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Is Your Program the $2 Bill of College Recruiting?Monday, March 30th, 2015

That’s a picture of a $2 bill sitting our counter at home.

In and off itself, that’s not unusual except for the fact that I have teenagers in the house, and loose cash never sits unaccompanied for very long.

But we’re going on three weeks of this $2 bill just lying around, in a place that gets passed by many times a day in our house.  I noticed that it remained untouched about two weeks ago, and now it’s become a sociological experiment.

An experiment that could have some direct implications for you and your program’s recruiting efforts.

Here’s what I mean:

In our experience of working with college coaches, we’ve kept track of some of the things that seem to keep a prospect from actively engaging with recruiters.  You see, there’s this delicate balance of being outgoing, creative, interesting and respected that sometimes crosses over into odd, bothersome or just plain weird.

I think that is what’s going on with our poor ignored $2 bill: Do I really want to hand a cashier a $2 bill?  What if they don’t notice it’s a $2 and they don’t give me the right change? What if they look at me like, “Are you serious, mister?”  It’s like the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin they issued a few decades ago. Seriously?…you want me to carry around  10-pounds of loose change that looks the same as a quarter?

I don’t want to see you being viewed that way when you interact with your next recruit, Coach. So I wanted to pass along several of the red flags that your prospect might view with that “are-you-crazy???” look in their eyes. Nothing too scientific, just general observations I’ve made in our work with our roster of clients:

Your first phone call goes past ten minutes. Your prospect is already a little uneasy about speaking with an adult on the phone – a device that they haven’t grown up with, at least the talking-into-it part. So when a coach takes the attitude that they’re going to try and prove how much the prospect means to them by spending 45 minutes on the phone with them the first time they talk, it is received negatively more than 8 out of ten times, according to our research.

You’re social media posts are a little too immature.  By “immature” I mean you come across as trying to be too much like a kid. Your prospects are really good at picking out the coaches that are trying too hard, and once they come to that conclusion it’s very hard to regain that command and respect most coaches want to establish.  It’s a fine line, because you don’t want to be so stiff and all-business that they aren’t able to relate to you, yet at the same time you can’t abandon your role as their recruiter and their coach. But once that fuzzy, hard-to-define line is crossed, you risk becoming that weird little $2 bill that sits around wondering what’s wrong with you.

You hang around the prospect and your team during a recruiting visit to your campus.  One of the complaints we’ve heard over the last decade from your college athletes while we are working with athletic departments conducting our recruiting workshops is that a coach at a college they were visiting never left their sight. We’ve heard athletes describe visits to schools where the coach would call the hosts every 30 minutes to check in, or hover around conversations and valuable team/prospect time, causing them to sometimes ask the current team members, “Is he always like this?”  Or, “doesn’t she ever let you guys be on your own?”  They notice how you are acting when they are on campus visiting your school, Coach. That’s why we devote an entire chapter in our book, “Freaking Awesome Campus Recruiting Visits” to create a new model visit with your current team, train them to conduct the visit, and then trust your hosts enough to get out of the way and let your team do the bulk of the recruiting.  It works, and it preserves your identity and a confident, normal college coach who gives off a positive vibe to his or her recruits.

You’re only sending them “business” communication.  Let me define that: Updates on your team’s performance, your monthly email newsletter, a new academic ranking from your school, news of a professor who was named tops in his or her field of study…it is very, very, very rare that one of your prospects is going to care enough about that singular event (or a string of those events) to cause them to choose you as their top choice.  As I’m tying this article, I can think of three instances where an athlete looked back on his or her recruiting experiences and was able to talk about “business communication” from a coach being the thing that swayed them to come to their school.  And that is out of thousands upon thousands of focus group conversations that we’ve conducted heading into second decade of work with college coaches.  The truth is, most (not all) send that out because it’s “something to send the recruits” and it’s easy.  It requires little effort in a day filled with a hundred other more important uses for your time.  But my warning remains: Relying on that kind of communication will not get consistent results, especially if you’re trying to set your sights on that “next level recruit” most coaches want to attract.

Not asking them for a commitment during their visit, or at least outlining what their status is. In fairness, this isn’t “weird” for your recruit. It’s just incredibly disappointing, and causes them to question what your intentions are. Even if you aren’t their top choice during your visit to campus, they want – and expect – to be pursued.  They are looking for a serious commitment from you, because I can tell you that when they make the effort to come to campus (even if it’s an official visit and you’re paying for it) they view that as a big commitment on their part. How you ask for a commitment, or outline your plan and their status, is going to vary strategically from recruit to recruit.  But the important thing I want you to know is that if you don’t do that, it’s highly disappointing to them.  And, it can negate any of the positive feelings you and your team has earned in the recruit’s eyes as they leave campus empty handed.

