Dan Tudor

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4 Biggest Mistakes College Coaches MakeMonday, July 18th, 2016

Courtesy NCSA Athletic Recruiting

Part 1 of 2

Nobody’s perfect, but if you’ve been around college coaching long enough you’ve probably seen your fair share of college coaching mistakes that have ended – or at least hampered – an otherwise bright future in collegiate athletics.

We’re not talking about strategy mistakes, or not knowing the X’s and O’s as well as their opponent. No, most “coaching” mistakes actually have very little to do with recruiting, and everything to do with the behind-the-scenes aspects of a college coaching career.

Over the years, our staff at NCSA Athletic Recruiting – comprised of 400+ former college athletes and coaches – have seen more than a few good men and women struggle to achieve coaching success. In a two part series designed to help you avoid the mistakes that have plagued so many others, we outline the four most damaging mistakes college coaches should avoid at all costs:

Bad time management. As a group, college coaches tend to me poor time managers. We complain about the lack of time we have to do our jobs as college coaches and recruiters, yet we waste time daily as a result of poor time management and not accessing free technology to that will speed up many of the non-coaching aspects of our daily lives. The result? The important stuff – like strategic recruiting communication and new prospect information gathering – gets pushed to the back-burner in favor of watching opponent video that you didn’t get to the day before, or another urgent duty that wasn’t scheduled. If that’s happening to you, make a plan to change it.

Leading on a prospect. One of the coaching cancers that can fester and grow over time is leading a prospect to believe that you are interested them, when in reality you aren’t. We realize, of course, that sometimes you need to recruit more athletes than you likely need. But there is no better way to earn a bad reputation as a recruiter among parents, club and high school coaches, and your recruits than coming on too strong and then dropping them later without explanation. It happens more than you think, and if you’re guilty of doing that, change your ways quickly. There are better ways to recruit effectively, and save your reputation at the same time. This is a long term attitude commitment that can pay big dividends over a career.

Back to time management and smarter recruiting, Coach: Want a more seamless way to recruit online and gather prospect information more efficiently? We’ve got a free technology tool that thousands of college coaches use daily to scout, track and communicate with their recruits. Click here to view the latest prospects just added to the database.

Your Call-To-Action Gets Things DoneMonday, February 2nd, 2015

by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com

Here’s a fact — every time an athlete leaves a meeting, a practice, or a huddle without knowing exactly what to do, you’ve missed a chance at success.

And you know what, you may never get that opportunity for success again.

Coaches persuade. We convince people to take positive action. Persuasion is our bread & butter and the best coaches are masters of it.

Unfortunately, persuasion does not come easy for many. That’s the bad news. The good news — with practice you can become very effective at persuasion.

You Need To Nail This Part

Persuasion, the act of convincing someone to take positive action is a series of steps. Over the past weeks, we’ve been working on the first three steps of effective persuasion, which are:

  1. Step1. Grab Attention
  2. Step 2. Spark Interest
  3. Step 3. Fascinate

Now it’s time for the final step — a call-to-action.

This last step is no secret to the marketing world. They are experts at calls-to-action:

So you don’t forget, call before midnight!
Operators are standing by, so call now!
Stop smelling bad, buy Stink Away today!

We can learn a lot from the marketing world. And we should, because coaches are marketers, and an effective call-to-action can make or break you.

What Makes An Effective Call

A call-to-action is asking or telling someone to take action. Athletes hear them all the time:

You’re primary receiver, so run a post pattern.
The bus leaves early, be here at 6:30 am.
Get your physicals to the trainer by end of the day, tomorrow.

Each of those are simple. Each are specific. And each leaves little doubt in the mind of the other person what action he should take.

Being specific and keeping it simple are at the core of a good call-to-action. There are a few other important things you should keep in mind:

A good call-to-action aligns with the person’s values.I know you want to win this game, so doing this drill now will help you score in tonight’s game.

A sense of urgency improves the odds the person will follow through.The deadline for your physical form is tomorrow. No form and you cannot be on the team.

Examples of the action help.See the exercise Jane just did? You need to do the exact same thing.

Timing Is Critical

When do you think is the perfect time to ask someone to take action? It depends on the person (or team), and the situation. Usually, after you complete the first three steps of persuasion is the best time to issue a call-to-action. If you ask before then, your chances of success dwindle.

And don’t hesitate. Strike while the fire of fascination is burning bright. Wait too long, and the person will have moved on to the next call in in her life (friends, studies, work, social media, etc.)

You will know if your timing was right, if the action happened. If it didn’t, then next time adjust your timing.

The Medium Matters

Be mindful of the method of communication you use. The medium you use matters.

Personally, I find my calls-to-action work best when issued in person. Yet, there are times when calls come through email (summer letters), or phone calls (distant recruits), or letters (fundraising).

A good rule of thumb — the closer to a personal connection you make when you issue your call, the greater the chance of success.

Also, be selective with your choice of words. Here are three ways of asking for the same action:

  • Do as I say — pick up that barbell now!
  • Lifting weights are critical to your success. Ready to lift?
  • I notice you are not lifting correctly. Would you like to discuss it?

They elicit a very different emotional response in the person. When you issue your call, what exactly do you want the response to be? Your choice of wording will determine how positive the response is.

Where Can You Go With This?

Let me ask you,

  • Would you like to be a better coach? Then, click here.
  • Simple, short tips can make your coaching more effective. Please listen to a few.
  • Stuck? Then try this.

Each of those are calls-to-actions. Did any of them work? Did you click any of the links? Take a moment and think through why you did, or why you did not.

Here’s the bottom line … persuasion is the life blood of coaching, and an effective call-to-action is a powerful tool in persuading. Like all good tools, it won’t do you any good if it lingers in the bottom of your toolbox. Take it out, practice with it, and use it.

The better your call-to-actions are, the better coach you will be!

You Get Hired To Get FiredMonday, September 1st, 2014

by Martin J. Greenberg and Steven D. Gruber, The Gamebreakers, LLC

In the college-coaching world, the current job environment can be summed up by the often-quoted adage “you get hired to get fired.” This notion has never been more accurate. Job security is essentially a misnomer, as coaches are routinely fired or forced to resign or retire. As such, it is of great importance for all parties involved in a college coaching contract to truly understand the pertinent agreement and its potential repercussions. Specifically, meticulous and calculated “back end” contractual protection is imperative for the university and the coach alike. This “back end” protection refers to the concept that procedural and monetary implications of termination at the “back end” of the contract are just as important as the upfront dollars and cents.

The business of college coaching is a big business, and contracts are as easily broken as created. The statistics with respect to turnover are quite telling and undoubtedly represent an endemic problem. It is important to note that many “resignations” are actually forced resignations in which a financial buyout agreement is reached between the university and the coach in exchange for a voluntary resignation…

Click here to continue


The Gamebreakers are career advocates, athletic consultants, and contract advisors for NCAA coaches, athletic directors, and senior university officers.  They have strategies to help any coach at any college, and are highly recommended by Tudor Collegiate Strategies.  Click here to visit their website.

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.



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