Dan Tudor

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Text Message Ban Coming to D2 and D3Monday, July 28th, 2008

by Carrie Bigbie, SFC Newsletter Editor 

Simplicity. 

With today’s technology, that is what we have grown accustomed to (and, it is what we look for!). 

However, come August 1st, Division II and Division III will be joining D1 in banning text messaging, making it more difficult to communicate quickly (and conveniently) with recruits.

Or does it?

“With the ban on text messaging, coaches will be looking for alternate ways to communicate,” says Leidy Smith, President and CEO of Front Rush, a leading web-based recruiting contact manager.  “Fully-branded emails can send a dynamic and strong message to their recruits.”

There are some loopholes in the new rule for D2 and D3 coaches, which is the same ban that went into effect for their Division I counterparts last year.  Coaches will still be permitted to use email even though the messages are often accessible on cell phones.  The ban, however, does not stop athletes from texting coaches, but coaches are not allowed to text back.

According to the NCAA, the President’s Council agreed to support the ban after the D3 SAAC said coaches’ use of those technologies is an intrusion on recruits’ personal time.  The SAAC also believes that text messaging and other similar communications are intended for social interaction among friends, and that colleges should use more formal ways of recruiting.

“Now that the ban has been approved, coaches will just go back to emailing and probably do it moreText message frequently,” says Smith.  “Front Rush gives them a way to manage that process and track their messages and replies.”  And, of course, there is no limit to the number of e-mails that a coach can send a prospect, or that a prospect can send a coach.

In addition, it also eliminates instant messaging, communicating through social networking websites, video phones, and video conferencing, forcing coaches to limit electronic correspondence with recruits to emails and faxes only.

According to a recent article on Scout.com, Kerry Kenny, vice chairman of the D1 SAAC said, “We believe that text messaging and instant messaging are both highly unprofessional in the recruiting process.  You wouldn’t use text messaging to contact an employer when searching for a job, and it’s unlikely that an employer would contact you with a text message to offer you the job.”

So, as you communicate more "formally" with those athletes moving forward, you can give your program an edge by using great looking, easy-to-use web-based contact management systems like Front Rush to put your best message forward.

The Secret to Coaching Through VideoMonday, July 28th, 2008

by Carrie Bigbie, SFC Newsletter Editor 

 

“…so you want to extend your arms more and follow through with the ball.  I wish I had a way to show you.  Wait a second, let me go get my video camera  and we can download this to the computer and review it step by step.  I think I’m also going to send it to Coach Adams and get his feedback on it.”

 

 It’s one of the most difficult aspects of your job as a coach: Training an athlete by trying to communicate what they need to change. 

If you struggle with this during your coaching, Dartfish can help with their ground-breaking video software designed specifically for coaches at all levels. They even have their own web sharing platform, Dartfish TV, so you can upload your videos and include tags, thumbnails, comments, annotations, analysis and keywords for everyone – you, your staff and the athlete – to review until they understand the change that is needed.  Dartfish has been proven to be helpful in coaching by showing the athlete what they are doing correctly when it comes to their individual mechanics, and what areas they can improve.

Dartfish TV is helping college sports programs in several ways:

• Save time and gain efficiency – your video content is accessible anytime and anywhere just by Volleyball athlete traininglogging into your Dartfish TV platform and downloading the video you would like to view.  Whether you are in your lockerroom, or on the road, you can coach on the fly and teach through visual aids.

• You decide who sees what – whether commenting on a performance one-on-one, or sharing analysis with thousands, you decide who sees what by selecting who has access and sending them the link and password to your platform.

• Hit your target audience – create your customized channel on Dartfish TV and invite your audience to an unprecedented video experience so they can see what your athletic program is all about, and get the inside view on how you use technology to make your athletes better.  (Click here for an example of what USA Volleyball has put together using Dartfish TV!)

“We wanted to create a place where the athlete can experience the analysis”, says Ron Imbriale, Dartfish Senior Vice President, “Not only have we done that, now it can also be shared with others.” 

Depending on what type of sport you coach, Dartfish and Dartfish TV can help you.

Team Sports

With Dartfish software, you can capture and tag entire games to your computer live or after the action.  If you want to show a specific play, you can quickly retrieve that situation by categorizing the video to create an index of events.  It also includes user-friendly tools to help you make tactical Dartfishanalyses of specific game situations or technical analyses of players.  College coaches can also create effective motivational movies or prepare playlists of relevant events to show your team and other coaches using the Dartfish TV platform.  (Lots of college coaches use Dartfish’s patented Stromotion technology to compare the mechanics of two different athletes). 