Why do they still print $2 bills?  I don’t know…perhaps so grandmothers around the country can have some creative to give to their grandchildren inside of a birthday greeting card.

Why do coaches still make some of these very basic, easy-to-fix mistakes?  I don’t know that either. But I’m guessing it’s in the absence of a better plan, and a better recruiting strategy.  Or, worst of all, because “that’s the way they’ve always done it.”

Just hear my plea: Your prospects are actively looking to see if you’re a coach who they would enjoy competing for, and like being around. Do everything in your power to demonstrate that you are that coach.


We will expand on this topic at the upcoming National Collegiate Recruiting Conference. You need to be a part of that, Coach. You can register here to reserve your seat and get all of the details about the upcoming event.


6 Keys to Creating Impactful Recruiting LettersMonday, March 30th, 2015

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

A few weeks ago my 5-year old daughter became the official “mail getter” for our family. I know this because she told me so.

This new position of hers came about after she received a recruiting letter, of sorts. She had received mail before from her grandparents, but this time was different. It was a flashy envelope addressed specifically to her from the kids club at our local mall.

As we walked up the driveway my daughter tore open the envelope. Inside was a letter with her name hand-written at the top, listing upcoming events that “members” could experience, as well as other perks that came from joining the club. As she read through each bullet point the level of excitement in her voice increased. I’ll let you guess what we did 15 minutes later.

The “feeling” that came over my daughter is the same “feeling” every admissions professional should strive to manufacture with prospects during recruiting communications.

Direct mail is one form of communication that should always play a big part in your recruiting campaign. Despite advances in technology, there is no substitute for good old-fashioned letters.  Want more proof?  Our on-campus focus group research at colleges around the nation confirms that receiving letters still matters to this generation of students.   Emails can easily be deleted and text messages are sometimes ignored. There’s also a temporary aspect to both. Letters on the other hand are real, written proof that a prospect can hold in their hand and show others, confirming that they are wanted.

Before I discuss some keys to creating impactful recruiting letters, I have a question for each of you. Have you ever asked yourself why you’re sending a recruiting letter? It’s an important question, and one that you need to raise. Yes it’s important for prospective students to learn more about your school.   More than anything though, each recruiting letter should be built to generate a response. When you get a response from your prospect it confirms they’re genuinely interested and you now have a basis for future communications. This is particularly valuable during the early stages of the recruitment cycle.

Now let’s go over some of the fundamentals of constructing the right kind of recruiting letters.

  • Most counselors start a recruiting letter with what we call a “warm up.” The first paragraph contains facts, figures, and a lot of “fluff.” I’m here to tell you to get rid of the fluff. Studies have shown your target audience doesn’t want this. If you choose to keep it, you risk them losing interest before you even get started.
  • Your main objective in those first couple of sentences should be to grab their attention. That means formal and professional, which is what I’m guessing most of your messages currently are, isn’t going to be effective enough. You need to be more direct. Consider starting with a statement that’s short and to the point. It needs to be something that gets their attention and makes them want to read further.
  • Visually your letter needs to be easy to read. Think about your reaction when you receive a lengthy email from your boss. You’re in the middle of cleaning out your inbox and want to keep things moving forward. How many times have you closed it and said, “I’ll read it later.” Do you want that same reaction from your prospects?
  • When coming up with a list of things you want to highlight to your recruits, don’t forget to ask yourself why they will care about what you’re telling them. It has to matter to them otherwise it won’t work.
  • In the middle or “heart” of your letter, it’s crucial that you continue to keep them hooked. This is where we see a lot of counselors struggle. They choose a topic and try to jam everything into one letter. That’s the wrong approach. Instead, your goal should be to give them no more than two or three pieces of information on a single topic at one time. Additional points regarding that same topic should be communicated over several weeks. The reason behind that is simple. Teenagers forget things quickly. Let’s use your school’s location as an example. If you present everything that makes it great all at once, it won’t resonate for very long.  Instead I want you to take a long term approach, like we do with our clients when we assist them with message creation.  That way when you’re ready to move on to something else it will be clear to your prospect why your school’s location is perfect for them, and why they should be excited about it.
  • When you construct the end of your letter, think long and hard about what you want them to take away. Avoid being passive and saying something like, “If you or your parents have questions feel free to contact us.” That’s not the right way to communicate with today’s student. Instead, demand some type of action from them. If you want them to call or email you with specific information, tell them that, very clearly. Tell them when to call or let them know when to expect an email from you. Always set up the next communication.   Our research continues to confirm that your prospects want you to do that for them. If you don’t tell them, you may not hear from them.

