Dan Tudor

Join The Newsletter and Stay Up To Date!

Text Size Increase Decrease

How I Use Sticky Notes To Be A Better CoachMonday, April 6th, 2015

Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com

Looking for a sly way to persuade people?

Are you taking advantage of this simple tool every office has?

Our most powerful coaching tools can often be right in front of us, and we don’t even know it. A basic clipboard can be sneakily powerful. So can a smart phone. But the power of the clipboard, and even a smart phone can pale in comparison to the coaching power of … a sticky note.

Really? Absolutely.

Take a piece of paper. Cut it into squares. Add a special adhesive along one border, and you’ve made yourself a sticky note. And a powerful tool.

Sounds simple right? But don’t let the simplicity fool you. A sticky note, the most popular version known as Post-it Notes, can have a significant impact on your coaching-processes. Here’s how, and how I use sticky notes.

In the book Yes: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways To Be Persuasive (a book I highly recommend all coaches have in their library) the authors relate an experiment undertaken to see what, if any, impact a sticky notes would have in convincing someone to take positive action.

A researcher sent out surveys to people with a request to complete them. The surveys had either:

  • a handwritten sticky note requesting competition of the survey, or
  • a similar handwritten note written upon the cover letter, or
  • just a cover letter and the survey alone

The results were crazy. More than twice as many surveys with the sticky notes (75%) were returned, compared to the surveys with no stickies (36%).

Sticky notes have a persuasive impact — but it is not just the paper size or color, or even the novelty of it being a sticky note — it is also what you put on it that matters.

The experimenter continued his study, and sent out letters that had

  • a blank sticky, or
  • a sticky with a simple note, or
  • a sticky with a simple note and personalized with the researchers initials

He found that the note with initials to be the most persuasive, shooting the response rate up even higher.

Why? The authors relate this:

“An ounce of personalized extra effort is worth a pound of persuasion. The more personalized you make a request, the more likely you’ll get someone to agree to that request.”

A quick sticky with your initials can have a significant impact in getting results — so think about the action you want taken, and personalize it with your initials to empower your persuasion.

Where I’ve used them to persuade:

  • On recruiting letters (“It was my pleasure meeting you – MD“)
  • On fundraising solicitations (“Thanks for considering this – MD“)
  • On workout plans for athletes (“Keep up the good work – MD“)
  • On thank you notes (“Thanks for being so kind. – MD”)
  • On items I wanted moved (“Put the boat back when done. MD“)

I focus on making the handwriting clear, the words short, and I make sure to include my initials.

So … sticky notes help me persuade, and I also use them  to …

 

I love seeing computer screens adorned with sticky notes. It shows someone who is busy and has found a novel way to get things done.

But does it work? Can a sticky help to remember things? I couldn’t locate research on this — but stickies do help ME remember, and they’re part of my do system.

I put them everywhere, along my computer, on my desk, and even on my mirrors. My do system runs like this:

  1. I plan my day using the app Todoist
  2. Items needing immediate action are listed as “1’s”
  3. I put “1’s” on sticky notes, and put them wherever they’ll be seen
  4. Task done, sticky trashed

Oh-so-simple. It is, and that’s exactly why it works for me.

Besides the focused planning, stickies help me remember those phone numbers and tasks that pop up out-of-the-blue. Yesterday I put a sticky on my clipboard to remind me to tell a team member she had paperwork to complete (which I learned about 5 minutes before practice), and to remember a lock combination I just changed.

Those two actions, persuading and remembering alone make sticky notes worth buying, many times over. But I’m not done yet … here are a few other quick ways I use sticky notes:

  • Organize – I mark parts of books I use for research, to help be quickly find a reference
  • Inform – I put on my office door, to tell visitors when I’ll be back
  • Capture – I keep a pack in my car, so I can jot down notes at safe times
  • Entertain – I read Doug Savage’s Savage Chicken cartoon – he makes me laugh. Just what the doctor ordered during stressful coaching days.

It would be easy to dismiss this entire topic as my goofy ramblings. Got that — but there is solid research indicating a well placed sticky note can help with the processes of coaching — especially persuading.

Is it worth a try? — Yes It Is!

Is there a place sticky for notes in your coaching? May Well Be!!

Game for an experiment? — I Hope So!!!

