Dan Tudor

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The 3 Things Every Coach Struggles WithFriday, March 14th, 2014

by Tyler Brandt, National Recruiting Coordinator

It seems like, regardless of the location, size of the school, level of the institution or neighborhood it’s in, all coaches have similar challenges. We all know that in today’s society parents are more invasive than ever, we also know that technique and strategy are a click away for anyone with a smart phone. The expectations have never been higher from administration to recruit and retain kids at the collegiate level. Coaches are being evaluated on metrics that didn’t even exist 10 years ago.

Year round specialization, club and travel teams, personal coaches, recruiting services and so much more are being invested in by parents with the intention of seeing their child on national television, while not having to pay a dime after they leave the house. Where does the coach fall into this equation? How do these factors play out in the teaching profession with stipend coaches? I’ll tell you – they are expected to:

Do More With Less – Compete with the Best – and Somehow Reduce The Stress!!

Generally speaking these are expectations laid on the shoulders of coaches across the country without any additional support. When was the last time an athletic department brought in a person to do Athletic Professional Development? Administration does “teacher”-in services, as required by the state, but what about specific athletic related professional development? I have never seen it.

Who helps develop the coaches’ working philosophy? How do coaches learn how to build programs effectively? Where do coaches become educated on how to effectively communicate with an entirely new generation of kids? What about voluntary buy-in, mental training, mistake management, leadership training and so many other things that our young athletes need today? Are we really going to leave these important tasks up to the coaches – coach? Understand that is where these topics are discovered and learned by athletes – from when their current coach learned them from his coach 10 years ago or more.

Think about this, coaches have to spend their own money (and we know how little they get paid) to go to a clinic to find professional development – right? So what do you think happens, coaches only go when it’s paid for or sporadically, but they don’t get the same luxury during evaluation time from the AD who is getting pressure from parents for wins TODAY!

 

Why wouldn’t you want to bring in a successful coach and speaker to discuss the concepts of building an online library (free) or how to partner with businesses to bring in a camp (free), both of which increase the capacity of the athletes and raise their level of competition. As the strategies are learned and put into place, the coach can take a breath and realize that there is time to take the kids to the museum or go out to dinner with the spouse!

Teachers, doctors, lawyers, real estate agents, chiropractors, mechanics and hundreds of other progressions require continuing education to stay on the cutting edge of information related to best practices in that industry – coaches should get the same opportunity. This will also reduce the challenges that come through administration, as the programs improve the challenges are removed.

Be open to being coached – do what the successful do – don’t accept mediocrity at any time!!

You, Recruiting and “A Message to Garcia”Friday, November 9th, 2012

What kind of a coach and recruiter are you?

At your core – when nobody is looking, and you’re the only one in the office – how focused are you on getting the job done for your program, your fellow coaches on staff, and your college?

That question applies directly to your role as an effective recruiter.  What you do, how well you do it, and what kind of focus and energy you apply to that part of your job, will (in the long term) determine what degree of success you have as a college coach.

Which brings me to a short piece written in 1899 in pre-Socialist Cuba by a businessman and author named Elbert Hubbard.  If you are a college coach who wants to be the very best in the business, this should be something that you print out and read regularly.  It’s powerful, and though written in language that is better suited for the last century, the core questions it raises for hard-working recruiters are timeless.  In my opinion, it’s also an excellent piece to have your team go through, as it addresses the concepts of hard work, personal accountability, and results that each individual is responsible for in their professional and personal lives.

After the piece, I have three key questions for every college recruiter at the end.  Enjoy.

 

“A Message to Garcia”

by Elbert Hubbard, 1899

“In all this Cuban business there is one man that stands out on the horizon of my memory like Mars at perihelion. When war broke out between Spain and the United States, it was very necessary to communicate quickly with the leader of the Insurgents. Garcia was somewhere in the mountain vastness of Cuba- no one knew where. No mail nor telegraph message could reach him. The President must secure his cooperation, and quickly.

What to do!

Some one said to the President, “There’s a fellow by the name of Rowan who will find Garcia for you, if anybody can.”