If your letters aren’t generating a good response, we can help revamp your recruiting letter strategy using proven techniques.  It’s another way to give you and your team an Admissions Recruiting Advantage.

Email me today at jeremy@dantudor.com for more information about how to get started.

Today’s Social Media, Coaching Sports and 12 Simple Actions To Take NowSunday, March 29th, 2015

by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com

Are you using social media? If so, is it helping or hurting your coaching?

You walk, you leave footprints. Some prints are obvious, like through mud. Other prints, like walking on a basketball court, are harder to see. Regardless, you leave prints behind.

We do the same in the digital world when we use social media — and as coaches these digital footprints deserve some serious consideration.

Digital Footprints

You could say I came to social media late in the game — y’know, being an old coach and all. You could say that, but you’d be wrong, because social media is not new. It’s been around for thousands of years.

Socrates speaking in front of a crowd — was using social media. He presented info, and got immediate feedback. Same with FDR in his radio addresses. And through the years there are hundreds of other examples of social media.

Yet today’s version of social media is different — more powerful. At no time in history has it been easier for a coach to broadcast his thoughts out into to the world. And that’s fantastic, because you can do so many things so easily with today’s social media — such as give detailed info as it happens on any athletic event — a luxury until recently reserved for just a few ultra-popular sports. Or within seconds tell your team about a change in practice time.

There’s so much promise for coaches with today’s version of social media, and so much peril.

Over the past years I’ve been brought kicking-and-screaming into today’s version of social media. There’s been a lot to learn and I’d like to share with you 12 tips, ones I think you might find of value.

These aren’t power-user tips, you can find tips like those in many places, like here. Instead these are simple action tips, ones to help keep your social media use from derailing your coaching and your coaching career.

1) The World’s Biggest Megaphone

Once in a blue moon I run an experiment on my team. Here’s how it plays out.

Rowing coaches use a megaphone during practices — mine happens to be a very fancy L-O-U-D one.

I’ll purposely leave the megaphone sitting around at the conclusion of practice. It never fails, one of the rowers will pick it up, turn it on, and bellow something to the unfortunate souls around. It’s always something silly, like an impersonation of a coach, or a scream. Of the dozens of times I’ve done this, not once has an eloquent thought been shared, or an ephinany. It’s always goofy.

But here’s the thing, that same comment shared at a normal volume between friends will have little impact. Yet, that same comment shared at lawn-mower-loudness to dozens of people can annoy, distract, and reflect poorly on the sharer.

Just like today’s social media.

Simple action: Think of what you are sharing and the clan who you are sharing it with. Do they mix well? Don’t bother or annoy them, or they will tune you out. I don’t bother readers of my coaching site, such as you, with info about my stick figure business.

2) Don’t Let That Be You

It’s easy to be someone fake on social media, and if that’s the way your roll, roll on.

However, as a coach, honesty rules. Results, resume, recruiting, or whatever you are using today’s social media for, your mantra should “be honest, or be found out.” Honesty is the best policy.

Simple action: Be truthful in what you blast, and if you make a mistake, fess up. “I made a mistake,” is a powerful word combo.

3) Sharing Isn’t Always A Good Thing

Be cautious of how much you share in respect to personal details. Keep private-information just that – private.

Simple action: Don’t publish personal info such as your home phone number or home address. Be honest but not foolish. Many notables on social media keep their personal life very private. There’s very good reason for that.

4) Share Helpful Stuff

People, especially fellow coaches, are always looking for helpful tidbits and tips. If you are interested in building a following, share some of your secrets.

When I first started this blog three years ago, I only wrote fluffy stuff, with little meat to it. Now I share all my tips, and things I’ve learned, and my readership has grown significantly. Share to be helpful, and in turn you’ll get pleasantly rewarded.

Simple action: Answer someone’s coaching question — lend a digital hand. There are plenty of forums and sites where you can find coaches with questions (LinkedIn and FB being two). Share your tip and then follow up if asked. Don’t expect anything back in return, and see what happens.

