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How Can College Coaches Deal with Screaming, Disruptive Parents?Monday, April 9th, 2018

by Mike Davenport, Tudor Collegiate Strategies

I still hear the voice of my first screaming parent.

Even though she was bellowing to support the team, it was grating—like fingernails-down-the-chalkboard.

Yelling little tips to me (“Yo, Coach, call a time out!”). They were, well, her way of being helpful.

After the game I thanked her for her enthusiasm, and she blushed, “Well, I do get carried away sometimes.”

I left it at that, knowing her screaming wasn’t meant in a bad way.

However, there are disruptive parents who cross the line and go demeaning.

Negative. Their screams are hurtful. And disruptive.

Human voices elevate for one reason—to get heard.

A loud voice might be raising an alarm (“Ma, there’s a gator in the chicken coop again!”) or to make a point (“I said, ‘Clean up your room!’”).

But sometimes common sense abandons parents and they becoming screaming-crazy-people.

When you are confronted by a screamer-parent (a parent using his voice in a loud-and-negative manner) you need to ask this question, “Why is this person screaming (at me)?” If it is supporting, that’s one thing. However …

However …

Sports can bring out the best, and worst in parents…and a very small percentage of parents (my guess, about .02%) go nuts & negative.

 

It is a hazard in coaching—these screamer-parents—and if you haven’t dealt with it yet, you will.

So how DO you deal with a disruptive parent? A few suggestions…

A) Ignore ‘em

When a parent lets you know, in no uncertain terms, that you suck, a soap-dish could do better, and you should just leave town now, THE best action to take may be to ignore them.

Bullies pick on people to get a reaction, and if you react, you might be giving a screamer just want they want. Not acknowledging the insults and noise MIGHT help them fade away.

Yet if the screaming gets disruptive—starts affecting your job, or the athletes, or your sanity—ignoring might be the wrong action.

This is a very fine, and tough, line to see. Guidance from others, possibly a mentor, might be helpful. But be careful of doing this …

B) Don’t, I repeat, don’t lower yourself to the screamer’s level.

Responding in the heat of the moment is tempting. I know you’ve heard “two wrongs don’t make a right.” Well, a different version is “two screamers make a viral video.” I saw a coach fall into this trap.

  • Football game.
  • Coach harassed by a screaming parent.
  • Thirty minutes into it, he’d had enough.
  • He spun.
  • Walked to the stand.
  • Pointed at said parent.
  • Let him have it.

Understandable, but nevertheless a bad choice.

First, the phone whipped right out. Second, the entire crowd rose to the screamer’s defense. The football game turned from being about the kids playing football, to “how many bozos could fit on The Screaming Bus.”

Here’s what another coach tried …

C) Upping The Ante

A buddy was in his office, next to mine.

Both our doors were open.

His phone rang, he answered it and within 3 minutes the volume got LOUD. WICKED LOUD.

The last thing I heard before he slammed down the phone was, “I LIVE AT 18 MAIN STREET. COME BY AT 6 PM TONIGHT, AND BRING AN AMBULANCE CAUSE I’M GOING TO BEAT THE #$%@ OUT OF YOU.”

A screaming parent had got under his skin.

I get it.

You pour your heart-and-soul into something, trying to build a winning program. Or maybe just trying to get through a tough season, and then you start catching flack from THIS PERSON. It’s easy to lose your cool. But …

You can’t.

You are the one who stays cool. Calm. Collected.

You don’t get a screamer to backdown or stop by out-screaming him. It just doesn’t work.

But this might …

D) Tell on them

No one likes a tattletale. Yeah, forget that.

If the screaming is abusive, demeaning, destructive, and its during a game, tell an official.

Listen, they catch it worse than we coaches ever do, but every so often a sympathetic official might just do what this ref did. Refreshing.

If no resolution happens during a contest, when you get a chance, tell your boss.

No organizer or athletic director wants his coach/players to be abused. They might have a few cards they can play.

Speaking of cards to play, here’s a hand you may, or may not, want to play …

E) Use their kid as leverage

This one’s tricky, but I have seen it done.

The coach will pull the athlete, who is the son or daughter of the screamer-parent, into the office. And then Coach lays it on the line.

“If your parent doesn’t cool it, then you’re cut!”

Harsh? Yeah.

Does it work? Maybe.