Letting Your Inmates Run the Recruiting AsylumMonday, February 23rd, 2015

It all started to go right when San Diego State women’s golf coach Leslie Spalding had to leave campus and go out on the road to recruit.

At the last minute, she assigned the task of doing a video for a little trick shot contest to the young women on her team.  She gave them no instruction.  The last-minute project wasn’t planned out and assigned by Coach Spalding, and there were no adults nearby supervising and directing them.  It was just the women on the team, an iPhone, an iMovie editing app, and took a little over an hour to make.  They made up the shots as they went along.  (The segment of the team putting 7 balls into the hole at one time?  It took 25 tries!)

Fast forward a few weeks:

Their trick shot video has become an internet sensation.  It’s approach 1,000,000 views on YouTube at this writing, and has received publicity in USA Today, various golf magazines, The Today Show, and more.

It’s received so much attention that the video has now been turned into a fundraising tool for the team, as well (come on, Coach…give a little something to reward these young ladies for their creativity!)

It’s matching the success that the Harvard University baseball team and SMU Women’s Rowing team had with their creative videos a few years ago.

And none of it happened until the coach let her team take over the project.

And therein lies an important lesson for college coaches:

If you let your team take more of a role in your recruiting efforts, good things will happen.

This generation of recruits tell us on a consistent basis that they look to your team to gauge whether or not they would want to consider your program and, ultimately, commit to your program.  To be sure, you, your college’s reputation, and how you show your facilities all have a part to play in painting a picture for your recruits.  But your team holds a big key to connecting with your prospect and making him or her feel like your program feels right to them.

Here are a few ideas to get you going:

  • Give your team the reigns.  Show them the videos and other ideas that other teams have done, and ask them to come up with ideas.  Let them have fun with it!
  • Focus on video.  It’s the easiest thing that gets attention, and can be easily forwarded to experience by your recruits.  Let your team come up with video ideas and execute it.  NOT YOU, COACH!
  • Consistency is key. Whether it’s once a week, or once a month, make sure you’re letting your team come up with something on a regular basis.
  • Let your Freshmen and Sophomores lead the way.  It’s not a universal “rule”, but your younger players are usually going to be the ones that approach this kind of project with more enthusiasm and more creativity.  Give them a role in your program by letting them lead this effort.
  • Your team can write a letter or email to your entire prospect list.  Have them tell your recruits why they came to compete for you.  Their voice is more believable, and more interesting, than your voice, Coach.
  • Give your kids a bigger role.  We’ve talked a lot about involving your team on the campus visit – including in our new book.  What three aspects of the visits can you turn over to them that would add more energy and creativity to the visit?

The simple message is this: Take it to your team, and challenge them to beat what some of these other programs have done.  Give them control.  Trust their creativity.

When your team is given just a little bit of power to take control in the process, good things happen.

Recruiting Lessons From the Sticky Note on the Hotel BedMonday, December 29th, 2014

The information you are trying to access is reserved for our Clients and Premium Members. Please log in.

Why Your Prospects Might Not Care About Your Version of “Better”?Monday, November 24th, 2014

The college coach that can prove their business degree is more highly rated than a competitor’s business degree is often bewildered when their prospect chooses the other school.

The same holds true for the coach who wins their conference championship, only to lose a kid to a program with a new coach and no winning history.  Or, the coach who can boast that her program is closer to home, only to lose the prospect to a school 2,000 miles away.

In each case, the coach can make a very good case that their program.

Here’s the problem:

Their prospect may not care about their version of “better”.

This time of year, college coaches need to be aware of this very important reality with recruiting this generation of teenage prospects.  Whereas you – being a smart college coach – have made career decisions, recruiting decisions, and game decisions based on the best (or “better”) information possible, your recruits aren’t using that same process.  As we’ve chronicled in detail over the years, your prospects make decisions based largely on emotion (and so do their parents).

So, as a coach begins to formulate a recruiting strategy based on simple assumptions on what’s better, they run into the stinging reality that their recruits aren’t operating on the same level.  What I’m saying is that many of your prospects that you’re in the middle of recruiting may not really care about your version of “better”.

