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Save Time and Mental Energy With Tracking FormsMonday, February 1st, 2016

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

A common time management mistake is to try to use your memory to keep track of all of the tasks you need to accomplish.  I don’t care how good you think your memory is: the fact is that most people simple cannot rely on their memory alone to keep track of everything that needs to get done.  

Below is one of the many simple tracking forms that I created to help me keep track of some of the repetitive things that I need to keep track of as a coach.  

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I use the USD Player Tracking Form to make sure that I am consistently keeping in touch with everybody on my team over the summer.  I look at it on Sunday night and decide who I will contact and when I will do it.  Then I schedule it into my Coaching Productivity Day Planner.  First thing in the morning when I am doing my strategic planning, I relook at the list to see who I am contacting and I make sure I don’t need to add anybody. 

Instead of wasting brain power having to try to remember who I have or haven’t been in touch with, this sheet shows me who I have been in contact with, when I contacted them, and what type of communication was used.  Instead of wasting time trying to remember, this sheet allows me to make quick decisions about who I should contact, take decisive action and fire off a quick text, email, or phone call.  Then I record it.  Done.  Now I don’t have to remember or think about this for the rest of the day.  Love it.      

These types of forms are great because:
1. They are simple and easy to fill out.
2. They give you a way to keep track of a lot of information.
3. They give you a visual picture of what you have and haven’t done. 
4. I don’t waste a lot of time having to try to remember who I need to get in contact with.  It is all on paper (or on the computer for some things).
5. You can track your results. 

Here are some of the other ways that I have used this type of form.
1. I use this form to keep track of my top recruits to make sure that I am consistently keeping in touch with them.  I have a different form that I have created where I have different symbols that I use if I sent an email, made a phone call, had a campus visit, contacted the parents, contacted youth coaches, etc.   
2. I use a different sheet that looks like this for tracking my daily goal actions. 
3. I use this during the year with my team to make sure I am consistently having individual conversations with them.
4. I have taught my players to use this sheet to track their goals and for tracking their study habits before tests. 
5. I have  also used this form to keep track of how many times at practice I worked on certain concepts during the year. 

I will then use these tracking forms to reflect on any successes or failures that I might have had throughout the year.  To use the player tracking form as an example, based on where my player relationships are at when my players show up this fall, I can look back to see how much I was in touch with them over the summer to see if it was enough, too little, or maybe even too much communication.  Then I can use those results to tweak my actions to make sure I am doing it better next time around.   

These forms are extremely simple but have been invaluable for me.  I am saving a lot of time and brain power that I can now use on other things that I can be doing to progress my program forward.  

I’d love to hear if you have other ways to use a form like this.  Please email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com.  If you want to see the forms that I have created, just email me and I will send them to you. 

Have a great week.

Mandy Green
Coaching Productivity Strategies
 http://www.mandygreencps.com

What Gets Measured Gets ImprovedMonday, January 11th, 2016

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

You have probably heard this saying before, “what gets measured, gets improved”.  You probably even use stats a lot depending on your sport.

For example, if you are a golfer, you track your golf scores. You track the pitch of the Golf course, what club you need to use, and the direction and speed of the wind all factor into your decision to get that little white ball go where you want it to go.   Many different factors play into a golf score, and the one who has paid the closest attention to the details has a better score than the one who just goes out and randomly whacks at the ball.

Tracking is also one of business’s best practices. Really great businesses track all of their important metrics (leads, closes, sales numbers, etc.) so they know where their time and resources are best spent.

For coaches, I think that we all can do a better job of tracking our recruiting numbers.

This year, I am really going to make sure that I know where my time and resources are best being spent with our recruiting by keeping track of my numbers more.

For example, I am going to do a better job of keeping track of my numbers from each of the tournaments that I am recruiting at.  I don’t have an endless budget to work with so we really have to be strategic about where we go and when.

We have just been going to tournaments that we think we’re getting good results from, but we can’t say for sure because we haven’t been tracking the numbers.

These are some of the numbers we are going to start doing a better job keeping track of:

  1. How many recruits are we identifying?
  2. How many are writing to us in advance of the tournament?  How many of them turn out to be good enough for what we need?
  3. How many coaches are being called?
  4. How many emails are being sent out?
  5. Which emails we’re sending out and what are the responses like?
  6. How many get to our online questionnaire?
  7. How many are we getting on the phone?
  8. How many are we getting to campus?
  9. How many are we closing?

I will start doing a better job of this for every single tournament we go to.

Another saying that I have heard about measuring or testing is that 1 hour of testing could save you 10.  10 hours saved for me gets me 10 more hours with my kids or 10 more hours building my program in other ways.  It will be well worth it.