Worth considering? I’d let your conscious decide that one.

And here’s another option a reasonable-and-prudent person wouldn’t consider.

However, we are talking about sports here so …

F) Go Nuclear

I don’t know of any coach who has done this but there is a certain devilish appeal to it.

First, resign your coaching spot—because you are sure to get fired for what you’re about to do.

Next go to screamer’s place of employment.

Then wait until he’s engrossed in his job. When he is, start screaming at him. Give him what he gave you.

A bank teller who spent Saturday afternoon screaming at you won’t get much joy from you coming to his window and returning the favor.

Again, you’ll have some heavy explaining to do, and I don’t recommend it, but …

That’s a wrap

Parents are special critters. And parents of athletes can super special.

Timid librarian-parents turn into face-painted crazies, while Olympic-level-athlete-parents turn into quiet, detached observers. You never know what you’re going to get, but that’s OK, because you’re a coach and you can handle anything.

Coach Mike Davenport is a respected thought leader in collegiate coaching. His career covers decades as a college coach, director of education for national coaching organizations, and now as a National Recruiting Coordinator for Tudor Collegiate Strategies. You can find his library of coaching ideas and advice here, and you can email him at dan@dantudor.com

8 Ways To Keep Your Energy Up During The DayMonday, May 15th, 2017

Mandy Green, Busy.Coach

As coaches, we are paid to produce results with our teams.  As we are heading into the summer, now is a great time to start trying out some of these energy boosting tips so you can come back in the fall energized, rested, and sustain high levels of energy throughout the day so you can keep bringing your best for your team.

To get the results we seek, we need to be prepared to perform as a coach at our best all day long.  To perform at our creative and confident best, our best influence, our best strength, our best persuasion, our best judgment and decision making ability, we have to be at our optimum energy.  Your coaching and recruiting performance throughout each day and week and ultimately being able to accomplish your big goals for the year personally, with recruiting, and with your team will be predicated upon how you better manage your energy during the day.

Here are 8 ideas for you that when you implement them, should help you to keep your energy up during the day.  

Take mini-breaks

Sitting at your computer for long periods of time will lead to sleepiness and sluggishness, so get up every 60-90 minutes to refresh and recharge.  Get up to go to the bathroom, go refill your water bottle, take a quick lap around the building, plan to run an errand or 2 during this time, get up to stretch your legs and back, or walk around and talk to your coaching colleagues…just do something that will take your mind off of the work that you were doing.  You will be amazed at how much more energy and focus you will have, especially at the end of the day, just by taking a few short mini-breaks throughout the day.  

Listen to tunes while you work

There has been a lot of research done on how our brain’s pleasure centers light up when we hear music. Throwing on the headphones and listening to any music you like while working can give you a productivity boost.

Take deep cleansing breaths

Take a deep breath through your nose, hold it, and let it out slowly and forcefully. Repeat several times. This will take 30 seconds and will be an instant fix. When you sit back down, you’ll have the clear head and fresh feeling needed to power through the task in front of you.

Go for a walk outside

Another great way to rejuvenate and be prepared to attack the rest of the day after lunch is to take a lunchtime stroll. A brisk walk outside will break up your day, get your blood pumping, and refresh your mind.  This walk will help to clear your mind of clutter and distractions from earlier in the day and should recharge you for an even more productive second half of the day.

Workout

You should also make time to visit a gym daily for a more robust exercise regimen that will not only keep you energized throughout the day, but it will help build your stamina and patience, and alleviate any stress you may be under.

Nap

But do it in your chair. Don’t lie down on the sofa or you won’t get back up. Keep it short: 5-10 minutes max. Any longer and it will have the opposite effect of knocking you out for the rest of the day.

Drink lots of water during the day

I read somewhere that Dehydration is the number one performance killer for athletes. The same is true for us as coaches.  It is a sinister cause of fatigue because it slowly creeps up on you. If you consistently drink less than 8 cups of water a day, you may be sluggish all the time. Get a 32 oz (1 quart, 4 cups) water bottle.  Your goal is to polish off 2 of those a day. Try it for a week and see if your general energy level increases.