Why?  There are some very simple, but vitally important, principles that you need to know if you want to successfully make your case to these athletes:

Your recruit may not know why you are the better choice.  How could that happen???  You sent them two or three very detailed messages, outlining all of the awards and honors your program and your college has won.  Plus, they came for a campus visit.  So how could be there be any confusion on their part?

Quite simply, because your story has been lost in the noisy, marketing-filled world that they live in.  That’s why we preach the need for a consistent, ongoing message starting as early as possible in the recruiting process.  We have case study after case study that proves this is the best methodology when communicating ideas to recruits and their parents.  If you aren’t sending out a message to your recruits every six to nine days that clearly states why they should choose you, there will be a high likelihood that they don’t figure out why you are the better choice. (If you’d like our help in creating that strategic plan, click here)

Your recruit may not believe what you’re telling them.  It’s another hard truth that many college coaches don’t put enough focus on: Your recruit needs more than just words, they need proof.  They need proof that your team, your program, and your school is going to give them exactly what they are looking for in a college.

It isn’t enough to just say that your classes have a great teacher-to-student ratio.  It may be true, but you have to assume that they’ll say “so what?”  Or worse, they may think to themselves, “that’s great, but every college I’m looking at has told me that…they’re just trying to sell me something.”  As a coach, let me ask you this important question: What have you told them that proves you are telling the truth, and puts it into context with where they are at in their decision making process?  Answer that question, Coach.  If you have a good answer, then you’ll be on your way to eliminating this point as a possible reason they would reject your version of “better”.

Your recruit may not believe the risk of switching allegiances to you is worth it.  For the top 1% in your sport, they have the luxury of picking and choosing the prospects that they want, and those prospects will happily accept their offer.  If you aren’t part of that 1%, you need to assume that there are legitimate reasons your prospect will have reasons to not choose you as one of their top choices.  Taking that glass-is-half-empty, worst case scenario approach will help you take the right approach as you communicate with your prospects.

This is probably the primary reason you lose most of your prospects.  They just haven’t come to believe that you and your program should be the logical choice.  Yes, it’s because of their own prejudices, ideas and decisions.  And most of those are illogical, or even downright incorrect.  But that’s what they believe.

Have you made the case to them that it’s worth the “risk” to say no to the program that they’ve dreamed of, and choose you instead?  And if so, how have you done that?  At this time of year, many of your prospects are deciding whether it’s worth the risk to choose you, Coach.  Be vigilant in how you help them do that.

Your recruit may not believe that your “better” is their better.  In fact, as you read the end of this article, I can tell you that in many, many cases that is true for your prospects.  Does it mean you can’t change their mind?  Of course not, but you need to take an aggressive, persistent approach in telling your story to that skeptical recruit and his or her family.  However, you also need to analyze where you are at in your conversation with that prospect, and make the judgement as to whether or not it’s time to move on.  There are times when it’s advisable to stop recruiting a prospect that is never going to belief your better is best.

The bottom line to the points I’m making here?  Adopting this philosophical approach to your recruiting process demands continual action.  Recruit is not a passive activity, and there are no down times.  This is especially true when you’re trying to convince an important recruit that you and your program truly are better than your competition.

Our Total Recruiting Solution program is designed to break through the clutter, and deliver consistent, research-based messages that connect with your prospects.  If you need help down the stretch, and in preparing to effectively recruit your next class, click here.

A Trick To Coaching “Different”Monday, November 17th, 2014

by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com

Years ago, I worked in New Zealand as a white-water raft guide.

We would start each trip by gathering all the customers in a large group, and then the guides would introduce ourselves. From there the customers would pick the guide they wanted for the day’s adventure.

Of the 10 guides, only two of us were Americans, the rest were locals

Our customers were also locals. On a regular basis us Yanks would get more customers wanting to ride with us than the local guides would. One day I asked my boss about this.

The two of us weren’t the best guides, or even the best looking. But truth-be-told, we continually had to turn away customers, sending them to other guides.

My boss told me it was “Because of your accents.”

He said, “You sound different, so the customers think you are better than the local fellows.”

I notice how often I do this myself, thinking new or different will be better. I’m sure that’s one reason I’m so distracted by the latest and greatest technology.

And you? How might this play into your coaching? More importantly, how about your athletes?

Are they bored with you? And if so, how could you change that?