Rowan was sent for and given a letter to be delivered to Garcia. How “the fellow by the name of Rowan” took the letter, sealed it up in an oil-skin pouch, strapped it over his heart, in four days landed by night off the coast of Cuba from an open boat, disappeared into the jungle, and in three weeks came out on the other side of the Island, having traversed a hostile country on foot, and delivered his letter to Garcia, are things I have no special desire now to tell in detail.

The point I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, “Where is he at?” By the Eternal! There is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college of the land. It is not book-learning young men and women need, nor instruction about this and that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies: Do the thing- “Carry a message to Garcia!”

General Garcia is dead now, but there are other Garcias.

No man or woman, who has endeavored to carry out an enterprise where many hands were needed, but has been well nigh appalled at times by the imbecility of the average man- the inability or unwillingness to concentrate on a thing and do it. Slip-shod assistance, foolish inattention, dowdy indifference, and half-hearted work seem the rule; and no man succeeds, unless by hook or crook, or threat, he forces or bribes other men to assist him; or mayhap, God in His goodness performs a miracle, and sends him an Angel of Light for an assistant. You, reader, put this matter to a test: You are sitting now in your office- six co-workers are within call.

Summon any one and make this request: “Please look in the encyclopedia and make a brief memorandum for me concerning the life of Correggio”.

Will your co-worker quietly say, “Yes, sir,” and go do the task?

On your life, he will not. He will look at you out of a fishy eye and ask one or more of the following questions:

Who was he?

Which encyclopedia?

Where is the encyclopedia?

Was I hired for that?

Don’t you mean Bismarck?

What’s the matter with Charlie doing it?

Is he dead?

Is there any hurry?

Shan’t I bring you the book and let you look it up yourself?

What do you want to know for?

And I will lay you ten to one that after you have answered the questions, and explained how to find the information, and why you want it, the clerk will go off and get one of the other clerks to help him try to find Garcia- and then come back and tell you there is no such man. Of course I may lose my bet, but according to the Law of Average, I will not.

Now if you are wise you will not bother to explain to your “assistant” that Correggio is indexed under the C’s, not in the K’s, but you will smile sweetly and say, “Never mind,” and go look it up yourself.

And this incapacity for independent action, this moral stupidity, this infirmity of the will, this unwillingness to cheerfully catch hold and lift, are the things that put pure Socialism so far into the future. If men will not act for themselves, what will they do when the benefit of their effort is for all? A first-mate with knotted club seems necessary; and the dread of getting “the bounce” Saturday night, holds many a worker to his place.

Advertise for a stenographer, and nine out of ten who apply, can neither spell nor punctuate – and do not think it necessary to.

Can such a one write a letter to Garcia?

“You see that bookkeeper,” said the foreman to me in a large factory.

“Yes, what about him?”

“Well he’s a fine accountant, but if I’d send him up town on an errand, he might accomplish the errand all right, and on the other hand, might stop at four saloons on the way, and when he got to Main Street, would forget what he had been sent for.”

Can such a man be entrusted to carry a message to Garcia?

We have recently been hearing much maudlin sympathy expressed for the “downtrodden denizen of the sweat-shop” and the “homeless wanderer searching for honest employment,”  and with it all often go many hard words for the men in power.

Nothing is said about the employer who grows old before his time in a vain attempt to get frowsy ne’er-do-wells to do intelligent work; and his long patient striving with “help” that does nothing but loaf when his back is turned. In every store and factory there is a constant weeding-out process going on. The employer is constantly sending away “help” that have shown their incapacity to further the interests of the business, and others are being taken on. No matter how good times are, this sorting continues, only if times are hard and work is scarce, the sorting is done finer- but out and forever out, the incompetent and unworthy go.

It is the survival of the fittest. Self-interest prompts every employer to keep the best – those who can carry a message to Garcia.

I know one man of really brilliant parts who has not the ability to manage a business of his own, and yet who is absolutely worthless to any one else, because he carries with him constantly the insane suspicion that his employer is oppressing, or intending to oppress him. He cannot give orders; and he will not receive them. Should a message be given him to take to Garcia? His answer would probably be, “Take it yourself.”

Tonight this man walks the streets looking for work, the wind whistling through his threadbare coat. No one who knows him dare employ him, for he is a regular fire-brand of discontent. He is impervious to reason, and the only thing that can impress him is the toe of a thick-soled No. 9 boot.

