for you and your program. 
  • Four Ways to Spice-up Your Recruiting Visits.  One of our SFC Premium Members was the source for this topic.  He was feeling a little lost when it came to coming up with new approaches to talking to prospects in their homes.  We got back to him and suggested that he incorporate one of these four ideas as a way to "spice up" his recruiting visits.  It proved to be one of the most popular articles we did in 2007.
  • Making More Time for Recruiting.  I’ve got to admit, when I wrote this back in June, I didn’t realize what a nerve it would touch.  Turns out, the issue of time (mainly not having enough of it during your day!) is a popular subject for today’s college coach.  So, just how do you make more time to get recruiting – and the other 352 things you need to do – in a typical day?  Find out by reading this popular training article we did on the subject.
  • Four Ways to Recruit the Parents.  A big theme for SFC this past year was the importance of recruiting the parents.  So we put together a series of training tips for coaches, kicking it off with this article from earlier in the year.  It goes over the basics of beginning to get your message out to parents.   
  • What Your Next Recruiting Call Needs.  The secret of making an effective recruiting phone call?  We listed seven things for coaches to do, and we got lots of great feedback on the results from the coaches who tried them.  When I wrote this article, the goal was to give coaches a starting point when they pick up the phone to call a recruit.  Will the tips help you?  Read the article to find out!

We hope you’ve enjoyed the training we’ve offered this past year.  Selling for Coaches has some great things planned for 2008 and beyond, all with the hopes of making you a better recruiter.

Enjoy this special time of year, and get ready for exciting things from us in 2008!

Recruiting Message Workshop Is a HitMonday, December 17th, 2007

Wow, what a great weekend of learning, idea sharing and eating (heck, we even threw in a little disco ball action!)

"Building a Winning Recruiting Message" focused on just that: Crafting a logical, compelling recruiting message that will get an athlete’s attention and set a coach apart from his or her competition.

The class had coaches from D1, D2, D3, NAIA and JC schools.  No matter what their competition level, they all had one goal in mind: Recruit more effectively and with a better message.  I think we accomplished those two goals.

Some pictures from the weekend…

 

The coaches that were there were great.  Eager to learn, quick to interact and offer their opinions…that’s a big key to the success of a workshop like this.

 

 

 

 

 

Is that the beginning of a bald spot on the back of my head?  I don’t get to see myself from this perspective very often…hmmm….

 

 

 

 

 

One of the coaches remarked that there was almost too much information given. 

Still, they gutted it out.  I’m hoping they each got at least three or four major concepts under their belts that they took back with them to their programs.

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t let the big tiki statue and the Budweiser sign fool you…this was serious stuff we were accomplishing at the workshop!

But everyone agreed that the atmosphere was one of a kind and added to the enjoyment of the two days.

From start to finish it was a great event, in my opinion, thanks to the group of coaches we had at this first workshop.  I’m hoping I get the chance to work with some of them and their schools in the future…these are great people who really want to do the best job possible for themselves, their program, their athletic department, and their schools.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the December 2007 "Building a Winning Recruiting Message" workshop in Bakersfield, California!

By the way, based on the feedback from these coaches as well as those who couldn’t attend this one due to scheduling conflicts, we will be hosting a few more on this topic in different parts of the country in early 2008.  If you’d like to attend one, just e-mail me at dan@sellingforcoaches.com and I’ll make sure you stay informed when we announce dates and locations.

7 Reasons Blogging Boosts RecruitingMonday, December 17th, 2007

One of the biggest concepts that seems to have taken hold after our successful "Building a Winning Recruiting Message" workshop here in California over the weekend is the value of coaches writing a blog.

We detailed lots of strategies for coaches to pump up the effectiveness of their recruiting message out to their prospects.  Better letters…more effective e-mails…interacting with parents.  Lots and lots of ideas.

But the one that seemed to hit home with so many in attendance is the idea of posting a blog on the Internet.  What’s a "blog"?  It’s short for "weblog" and it’s basically an online journal.  It’s a place where you can write about anything (including the sport and team you coach) and post pictures. 

Why is writing a blog such a good idea for college coaches?  It boosts the potential for you to get the attention of prospects you want to communicate with.  Here are seven reasons why: 