Individual Sports

With the visual support you get from this easy to use technology, you can improve communication with athletes by bringing them face-to-face with their own performances.  Dartfish allows you to easily integrate video during your training and give athletes instant visual feedback.  This helps make it easier for them to understand the adjustments they need to make according to your comments.  With Dartfish, you can make technical analysis of movement and performance by selecting key moments on the video, comparing them with reference clips and using drawing and measurement tools. 

“The Dartfish products have been designed for every kind of sport,” says Imbriale, “Whether you coach a team or individual sport, it will help you to reinforce your athlete’s understanding of your training.”

 

“Coach Adams responded with his feedback on the Dartfish video we showed him yesterday.  Let’s take a look.  He made annotations throughout the video so we can actually know which areas he is referring to.  I think this will help you understand a what I’m talking about a little better now.”

 

Distribute your videos.  Analysis. Multimedia presentations to other coaching staff. Showcasing your program and cutting-edge coaching abilitiesnew recruits, athlete’s families, fans, and alumni.  The Dartish TV platform can deliver it to college coaches.

Technology Takes Next Step in Helping College CoachesMonday, July 21st, 2008

by Carrie Bigbie, SFC Newsletter Editor 

 

Picture this, Coach…

You have your eye on that star athlete whom you would really like to see wearing your team’s uniform next year.  You have written letters, made a couple of calls, but are looking for that extra edge to put your school on top as their number one choice. 

You decide to give the new Dartfish TV program a try.  You find some great footage of several key moments on your team last year, your big comback to win the conference title, and even add some images of life at your school.  You upload it to the Dartfish TV website and ask your targeted athlete to go and view it.  And whatta-ya know…after they see it, they get a great feeling about your school and decide to sign on.

Sound like something like that is too good to be true?  Think again.

That’s exactly why coaches in a variety of sports are raving about the Dartfish software and their new web-sharing platform, Dartfish TV.  This platform will allow coaches to upload videos of their sports performances and include tags like thumbnails, comments, annotations, analyses and keywords.

Even more impressive is the fact that some of sport’s leading coaches and trainers have signed on to use the technology.  For example, the national governing bodies at the Olympic level will be using it this summer in Beijing.  Dartfish

“When competing at the Olympics, every second counts,” says Ron Imbriale, Dartfish Senior Vice President, “and by using the Dartfish software and Dartfish TV platform, coaches can review recorded performances for training purposes, as well as share the videos with other coaches back home.”

With this new web sharing platform, college coaches can:

1.  Communicate with your current athletes in a private, closed group by showing specific game situations and analyzing their performances.  That helps coach through better visual feedback, improving their performance sooner.

2.  Show videos to recruits you are targeting to attend your school by posting them on your website or blog.  Giving your recruits a visual "inside" look at your program can make them feel more connected to you and your athletes. 

3.  Create an added service to parents, alumni, and fans by allowing them to view videos you want to share to the public by offering a subscription-type service. 

Dartfish contends that coaches need to approach their program in the same way that a new corporate venture might approach their potential customers.  “We have created Dartfish TV to help coaches build more of a business and a service”, says Imbriale.

With the new Dartfish technology, college coaches can allow their recruits to truly “experience” their athletic program by sharing memorable moments which will make them feel like they are experiencing it live.  And, once they are a part of a program that uses Dartfish, they will learn faster, train better and have access to the same technology that Olympians have.

To see a free demo of how Dartfish works, and how college coaches use it, click here.

Why the Wrong Words Can Doom Your RecruitingMonday, July 21st, 2008

Dan TudorLeave it to the Chinese to offer up today’s recruiting lesson for college coaches. 

You see, Chinese officials have been preparing for next month’s Olympic games well in advance of the competitions. That includes encouraging restaurateurs to change the way certain foods are listed on restaurant menus.

You see, the name of a dish in Chinese (which usually has something to do with its appearance or origin) doesn’t always translate well into English.

For example, one of the traditional Chinese names for a popular dish literally means "Chicken without sexual life" in English.  Sounds appetizing, doesn’t it?  The alternate name that the government in China has suggested is "steamed pullet" (A pullet is a young chicken that has not produced eggs.)

