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Dad’s Cry, TooMonday, June 18th, 2018

by Mike Davenport, Coaching Sports Today

I cried for 20 minutes today.   

I’m a stoic-type guy. I’m used to compartmentalizing and burying my emotions. But not today. Today was different.

It was checkin-day.

I dropped my oldest off at college—to start his freshman year.

And there’s a lot of misery in the World right now, so depositing my kid at a good college to get a good education is supposed to be a happy event. I get that.

But here’s the thing, I’ll miss him. Really miss him.

Here’s the bigger thing—the important thing—the thing YOU should know as a college coach—I’m NOT the only Dad who cries.

There are others—lots.

Dads And Crying

We go to the car while mom gets the dorm-room ready. We cry in the parking lot.

“It’s allergy season,” I heard one guy say today.”

Another, wiping his face, broadcasted, “Got stupid sunscreen in my eyes, again.” And that guy had been a Marine.

Me? I told one guy my eyes were bloodshot from drinking. I haven’t had a drink in 30 years.

So, why should you as a coach care?

Because the person who recruited weeping-Dad’s child (male or female) might be missing an opportunity to shine.

What if a you wandered around the parking lot with a box of tissues? Dispensing as needed. Patting a few dads on the back. I can think of worse duties.

And if checkin-day has come and gone? Give the recruit 10 postcards, and make sure he mails one each day to his Dad. Jeez, I haven’t gotten a postcard in years, and never one from him. That’d be cool.

Y’know, if a text rolled in right now, and one of my son’s new coaches said, “Hey Dad, no worries, we’ll take good care of him,” that would be nice.

Better yet, if the coach called and said, “Hey Dad, I know you’re tight with your son. Thanks for trusting me, I will make sure he keeps you updated, emailing/texting/whatever-social-you-like-connecting each day,” that would rock my world.

Or set up a Dad’s section on your team’s website. Dads will like that, even if it is something silly.

If any of those happened I would be blasting all my friends, “Those coaches got it together, your son should go there.”

Some people say college is a time for parents to let go, cut those strings. Wander around the parking lot on checkin-day, and see how well that message goes with the Dads.

And bring tissues, they will get used.

(Oh yeah … This also applies to high school, middle school, and pee wee sports. Trust me, I’ve been there too. It does.)

Want more coaching wisdom from a longtime coach and advisor? Visit his website, Coaching Sports Today, for career building advice and winning coach philosophies that will enrich your college coaching career.

Are You Good Enough to Coach Your Sport?Monday, June 11th, 2018

by Dr. Mike Davenport, Coaching Sports Today

We coaches may look composed and tough on the outside, but on the inside we often have the same fears and worries that typical folks have.

I know from my own experiences, and a survey I did of recently hired coaches, that one of those worries is, “Am I good enough to coach my sport?”

I call this one of the “3 am wake-up worries” that coaches suffer. (You can probably guess where that name came from.)

So are you? Are you good enough to coach your sport?

Let’s find out.

Balancing act

A critical step to finding out if, in fact, you are good enough to coach your sport is to balance two items. Those are (a) the talents-skills you possess, and (b) the coaching outcomes your program/organization/school requires of you.

You see, if we set up a simple little teeter-totter like this one . . .

with the two items on either end, we can get an understanding if we are good enough. So, if your talent-skills basket outweighs your outcomes basket, then there’s a solid chance you are good enough. On the other hand, if your outcomes basket is heavier, chances are you aren’t good enough.

Harsh, harsh, harsh, but probably true.

Let’s drill down further…

What talent-skills do you have?

I’m going to recommend two steps. First, grab a piece of paper or a computer page and list your talents and skills. Sounds simple, and it’s a good place to start.

Yet as social psychologist David Dunning writes “people overestimate themselves.” And we certainly do.

It’s called illusory superiority, and it’s human nature—meaning everyone does it Coach, not just us. It’s just something we have to deal with, and the next step can help.

Now, take your list and let’s get feedback.

Give your list to someone. Not just anyone, but a person who

  1. knows you
  2. knows coaching
  3. who you can trust to give you honest feedback

Does she/he agree with what you’ve written? Now have that person ask you questions such as:

  • Are you a good communicator?
  • Do you have basic, intermediate, or advanced knowledge of your sport?
  • Do you know the sport’s rules?
  • Can you recruit?

As you respond to the questions watch his/her eyes.

If he asks you, “Are you good with people?” And you respond, “I certainly am” and his eyes grow wide in amazement…well…you’re getting feedback that you probably aren’t as good with people as you think you are.

Take that list, and keep it safe.

What coaching outcomes are required of you?

Now the hard part…

After you’ve gone through your interrogation it’s time to determine what outcomes are expected of you.

I did this when I was applying for my head coach job at Washington College. I asked the Athletic Director point blank, “What outcomes does the school want from me?”

Nothing shocking came out of that conversation, but the answers were critical in me taking the job, and I’m sure the question helped them see me as a serious candidate who may be after more than just a coaching-gig.