  1. Getting seen on Google.  And Yahoo, MSN and any other search engine that your recruits are looking at on a regular basis. Every time you write about a topic, that gets seen by the search engines.  For example, anytime someone Googles "college recruiting objections", my articles show up as the #2 and #7 search results on the first page.  There’s nothing magic or special that I did, other than write on a subject and title it appropriately for search engines to find it.  You can have the same exposure benefits if you start writing a blog.
  2. Direct communication with your prospect.  No filters, no danger of being misinterpreted or mis-quoted.  It’s you talking directly with your prospect.  Your voice, your personality, your content.  Isn’t that the point of a good recruiting relationship?
  3. More chances to develop your "brand".  Want to set yourself apart from your recruiting competition?  Develop your reputation, or "brand", directly with your prospects.  Blogging is a great way for people to learn about you and what you’re all about as a coach.
  4. Be different than your competition.  Blogs can give coaches a huge competitive advantage over their competitors.  It allows you to stand out and provide another channel directly to your prospect.  The NCAA says you can only make one phone call a week to a prospect.  However, you can write blog entries as often as you want and have them seen daily by your prospects.  So, is that something that you or your competitor should be doing?
  5. Build trust.  When your prospect sees you open up and communicate with them honestly and directly, a real trust develops.  It’s easier to develop trust through daily blogging than sending out letters, right?  The coach who earns the trust of their prospect probably has a great chance of signing that prospect.  Blogs can help you do that.
  6. Become the best within your niche.  Want to position yourself as the best D2 baseball program in the Southeast?  Looking to make the case for why you’d be the best place for a pole vaulter in North Carolina?  Blogs let you do that by focusing on your special niche…that special something that you can present to an athlete as the reason they would want to come and compete for you rather than your competitor. 
  7. You get more PR.  "Public Relations", that is.  In a sense, you’re becoming a media outlet for yourself and your program.  You don’t have to rely on the media getting your story out.  You are getting your story out, and doing so exactly the way you want it.  You are the writer, editor and publisher of your story.  The more you write, the more great PR you can expect to get.

After our workshop ended, two coaches who attended followed my advice and began writing blogs.  Take a look at www.CoachJimHoman.com and www.cascaderunning.blogspot.com

By the way, if you’re a SFC Premium Member I’ll be explaining more on how to blog effectively and give you three more reasons blogging is a no-brainer for coaches who want more exposure for their program.  Stay tuned for that, Members!

Can Tom Pull Off Some Nebraska Recruiting Magic?Monday, December 10th, 2007

In our special report for college coaches, we go inside the mind of the 2008 class of high school prospects for insights on how college coaches should recruit them. 

What messages they respond to…who helps them make their decision…and what role the head coach plays.

Want a real-world example of how a coach can make a difference in how prospects view a program?  Look no further than Lincoln, Nebraska, where Tom Osborne is back in the saddle as the interim head football coach for the Cornhuskers.

Here’s the story from the Kansas City Star: 

The cold wind swirled viciously, dropping inches of snow on the downtown streets. People kept their heads down, eyes on the icy sidewalks. They walked past dozens of signs that read, “The Power Of Red” without seeing them.

Then Tom Osborne emerged from the Lincoln Square Building, tall and thin with a cell phone pressed to his ear, striding through the storm with his head held high. People saw him, and they smiled.

Here in Cornhusker country, folks haven’t forgotten that Nebraska used to be part of college football’s aristocracy. Signs celebrate the past. Restaurants drape themselves in red. Students still wear sweaters celebrating national championships that happened in the mid-’90s — when they were in grade school.

But pride has been replaced by self-pity, and the joy of college football has moved over to make way for something new: a sense of loss. The feeling that a whole state saw itself severed from the thing that once drew it together.

Enter Osborne.

When he retired in 1997 after 24 years as the head coach, he’d won three national titles and racked up a 255-49-3 record. The team hadn’t seen a losing season since 1961. Since Osborne’s departure, it has had two losing seasons, including this year’s 5-7 debacle that included humiliating losses to Missouri and Kansas.

So on Oct. 15, the university fired athletic director Steve Pederson and replaced him with Osborne, who stepped out of retirement. Two weeks ago, Osborne announced head coach Bill Callahan would not return. He even stepped in as interim head coach until a replacement could be found.

It was like the old days again. Tom is here. Tom can be trusted. Tom will set things right.

Last week, as the snow piled up, Osborne marched quickly across 13th Street. A man in a blue truck honked, waved and stopped in the middle of the slushy street to let the legend pass. People burying their faces against the weather looked up and suddenly beamed.

Rondi Mettscher couldn’t believe it. In all her years in Lincoln, the 57-year-old native had never seen Osborne in person. Now here he was, in the flesh, the man who was going to make everything OK.

“We’re all excited to have him back,” she said as she watched him climb into his car and drive away. “And look. He’s on his cell phone. You just know he’s working on it right now.”

Becoming the “Master” Coach and RecruiterMonday, December 10th, 2007

Most coaches want to master their sport.  As a coach, certainly, and sometimes even as a recruiter.  The better you recruit, the easier it is to coach.

That’s one of the reasons we produced two specialized recruiting guides for college coaches who want to master their sport.  Most coaches want to be the best at what they do.  You probably have that same goal.

But stop and think about it.  What does it take to truly master your sport as a coach?  As a recruiter?  How long do you have to study, get experience in the battle of athletic competition, or lose a prized recruit to your rival before you’re classified as a real "master"?

Marketing guru and author Jeffrey Gitomer got the answer to what it takes to become a master from an unexpected seat-mate on a recent airline flight.  He found himself seated to Zach Johnson, the pro golfer who recently won The Masters.

Johnson said his rise to golf stardom was a slow, deliberate one.  Here are the lessons that he learned about being a "master" at his game:  

  • He doesn’t get upset at a bad shot or a bad round.
  • He plays consistent as a golfer and a golf strategist.
  • He stays in the hunt and is always there to make a run at winning.
  • He doesn’t get nervous at the end of a round. (One of the first questions Gitomer asked Zach was whether he was nervous on the 18th at Augusta. "No," he said. "I just played to win. And played my best.")
  • He plays for fun. (He loves the game, the competition, the thrill of winning, and the youthful exuberance of just "being there.")
  • He plays to win. (Every time Zach Johnson goes out on the course, he believes he’ll win the round, and win the tournament. 