Of course I know that one so morally deformed is no less to be pitied than a physical cripple; but in our pitying, let us drop a tear, too, for the men who are striving to carry on a great enterprise, whose working hours are not limited by the whistle, and whose hair is fast turning white through the struggle to hold in line dowdy indifference, slip-shod imbecility, and the heartless ingratitude, which, but for their enterprise, would be both hungry and homeless.

Have I put the matter too strongly? Possibly I have; but when all the world has gone a-slumming I wish to speak a word of sympathy for the man who succeeds- the man who, against great odds has directed the efforts of others, and having succeeded, finds there’s nothing in it: nothing but bare board and clothes.

I have carried a dinner pail and worked for day’s wages, and I have also been an employer of labor, and I know there is something to be said on both sides. There is no excellence, per se, in poverty; rags are no recommendation; and all employers are not rapacious and high-handed, any more than all poor men are virtuous.

My heart goes out to the man who does his work when the “boss” is away, as well as when he is at home. And the man who, when given a letter for Garcia, quietly take the missive, without asking any idiotic questions, and with no lurking intention of chucking it into the nearest sewer, or of doing aught else but deliver it, never gets “laid off,” nor has to go on a strike for higher wages. Civilization is one long anxious search for just such individuals. Anything such a man asks shall be granted; his kind is so rare that no employer can afford to let him go. He is wanted in every city, town and village – in every office, shop, store and campus.

The world cries out for such: They are needed, and needed badly – the man or woman who can carry a message to Garcia.”

* * *

So, here are my three questions for you as a college coach:

  • What are you doing – or could be doing – without being asked?
  • When you set your mind to recruiting, do you approach it begrudgingly?  Or, do you strive to learn as much as you can about this part of your job and attack it with the same enthusiasm you do in preparing for the pure coaching part of your career?
  • What needs to change right now?

Look for opportunities to “carry a message to Garcia”.  And when you get that opportunity, excel at it.

 

 

Looking to be a High Performance Coach? Take a Time Out!Monday, July 2nd, 2012

by Mandy Green, University of South Dakota

Too many coaches these days have to retire early for health-related issues because they don’t take enough time off to be able to sit and enjoy life outside of their sport. Coaches are increasingly working longer hours, over the weekends, and skipping breaks in an effort to cram more work in.

Working hard is important, but you also need to take time to step back, evaluate, and re-energize yourself in order to be effective during the day and also so you can have sustained energy over the course of your career. Without enough time-off or time-for-yourself, you will eventually experience mental and physical fatigue, which will lead to a decrease in your quality of work, a lack of focus, and possible burnout.

More than that, your health may suffer and eventually you’ll reach a crisis point where you’re forced to take time off simply to regain your health, let alone enjoy life.

No matter how busy you may be Coach, taking breaks where you completely separate yourself from your work during the day will help to your clear head and will rejuvenate your mind – usually resulting in increased productivity.

Many studies have revealed that workers who take breaks are dramatically more productive during the day as opposed to those who do not. After a break these studies show that your performance levels increase dramatically so that you can tackle tasks again with renewed vigor and finish them accurately. Mistakes are also made more when you do not refresh your mind and body.

Stephen Covey, the best selling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989), has dedicated the final segment of his book to the subject of rest and rejuvenation. In his last chapter, titled “Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal,” Covey illustrates the importance of regular regeneration with the story of a man who exhausts himself trying to cut down a tree with a dull saw. “Taking time to sharpen the saw” he calls the seventh habit, which “surrounds the other habits [...] because it is the habit that makes all others possible.” Taking enough time to renew our strengths and resources is necessary to preserve and enhance the greatest asset we have, ourselves, Covey says.  This does not only include our physical health, but also our emotional, mental, social and spiritual well-being. Obviously, they are all intertwined and dependent on each other.

There are two break times that I am going to encourage you to take: Daily and every 90 days.

Schedule regular breaks into your busy day
In the morning when you are planning your day, schedule a 15 minute break time every 45-60 minutes to get up and move around.  It doesn’t have to be much, but you have to break your attention to keep your attention.  It is like refreshing your browser every 45 minutes.  These mental and physical breaks are appointments you make and keep with yourself that will allow you to perform consistently at higher levels throughout the course of the day
I would highly encourage some moving and stretching exercises to get your blood flowing. If you work mostly inside with no windows to open like I do, you should go outside for a little sun and fresh air. Go get some water, eat a healthy snack, go to the bathroom, etc.  Whatever you decide to do during this time, the point is to completely break away from what you were working on for a few minutes to clear your mind and rejuvenate your body.