 

Airport Restrooms, and What They Teach Coaches About RecruitingMonday, October 20th, 2014

As a frequent flyer, I have visited my share of airport restrooms.

It’s one of the worst parts of flying, to be honest.  Bathrooms don’t smell good, they are usually in need to some cleaning, they’re crowded, and sometimes just plain weird (if we ever meet, ask me about the time I walked into a crowded restroom at LAX and saw a man with his shirt off, washing himself and shaving his back. Wow.) They’re also incredibly “utilitarian” – meaning that you’re there to do one thing, and one thing only.  They serve a basic need, and don’t try to venture very far from that basic need.

Unless you travel through the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Restroom attendantWhen you walk into a restroom at CLT, you’re greeted by a smiling attendant like the one I had the pleasure of meeting on a recent trip visiting clients along the East coast.

The bathrooms at Charlotte International are clean.

When you’re ready to wash your hands, you’re often offered a paper towel by the attendant, as well as a small cup of mouthwash or a breath mint.  The whole time, the attendant is usually politely wishing people safe travel, and asking them about their day.

Their tip boxes are usually full, deservedly so.

So, why in the world am I talking about airport bathrooms with college coaches?

Because it’s important that coaches who want to be serious recruiters understand the important mistakes that get made on a regular basis.  And, because the similarities between your run-of-the-mill airport bathroom, and the challenge you have in separating yourself from your recruiting competition, are many.

  • Most airport bathrooms look the same. So do most campus recruiting visits.
  • Most airport bathrooms make you notice what’s wrong with them instead of what’s right with them.  So do most recruiting messages you send to student-athletes.
  • Most airport bathrooms are dull, making you want to do what you need to do and then get out.  That’s how most prospects treat your recruiting phone calls.
  • Most airport bathrooms are a necessary evil for an airline traveler. So is the closing process through the eyes of a prospect and his or her parents, as a coach is either pressuring them to make a commitment before they’re ready or not adequately outlining what the prospect should do down the stretch.

Now, what you might be expecting at this point is a list of what you should do next.  You might be hoping to see a series of tips that have worked for other coaches, guaranteed to work no matter what campus you’re coaching at or how well your team did last year.

Sorry, that’s not the point of this article.

I want you to ask yourself, or have a conversation with your coaching staff or athletic department, some important questions about how you are executing your recruiting plan:

  • Ask yourself about your campus visits, whether they’re unofficial or official (and by the way, as early as recruiting is getting, your unofficial visit really might be your official visit!). Do you know the worst thing your visit experience can offer a visiting recruit and his or her family?  The exact same thing the last two visits they went on offered. If your current visit looks, sounds and feels like the visit you went on as a college prospect waaaay back when, then that’s a problem.
  • Ask yourself about the recruiting messages that you’re putting into the hands of your recruits.  Specifically, ask the questions that I’ll bet you’ve never ever really sat and thought about: “What are my recruits saying about my message right now?” And after you’re done answering that question, “Did that message prove to him or her that my program should be the obvious choice when it’s all said and done?”  Your answers are important, because just like that airport bathroom, your prospect is hyper aware of what’s wrong with you instead of what’s right with you.
  • Ask yourself how you’re making your recruit desperate to pick up the phone the next time you call.  Because, quite honestly, that’s what recruiting calls are all about: Getting them to pick up the next time you call them! What about your phone calls are so unique, so interesting, and so compelling that your recruits are looking forward to the next time you call?  And if you can’t come up with anything, what are some non-traditional, slightly off-the-wall ideas that you can use to separate yourself from other recruiting phone calls your recruits are getting.  Just like one airport taking the unique step to staffing their busy restrooms with friendly attendants, mouthwash and breath mints, you can find unique ways to approach your recruits creatively – if you’re willing to take a fresh look at the way you do things, and not be afraid to do things that aren’t the traditional way you’ve done them before.
  • Ask yourself how well you guide your prospect (and his or her parents) through the process of making a final decision.  Are you willing to be involved in that conversation, or are you too timid to lead that discussion?  Are you willing to help them through the decision making process, or are you simply going to set a deadline and leave it at that?  Are you comfortable in leading a closing discussion – the ultimate necessary evil in the recruiting process – with your prospects, Coach?