Snack throughout the day

By eating smaller but more frequent healthy “meals”, you will maintain a steady dose of energy throughout the day.  Remember, mood and energy follow blood sugar, so stay away from the sweets. Candy and sweets will give you a short 30 minute burst, but it’ll be quickly followed by a debilitating crash and will rob your vital energy so instead try: nuts and seeds, non-fat yogurt, dried fruit, eggs, nut butter on a cracker, or strips of cold turkey, chicken, and beef.

So I just gave you 8 different ideas.  Are there more out there, yes of course.  These have been the 8 that I have found to work the best for me.  If you are not doing any of these, just start by trying one of them.  Slowly one by one add in another one as you are comfortable.  If you have other ones that you have found to be a great energizer for you, please let me know at mandy@busy.coach.  I’d love to hear what they are!    

Do These 6 Thing in the Morning to Get Your Program to the Next LevelMonday, May 8th, 2017

Mandy Green, Busy.Coach

As a coach, you’re no stranger to the 12-hour workdays. You stay at the office until 9 or 10 p.m. — or until you just can’t read another email or make another recruiting phone call– before you force yourself to go home for a hasty dinner, a little more work and a few hours of shut-eye. The next day, you get up and do it all over again.

That was my life for about 11 years. One day bled into the next until I finally decided I needed some balance. I wanted to make an impact with my team and have time for a fulfilling family life outside of work.

To transform my workday, there are a lot of things I have been doing during the day when I am at work.  I decided it was time to take it a step further by taking more control of my mornings. I have done a lot of research about this and my best sources are The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and Mel Robbins, Author of The 5 Second Rule.

I have already noticed A LOT of very positive effects from intentionally switching up my mornings.  This 60-90 minutes I am not focusing on myself in the morning has also helped me have more meaningful, successful and productive days.

Here are seven steps to revolutionizing your workday so you can accomplish more:

  1. Wake up earlier.

An early-morning routine is powerful because it allows you to take time for yourself. In the early hours, it’s quiet, and there are fewer people vying for your attention. Many successful CEOs, including the former CEO of PepsiCo, begin their workday before 6 a.m., and if you can fill those hours with something meaningful, it will set the right tone for your day.

  1. No email or even looking at your phone for at least the first hour of your day.

When you grab your phone first thing in the morning to check messages, your mind can’t help but shift into reaction mode. When you constantly check your phone, it can lead to increased stress, because you feel an immediate need to respond to demands. Before you know it, you’ve lost control of your day. Instead of letting others dictate your priorities, give yourself at least an hour to focus without external distractions.  

  1. Express gratitude

Gratitude is a powerful way to put things into perspective. By acknowledging the things that are working in your favor, the one thing that isn’t won’t seem as problematic. As soon as you wake up, say three things you’re grateful for to start your day with positive energy.    

  1. Rewrite your goals every morning.

You already know the importance of setting goals. The problem is that a lot of people just write their goals down once and then forget it.  I suggest writing down your goals every morning to help ensure they don’t fall by the wayside.  If they are out of site, they are out of mind.  Revisit them every day and you are more likely to find time to work on them.  

  1. Nourish your body.

Just as your mental state in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day, what you eat for breakfast helps determine what you’ll eat throughout the day. If you begin with a healthy breakfast, you’re more likely to continue that trend. Remember: Your health and energy is everything. It deserves more attention than those emails.

  1. Get moving.

A good morning workout is invigorating, especially if you have great music or a motivational podcast that gets you fired up. I start my mornings with a quick 10-15 minute workout and then some stretching — but running, yoga, weight training or even a brisk walk can be good for your health and make you more productive.

If you’re already stretched thin, you’re probably thinking that you don’t have that much time to devote to yourself first thing in the morning. But the ROI is too great to ignore. When you’re happy, energetic and focused, it does wonders for your productivity as a coach. Take it from me. 60-90 minutes for yourself first thing in the morning is just what you need to take your team and program to the next level.

 

4 Ways to Add Structure in the OfficeMonday, May 1st, 2017

Mandy Green, Busy Coach

Having a mundane 9-5 job wasn’t for me.  I love my freedom to work when and how I choose as a College Coach.

The freedom and flexibility to come and go as I please is certainly nice.  But, what I found out the hard way is that allowing myself too much freedom in the office usually resulted in unproductive and much longer working days for me.  