I will also be doing this for our recruiting phone calls, our recruiting letters, our social media, our campus visits, etc.

I am going to use these numbers to figure out where I am getting the best ROI of time and resources.  Tournaments, letters, or other tasks that we are not getting a good result from, will either be tossed out or a better way will have to be found.

If you want to see how I am using measuring and tracking with recruiting to be more productive this year, go to www.mandygreencps.com and subscribe to get my Collegiate Productivity Newsletter.  If you have other ways that you have been testing or tracking, I’d love to hear it.  Email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com.

“Do-Not-Do” ListsMonday, December 28th, 2015

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

We all have a tremendous amount to do these days.  Between recruiting, managing and training the team, office stuff, meetings, camps, etc, our to-do lists are getting longer and more out of control.

If you are one of the many coaches out there who is overwhelmed trying to get everything done, I want to help you regain control over your workload by helping you make better choices.  Since we only have so much time to get things done, you need to CHOOSE what gets done and what doesn’t get done. You must consciously choose what you will work on based on how it will affect your program and the results you want to produce and you need to delay or eliminate other less important items from your schedule. You can’t find more time, but you can always change the way you use the time you already have.

Many productivity and time-management experts say the most helpful list you may ever create is one outlining what not to do. “Do-not-to-do” lists are often more effective than to-do lists for upgrading performance in the office.  

The reason is simple: what you don’t do determines what you can do.

The idea is to list all the activities you are intentionally going to stop doing for the sake of greater productivity.  This is a list of activities that are time-wasters, your list of people not to talk to because they’re time vampires, your do-not-eat list, your not-to-have-in the office list, etc.

In his best-seller Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, Jim Collins lauds the value of a “stop-doing” list: “Those who built the good-to-great companies… made as much use of stop-doing lists as to-do lists. They displayed a remarkable discipline to unplug all sorts of extraneous junk.”

I believe that there are 2 ways to figure out what should go on your do-not-do-list.

  1. The first step in deciding what not to do in your life is zeroing in on what you ultimately want to achieve. “If you really get clear about your real goals, visions and values, it will be easier to cut the extraneous things off your lists that aren’t that purposeful for you,” says David Allen, author of Getting Things Done.
  2. The second way to figure out what not-to-do is to time track.  Write down on the left hand side of a piece of paper the day’s times in 15-minute increments. As your day goes along, write down what you’re doing at that time all day long so you can identify things that you may be wasting too much time on in the office. By taking a realistic look at how you spend your time, you can determine which activities don’t yield valuable results in return for the time and effort they require. Then, you can cut those time-wasters out of your life.

Here are a few examples of things that could be on your do-not-do list.

Do not check facebook during work hours

Do not check email constantly

Do not multitask when I am working on recruiting

Do not get sucked in by office gossip

 Seeing through on your do-not-do list ultimately may take sheer force of will. Like everything, you will get better with practice.  Jim Collins writes, “The real question is… do you have the discipline to do the right thing and, equally important, to stop doing the wrong things?”

 When you get stuck on your not-to-do list, you waste time and end the day frustrated because you didn’t get anything done.  Make your list and post it where you can always see it to remind yourself of what you should not be doing.  Enlist the support of co-workers to help keep you on track.  If you find yourself doing something on your do-not-do list, get up, walk around, refocus, and then get back after your important to-do list items.  Good luck!

I’d love to hear what makes your list!  Please email me your list at mandy@mandygreencps.com

As a thank you for reading, I want to offer you a free 15-minute productivity consultation with me! I want to help you set up your most productive and least chaotic coaching year yet. Email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com to set up an appointment. Mandy Green has been a College Soccer Coach for more than 17 years and is the founder of Coaching Productivity Strategies, where she helps coaches develop and discipline their time management. Mandy teaches practical and immediately usable ideas, methods, strategies, and techniques that will make your coaching and recruiting life much less chaotic. When you learn and apply these powerful, practical techniques, you will dramatically improve the quality of your life in every area. To get more awesome collegiate-specific productivity expertise, go to www.mandygreencps.com and opt-in. 

Set Up Your Assistants To Be SuccessfulMonday, December 14th, 2015

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

A few weekends ago, I spoke at the NCRC about email management. I had a lot of coaches come up to me afterwards and say that one of the biggest points they took away is how they can help their assistants be more productive during the day.

To be blunt, most assistants are at the mercy of doing what their head coaches need them to do. For the most part, when an email gets sent, or they stop by because something needs to get done, it is expected (depending on the coach) that the assistant stops what they are doing, and gets after what the head coach needs done immediately.

