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Why Coaches Are Calling This Technology a Recruiting “Game Changer”Saturday, November 30th, 2013

by Sean Devlin, Front Rush

Imagine being able to watch any video from any recruiting event.

Or, picture being able to send one coach (instead of two) to the event in order to save budget dollars because you know that all of the video will be available afterwords.

Now imagine being able to confirm the athletes you saw on the field or discover new athletes because you can click on any game and watch it in its entirety or rewind at key points.

We normally don’t push our own stuff when advising coaches on Dan Tudor’s blog, but the ability to watch EVERY game and EVERY athlete from an event is game changing when it comes to recruiting at the college level. We send professional video crews to the events and put a camera on every field. As coaches watch athletes, parents watch their children and recruits participate, every second of the action is being recorded so these athletes will be viewable later on by coaches all around the country.

Here’s how it works:

First, coaches download our iPad app at coachpacket.com. Then before the event, coaches can set their schedule on the app or on the website so they don’t have to do it the day of. At the event, the app is available offline so coaches can evaluate and rate athletes, create notes, and follow the schedule accordingly. After the event, the video is made available to all coaches so that they can confirm their initial thoughts, find new athletes and coordinate with other members on staff about recruits. Once the athletes are decided, coaches can transfer that data to their Front Rush account or export it into excel if they use a third-party recruiting tool. The loop is closed.

CoachPacket is being used by events across the country, along with thousands of coaches from Lacrosse to Field Hockey to Tennis to Softball to Baseball, and on and on. They are leveraging the technology to push their respective disciplines forward and take recruiting to an entirely new level. Its making recruiting more effective by increasing the number of athletes that can be seen, to decreasing the amount of money that coaches need to spend to recruit, to making the evaluation process more accurate and more efficient.

Its a game changing technology and we hope that you enjoy it – and use it!

To find out more, or to get the free app, visit www.CoachPacket.com

Down the Dark Road of Demeaning CoachingMonday, November 25th, 2013

by Dr. Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com

Sitting in the audience, I waited for the stand-up comedian to get us laughing.

He didn’t.

He was having an off-day. Not even a giggle. I could see the frustration building on his face.

After a few minutes of joke-after-joke failing, he stopped.

The place went dead silent.

Then he unleashed a tirade — screaming and cussing. Calling us names.

“Laugh you dumb-sh**-heads.” F-bomb after F-bomb raining down upon the audience.

People started leaving.

I thought it was part of the act, and things would get funnier. It wasn’t, and it didn’t.

The guy, as they say, “lost it on us.” I still feel uncomfortable about it today.

Sounds bizarre, being demeaned in an attempt to get a response such as laughter.

CLOSER TO HOME

Today, another coach was publicly fired for verbally abusing athletes.

What the heck?

As I read the story, I thought back to the comedian. The stand-up tried really hard, I bet the coach was trying too.

I understand frustration. I work with people for a living, it comes with the territory.

And I understand if someone “loses it” as a singular blip. A once-in-a-decade type of thing. Jeez, I am amazed at some who — knowing the hardships in their lives — never lose it.

But apparently for this coach “losing it” was his style. I don’t get it when someone loses it — demeans —as part of their schtick. Why would you do that on a regular basis?

Demeaning an athlete to get her to perform better is like screaming at me to get me to laugh.

* * * * *

Not long ago, there was this fellow by the name of Dwight Eisenhower.

Famous guy. Basically lead the Ally effort to win WWll in Europe. Then he became the 34th president of the US.

Darn good leader. He was quoted once as saying, “You do not lead by hitting people over the head. That’s assault, not leadership.”

He led men and women into war. Some died. He suffered a lot of failure. Yet, I’ve never heard one report that he was demeaning as a leader in war, or as President.

And here’s a thought, next time you drive on an Interstate in the U.S. remember Eisenhower. He had a lot to do with them. I doubt he was demeaning to get the Interstate built.

* * * * *

Mike Rice, the ex-Rutgers coach who was fired last year for infamously demeaning his athletes, is in the news again.

Reportedly, he is undergoing treatment, trying to change his stripes as he works his way back into coaching basketball. The ABC news show 20/20 and the New York Times both have covered his efforts.

Can he do it? I hope for his sake, but more importantly for the sake of future athletes, that he can.

So, why do some coaches think it’s good leadership style to demean, belittle, insult? They probably don’t think about it, they just do it.