To be more productive than I have ever been, I had to create structure into my workday and life. When I had no real structure or routines, with no plan for what was going to get done and when, I ended up working about 4 hours more a day than I wanted to. I challenged myself to find a way to get the same amount of work done in 8 hours.  

There are a lot of different ways to add structure to your day.  I will outline a few that have been important for me here.

Plan The Night Before

Having structure to my workday starts the night before.  I used to just get up in the morning try to “wing it” through the day.  Now I plan everything out before I leave the office or at home before I go to bed.  I review my priorities and what I feel are the most important levers that will move my program forward in some way.  Then I create a list of things I’d like to get done the next day. That way, when I get to work the next morning, I know exactly where to begin and what I need to get done.

Structure your ideal work week and day.

When specifically during the day are you going to work on your recruiting? When are you specifically going to plan practice? When are you specifically going to work on administrative tasks? The more you can schedule these activities into your weekly and daily schedules, the easier it will be for you to know exactly what you should be doing at any time while you are working.

Have a morning routine with email.

I found that what I do with my email first thing in the morning really makes or breaks how productive I am throughout the day.  Check out my post on www.sellingforcoaches.com called Getting a Great Start To Your Day By Using Email Effectively.

Make a “Do-Not-Do” List

An important list that has helped keep me on track in the office is my Do-Not-Do List.

These lists have helped me remove a lot of the negatives from my work environment.  A few examples of things on my do-not-do lists are: do not browse the internet, do not check my email continuously throughout the day, and do not answer random phone calls.        

It is important to structure your day so that you can continually get things done and move forward with your program.

Adding structure to my workday became easy when I started treating, thinking about, and planning my workday just like I would plan a practice.  My practice and office plans are very similar in that I have a plan for what and when things will get done, I get there early before anybody else so I can get set up, I pay attention to the clock and give myself a certain amount of time to do things, etc.

It was also easier to stay focused on what I was trying to get done when I remembered my “why.”

Getting my work done in less time frees up more of the day for me to spend it with my husband and kids, my friends, and even to spend on my hobbies.  I have a picture of my kids on my desk as a friendly reminder to stick to the plan.  Looking at this picture helps keep me focused on getting my work done so when I go home, I can play with my kids having the peace of mind knowing I did something to move my program forward today.

What is your “why” coach?  

Where can you be putting more structure into your day and week to help you stay on track so you can be even more successful with your program?

 

As long as you are in control of the structure of your day, you’ll always have freedom in your life.     

The Habit of Drinking Water Will Make You a More Effective CoachMonday, March 13th, 2017

Mandy Green, Busy.Coach

As coaches, we get paid for the results and the value we bring to our teams and programs we work for, not for the time we put in.  I don’t believe our Athletic Directors really care how many hours we work as long as we are winning, graduating our players, creating a good experience, and don’t break rules doing so.  

Your coaching and recruiting performance throughout each day and week, and ultimately being able to accomplish your big goals for the year personally, with recruiting, and with your team, will be predicated on how you better manage yourself, your time, your decisions, and energy during the day.

That is where habits will come in.  A Duke University study says that at least 45 percent of our waking behavior is habitual. Although we’d like to think we’re in charge, it turns out that we’re not so much controlling how we act with our conscious mind as we are being driven by our subconscious or unconscious mind. It’s amazing; also, it’s a little disturbing.

We all know that habits can either help or hurt your success in life. Bad habits can fester and grow into a lifestyle that takes you away from the things you want to do—and Good habits can help you create a life that’s full of action and accomplishment.

Habits are all about taking small, smart choices consistently over time to create a radical difference in your life.

To build an effective new habit, you need three essential components: a trigger, a micro-habit, and a reward.

  • A trigger – A behavior trigger is something that cues you to do something, it’s the first falling domino that sets you into motion.  
  • The routine – the actual thing, or sequence of steps, you do when you get triggered.  
  • The reward – the pleasurable thing you get at the end of your habit. Without the reward, your ritual cannot last because it becomes just another “to do” on your already busy schedule.

 

I just created a new Busy Coach 30 Day Habit Challenge for coaches.  I chose drinking water when you first wake up in the morning as the first habit to develop.  

Why water you may ask?  It is pretty simple.  