And if you’re like most assistant coaches, not only do you have to deal with the head coach, you get a dozen other little interruptions every hour; new emails pertaining to other responsibilities you have coming in, phone calls, text messages, etc. If you do the math for these poor assistants, they literally can’t focus on one thing for more than 5 minutes.

There is just no way that a head coach can expect their assistants to get everything they are expected to do done, when they are constantly being interrupted.

Many assistants will speak up if they need a faster computer, or a better software system, or for other “hardware” things like that. But what coaches have told me, especially young assistants, is that they are not comfortable sitting down and telling their boss that they need more quiet time to work, or they are having a hard time working because they are constantly getting interrupted, or that they hate when you accumulate a week’s worth of recruiting emails at a time and then forward a them all at once, etc.

Today I want to talk to you about 4 different changes you can make to help your staff be more productive.

Process ALL of your email every day

The point for coaches I made at the conference was that you should try to get to zero emails in your inbox every day. That means that you have to process every email that comes through your inbox by forwarding it, responding to it, filing it, deleting it, or deferring it. It is distracting and unproductive to have a lot of unread emails cluttering up your inbox. Plus you waste a lot of time reading the same emails over and over again.

How to help your assistants: when a head coach “saves up” over the course of the week and then sends all recruiting emails at once to the recruiting coordinator, according to the coaches I have interviewed about how they deal with their email, it is very overwhelming. Instead of sending 40 recruiting emails all at once, process your email everyday so you can send all recruiting emails in smaller more manageable chunks.

Establish set times for checking email 

The point for coaches I made at the conference is that instead of checking your email as the notifications come up every few minutes, set aside specific chunks of time each day that you dedicate to checking and responding to email. For example, you could check it for 30-minutes in the morning, for 30 minutes right after lunch, and then another 30 at the end of the day. You’ll be amazed how much email you’ll be able to process and answer when you’re solely focused on the task.

How to help your assistants-If you are only checking email two or three times during the day, you eliminate the need to ping your assistants with new messages every 5 minutes. By doing this, you are giving your assistants larger chunks of uninterrupted time to get more work done.

I got this great email from a coach after the conference about this point.

Thanks for this! While I generally think I tackle my inbox pretty well and don’t get overwhelmed I pulled some great tips for myself in regards to limiting the “rolling email forward chain” that I was doing to my assistants for recruits and now limit it to morning forward chunk and after lunch forward chunk, which they have already said THANK YOU! to and it’s only been one day!!

 – Elizabeth Robertshaw, Boston University Lacrosse

Are you allowing your assistants time to concentrate? Are you guilty of always stopping by for impromptu conversations rather than scheduling regular one-on-ones? Have you discouraged your staff from blocking off quiet work periods on their calendars, telling them instead to be accessible to each other at all times? If so, you might be impeding your staff’s productivity. While coaches you work with of course need to be accessible and you don’t want to ban spontaneous conversations, coaching is a profession I believe where you need to balance that against your assistants’ need to focus. If you’re constantly interrupting their workflow or insisting that others be allowed to, their inability to deeply focus will be reflected in your team’s output.

Ask your staff what they need to do their jobs better

You might think that you already know what your team’s needs are – but you might be surprised by what you’d find out if you asked.

The best meeting you may ever have with your staff is when you just sit and listen to what your staff needs. Think 80/20. Head coach ask questions and talks only 20% of the time, assistant coaches will run the conversation and talk 80% of the time.

I am working with a few programs right now and actually was there and sat everybody down to work through this. Holy cow was this eye opening for the head coach. This meeting started slow because the assistants were shy about speaking out, but once they got going and were able to finally share what they needed to be more productive with their head coach, the meetings went really well. Everybody left excited because they felt like they were going to be able to get more work done and even possibly shorten their work day.

 

Time Saving Systems That Will Make Coaching Life Much SimplerMonday, December 7th, 2015

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

Keeping track of every single detail is exhausting. We deplete a lot of mental energy every day trying to remember what to do next.

I want to help you minimize your brain power depletion by creating systems where you don’t have to think about every aspect of a task anymore. It’s pretty easy and simple to set up. Ultimately, it will make you more effective and will get you better results when these systems are in place.

Right now, think about a task that you do with recruiting or in the office on a regular basis. Even though you may do this task often, this task is something that sometimes takes longer than it should because you forgot to do something or you can’t track down the information that you need.

For me, a few years ago, that task was planning a last minute on-campus visit. Even though I have set up visits 100x or more over the course of my career, setting up visits was not one of my duties with my current staff. When this visit camp up, I found myself the only one of our staff around. I hadn’t done the leg work to set up a visit for a long time, so while I had a general idea of what to do, it took a while to remember a lot of the steps, I wasted a lot of time tracking down the paperwork, and I eventually realized that I forgot a few things.