5) Lock & Key

There are two types of social media users: those that have been hacked, and those who will be hacked. Believe me, it’s no fun getting hacked (I know — twice), or having Interpol send you a nasty-gram because your blog is being used by hackers to attack banks (I know that also).

Simple action: The following 3 simple actions are common sense but for some reasons are not common practice:

  • Use a password program, such as 1Password to protect your logins. Don’t get lazy on this part. I did, it hurt.
  • Use passcode locks or autolocks on all your devices. Having your six-year old tweet on your account that “dad is a fatso” is humbling, and also avoidable. (And not true at all ; ) )
  • Clear your browser history whenever you use a shared computer. Just do it.

Do those every time you use social media. Those 3 super-simple actions can save you sooo much hassle, and so many headaches.

6) Play Nice, Social Nicer

You are a coach, which means your words carry extra weight, so, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it. Make sense, right?

Simple action: Seriously, If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t. Really. Really-really. Especially since …

7) Once you hit send the world owns it.

You create a message and before you hit publish, that message is yours. But things change the milli-second you publish – then the world owns it – to do with it what it wants.

You have no guarantee the message you meant to keep “just between us” will stay that way. Or the forum rant will stay just in that forum. Coaching careers and lives have been changed by a simple social media posting that made it’s way to eyes the sender didn’t expect.

Here’s something else to chew on — in an educational setting, any message published about a student becomes their property. Tweets, emails, texts, whatever — if it has to do about a student, and if the person who publishes it works at that school, the student has a right to see that content.

Meaning, that derogatory content emailed to a fellow coach about the worst athlete on your team is now that athlete’s property, can be seen by him, and could be used by him as he wishes. (Hey, I’m not a lawyer, and have never played one on YouTube, but that is how this was explained to me by smart people in the know, so it’s how I operate.)

Simple action: Before you hit publish, think to yourself, “Who do I NOT want to read this, and if they did, what damage could happen?” You better be okay with the answer, especially since …

8) There Is No Place To Hide

You know every social media blast you send never disappears, right? “Oh, I use SecretBlast, and it’s gone forever once it’s read.” Don’t be foolish. Your digital footprints last forever.

Just because a company says your message will vaporize 30 seconds after it is read (Cyberdust) doesn’t mean the reader can’t record it (screenshot) and now that message is alive. There is NO PLACE UNSEEN DIGITALLY. By now you get my point: your message will be seen by someone you don’t want to see it, your words don’t disappear, and your digital footprint can and will be there to haunt you.

Simple action: Be smart. Be thoughtful. Be kind in all your postings. ALL

9) Stop Swearing

My favorite Sponge Bob episode (yup, I’m that coach who watches SpongeBob) is about SpongeBob and his buddy Patrick and their discovery of sentence-enhancers – those special words people sprinkle into sentences to spice things up. Its a silly story about cussing that really grabs the truth of swearing in social media.

Hey, the words you use in your own-private-world are your business. But on social media your own-private-world does not exist. Meaning, your words are everyone’s business. Cuss words are a sign you are not articulate, they demean, and in public they can offend.

Simple action: Drop the sentence-enhancers that aren’t acceptable. If in doubt what is and isn’t acceptable, ask your boss, grandmother, or better yet, the grandmother of the kid you coach. Then find other ways to make your words POP.

10) User Your Manners, Please

  • Say “please” and “thank you”.
  • Sit up straight.
  • Chew with your mouth closed.

Those are simple little manners that make a difference in social settings. Well, there is *social* in social media, right? So manners, aka etiquette, make a difference.

Here’s two quick examples: don’t hit people in the head with your “selfie stick”, and don’t post a photo of someone else without their permission. There are ton’s more, and the article below can remind you of many of them.

Simple action: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and then up the game, and use even more manners. You will stand out in a good way, and as a coach that’s a good thing.

11) Ghosts In The Machine

Social media magnifies your mistakes, and you will make mistakes. If there is a social blast you regret, see if the provider will remove it. That may/may not work.

Simple action: Have so many positive social media postings that the one-off mistake on your end gets buried under a pile of greatness.

12) Ignore & Snore

Not one coach has ever said they are a better coach because they read the negative social media reviews and comment about them.

Simple action: Stop reading social media posts about you, your team, your school. Just stop.


Actions You Can Take

Okee dokee, 12 actions you can take. Start with one, maybe #4. Then add another. Before you know it, you’ll be a social media expert for all coaches. Now there’s something to aim for.