* * * * *

This post is about communicating effectively as a leader. Getting a message across in a positive and engaging manner.

Coaching is a tough gig. Certainly, coaches need to be demanding to get things built.

But being demeaning DOES NOT build. Being demeaning is NOT helpful. Being demeaning is NOT positive.

Demeaning communication destroys, is hurtful, negative.

It’s a scary, dark road when a coach is demeaning. It’s a road that should not be traveled.

Dr. Mike Davenport is a longtime college coach and the man behind the popular website CoachingSportsToday.com.  He is a regular contributor to College Recruiting Weekly.

 

The Incredible Value of Repetition in Your Recruiting MessageMonday, November 25th, 2013

Somewhere on the bottle of shampoo you have in your shower, there is a tried and true line of instruction that was developed decades ago as a way to get consumers to run out of the product sooner, thereby raising profits through the corresponding increased shampoo sales.

“Lather, rinse, repeat.”

When advertising agencies figured out that adding the word “repeat” to the instructions on a shampoo bottle resulted in increased sales, it established a truth that has yet to be proven wrong when it comes to consumer (that’s us) buying habits: There is an ongoing need to repeat actions in order to get results.

The same holds true for things like radio advertising.  If your athletic department buys radio advertising to promote upcoming games or fundraising events, the advertising representatives probably made the case that the ad would need to be aired five to seven times per day. Why?  Because the average radio listener would need to hear that ad at least four or five times before they decided to take action on attending the event.

Think about your own buying habits, Coach.  How many ads or references from friends before you decided on what car to buy?  Or what brand smart phone to use?  Or what shampoo to buy?  I’m guessing it took more than one interaction with an advertising message for you to decide to buy that particular brand.

The moral of the story is pretty simple: Repetition in advertising works.

Which brings us to your recruiting message…

The trend we see most often when it comes to how college coaches tend to communicate with their recruits involves cramming as much information about the college and their program into one email or letter as possible.  That’s the wrong way to do it – and most coaches, deep down, know it.  They just don’t know how to do it differently.

We’ll change that today.

There are several rules we follow when we work with coaches one-on-one as clients in helping them create a consistent, interesting recruiting campaign for their recruits.  Use them to develop your own brand of repetition and consistent messaging for this next recruiting class:

  • Make sure you are communicating foundational, logical facts to your prospect every six to nine days.  Without this first point in place, a coach risks inconsistent recruiting results.  Our research, outlined in our two recruiting guides for college coaches, solidly indicates that when a prospect sees ongoing, regular contact from a coach, not only do they engage with the messaging on a more regular basis, but they also make the judgement that the coach is interested in them, and values them.  Those feelings are what every coach should want their recruits to feel.
  • If you have negatives associated with your program, or big objections that many prospects bring up in the recruiting process, address it early and often.  Don’t run from it, and don’t wait for them to bring it up (or sit back and hope they don’t bring it up).  Consistent, early discussion about it gives you the chance to re-define that objection.  And, it gives you a greater chance to turn their opinion of you around.  Lather, rinse and definitely repeat, Coach.
  • Short, logical, fact-based repetitive messages.  That’s what your prospect needs in order to get to the point of being able to choose you over your competitors.  Remember that initial recruiting letter I described many coaches sending out?  The one where every little fact about your college and program is crammed into one message?  Don’t do that!  Instead, take one concept and address it from many different angles.  Spend a few weeks talking about one topic, and take your time in repetitively making your point to your recruit.  It works, Coach.
  • Repeat your name and your college name often.  Advertisers have followed this psychological principle for decades.  Why?  Repetition of who you are, and associating that with positive connotations, produces results.  A good example of this principle at work are the commercials for online computer repair giant pcmatic.com – they manage to say their brand name a whopping 16 times in their one minute television commercial, not including the visual references to their name.  Why?  They need people to remember their brand, and associate trust with it.
  • Mix it up.  Your recruiting campaign needs to feature a regular flow of mail, email, phone contact, personal contact (like a home visit and/or campus visit) and social media.  This generation reacts to a good combination of all of these facets of recruiting.  If you focus only on one or two communication methods with your recruits, you are leaving the door open for a competitor that will utilize all of their communication resources.  Our studies show that this generation of athletic recruit wants – and needs – a variety of communication types.
  • Social media is personal. Be careful how you use repeatedly use it.  The shiny new toy for college recruiters that is social media is ripe with possibilities – and pitfalls.  Communicating with them the right way on a consistent basis is one of the best ways to form a personal connection with that recruit.  Social media is very personal for most kids, so doing it the right way means a faster way to connect with those recruits.  On the other hand, a coach who feeds a steady stream of game results and player-0f-the-week press releases will lose the attention of a prospect quickly.  Show the personal, behind-the-scenes personality of you and your program – that’s what recruits are looking for (we’ve designed a free research study on how high school prospects use social media in recruiting, Coach…download it here).