Here are some others:

Traditional Chinese name: "Husband and wife’s lung slice".  Alternate proposed by the government: "Beef and ox tripe in chili sauce"

Traditional Chinese name: "Bean curd made by a pock-marked woman".  Alternate proposed by theChinese chicken! government: "Mapo tofu".

What restaurant owners in China have learned is that words mean things.  And what is acceptable to one culture, is foreign – even weird! – to another. 

For you, as a college coach, the way you communicate with your prospects all comes down to words.  Like I just said, they mean things.  They are important.  They can be the key to getting your recruit’s attention, and painting a picture for them as you carry them through the recruiting process.

For you, Coach, your prospects are that "other culture".  Those teenagers you are recruiting are the foreigners who don’t easily understand your native tongue.  It’s such a huge problem that it’s going to be one of the big topics we’re going to teach coaches about at the upcoming SFC Recruiting Kick-Off Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana (haven’t signed-up yet???  Come on, Coach!  Do it now!)

Here are some examples of words and phrases that might confuse your prospects that I see quite often when we are asked to review recruiting letters and other messages that coaches send out to prospects:

  • "You have been recommended to us an a prospect…"  Huh?  Who recommended them?  How did you find out about them?  You are trying to be complimentary to them, but you know what they think?  Two words, Coach:  Mailing. List.  You need to spell out how you found them, or risk having them assume that they are one of thousands that is reading the letter.
  • "Prospect Questionnaire"  Your prospect puts that phrase right up there with "History Test" and "Yard Work".  You are thinking "lots of good prospect information I need", while your recruits are thinking "15 minutes of filling-out little lines of information".  Wonder why you don’t get a huge percentage of those back?  It’s because they aren’t presented in an attractive way.  How should you dress them up?  Change the name.  Make them shorter.  Ask different questions.  Frankly, anything other than what goes out to them right now would probably be fine.  It’s time to re-translate that one into their native tongue, Coach.
  • "If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me."  Really, Coach?  Do you think most 17 year old kids are going to feel confident enough to pick up the phone in between video games and talk about the scholarship possibilities?  Not likely.  That’s why you don’t have one prospect on the line and three more on hold waiting to talk to you.  You will have to approach them differently: Tell them what you want them to do, tell them when to call, and tell them why you want to talk to them.  This generation wants specifics.  That phrase gets lost in translation.

I only touched on three common phrases that don’t register real well with your prospects.  Are there more?  Certainly.  And they are throughout the recruiting messages that you send out every week.

What I recommend you do is look at your messages through the prism of today’s teenage culture.  Could you re-phrase something to connect with them in a better way?  Can you be professional, and still re-word some of your messages so that they prompt a better response from your prospects?

That’s your challenge this week, Coach.  Before you start sending out the bulk of your recruiting letters, make sure they are "translated" correctly for your audience.  If you don’t, you might be serving your recruits "pock marked lung slice chicken" and not even know it! 

The wrong words matter.  The right words can be your secret weapon to signing more recruits.

3 Things You Have to Do for Your ProspectMonday, July 14th, 2008

Zappos.comOnline shoe retailer Zappos.com does something pretty interesting. 

In fact, you could learn from it.  Here’s what they do, and the lesson that’s in it for you as a college coach.

When you go to Zappos.com, one of the most popular websites on the Internet to buy shoes, you have a choice for shipping options.  You can choose to have your order delivered via regular 6 to 7 day ground service for about $7, or you can choose next day delivery for $25. 

Most people, as you would expect, choose regular ground delivery.  But you know what happens in most instances?  They get an e-mail telling them that they’ve been upgraded to the next day delivery at no extra charge.

That’s right, you get your shoes the next day even though you didn’t pay for the premium shipping.  And they tell you, step by step, what they are going to do next.

Why is that important?  Here’s why:

  • They are telling their customers what they are doing for them.  No guessing, no wondering.  Zappos does a great job of keeping their customers updated.  That creates loyalty.  And, in cases where an unexpected delay occurs, there is patience and forgivness from those customers.
  • They are providing their customers a clear, concise message.  They keep their customers informed, and do so with simple messages that are easily and quickly understood.
  • They are giving their customers a pleasant surprise.  It’s cool to get some unexpected good Zappos customersnews.  That’s what Zappos is giving their customers.  But it’s not by accident…it’s part of their marketing strategy, and a critical part of their aim to create fanatical, passionate buyers.
  • They are giving their customers a reason to talk about them.  Those fanatical, passionate buyers I just told you about?  They tell other people about Zappos.  All the time.  Why?  Because they’re different.  And different gets talked about.