At the time, it was very stressful and time-consuming. It took me 3x longer than it should have because I didn’t have a system in place.

I define a system as an ordered and proven process that saves you time and stress and unnecessary thought processes. Now, please don’t let that sound overwhelming or more grandiose than what it really is. A system is something as simple as a checklist. It’s literally just writing down the steps and making sure don’t forget any of them.

Where could you create systems in your coaching life?

Preseason, team travel, travel for recruiting, on-campus visits, camps, game day, and recruiting trips are a few quick ones that come to mind.

So for an example, let’s start creating your system for setting up an official visit

  1. Start by writing clear and concise notes about each and every step of a task. (I.E. Agree on a date, time and location to meet; send welcome to campus email with directions; make sure the player is registered with the clearinghouse; get their transcripts and official visit paperwork in; contact admissions to set up an admissions counselor meeting, etc.)
  2. Record as many details as you can like phone numbers, email address (I.E. Email and phone number for contact in Admissions)
  3. Make sure that everybody who’s involved knows what’s expected
  4. What are the deadlines?
  5. Everything is in one, easy-to-find folder.

All those things above seem pretty common sense.

But, I cannot stress enough how important it is to have created a system where everything is written down to make sure that you don’t miss any important ingredients. It will allow you to seamlessly transition if you add new staff members.

And once you have your system written down, you can analyze it. What’s working, what’s not working? Then you can work to perfect the process. When you improve your method or process, you will improve your results and significantly reduce the time it takes to complete the tasks.

You can set up systems for a lot of what we do as coaches in the office. It does take some time up front to set these systems up, but it will be well worth it when you realize how much time you save in the long run.

If you want help setting up your systems, please email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com. Or if you have your systems already set up, I would love to hear how they are working for you.

How Successful Coaches Make The Most Out Of The Night BeforeMonday, April 13th, 2015

by Mandy Green, Head Women’s Soccer Coach, University of South Dakota

In my endless quest to be more efficient and productive, a pretty common thing I am finding is that what separates the successful from the rest is that before the successful go to sleep, they plan ahead so they can start the next day with a purpose.

Planning keeps successful people on course in achieving their goals and objectives.

Planning is also the difference between reacting to the day’s events as they occur vs being proactive in determining what you will achieve during the day.

What does a reactive day look like? You arrive at work in the morning with no clear idea about what you want to achieve. Things begin to happen and you just fly by the seat of your pants—you open your email, the phone rings, one of your players drops by. With a flurry of activity, you put forth considerable effort to respond to these various demands with very little to show for it by the end of the day.

So here is what you need to do.

Take out you’re your planner and prepare your action plan for the next day before you leave the office or at least the night before. Decide what will make the day highly successful. I am a big believer in making a plan for each day based on your goals and vision for your program. What can you realistically accomplish that will further your goals and allow you to leave at the end of the day feeling like you’ve been productive and successful? Write those things down in whatever time management system you are using.

Now, most importantly, take your calendar and schedule those things into time slots, placing the hardest and most important items at the beginning of the day. There is tremendous power in deciding when and where you are going to do something.

It’s really that simple. It takes about 15 minutes. It is being more proactive vs being reactive. Take the time to put a little more thought and intention into what you are going to work on during the day.

For you coach, this plan becomes a map to guide you from morning to evening in the most effective and efficient way. This guide tells you what you have to do and what is more or less important which will help save you a tremendous amount of time that you might have otherwise wasted on less important busy work that isn’t necessarily going to move your program forward.

Please try it and let me know how it works for you. Email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com

Why We Should All Care About the Little College That’s ClosingMonday, March 9th, 2015

Sweet Briar College is closing it’s doors.  And that makes me sad.

I know quite a few of the coaches there, and they are all good people who worked hard.  I was honored to be on their campus several years ago.  It’s a beautiful place, with 114 years of tradition under it’s belt.

And it’s closing.  Financially, and I’m over-simplifying the situation here, they aren’t making ends meet.  They are shutting their doors, and everyone suffers.  The community, the coaches, and the athletes (here’s an excellent article by my friend, and former SBC lacrosse coach, Hillary London wrote for ESPN on the topic).

In 2007, I began doing some simple research for an athletic director who was a client, and came to a rather abrupt, yet undeniable, conclusion:

There are too many colleges, and not enough incoming college students.  I’ve been sounding that alarm to anyone in college athletics who will listen ever since.  I’m pleased that Mark Cuban reaches the same conclusion; not because I am looking for more colleges to close, but because I want college coaches and athletic directors to view this as a very real “canary in the coal mine”.