Oh, and here’s something you might find of interest, if you have other coaches you work with:

The New Technology Tool Some Basketball Coaches Can’t Live WithoutMonday, March 23rd, 2015

Larita Wilcher knows a problem when she see’s it. Years of experience as a college basketball recruiting coordinator does that to a person.

So when she ran across an issue she and her fellow coaches kept having to overcome, she set out to solve it.

“I used many scouting services and databases, but none gave the recruiter a platform to host schedules in a way that would allow them to manipulate the data”, says Wilcher.  “I also realized there was no central location that provided the schedules of those prospects that I needed, which meant that each year planning how we would efficiently use our recruiting days and coordinate it with the staff was a time consuming process.  Even when I had administrators and managers to help with compiling the schedules it became a static outdated piece once it was put into a spreadsheet.”

So after years of research and work, Wilcher launched Recruit Scheduling Solutions.

“It’s a solution for college coaches who value their time and efforts in recruiting”, says Wilcher.  “We assist them by providing a tool and service that keeps them organized and efficient managers of their time.  Our service of providing the playing schedules of their top prospects and the software to manage the information is the most innovative and interactive approach to recruiting, and it provides that data to them in one central online location.”

And high level coaches agree.

“RSS makes tracking and staying relevant with our recruits a snap”, says Louisville basketball coach Stephanie Norman.  In my opinion, it’s a must have in a college coach’s software library.”

Xavier coach Bryce McKey adds, “This service and tool has greatly helped our staff stay organized and has saved us countless hours of prep time.”

The service is affordable, as well.  Especially when coaches consider the time and wasted energy in tracking multiple recruits.  Annual subscriptions start at just $1,500 per year, making it one of the most cost-effective tools available for college coaches.

For a more detailed overview of what the service provides coaches, click here.

How to Win Your Prospect’s “Bracket Challenge”Monday, March 23rd, 2015

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

How’s your bracket? If you’re one of the tens of millions of people like me who filled out an NCAA tournament bracket, hopefully it hasn’t been introduced to the shredder just yet.

While the nations top college basketball teams try to figure out how to survive and advance to Indianapolis and take home the trophy, many of your recruits are dealing with their own version of “March Madness.” They applied to several colleges and received multiple acceptance letters. Some of those prospects immediately jumped at chance to attend your school, while others for various reasons said, “thanks, but no thanks.” In many cases however, you likely have a large group of admitted students who have yet to make their final decisions. My goal today is to help your school end up on the “champions” line of those admissions brackets.

Selling against your competition is probably the most important battle you face during the recruitment cycle. Here’s a scenario I’ve been frequently discussing with counselors as of late. A recruit has narrowed down his or her list to three or four colleges, including theirs. A couple of them are similar institution types in comparable settings. One or two are completely different. And, every now and then there’s a school that has advanced deep into a prospect’s “bracket,” baffling everyone. The conversation then becomes, “Jeremy…how do I tell this student that I know those other schools aren’t the right fit for them without bad mouthing those schools?” Great question!

Here are seven things you can do to beat out other schools for your undecided admits…tactfully.

  1. Ask them who they’re leaning on to help them make a final decision.  Once they tell you, ask yourself how well you’ve connected with those other individuals. If the answer is “not very well,” you know what you need to do ASAP.
  1. Discover what they like about the competition and then start to chip away.  Before you can chip away at the opposition, you have to know what your prospect perceives their strengths to be.  Ask him or her to state the strong points for each of the other schools still under consideration. After hearing the answers, reply to each one with a phrase like, “It’s interesting that you mention that, because our school is actually stronger in that area than them.”  Then, list why.  Even if you’re going up against a more prominent institution this subtle reply works well.
  1. Get your prospect to create doubt about those other schools.  An effective way to do this is to ask your prospect, “During this process, what are some things that you’ve noticed that you don’t like as much about (insert school name)? You can word the question differently, but the point is to get the prospect to start actively thinking about your competition’s weaknesses instead of their strengths.
  1. Make sure you’ve overcome ALL your prospect’s objections.  This remains one of the most asked about topics when we customize an admissions training workshop for a school. Why?  Because it’s the most important part of recruiting a student, and it may be something that your competition isn’t doing.  Clarify any specific objections your prospect has, and make sure they get addressed. Every situation is different, so it’s hard to give a general technique that would work in any situation. If you have a specific question I encourage you to email me at jeremy@dantudor.com
  1. Make sure you’ve proven your school’s VALUE. If you haven’t engaged in a comprehensive and prospect-specific discussion about value, I’d pencil one in very soon. Students and parents expect and want this information from admissions and financial aid. Surprisingly, some studies show that a large number of schools are still failing to address this topic.
  1. Get them back on campus. When prospects try to weigh the pros and cons of different colleges they’re serious about, it often becomes hard for them to create much separation. Admitted student day events are a great way to remind them what life on campus will look and feel like. Keep in mind that families lead busy lives and as a result will likely have to pick and choose which schools they’ll revisit. It’s crucial that you give them a good reason to come back. (If you want to learn how to create awesome admitted student days, click here).
  1. Confidently explain why your school is the best choice. Believe it or not, your recruit may not know why you are the best fit. How could that possibly happen, right? Simply put, your story has been lost in the noisy, marketing-filled world that they live in. That’s why we advocate the need for a consistent, ongoing message from the start to the end of the recruitment cycle. If you’re not consistently telling them why they should choose your school, there will be a strong likelihood that they don’t figure out why your school is the best choice.