Now, imagine yourself as running that business.  Do you see why you’re successful?  Do you see why your customers are loyal, why people are talking about you, and why your business is growing?

Of course you do!  You have a marketing plan that focuses on surprising your customers with a great surprise, and doing it with a clear, concise message.

So why don’t you take those principles and apply them to the way your program recruits? 

If you’re on board with that concept, here’s what I suggest you do next:

  • Tell your recruits what you are doing for them.  Even the simple stuff.  Keep them updated.  They want that, and their parents want that.  No detail is too small, and it’s best to do it with a hand-written card.
  • Don’t sell!  This is about you communicating with them regarding something that is happening for them behind the scenes: You’re reviewing their video, you are talking with your assistant coaches about them, you are meeting with the financial aid office about their application…anything that’s going on behind the scenes.  No selling, just informing.  That’s the goal.
  • Give them a surprise.  This one’s the toughest.  it involves pre-planning a surprise…that little something extra…that your prospects aren’t expecting.  Of course, I’m not talking about free shipping (unless you’re shipping something to your prospect, which the NCAA would probably like to know more about).  It has to be something unique to your school, your program, or your plan as a coach.  Be creative.  And, make sure it is something good enough to get talked about.

If you want ideas on how to create recruiting plans that get talked about, I hope you can come to our Recruiting Kick-Off Conference this coming August 9th and 10th to Indianapolis, Indiana.  We’ll be highlighting a lot of new strategies that will focus on setting yourself apart from the competition, overcoming objections, and closing the deal.

If you haven’t regsitered yet, click here for more information.  If you’re going to come to one SFC conference this year, make it this one!

The Problem for Most Colleges? This Expert Says, “Not Being Different”Monday, July 14th, 2008

One respected recruiting expert says the biggest problem that most coaches fail to overcome these days is something they are not doing.

"Most coaches don’t do a good job of differentiating themselves from other programs," says Rodger Motiska of DJS Design, the premier college sports architecture firms in the U.S.

Here’s what he means:

  • Most coaches aim to get even with the "other guys".  They are so focused on the "we have that too" and "we’re just like they are" speeches, they achieve their goal and end up the same.  The problem is, "same" is not a good thing when it comes to your recruits. 
  • Most coaches don’t pay attention to what’s surrounding their prospects.  The environment that your recruit experiences when they visit your campus will go a long way towards determine the lasting impression you create for them.
  • Most coaches don’t plan their program’s recruiting experience.  Programs that have brought DJS Design to their campus have used these experts to create a total recruiting experience for their prospects.  The surroundings, the architecture, the visuals, the storyline…most coaches leave a lot of it to chance, and end up paying the price.

There are a select group of college programs that have done amazing things by making sure that DJS Designtheir recruits see, hear and feel something different when they step on their campus for their visit.

If you look at what they’ve done with their surroundings, you’ll see the difference that great design can make. 

Click here to see what we’re talking about…

7 Ways Google Can Help You RecruitMonday, July 7th, 2008

True story: 

I’m leaving a college in the Boston area on my way to catch a flight.  I’m running late, which was fine with me because many of our On-Campus Workshops do run over (there are a lot of you laughing right now as you read this…you know why I’m late, how it’s actually your fault, and how close I usually cut it when it comes to getting to the airport on time).

I’m stressing out a little, but love the challenge of beating the odds for some strange reason.  Then, it happens.  The printed map I have doesn’t account for a road closure I just discovered at the on-ramp I’m supposed to be taking to Logan International.  How do I find the right road to take, and also make sure it’s not packed with traffic on a weekday afternoon?

I turn to Google. 

Don’t we all?  Admit it…what don’t you look up on Google these days?  But did youGoogle know that Google actually has a lot of great, free tools that you can use to make you a better recruiter?  Even when you are in your car?  It’s true.  I know, because I use a lot of those same tools to serve all of you on a daily basis (and to save myself from missing flights thanks to unexpected road closures).