So go to your immediate supervisor and ask the question. Don’t make assumptions here. Ask the question. You need to know the answer.

Compare

Distill the information you’ve just gathered.

  • Make two columns on a piece of paper/computer page with talents-skills on one side and outcomes on the other
  • Fill in what you know under each column
  • Analyze

Are you talent-skills lacking? Start a plan of self-improvement.

Are the outcomes required well below your talent-skills? Chances are you are going to get bored.

This is a simple exercise, but one that could be important to your coaching success, and your coaching longevity.

Give it a try.

Dr. Mike Davenport is a former college coach and current consultant who works with coaches to improve their recruiting, and their college coaching career. Visit his library of articles and advice at CoachingSportsToday.com, or email him at mike@dantudor.com.

6 Steps for Coaches Feeling Like They Want to QuitMonday, May 28th, 2018

by Mike Davenport, Coaching Sports Today

[This is an update to an article original published in 2014]

Coaching can be an emotional roller-coaster, full of surprising highs and terrifying lows.

When things go wrong and you hit one of the lows, especially the low-of-lows, a normal reaction can be “I give up.”

I’ve uttered those words more than once.

Yet here’s the thing, often the crush of the low-of-lows is only temporary. Just around the corner is a better day.

But the trick is getting around-the-cornerover-the-humpout-of-the-ditch, or whatever you call it when you fall down, pick yourself up, and move ahead.

Following are 5 actions I’ve used over the years (36 years and counting) to keep going as a coach. These are actions which have helped me get to that brighter-and-sunnier day.

#1. Remember why you coach sports

Let’s start with the most powerful step first.

Answer this question: Exactly why do you coach a sport? 

This one piece of information is immensely powerful. Knowing “why” can stop negative thoughts in their track and help re-energize low spirits.

A few years ago we had a terrible discipline problem. It turned out a majority of the team broke training rules and several athletes were asked to leave the team. It was a dark time. Knowing “why” I choose to coach (I coach to help people find their inner super powers) helped me find light in the darkness. I came back to that phrase often.

If you have not developed your why yet then check out the undisputed Master-of-Why, Simon Sinek. And here are a few thoughts I have on it.

#2. Take a brief escape from coaching

Short respites, ones less than a day, can give needed mental breaks during negative times. Even very short bursts can shore up flagging attitudes and have mental and physical benefits. Anything that engages you could work as a brief escape: movie, parade, shopping, exercise.

When I need a quick break, I juggle. Yeah, yeah, I admit it, I’m one of those guys.

I usually keep three juggling-balls in my pack and sneak away for a few minutes for a toss. I’m not very good and drop more than I keep afloat, but the juggling engages and distracts me.

Or I go find fun people to hang with. People I might not even know, but who are really enjoying themselves, like at a comedy movie, or street performer, or something silly.

I also suggest tuning out of the daily news. Today, the headlines are so divisive and extraordinary I found it a huge mental drain to read or watch the news. You might find benefit in taking a news break.

To determine what escape might work best, you need to know what type of coach you are. This might help.

#3 Stop the negative self talk

We can be our own worse critics. And it is not uncommon for us to lay on the negative self talk. Sometimes things aren’t as bad as they really are, on the outside. On the inside, things are looking really dark.

When my self-talk goes sour, and I want to give up, I look into a mirror and say a few of my negative thoughts out loud. I look myself in the eyes, and slowly say the thought.

I have found that within seconds I stop myself, and replace the negative comments with positive ones. Most of the time it works, this reflection trick, for me. But when it doesn’t, I…

#4. Lean on a social-support network.

There is overwhelming evidence that screams A HUGE FACTOR IN PROFESSIONAL SUSTAINABILITY is a social-support network. In other words, when things get tough the coach who has dependable friends and family will be around longer than the solo coach.

I have several buddies I can blast anytime with the “You won’t believe this …” Or “What would you do in this case …” messages. Their non-judgmental support is priceless. A dependable social-support network is life raft worth bringing on every journey.

[Warning, a social-support network is not the same as your socialmedia audience. The former are people you can count on, the latter usually just consumers.]

This might offer some insight, The Insane Loneliness Of Coaching Sports, and so might this.

#5. Create an exit map from coaching.

Sometimes wanting to give up is caused by feeling trapped. Believing you’re stuck in quick sand and there’s no way out. Fifth grade was like that for me.

I wanted to give up. I still remember those days of despair and dreading school every morning. It was the school counselor who really helped me get over the dread. She and I sat down one day and drew a map of the rest of my fifth grade year, ending with dismissal for summer vacation. I carried that map in my little notebook, pulling it out whenever I started to feel trapped and wanted to give up. It really helped.

An exit plan is one of those coaching secrets you rarely hear about but one that might make a huge difference. Here’s my detailed take on it: 3 Ways An Exit Plan Can Make You A Better Coach.

#6. Find perspective.

I know I promised 5 steps, but this one is so powerful I couldn’t leave it out. Watch this video for a quick tweak of perspective.