The second part to this point is in how you explain that “why.” You’ll note my use of the word confidently. If you’re going to make a great persuasive argument, you need to ooze confidence. Our research shows that when it’s time to make a final decision, students and their parents are desperately looking for someone who can confidently articulate a plan for success for that student once they step foot on campus.

Competition for the next generation of students isn’t going to get easier any time soon. Use some or all of these strategies to get an edge on your competition in the battle for prospects, and let us know if we can train you further on any of these techniques.

Are You Recruiting The Right Ingredients For Your Stew?Saturday, March 21st, 2015

by Charlie Adams, StokeTheFireWithin.com

As you recruit and build your team and program, it is like making a good stew.

When the 1980 US Olympic hockey team was upsetting the Soviets 4-3 in Lake Placid, Steve Janaszak and Bob Suter did not play in the game. Janaszak did not play in any games, as coach Herb Brooks made the decision to ride Jim Craig the whole way. Suter was not back full speed from an ankle injury and Brooks felt did not have the speed to keep up with the Soviets.

As I have written here before, that Miracle on Ice team was a team with egos, but no ego problems. Sure, it irritated the heck out of Suter not to play against the Soviets, and he was burning inside, but he never showed it. Any snit he had was very private. Janaszak sharpened teammates skates between periods, and was the first on ice to celebrate goals. This was a guy that was 1st team All America goalie at the University of Minnesota and MVP of the previous NCAA Final Four.

When all was said and done and the gold medal was won, Suter leaned over to Janaszak and had this exchange:

“Jany, you know what we are?”
“No, Sutes, what are we?”
“We’re the peas in beef stew.”
“What are you talking about?”
“We’re just here to make them look good.”

Suter said it in a very positive way. Mike Eruzione and Jim Craig and Mark Johnson were the big juicy pieces of beef during that run. Other players were the carrots. Some were potatoes. Some were the green peas.

You can’t have a stew without all of those things. In recruiting, think of it as making a stew that wins the prize at the competition. Each player is going to have a specific role. Communicate with them. One of the reasons Janaszak handled being back up was that Brooks had clearly told him there was a chance he would not play in Lake Placid. That helped.

How the Soviets ‘built their beef stew’ is a fascinating story in itself. Be sure to check movie listings in your area for the new documentary Red Army. You can go to redarmymovie.com. It is the brilliant doc on how they became arguably the most dominant dynasty in sports history, and how Anatoli Tarasov built them by studying ballet, chess, circus and
philosophy. Every college coach should see this doc, as it shares rare footage of their conditioning drills (that got heartbeats to 220). It shows how they recruited youth into their hockey system, with even a choir performance where the singers sang, “Those that do not play hockey are cowards!”

Slava Fetisov says there was such interest in becoming a part of their Red Army team that when he was nine, the line for tryouts for the youth team was 4 miles long.

In the doc you will see what they did after 1980 to come back as a behemoth. You will see what I feel is the best passing of any sport I have ever seen.

I look forward to speaking on Life Lessons from Lake Placid and the Miracle on Ice at the upcoming 2015 National Collegiate Recruiting Conference in Nashville.

If you need to contact me, I can be reached at charlie@stokethefirewithin.com

Why Coaches Should Enroll in Tudor UniversityWednesday, March 18th, 2015

For years, we’ve heard the same complaint from athletic directors:

“We never seem to find a good way to train our coaches to recruit effectively.”

And from coaches, we hear the same thing:

“This is the most important part of my job, but I’ve never been formally trained how to do it.”