Research has found that drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning has these 9 potential health benefits:

  1. It immediately helps rehydrate the body.
  2. It can improve your metabolism.
  3. It helps fuel your brain.
  4. It helps to increase your level of alertness.
  5. It can help alleviate heartburn and Indigestion.
  6. It can prevent kidney stones.  
  7. It can stop a headache in its tracks.
  8. It helps regulate digestion.
  9. It can keep you from getting sick by heling to flush toxins from your body.

In my productivity challenge, I teach you 8 habits.  Today I am going to share with you how I get you to establish drinking water first thing in the morning as a habit.  

Trigger #1: Wake up first thing in the morning.

Habit: Drink a 16oz. glass of water.

Reward: Increased energy.

Drinking water is one of the very first things you should do as soon as you wake up. Our bodies need proper hydration to perform at our absolute best. Water is a fundamental aspect of high performance.  Dehydration is the number one performance killer for athletes. 80% of headaches are due to being dehydrated.  More times than not, when you are feeling sluggish or tired, you are dehydrated.  

You want to start hydrating as soon as possible when you wake up. I really suggest within the first 10 minutes or so start drinking water, about half a liter or so, which is about 16 fluid ounces. It really signals to your body and to your organs to wake up, to get going and to get ready to really perform at a high level.

Have a glass sitting on your night stand or have it waiting for you in the kitchen.  Drink water first thing and watch what happens to your energy.

You can increase your production and effectiveness as a coach just by using the trigger of getting out of your bed and getting into the habit of drinking a glass of water in the morning.  It is so simple and such a small thing but it is extremely effective.  If you are interested in checking out my challenge, click here.

If you want other productivity resources, go to www.busy.coach.

Have a great week.

Mandy Green  

Identity Change – Love it or Hate itMonday, February 27th, 2017

nicole1Nicole Sohanic, Front Rush

A college athletic identity is a special thing. When I say athletic identity I am referring to the sport’s logo, colors, fonts, and even their mascot. Change in design, of identities in particular, causes a lot of discomfort! Even if overall it is a change for the better it isn’t what people have grown to love or associate with their beloved team.

Pros

Fresh, clean, and simple can be so refreshing to a dated logo. Does that logo look clunky? Is it hard to read or does it look bad on mobile devices? This does not give a good impression to the fans, new recruits coming to visit the school, or to outsiders looking in. It can be the simplest little thing in a logo that creates a turn-off. Maybe it is off balance, two letters are just too close together, or the colors just don’t ring true to what they used to mean. Good design is something you look upon and don’t really question when it surrounds you. There are subconscious influences in your choices all the time for the products and brands you surround yourself with. a half could flow over into a recruit’s mind for the choice of the very school they decide to attend! Did your athletic program revamp its way of operating? Did you just have an incredible season and now the eyes are all on you? Is the competition increasing more and you need that extra edge? These are just some of the reasons why a college athletic program may choose to change their athletic identity.

Cons

With every significant identity change of something we interact with everyday, there will be push back. The roll-out of the new logo for your college athletic team may receive criticism. People simply do not like change. Will the current athletes and fans miss that old logo and hold onto their rally flags and jerseys? Some will. Will some question the decision why it was ever changed in the first place? Indeed! For someone who has only ever supported one look and feel of the team, this is understandable. For the players who fought their hearts out for their school, this is part of the core and pride of their team. The important thing is to recognize is that this as a natural reaction to change and should not be misinterpreted as a mistake.

Ultimately what heals all identity changing wounds is time. Remember when Google changed their beloved identity in 2015? There was intense push back on social media and many articles written deeply analyzing the foundation of the logo change. Among all the hate there were some that did see it as a nice refresh from what it once was. It is 2017, and we haven’t heard a peep about that logo change in over a year and half. The hate quickly died and turned into a comfort. Changes were applied everywhere! All of their phone applications got a refreshing overhaul and we still religiously use them as we once did. Our love for Google didn’t change, we were just forced out of our comfort zone and needed time to heal. Google is now dressed for the times and ready for future users to embrace its new look and feel.

Recruits are coming and may not even hold the same loyalty to the college athletic identity as past athletes or supporters. They may have just heard about your program for the very first time! The future of your college athletic program may call for a revamp of your identity. When approaching an identity shift, colleges should take their time, be considerate about feedback, deeply consider color palettes, and choose a professional designer who will take all that into account. The existing identity of the college is what has brought it to this point. The new identity is what will propel it into the future.