Those four questions, along with your four answers, are some of the cornerstone philosophies that you need to define for yourself if you’re going to become a serious, consistent and successful recruiter.  The easy thing to do is not spend a small part of your day coming up with great answers to those four important questions.  Do the hard thing, Coach…fight hard to not settle for ordinary in a world of recruiting approaches that all look the same.

Want more great ideas on how to stand out from the crowd? We’ve written several popular recruiting workbooks that have helped coaches all over the country re-define their approach and become more successful recruiters.  Click here to order your copies today, Coach!

Teaching Your Prospects to Read the Greens BetterMonday, July 14th, 2014

Golf glassesHold on a second:

They make golfers read greens better?  The sunglasses make golfers read greens better?

That was the promise.  Lured by the temptation of the tagline “seeing what #1 looks like”, I studied the ad display in the middle of the mega-sports store for more than a few minutes.

I came to the conclusion that it was brilliant.  And, as I thought about it later that afternoon, I realized that it’s exactly the approach that more college recruiters need to take when they are creating messaging for their recruits.

Coaches need to show their recruits that they’re going to read greens better, if they commit to their program.

Here’s what I mean:

Coaches need to go beyond telling a recruit what they have at their school, how many championships they’ve won, or how new the locker rooms are.  Instead, coaches need to explain how all of those things will impact the recruit.

  • Instead of listing what your school is famous for, explain to your recruit the end result of being around those great things on your campus for four years.  Outline how they are going to read the greens better.
  • Instead of rattling-off how successful you’ve been as a coach or as a program, explain to your recruit what it will look like for them as they go through their college career with you as your coach.  Outline how they are going to read the greens better.
  • Instead of just showing them your new locker room, and expecting them to fall in love with you because it’s nicer than what they’ve seen at the previous schools they’ve visited, make the case that they deserve what you’re showing them and should feel like the deserve the best that you have to offer.  Outline how they are going to read the greens better.

The reason that this is so important is because the research we’ve done on how recruits take in messaging from the coaches who are recruiting them clearly shows that they need a college recruiter to connect the dots for them.  You could talk with me adult-to-adult about your championships and past success, and I would understand pretty quickly why a smart recruit would want to be a part of that kind of history and tradition.  But most of the time, your teenage recruit isn’t going to make that connection.

You, as the person who is painting the picture for them, needs to go into as much detail as possible in explaining it to them.

And it needs to happen as early as possible, across all mediums.  Especially social media: When you post a picture, or show a video, make sure you are making the case to your recruit as to why it applies to them, and what it is that they will experience as a result of being a part of your program in the future.

It’s a simple concept, and it’s easy to implement into your messaging.  But it takes you making the adjustment in how you communicate:

Stop selling them new sunglasses, and start proving that when they put on the sunglasses, they’re going to read the green better.

There are intelligent ways to alter your communication to your prospects that will result in a higher likelihood of them seriously considering you as a potential program.  We’ve outlined one major way to do that in this article.  If you want more one-on-one help from our team of experts, email Dan Tudor directly at dan@dantudor.com and ask about becoming part of the Total Recruiting Solution client program

The Orchid Mantis Beats The Flower At The Flower’s GameSunday, May 4th, 2014

by Tyler Brandt, National Recruiting Coordinator

In 1937 a concept was published that has been discussed, dissected and disseminated in every conceivable way across every possible industry. Thought leaders, CEOs, managers, coaches, you name any type of leader and they have used this concept in an inspirational speech along the way to their team and employees.

As it usually happens, if you believe and look hard enough, life imitates art in a way that leaves us with indistinguishable knowledge that the 77 year old concept is was then and is now – real. The basic concept of the book Think And Grow Rich was……..

If you have a belief and a passion that is strong enough and you surround yourself with like-minded, passionate people – regardless of how many failures you have – success is inevitable!!

Well, it seems that a group of Hymenopus Coronatus decided to read the book and incorporate that same philosophy in the Amazon jungle. The Orchid Mantis has made evolutionary changes to mimic flowers in the jungle for camouflage. This puts itself in a much better position for success in hunting for food. A study conducted by scientists James O’Hanlon and Marie Herberstein of Macquarie University in Australia shows the Orchid Mantis actually attracted MORE insects than the actual flower it was mimicking.