Tudor University is designed to answer those two ongoing problems in college athletics.

We have designed a comprehensive online recruiting training and certification program for college athletic departments, and the individual coaches that work hard to be successful recruiters.  Tudor University, “Home of the Honey Badgers”, lets coaches learn at their own pace and develop smarter recruiting strategies based on an educated, research-based approach to communicating with their prospects.

For athletic directors, we can help design a comprehensive education plan for their athletic departments, ensuring that their staff has all of the tools and training needed to be as successful as possible. In addition, we can create programs that track your coaches’ success and completion of the training, enabling you to ensure that your staff is up-to-date with the most current training and methodologies available today.

(If you are already a client of  Tudor Collegiate Strategies, your enrollment in Tudor University is included.)

Upon completion of each level of training, coaches will receive certification that they have been officially trained in the latest recruiting methods.  There are many benefits of enrolling in Tudor University:

  • You will have access to the most updated recruiting training available to college coaches.
  • You will be officially certified as a trained college recruiter, based on each level of completion.
  • You will be able to list your certification on your resume and applications for future college coaching opportunities.
  • Athletic directors will be able to prove that they have provided recruiting training to their coaching staffs, and can track their staff’s progress as they complete Tudor University training.
  • Most importantly: Every coach that completes the online training segments will know that they are the most prepared, best trained college recruiters in the country.

Enroll today, and learn to be the best “honey badger” recruiter on your campus!

Tudor University – Home of the Honey BadgersWednesday, March 18th, 2015

There’s a reason we chose the honey badger as our official mascot for Tudor University, the online recruiting certification training program from Tudor Collegiate Strategies:

Honey badgers are tough and relentless.

Honey badgers are smart (just like coaches).  In fact, they are one of the few animals that can use objects as tools.

Honey badgers are listed as “the most fearless animal on the planet” by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Honey badgers don’t give up ever.  (If you want a humorous, slightly irreverent look at the animal called the honey badger, click here. It proves our point).

We chose the honey badger as our mascot for Tudor University because we want coaches to be tough, relentless, smart, fearless recruiters who never, ever give up.  To do that successfully, college coaches need to know how to do this most important part of their job.

The online training courses at Tudor University will give you that instruction, and will officially certify you as a trained recruiter to show future athletic directors and coaches that you are proficient as a recruiter.

To enroll in Tudor University, click here.  It’s an inexpensive, effective way to be trained and certified as college athletic recruiter.


The 7-Letter Word That Can Help You Win Over RecruitsMonday, March 16th, 2015

ncrc3By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Today I want to introduce you to what I consider to be the most underrated tool in admissions recruiting. You can’t buy it, it’s hard to teach, and most counselors don’t use it to their advantage.

When you’re trying to secure a commitment and obtain those deposits, one of the worst things you can do is give your recruit the feeling that they’re being pressured. I hear stories all the time regarding counselors who are so stressed out about increasing yield, that they push and push until they get the answer they want from their prospect. Here’s the problem with that scenario. Pressure might lead to an initial commitment, but that prospect will be a strong candidate to flip-flop at the last minute, or at the very least talk negatively to others about the way your institution recruited him or her.

Our ongoing focus group research with thousands of current college students reveals that when making their college choice, pressure from you is bad. On the other hand if you consistently demonstrate passion, it’s very likely you’ll achieve the same results that you would hope to attain by pressuring them.

Passion is an effective sales tool because it isn’t artificial. People can tell when you truly enjoy what you do and genuinely believe what you’re selling. A passionate recruiter sincerely cares about, and takes the time to understand, the wants and needs of their prospect and his or her family members. When you do this it creates a more enjoyable experience and generates excitement and other emotions that a recruit relies on to make their decision.

So, which approach are you using – the passionate pitch or the pressure sell? There’s a big difference between the two. Let me provide you with a few contrasting examples of “passion” versus “pressure” when recruiting your students:

Passion is when you tell your recruit why you like him or her, and what value you see them having as a member of your school’s student body. Pressure is when you bluntly tell your recruit what they will lose out on if they don’t hurry up and make a decision.

Passion is when you smile, speak with enthusiasm, and display pride because you’re that excited to explain to your prospect why your school is the “right fit.” Pressure is when you rarely make eye contact and look at your cell phone every five minutes, because you’ve got some other place you’d rather be.