Every 90 days, take a vacation
Every three months, go completely off the grid and take a break from your email, your phone, and from social media.  You can go somewhere different or just stay home but the point is to get away from work for a few days to physically and mentally rest and rejuvenate.  To confess something to you: As I am writing this article, I have been at my parent’s home in MN for the last 2 days.  I have been swimming in the neighbors pool with my 2 year-old, taking long walks, gone to a few garage sales, watched a  movie, but mostly we have sat out on the deck and relaxed watching the ducks in the pond behind my parents house.  I am very aware that I have a lot of unanswered emails, and some work is piling up, but I wouldn’t give away these rest days for the world.  After a couple of days resting, I am always amazed at how much more motivated I am to get back to work.  My focus is better, my energy is renewed, and I get 10 times more work done in the office right after I have come back from one of my mini vacations.

Coach, taking extra time off renews your energy and gives your body and mind much needed rest. When you do take this time off, you will find that you use your time more wisely when you are at work.

5 Ways to Help Your Staff Reach Their PotentialMonday, October 20th, 2008

by Mandy Brettigen, Selling for Coaches 

Hiring and managing your coaching staff may be the single most consequential aspect of coaching. 

Filling positions on a staff is like recruiting for your team: You recruit those who will embrace and thrive within your philosophy and who meet the needs of your team.  Managing people effectively means motivating and engaging them so they feel valued and important.

Once your staff is in place, there are some things you should do to make sure you are putting your staff in a position to be successful.   

Get to know them individuallycollege coaches
Why is it important to understand your staff as individuals? Because it is important to them. Find out about their background, where they’re from, families, pets hobbies, sports and their views on the world. Find out their philosophies and faiths, as well as how they think and how they feel.

Now I’m not suggesting you sit around all day “gazing into each others eyes”, or spend half the night on the phone telling each other your deepest secrets. I’m suggesting you do this slowly but surely over time.  Build up your understanding of this person and member of your coaching staff.  When those that you are working with know that you care about them and accept them, your working relationship will be much more productive.

Ask more questions than telling
The best way to really engage your staff is to ask them for their input to problems that need to be solved or with decisions that need to be made. You can pat them on the back for a job well done, and give them clear directions but if you never ask them for their advice or suggestions they will never feel fully engaged. Think strategically about which decisions you need to make and which you can recruit the help of your staff.

Manage expectations by making roles clear
An essential part of developing a powerful working staff is assessing each of their potential contributions to the team. Outline the expectations of each position on your staff in terms of job duties, professionalism, and personal conduct, so that everybody is aware of each other’s responsibilities.  Once they understand their specific roles and responsibilities, give them the freedom to do their job and trust that they will get their job done professionally. 

Communication
Whether this is accomplished through face-to-face meetings, emails, or phone calls, the channels of communication must be clear and effective.  Communication eliminates mistakes.  It needs to be ongoing, as well as honest and open. 

Challenge them!
Delegate real developmental challenges, not just the stuff you don’t want to do.  Challenge them to make something you are already doing better, or encourage them to come up with a new idea and let them run with it.  By challenging them with projects you will not only help to develop them into better coaches, you will engage them and foster broader ownership for the program.

To manage your staff effectively, you need to get inside their heads to understand what is important to them, what motivates them and what they like doing. Just like with recruiting, if you don’t adjust your approach to each and every staff member on your team you will not be as successful as you want (and need) to be.

Allow your staff to do what they do best.  Make them feel like they are trusted, respected, and expected to utilize their talents for the betterment of the team.  Instilling trust and confidence in your staff gives them a sense of ownership, which then feeds their investment in the program, feelings of belonging and contributing, and a sense of urgency when needed.  In turn, your staff will rise to their potential and understand that their actions enhance the performance of the team and the program.        

For SFC Premium Members, you will be getting the next step in making all of this work: The seven actions you’ll want to take to create a positive, empowering, motivational working and coaching environment for people on your college coaching staff.

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