The interesting part is the strategy the Orchid Mantis implements is different from most other camouflaging predators. They are out in the open, out in front on the flower and are not sitting back in the vegetation hiding, waiting for insects to come by via happenstance. This is a really important shift because so many people wanting to succeed go at it from the comfort of the camouflage back in the vegetation and wonder why someone else is having so much more success.

The Orchid Mantis has proven the real secret is not keeping your desire, goals, dreams and passion hidden in the backdrop. The lesson is to mimic those who came before you, even if it requires a massive change in your personal paradigm! If you attempt to feed on the left-overs of the Orchid Mantis from back in the shadows – that is exactly what you will get, the scraps and leftovers, if there are any.

When you have the opportunity to follow something or someone that has been successful in what it is you are attempting to be successful at, latch on and do what they did. Get out front and commit 100% to doing exactly what “that guy” did because he was a national champion, made it to the league, coached a national championship team or whatever.

The biggest question is this – as a coach, will you evaluate your program honestly? When you discover what needs to be changed, are you willing to make an evolutionary change to create enormous success in your program? Are you willing to learn from the Orchid Mantis (and all of the others doing the same thing) to bring absolute success to your team?

How Geno Made Pressure FunMonday, April 14th, 2014

I had the chance to be in the crowd at the 2014 NCAA women’s basketball national championship game, where the UConn Huskies won the title and completed a perfect season.

At the center of the celebration was their longtime coach, Geno Auriemma.  Fans of women’s basketball seem to either love him or hate him (proportionally, I’m guessing, based on how close you live to Storrs, Connecticutt).  However, no matter which side you land on, you have to admire what he has built through recruiting and coaching.

But what I want to focus on has nothing to do with how well his Huskies played against a previously undefeated Notre Dame team.

It’s actually something I heard their talented center, Breanna Stewart talk about in front of their cheering fans as they were being presented with their championship trophy.  She was asked about how Coach Auriemma convinced them that “the pressure of going after perfection was fun.”

“This season we wanted to chase perfection, and we did that,” said Stewart, the 2014 Women’s Final Four MVP.

Added senior center Stefanie Dolson: “Everyone said we had a lot of pressure on our backs but we didn’t. We went in there having fun. We were loose and playing great.”

For me, this was the big story that not enough people are talking about – and not enough coaches are trying to emulate.

Coach Auriemma has put into practice an idea we’ve advocated for several years, based on our research and focus group studies with prospects and current college student-athletes:

Today’s athlete needs (and wants) to know how to think about ideas and facts you may be presenting them.

That doesn’t mean their not smart.  They are.  And, it doesn’t mean that they are ripe to be manipulated or tricked into playing for another coach (well, most of the time anyway).

What it does mean is that they need help defining how to think about an idea that you are trying to present them, whether that’s when you are recruiting them or when you are coaching them.

Let’s rewind to Breanna Stewart’s comments that I listened to at the Final Four.  To paraphrase, she recalled how Coach Auriemma starting talking to the team about how fun they were going to have trying to chase perfection and win a national championship.  And, that the pressure and incredibly hard work that it was going to take to achieve that goal should be…wait for it….”fun”.

In short, he took a concept with a lot of potential negativity tied to it – hard work, sacrifice, pressure – and declared it to be “fun”.  And, as most teenagers and young adults tend to do, his team listened to what he was saying and decided to believe it.

Understand, they had the choice to look at it as a negative. Truthfully, most coaches and student-athletes are going to choose to take that approach.  As humans, we tend to look at the worst possible outcome for a particular situation, not the best.  What happens when you are told something contrary, and buy-in to a coach’s vision and enthusiasm?  You win national championships.

Again, here’s what Coach Auriemma did:

  • Observed a potential negative situation.
  • Crafted a more positive way to think about that potential negative situation.
  • Verbally reinforced the way he wanted the situation to be viewed by his team.
  • Followed through with that idea throughout the season.
  • Resulted in a positive outcome.

Your words and ideas are powerful.  What you tell your recruits, your team, your assistant coach, your head coach, and your athletic director, about how to view a situation is key to making it through that potential negative situation.

What kind of situations or obstacles are needing your defining (or re-defining)?  It might be your team’s record, your facility, your college’s location, the challenge of trying to win a conference title, the challenge of winning your first conference match in two years, the challenge of recruiting your best class ever, or why the new offense you are installing this next season is going to be the key to turning everything around.