Are You Developing the 5 Traits that Make Athletes the Best Employees?Monday, February 6th, 2017

NCSA, Tudor (1.24)Taylor Fodor, NCSA

Everyone knows that the quality of a company’s employees are directly proportional to its potential for success. The same is true for recruiting and building a successful college program. When you increase the number of talented, high-character individuals on your team, that is when you can see your potential for success skyrocket.

However, we all know that there is often work to be done to develop our recruits into the high-quality, high-functioning individuals that we want them to be. Once complete, that work can be rewarding, and in more ways than one.

Today, many successful companies realize that the skills and personality traits that make employees successful are the things that athletes have worked many hard hours to develop. So, while you’re developing the recruits within your program, you’re also setting your athletes up for future success in the professional workplace.

Click here to learn more about the five traits and characteristics that Lisa Strasman, the President of Next College Student Athlete, looks for in building a winning team.

Are you developing these traits within your program?

What are the Core Values that Drive You?Monday, January 23rd, 2017

NCSA, Tudor (1.24)Taylor Fodor, NCSA 

Earlier this month, the team at Next College Student Athlete caught up with coach Bryn Rourke, a softball coach at Adrian College (MI), to pick his brain and learn more about what drives him to be a successful coach.

During the interview, Bryan talks about how important it is to hold ourselves accountable to the values, standards and core values that we set for our teams. As college coaches, we have control over the types of attitudes and mindsets that our teams exhibit, and the type of recruits that we attract to our programs!

This week, we catch up with Nick Ford, a basketball coach from Trinity International University (IL), to learn more about the values that motivate him to go from starting point guard on a national championship team to successful college coach and recruiter. Click here to continue.

  1. Tell us about your background in coaching. How did you get into coaching? Why do you coach?

I got into coaching right after I finished up my playing career at Cardinal Stritch.  I started as a student assistant and then was the graduate assistant for a year at Stritch.  I coach because I love the game of basketball and to help kids continue to fulfill their dreams.

  1. What’s been your greatest accomplishment so far as a coach? What’s been your biggest disappointment?

My biggest accomplishment as a coach has been going to the NAIA National Tournament in my first two seasons.  My biggest disappointment came at the tournament when we lost in the final 16 after being ranked #1 the majority of the season.

  1. What are your biggest obstacles as a coach, and how do you overcome them?

My biggest obstacles as a coach has been that I am naturally an introvert.  With recruiting, that can put you in some pretty tough situations.  The way I overcome that is just by showing up every day and forcing myself to be uncomfortable.  I’ve gotten a lot better at that part.

  1. Do you have a coaching philosophy, or mantra that you live by?

My coaching philosophy is that’s the toughest teams win.  Mentally and physically.

  1. Describe the idea recruit, from your perspective?

A tough, hard-nosed kid that lives in the gym.  If you love the game and are willing to put in the time, I don’t care how talented you are.  You will find a way to win games.

  1. What advice would you give to new coaches that are just starting their careers in coaching?

Go out and connect with other coaches/players as much as you can.  There isn’t some big secret on how to get connected – it’s all about showing up and being at places.

  1. Describe your “ideal day” as a coach

The ideal day for me is game planning and watching film during the day, executing a practice and then going out and recruiting at night.

  1. What is one thing that you want other coaches to know about you?

I love connecting with people.

  1. Do you have a morning routine or ritual?

I get in the Word every morning, other than that every day brings something new.

  1. Three words that describe your program

Family, Love, Relentless.

At Next College Student Athlete, staff of 500+ former college athletes and coaches take pride in the relationships that we’ve established with you, the college coach. We want to learn from your success and help you be the best recruiter and best coach that you can possibly be.

And speaking of being the best recruiter that you can possibly be, did you know that you have free access to search our database of over 400,000+ athletes? Whether you are looking for new prospects, or simply looking to get access to transcripts, contact info or videos for recruits already on your radar, take advantage of this free recruiting tool today.