So today, I wanted to share some of these great tools, tips and tricks with you as you gear-up for a new year of recruiting.  These are good, and will help make your life as a recruiter much easier:

  1. Google Maps for your mobile phone.  Back to my Boston mis-adventure for a minute: When we last left our poor Californian facing the closed on-ramp, he was reaching for his cell phone.  How did Google save me that day?  I had downloaded Google Maps for my mobile phone .  Let me tell you that Google Maps for my phone has saved me time and money over and over and over again when I’m traveling.  It’s one of the best tools I’ve ever seen.  When I was stuck in Boston, I went to my Google Maps program, and typed in "LGA" for the Boston airport code that was my destination.  Google Maps for your mobile phone also comes with free GPS tracking, so it automatically knows where I am.  It then routed the best way for me to access the same freeway.  As I’m driving, a little blue dot (my car) moves along the highlighted route that it has saved for me.  It also gives me turn by turn instructions on screen.  I made it to the airport on time (O.K., just barely) and I have Google Maps to thank for it.  It’s free, comes with everything I just mentioned, and is just plain wonderful.  You can get a link for downloading the tool to your phone, as well as watching a quick demo of the product, by clicking here.  I can’t recommend it enough. 
  2. Google Maps for printing directions and maps.  Google, in my opinion, provides more tools than other map programs like Mapquest.  It provides clearer maps, is easier to print larger maps, and even lets you re-route your path after it comes up with your suggested route just by clicking and dragging the highlighted road with your mouse.  Getting maps to a recruit’s house or high school is easy when you use this tool, combined with the mobile version.  Click here to go to Google Maps.  If you like Mapquest, you’ll love Google Maps.
  3. Google Maps to track your competition’s recruiting.  Want to see a national map view of where the University of Texas recruits are coming from?  Click here.  Or, how about tracking the entire ACC when it comes to football recruits, and where they are coming from?  Click here.  I could go on and on, but you can try searching for maps that meet your specific needs.  Since these are largely created by obsessed fans, there is no shortage of interesting data on your competition.
  4. Use Google for free directory information when you are driving.  Never call 411 on your cell phone or from your office line.  The charges for this service are outrageous ($1.50 or more on cell phones).  Instead, get better information for free by using Goog411, the free directory service from Google.  Dial 800-GOOG-411 (800-466-4411) and use their voice-activated menu to quickly get the information you need, and connected to the number.  All for free.  You can see how it works and get more information on it by clicking here.  
  5. Get visual landmarks for your next recruiting road trip.  I do this a lot, especially if I have toGoogle Earth drive a long distance from the airport to a college.  You can get 3D satellite imagery from Google and "drive" the route from the air using Google Earth.  You download it to your computer, and then zoom in on any area on earth for a really detailed view of the area.  Again, this is a tool that has helped me a lot in looking for landmarks when driving in new areas.  Find out more by clicking here.  Gotta tell you, this one is just out-and-out fun to have on your computer.  Amazing, also.  Take a look.
  6. Get free e-mail updates on prospects you are recruiting.  Many of you have asked about services that you can subscribe to that will send you news about the prospects you are recruiting.  If you want to pay someone to do that for you, be my guest.  Or, you can do the exact same thing yourself – for free – with Google Alerts.  You just type in the name of the prospect you are recruiting (or anything else you want to keep track of) and every time new information or news about that person or topic appears in a newspaper or on the Internet, you are sent an e-mail alert that gives you the link to the information about that person.  This one is a no-brainer for any college coach, and you can’t beat the price.  See how it works by clicking here
  7. Create a blog.  I’ve discussed blogging at length before here in this forum, and will also be spending a lot of time going over new tips and training on blogging for coaches at the upcoming Recruiting Kick-Off Conference this August in Indianapolis.  Every coach should have a blog.  Period.  I won’t get into all of the many reasons why it makes sense, since I don’t want to give away our new information that we’ll be discussing at the Conference (have you registered yet, Coach?) but if you already know why it’s going to be essential for recruiting in the near future, go to Google to create your free blog.  Click here to get started.

There are a lot of other Google tools that you might find useful in your coaching and personal life.  You can take a look at a list of them by clicking here (I also recommend Picasa and the Calendar programs, so take a look…they are great!). 

Using Google for recruiting can make your recruiting life easier, and more efficient.  And, these are tools that fit into any budget and are easy to use. 

So get familiar with them now, and get a jump start on learning to use these helpful tools as we start another year of recruiting!   

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