"It’s a job – a fun job. But it’s a job." Zach adds as he smiled broadly. "It’s my number four priority. Family. Faith. Family. And then fairways."

So what does all of this have to do with signing great recruits?  As I read the comments from Johnson, it sounds like being a master coach and recruiter is the same thing that it takes to be a master professional golfer: Perspective, passion, a non-stop pursuit of the skills that will help you to improve, and the expectation that you’ll get the recruit you’re aiming to sign.

Too many coaches I meet have a negative, defeatist attitude when it comes to recruiting.  "I can’t compete against so-and-so…we don’t have the facilities to get the great athletes here…our area isn’t attractive to prospects."  On and on and on.  Excuse after excuse after excuse.

On paper, Zach Johnson wasn’t a big favorite to beat a guy like Tiger Woods.  But he stuck to his principles, and became the master that he’d always dreamed of being.

My question for you: Are you on that course towards "mastering" your skills as a recruiter and a coach?  If the answer is no, make that a priority as we head towards the new year.  If you’re a SFC Premium Member, we’ll tell you about three smart ways to become a master recruiter who dominates their competition.  Look for it later this week in your Inbox, plus some extra stuff that we think will help you close out the recruiting year successfully.

The 7 Things Parents WantMonday, December 3rd, 2007

One of the most striking findings in our exclusive survey of top college prospects back in 2008 was how much they rely upon their parents to help them make their final college decision.

It surprises a lot of coaches when they read about it in our report.  Parents have always been thought of as a factor in an athlete’s final decision.  But finding out just how much of an influence they have was an eye-opener for many coaches.

So, if parents really do play that much of a role in the recruiting decisions that their son or daughter makes, here’s the big question for coaches: What can you do to help stack the deck in your favor when it comes to getting the parents on your side?

Simple.  Give them what they want.  Here are seven things that most parents want from the coach that is recruiting their son or daughter:

Parents want straight talk.  Give them an honest assessment of their son or daughter, and what you see for them with your program, and they’ll respect you.  I’ve heard parents talk about coaches who tell them exactly how they view their son or daughter as far as a potential recruit. 

Parents want to be included.  Not enough coaches recruit the parents along with the athlete.  They should, because if you’ve got the parents on your side then you have an advocate of your and your program at the kitchen table.

Parents want a “because”.  As you’ve heard me talk about in our two recruiting guides for college coaches, every recruiting campaign needs a “because”.  Something that an athlete can grab a hold of and believe in about you, your program and your vision of the future.  The same holds true for the parents of your recruit.  They need to understand what makes you worthy of their son or daughter’s talents.  They need something about you and your school to believe in.  They need a “because”.  Are you doing a good job of giving it to them?

Parents want more than they deserve.  Did I just say that???  Yup.  And you know it’s true, Coach.  Every parent wants the VERY best for their son or daughter, and most of the time they go a little beyond what they have the right to expect or what their son or daughter deserves.  You have to find a way to bridge that gap between dreams and reality, and do it in such a way that builds a relationship with them.  Not an easy thing to do, but if you accept the fact that parents have unrealistic expectations of what their child deserves from a college then you are halfway home to addressing it creatively an respectfully.

Parents want the money.  For most, that’s first on their list.  Hey, don’t put all the blame on them.  A steady stream of ESPN and Internet recruiting reports have made a lot of parents expect that every college scholarship means big dollars.  Of course, that’s not always true and sometimes when parents of recruits realize this they sour on you, and the whole recruiting process.  Go in to the recruitment of your athlete understanding this, and be prepared to reason with them and get them to see all of the other benefits that you and your program provide to their son or daughter outside of purely financial gains.

Parents want to feel like you are impressed with them.  Not just the athlete, but them.  Remember, you’re developing a “peer to peer” relationship with parents.  All of them are impressed with the fact that you are a college coach (jealous, too!) and they want you to be impressed with them and what they do.  Spend some time getting to know them, and verbally let them know that you’re impressed with them…their professional career, their family, their house, the way they have raised their children.  Parents want your approval.  Are you giving it to them?

Parents want access to you.  They won’t come out and say it, but they want to know that they can call or e-mail you at any time.  That doesn’t matter if you’re a D1 college football coach, or a D3 cross country coach.  Offer up your direct office line, your cell phone and your e-mail.  Big them to keep in touch with you.  If you don’t hear from them after a week or two, send them an e-mail just to check in with them (hint: send it to their e-mail address at work…give them a chance to brag to their co-workers that they are getting e-mails from a college coach about their son or daughter). 

If you ask me, I think any smart coach will spend time recruiting the parents separately from the athlete they are talking to.  Parents need to feel like they matter, and the coach that achieves that will win over the athlete more times than not.

Give the parents of your athletes what they want, and watch them become cheerleaders for you and your program in front of their son or daughter.

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