Repetition is one of the least used – and most effective – strategies that a coach can utilize in their recruiting message.  Follow these rules in creating a consistent, ongoing conversation with your recruits and watch what happens when it comes to your results.

Dan and his experts at Tudor Collegiate Strategies can help you develop a consistent, research-based message for your recruits. Click here for a detailed explanation of how we do that, or email Dan directly at dan@dantudor.com.

Don’t Veer For DeerSunday, November 17th, 2013

by Tyler Brandt, 7secondcoach.com

What does water going around a rock, hiking around the mountain instead of over it and swerving to miss a deer all have in common?

The path of least resistance!

But that’s not all they have in common, in those situations and many like them they also have the potential to create destruction in their wake. Water will cut through anything in its path as it goes around the rock. Adding hours, potentially days to a hike can be treacherous if it is not a planned part of the trip. 258 people are dead in my state because people chose to avoid a collision with a deer (path of least resistance) instead of attacking it head on – EVEN when all of the driving rules say DON’T VEER!! To often when we are not having the success we think we should be or want to have or a challenge arises suddenly, we VEER off our planned course. It is a natural reaction to attempt to avoid an interaction with a formidable force, however, staying on course usually brings a better result no matter what lays in front of you.

Athletes experience and learn early in their careers that executing a game plan yields success at a far greater pace than winging it or making it up as you go. As coaches, we spend the majority of our careers not just developing game plans but implementing and coordinating drills that will create the flawless execution of the game plan we’ve created. Collectively, a well developed plan by the coach and exemplary executed by the athlete delivers the greatest chance for success. Conversely, even when the plan is well conceived but the athlete deviates from the path, success is rarely seen and the collision will be with failure.

When you VEER off course, even because it seems like the right thing to do, it can have a catastrophic effect in the end. I have done and seen a lot of coaches, teachers and educational leaders come across a challenge, roadblock or obstacle and make drastic changes to the course they were on to try and compensate for the issue that popped up. Although you may take on some damage by facing a challenge head-on, the damage is often superficial rather then terminal. This was evident when I was a defensive coordinator and it was my job to take away the number one offensive threat. Getting the offense out of sync and changing their game plan was crucial to the teams success. One of my offensive coordinators had a saying – R.I.T.T.S.I., which stood for Run-It-Til-They-Stop-It. When he found a hole in the defense he would continue to exploit it (stay on course) until the defense change their game plan (VEERED off course) and then he would have them right where he wanted them – grasping for control!! No matter what sport you’re playing or coaching, it is imperative to stay on course.

Do not VEER off course, believe in the path that you have developed. Accept that challenges will always arise and that at face value you can tackle them head on and you will overcome whatever you come across with less damage to your athletes and team.

Tyler Brandt is a former college wrestling coach who now travels the nation speaking on coaching, motivation and professional performance.  For more information on Coach Brandt, and how he can work with your coaching staff or your team, visit his website at www.7secondcoach.com.

Why Every Coach Needs This Time-Saving ToolMonday, November 11th, 2013

by Sean Devlin, Front Rush

Today, I wanted to focus on a productivity thing.  Or, quite possibly, a “ridder of annoyance” thing.

(And yes its for Mac users, but its the best $1.99 I have spent recently.  So if you use a Mac, listen up!)

If you use a Mac, how annoying is it when you have to constantly drag your open windows around, or resize them to get to your desktop or to another window? Ugh!  You know when you are working on something in your browser (surfing the web or whatevs) and you have to resize the window to get to the document on your desktop…or you have a bunch of windows open and you are dragging everything around to just make it fit perfectly. The productivity loss is in the dragging and resizing.

So anyway, this cool resource is called BetterSnapTool  and it is a game changer, in my opinion. Basically what you do is drag the window that you want to work with to the top of the screen and automatically your window resizes and fits perfectly in your view area. So the meticulousness of clicking, dragging and resizing is changed to a single, time-saving step.

This is something many Windows users have had for a long time, so they probably will take this ability for granted but us Mac users have longed for a solution to this annoyance.  And, BetterSnapTool solves it.