If you try any, or all, of these steps and things aren’t better, then the reality might be you should give up. Quit coaching. Take a hike. But that’s a drastic step that should be taken only after some clear and deep thinking.

Here’s one final resource I’ll recommend, before you take any drastic steps. Make sure you do the homework section. Or read this book: Why Good Coaches Quit: And How You Can Stay In The Game.

“One reason people who spend a lot of time thinking about and working on a problem or a craft seem to find breakthroughs more often than everyone else is that they’ve failed more often than everyone else”. -Seth Godin

Related Reading:

Four College Coaching Mistakes You Might Be Making – And, How to StopTuesday, May 22nd, 2018

by Mike Davenport, PhD, Coaching Sports Today

Every well intentioned, good, respectable coach makes coaching mistakes. It comes with the territory.

Following are four common coaching mistakes. Are you making them, and can you stop?

Coaching Mistake #1. You yell like your shoes are five sizes too small

Coaches should yell. They should scream.

And if their point is falling on deaf ears—they should yell LOUDER. Scream HARDER. Spray spit. Flail arms. That works really, really well. . . to drive an athlete away. To destroy trust. To crush an ego. To develop a rep you don’t want.

Athletes don’t respond to LOUD demeaning communication like the communicator hopes they will.

Ninety percent (or more) of athletes who are screamed at are motivated to do one thing and one thing only—make the screaming stop. Yelling and screaming won’t earn you respect. Throw in a few cuss words and you might lose a whole lot more than respect. Possibly the coaching gig.

Seriously.

There are some darn-good coaches who currently unemployed because they could not communicate in a positive, constructive manner. But that won’t be you. Right? How to stop? Try this or this.

Coaching Mistake #2. You have the wrong good-to-bad-critique ratio

At my desk, I was coloring a picture. My second-grade substitute-teacher had just given us an assignment. Crayons. Paper.

I was having a great day.

Until . . .The substitute walked up behind me, looked at my work. “This isn’t right,” she said. Then, for what seemed like a life-time, she criticized and corrected my drawing. Not-a-single-positive-comment in the whole lot.

I was crushed.

If I was in art school, chasing an MFA, I would have expected that criticism. Probably would have demanded it. But not as a second grade goofball with crayon in hand. Coaches, like my substitute, make this mistake all the time. Their positive-critique (You are doing this really well) to negative-critique (This part here, it needs to be improved) ratio is wrong for the age group they are coaching:

Here’s a scale I suggest you try on for size (This is my theory. May not fit your style or program.) How well are you doing? Try this…have someone record your comments in a practice.

  • Take a piece of paper
  • Divide it into two columns
  • One column is “positive.” The other “negative.”
  • The “recorder” follows you around and puts a hashmark into either column
  • Do a grand total after practice

Crazy you say! John Wooden did it. Why not you?

Coaching Mistake #3. You care more about winning than is appropriate

We were sooo late. About 10 minutes late.

I hated it.

When I go to a movie I love seeing the previews. It gets me in the mood for the movie. And I was going to miss the previews this night. I was frustrated as the traffic crept along. I turned to my wife, and groaned, “This is going to suck.” She smiled. “Ah, no worries,” she said. “We’ll just miss the previews. No biggie. Relax.”

I cared. She didn’t. And she was right (it really didn’t matter).

And that’s where this coaching mistake comes into play, when your focus on something is too intense for the situation. I have a theory about winning—yep, it is fun. But depending on the level of your coaching there is an appropriate importance to put on winning.

For example, an eight-year old soccer’s team priority should be athlete/team development and enjoyment. Not winning. While an Olympic effort has really one focus—winning.

Are you making the coaching mistake of caring more about winning than you should? (Or not caring as much as you should)?

Coaching Mistake #4. You don’t watch the watch 

Let me be blunt—coaches stink at telling time.

The boss at my gas-station expected us to be exactly on time and to leave exactly when the shift was over. During that window we were “his people” (he used to say) and outside of that time we were someone else’s people. We always pitied the fellow who was 2 minutes late, or tried to leave 1 minute early. But why do coaches think things are different for them?

Oh yeah, we expect people to be on time, yet I see coaches continually keep their athletes late. Five minutes, ten minutes, 30 minutes late. We encroach on other people’s time when we do that.

It’s screwing up. Get a watch. Use it. Because other people certainly do.

Who cares if we make these coaching mistakes?

Relationships are at the core of coaching a team. And when you make any of these four mistakes you can easily strain or damage a relationship:

  • No one likes being yelled at
  • To improve, the proper amount and type of feedback makes or breaks the learning
  • Inappropriate focus on winning can discourage (too much focus) or bore (too little focus)
  • People’s time is valuable, and if you waste it they will resent you

We screw up. It’s part of human nature. There are no perfect coaches. Just coaches who try hard, make mistakes, and learn from them.

For more insights on successful college coaching, subscribe to Mike’s free Coaching Sports Today newsletter here. Or, email him at mike@dantudor.com

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.

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