Steps To Be a More Authentic LeaderMonday, January 9th, 2017

Erika_HeadShotErika Brennan, University of Southern Mississippi

Head Coach Women’s Golf

An eight year coaching veteran, Erika is committed to helping you discover your personal brilliance so that you can lead beyond the realm of sport.  With a no nonsense yet decidedly casual tone to her writing, Erika is helping coaches and student-athletes lead their most authentic life.  Join her at erikabrennan.com then participate in the conversation on social media using #BrilliantBeyondSport

This world of ours is full of noise.  We exist in an almost constant state of overwhelm from the various inputs coming at us – some by choice and others forced upon us – like the 24-hour news cycle of impending doom.  It’s like everybody and everything is pushing in on us – burrowing deep enough – and steering us to act, speak, and conduct ourselves in accordance with what will garner the most “likes” “favorites” “retweets” and “comments.”  I fall prey to this – guilty as charged!  And the more I think about it, it’s a really REALLY sad way to live.  The world will benefit from us being more authentic as leaders. In this article we will explore the incredibly liberating action of being authentic.

When I was in middle school, I was a tom-boy.  Ok, who am I kidding?  I still am.  But back in middle school I tried so hard to be somebody I wasn’t.  I bought and carried a purse (why?  I already had a backpack)!  I tried to wear my hair down and keep it down longer than the closing bell of my first class.  I even went as far as to include “like” “as if” and “whatever” into my vernacular even though I thought it was ridiculous.  Do you think I was being authentic? C’mon – I’m not the only one who has tried and failed miserably to fit in to a stereotype – especially as a teenager – we’ve all been there, right?

It cracks me up looking back on it now, but at the time I so desperately wanted to disappear in to the safe majority.  Now, in to my early thirties, I can proudly proclaim that I’m a “preppy redneck” and that I am completely aware of who I am – and more importantly – who I ain’t.  (Yes, ain’t is a word – see previous “redneck” descriptor).

So how do we close the gap in the journey to authenticity?  It’s easy in theory and difficult in application – but let’s dive in to some ways to move away from the need to please (whatever “pleasing” means) and into a space that feels a bit more like “home” even when we are far from it.

Go Back In Time: 

Think back to your youth – go far enough to the precious time before we were aware of others perceptions of us.  Who were you then?  How did you act?  What excited you as a kid? Were you pragmatic? eccentric? driven? free-spirited?  This will shed incredible insight and point you in the right direction on your journey to becoming more authentic.

Ask “Who Am I?” When I’m At My Most Authentic:

Write down your answers.  In fact, make a long list of answers.  Now, go back and cross through anything that merely describes what you do.  Contrary to the prevailing notion (which is precisely what we’re challenging here) YOU are NOT what you do.  You are the summation of the things that you believe in.  You are the things you think about in those rare quiet moments.

Cultivate Your Inner-Voice:

Armed with your childhood memories and your short-list of answers to the “Who Am I” question – begin to build your inner-voice to align more consistently with the answers you’ve just discovered.  When doubt (read:  The world) creeps in, acknowledge it, and push it away.  You need to become your own biggest advocate in the quest to be your most authentically brilliant self.

Invite Your Tribe In:

Finally, let the folks in your tribe in on the journey.  Ask them to answer this question: “When do you think I’m at my best?”  Follow it up with “How do you view me when I’m in my element?”  Check to see if their answers are consistent with your inner-voice and adjust accordingly!  Disclaimer:  While we’ve heard that “Perception is Reality,” do not allow their thoughts to overshadow the hard work you’ve just done if their opinions are different than yours.  You are the captain of your destiny when it comes to authenticity – and only you can truly know if you’re making progress.  But they are your tribe – so they do know you pretty well.  Use their feedback as a tool.

Step Away From The Noise:

This is the hardest step of all – but they say the greatest growth occurs at the end of our comfort zone.  Get away from all of that noise!  The more time you spend with yourself the more authentic you’ll be.  I’m not talking about physically being alone necessarily, but setting time aside for your own growth is so important. Oh, and do yourself a huge favor – Put. The. Phone. Down. Real-life is not happening on iOS and the authentic moments are passing you by as you stare endlessly at that little screen.  Back away slowly!

Cut Yourself Some Slack:

Know that you are capable of change and that you will evolve and refine your beliefs over time.  This means you get to cut yourself some slack and know that who you were a year ago isn’t who you may be tomorrow.  You’re allowed to be moldable and fluid like that – that’s the fun part!  Allow yourself some grace in the process and enjoy the journey.

So now I gotta know: Who are you when nobody is around or watching?  How would you describe the most authentic version of yourself?

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.

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