Whatever it is, your team is listening to you.  What exactly are you telling them?

The Advantage Of Coaching BackwardsFriday, February 21st, 2014

by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com

“Begin With The End In Mind” – Stephen R. Covey

My youngest son is great at creating Lego masterpieces. One day I asked him how he did it …

“I see myself as this tiny Lego guy, floating in space, see. Suddenly, I’m in my new Lego creation. I ask myself ‘How does the Lego make me feel? What can I hear? How does it smell? What is the view?’ I feel all those things. I take those answers. Then I get on it and build the Lego.”

It would be easy to dismiss this as a kid’s imagination-run-amok. To do so would miss a sneaky advantage for your coaching.

DOWN WITH GOALS

Not long ago I would get tied up with goal setting.

At the start of a season I’d think,

Okay, what’s a goal, we want? Hm, let’s win the Conference. Fine.

And from there I would make that a goal and then figure out how to make it happen. But I learned over the years that was a doomed plan for several reasons:

  • There were plenty of other good teams trying to achieve the exact same thing.
  • If we set a goal like that and didn’t achieve it, the loss weighed very heavy.
  • Goals are one-dimensional … boringly yesterday.

So I don’t do that any more.

I use experience-coaching instead.

UP WITH THE EXPERIENCE

Experience-coaching is not goal-setting. Goals happen when you have achieved something like – I’m going to win a medal at Sochi!

Admirable, but experience-coaching works differently.

  1. I imagine myself in the end place.
  2. I experience it … smell it … taste it … hear it … sense it.
  3. Then I reverse-engineer things like my son does when he floats in space and pretends he is in the Lego.

Experience the end, and then I build to get to there.

See, experience-coaching is about the intrinsic (experience) rather than the extrinsic (achievement). The difference is subtle … so small it is easy to miss. Yet so powerful it could knock your socks off.

PEOPLE WANT THE EXPERIENCE

Today, more than ever, people want the experience.

There are books, podcasts, and TEDTALKS about it.

Shoot, we now EXPECT the experience.

The coach who can deliver the experience is the one who will be positively and warmly remembered. And to help you be THAT COACH, you need to zone right in on the experience.

AN EXAMPLE

Here’s me …

I imagine my team at the last contest of the year. They are happy. Smiles all around. They hug each other and high five. Parents are happy. Things are good. It’s a very positive experience.

Then I question:

What’s it going to take to make that experience happen?

Obviously it had something to do with how well they performed. But that is just one small part of the equation.

  • Where are they standing?
  • Are they cold, hot, hungry?
  • Is the whole team together, or just parts?
  • Are they inside/outside?
  • What are they experiencing at that moment?

Then I work backwards to build that experience, one-part-at-a-time. And this is the tricky-smart-beautiful part. So much of that building impacts what I do today.

For instance, for the parents to be there they will need to know the date and time of the event. That means communications from me. For that to work, I need to have a way to communicate with them, and I need to build that now (such as collect their email addresses.) So that goes on the to-do list.

Then, for the athletes not to be hungry, we need food. Maybe we need to bring it, and that means buying it, which means money. So, do I have to do check request, or buy it with a credit card? Who’s card? Another to-do-lister.

That continues until every aspect of the experience is planned, and before you know it my to-do-list is stuffed.

QUIETING THE ECHO CHAMBER

Like all coaches, regardless of the level or the sport, there is pressure to win. Internal pressure especially. I hate that part of coaching, which is one of the big advantages, for me, of using experience-coaching.

Simply, it quiets the noise in my Echo Chamber. Stuff like, “What if we don’t win?”

Instead, when those rustlings arise (and they do) I focus on creating the experience. That distracts me from the gnash of the contest outcome. It also gives me an action plan to focus on.

This may all sound like ramblings of an old coach well into his bozo years. I get that. And I can’t say this would work for any other coach.

But I will say, “Ya won’t know until you try.”

Worth a shot?

Dr. Mike Davenport is a longtime college coach and the man behind the popular website CoachingSportsToday.com.  He is a regular contributor to College Recruiting Weekly.

  • Not a member? Click here to signup.

Categories

Archives