Passion is surprising your recruit with a quick visit to the Office of the President or the faculty leader of the program they hope to get into. When you enter the office, the President or faculty leader already knows their name because you’ve been raving about them and the impact they could have as a student on your campus. Pressure is sitting with your prospect cooped-up in your admissions office talking only about your school’s history and why they’d be crazy not to come here.

Passion is when you consistently communicate with your prospect from the beginning to the end of the recruitment cycle. You use different methods of communication, make your messages interesting, and always keep in mind how your messaging is important to that prospect. Pressure is when you infrequently touch base after a recruit submits their application, and then when admitted, call and ask if they’ve chosen where they want to go.

Passion is being prepared to start the conversation about paying for college early in the process. You understand it’s a stressful subject and you want to ease everyone’s minds as much as possible. You effectively communicate how the process works and the value your school offers. Pressure is the feeling that parents have when their son or daughter really likes a school with a high cost of attendance, and they have no idea how they will be able to afford it.

Passion is when you listen to your recruit reveal an objection, get clarification, and become a problem solver. Pressure is when you try to move the recruitment process forward without acknowledging a problem or concern exists.

Passion means you never make a recruit feel bad for questioning something you say or indicating that they’ve heard something that’s causing them to have concerns about your institution. On the other hand, if you rely on pressure as part of your pitch, you seem to always make a recruit feel bad when they seem to be leaning towards picking another school. In short, you turn up the pressure.

Passion is involving the parents in all aspects of the recruiting message, which is what most prospects want according to our research.  Pressure is what that recruit feels back at home when you don’t do that, and they want to pick your college but don’t feel like they can because mom and dad never really got to know you as well as a competing school that they’re going to settle on.

That’s a short list, but an important list.

Those who have passion are able to create meaningful long-term relationships with their recruits. If you don’t display that 7-letter word during the process, your recruits won’t either.

So, I have two questions for you now. What are you going to do with this information? And, how will it change the way you recruit this current class of prospects?

How To Save Time When Writing Your Recruiting MessagesMonday, March 16th, 2015

by Mandy Green, Head Coach Women’s Soccer, University of South Dakota

As College coaches, we write a lot. We write to juniors and seniors we are recruiting or have already committed, we write to parents, or we are writing to youth coaches who have players we want.

If you just sit down and try to come up with a brilliant message that will get opened, read, and returned, you may find yourself wasting a lot of time staring at a blank screen as you try to figure out what to write.

Also, if you don’t have a lot of experience writing recruiting messages or are not a very good writer, it can feel incredibly time-consuming. But more importantly, if you don’t have a strategy or workflow, I have found it takes even longer. So what I want to do today is to share what I learned from Michael Hyatt, author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.”

Michal Hyatt uses a 10 step process to write his blog posts quicker. Today I am going to share the first 3 strategies. (Go to www.mandygreencps.com for the other 7 steps). I highly encourage you to try this out when you have to send out your next batch of recruiting emails because it really does help to speed up the recruiting writing process.

1) Start writing the night before. Come up with what you want to write about and then rough out the details. The idea is to just get the process started and then let it simmer in the background of your thinking as it sits in your subconscious I’ve found that helps me so much. If I just sit down and try to write, I sometimes end up just being stumped, at a blank screen not knowing what to write about.

2) Use your downtime to think. I want you to think about when you get your best ideas. Usually our best ideas happen when we’re relaxed. That’s why a lot of good ideas come to you in the shower and other places. By starting your recruiting message the night before, in your downtime until you actually write the email, you can purposefully be thinking about the next set of messages that you could send out.

3) When it is time to actually write your recruiting messages, go offline. Put yourself in a distraction-free environment where your phone and email notifications are turned off. The thing that kills writing recruiting emails and turns a 30-minute process into a 7-hour process is when you’re allowing yourself to be bombarded by social media and other kinds of interruptions.

Now, these 3 steps may work great for you. If not, hopefully at least I have you thinking about how you could tweak this to find a formula or process that would work for you. I think the important thing is that if you can define a process for yourself, no matter what that is, and then spend the next several weeks optimizing that so you know exactly what the steps are, it’ll be much faster for you to get in the groove and be productive with writing.

My hope in giving you this process as well is that it will take a little bit of the stress out of writing recruiting letters for you, because it can be very stressful. And when we get stressed about it, we actually end up procrastinating or putting it off, and then those consistent recruiting messages we are supposed to be sending never happen.

Come up with a system. It doesn’t mean you can’t deviate from the system from time to time. I do. But at least you have a track to get you started and a way to get your recruiting messages out that works for you 90% of the time.

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