So if you’re a coach who longs for more time-saving tools, this one comes highly recommended.

Speaking of time saving tools, Front Rush is the best of the best.  If you’re a serious recruiter, this is one tool you don’t want to be without.  Click here for the low-down on this incredible resource used by thousands of coaches around the country.

SPECIAL REPORT: How High School Prospects Use Social Media in RecruitingMonday, November 4th, 2013

Social media – including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other popular platforms – is one of the most confusing aspects of modern college recruiting. Coaches want to communicate effectively with their teenage prospects, and social media is one of the primary ways to do that.

However, as many college recruiters are finding out, how they communicate through social media is crucial…it can determine whether or not you form solid communication with that recruit, or make the kind of mis-steps that exclude you from your prospect’s future communication online.

In partnership with NCSA Athletic Recruiting, the researchers at Tudor Collegiate Strategies – lead by Director of Research, Matt Boyles, and nationally recognized recruiting expert Dan Tudor  – conducted in-depth focus group research with more than 2,000 actively recruited student-athletes in the Summer of 2013.  The resulting data provides college coaches with their first-ever comprehensive look at how today’s teenage athlete wants to be communicated with by coaches who are recruiting them, and the specific actions that could drive a wedge between a coach and their prospect.

The .pdf report is free, and can be downloaded here:

How High School Prospects Use Social Media in Recruiting – 2013 National Study

“This is a very comprehensive look at the social media habits of teenage recruits who are communicating with college coaches”, said Dan Tudor, founder of Tudor Collegiate Strategies.  “It can be a valuable roadmap for coaches who are serious about understanding what’s allowed and what’s out of bounds in the minds of their recruits.  Also, the differences between males and females, as well as different sports groups, was fascinating.”

This report is one in a series of research studies and other recruiting guides offered by Tudor Collegiate Strategies.  For an overview of their educational resources, click here.

What If They Don’t Run?Monday, November 4th, 2013

by Tyler Brandt, 7secondcoach.com

In a recent conversation with one of my mentee’s I was asked “how were you able to build and maintain such successful programs over the years? Whenever I am asked that question my response is always the same, “If I put them on the line to condition and blew my whistle would they run or revolt?” The next question is always some version of: “What do you mean, you’re the coach, if you’re telling them to run, don’t they have to run?” Crucially, the answer is NO!

It is true that you can hold the mentality that as the coach, manager or leader you are the one with the “power.” However, if that is your mentality, then you are already losing the game! Leading because you have the Power to do so is a very negative and detached leadership style. I associate power brokers with names like Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Castro and other dictatorial leaders. When power is asserted, fear is the response. That fear is always used to coerce and control not inspire and involve! Leaders who use Power don’t require intrinsic belief in the cause because they have no problem cutting off your hand to force you to follow their rules. This always leads to a revolution against the leader.

My guiding light was always trying to make sure that I was leading my teams and people in a way that they knew I was always doing what was in their best interest. That does not mean they always liked what I had to say or what I asked them to do, but, they knew it would help them reach their goals and dreams. If they chose the latter from the question, what would I be left with? The answer is a whistle and no one to blow it for.

As I look back on my 23 year coaching career, I realize that society, kids, parents and perspective changed, but one thing never has – The Athletes Desire to Contribute! Each athlete will contribute differently but they all want to contribute to the team so they can be part of something awesome. Some will do that by being superstars and some by keeping the team G.P.A. up. It is critical that you as the coach or leader recognize those differences and build champions out of them all in everything that is important to them.

As you look at the messaging in your annual recruiting plan, your team rules and regulations, your working philosophy document and so on, is the focus of your program adding value to everyone? Your gym is old – Awesome – what’s the positive for each student-athlete. Your budget is not very big – Awesome – how is that positive for each student-athlete. The list goes on and on, but the message stays the same, what will you deliver to the athletes on your team that is more important than buildings or bathrooms?

Connect at a level that transcends the physical appearance of your college or high school or office. Relate to your team in a way that foregoes time and becomes timeless. Be in the moment with them, stand tall in their fight, dig deep in their foxhole and it won’t matter what shape your weight room is in or how far away from home the college is or how many losses you’ve had in the past. You will build a collective team committed fighters that will not stop until the goal has been reached!!

If you would like to learn how to do that in your program, please contact coach Brandt at tyler@7secondcoach.com or 480-388-6984.

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