There will be more colleges that won’t make it.  And before they close, their athletic departments will be cut back.  Severely cut back.

Since you, as a coach or athletic director, have only a small measure of control over what happens to the larger student loan and budget conversation beginning to happen inside your school’s President’s office on the other side of campus, here’s what I would want to see you doing.

If what I think is going to happen is actually going to happen, I don’t want it happen to you and your college:

Make recruiting your number one priority.  If you’re a small college, the quantity and quality of the athletes you bring to campus is vitally important.  Not only to your athletic department, but to your admissions department.  If you’re at a larger school, you should already be doing this.

Understand your school and department’s budget situation. You need to be a part of the solution.  To do that, you need to know what the challenges are.  Strengthening your college and athletic department should be a team effort.

Find ways to become self-sufficient. The Ivy League has seen their athletic departments become self-sufficient through a sustained, intelligent financial plan. More colleges will follow suit, primarily because of necessity. Will your athletic department be ready to take on the challenge?  Will your individual sports program be ready for the challenge?

Develop your recruiting skills.  If we are seeing the genesis of some kind of grand Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest world of college sports emerging, you’ll fall in one of two categories.  As my old football coach used to say, “You’re either the bug or the windshield.” More and more head coaches and athletic directors are going to be looking for individuals who can recruit.  Period.  The X’s and O’s knowledge?  Yes, that’s important.  Your recruiting knowledge? It’s going to be even more important asset in your coaching career toolbox.  Develop those skills. Become great at it.  It may just be the thing that saves your career.

There is a creative, passionate effort to save Sweet Briar College following the shocking announcement of their impending closure. I’m going to donate, and I would encourage you to do so, as well.

As a college coach interested in avoiding this storyline unfolding on your campus, hear my call: It’s time to become more than just a coach.  It’s time for you to be a better marketer, a more informed financial expert, and a more consistent recruiter.

How College Coaches Can Profit From Watching “The Profit”Monday, October 27th, 2014

Most college coaches who have spent time in the private sector would agree that being successful in recruiting is a lot like being successful in business.

If you run your business the right way, profits will follow.  If you run an organized recruiting effort, you’ll get good recruits consistently, year after year.

Many businesses, like many coaching staffs, don’t organize themselves to operate profitably.  The results are dire: They struggle financially, jeopardize their personal relationships because of the stress, and often have to close their doors.  While the end results for a college coach may look a little different, the symptoms are identical: Struggling bottom-line results, increased stress, and losing out on the recruits you really want.

This is where a reality T.V. show might just be the answer you’re looking for – whether you’re a business owner, or a college recruiter.

The show I’m referring to is the CNBC hit, “The Profit”.  It features Marcus Lemonis, the CEO of Camping World, as a business success “prophet” who goes into a struggling business, invests his own money (much of the time in the hundreds of thousands of dollars) to take a controlling interest in the operation, and turn it around through a set of principles that he has developed, and uses in his own operation at Camping World.

It’s that set of principles that college coaches can learn from, as well as measure against the way they currently operate their coaching office and recruiting efforts.  On the surface, Lemonis’ principles seem to be very simple: People, Process and Product.  In every business he invests in, those three things have to be present in order to realize success.

And that’s where college coaches can take a page from his winning strategy to turn around their recruiting results.

As I take you through each of the principles laid out by this successful entrepreneur, ask yourself, “Is our coaching staff, and our recruiting approach, generating the kind of recruiting “profits” that are building our program’s brand and separating us from the competition?”

Your People

Do you have the right coaches on staff to be as successful as possible, and are you communicating with them to make sure that they have what they need to get the job done?

Notice this set of principles doesn’t start-off with “stuff”. I didn’t ask how new your stadium is, or what your budget was, or the year you won your last conference title.  Frankly, those types of things become more of a hinderance than a help when it comes to what a coach talks about, or how they tell their story to a recruit.

What’s important is having the right people in place, not only from purely a coaching perspective, but also when it comes to communication ability, sales ability, and other traits that typically make-up successful coaches at the highest levels.  Do you have those people on your staff?  Are you one of them?  And if you aren’t, are you taking steps towards educating yourself and making yourself the best recruiter you can be?

If you don’t have the best people around you, and if you aren’t the most competent recruiter you can be, it’s going to be impossible to succeed over the long haul.  That’s true in business, and it’s true in college athletics.

Your Process

If you looked at the way you’ve laid out your recruiting process, could you say that it reflected these traits?

  • You have an agreed upon plan of attack when it comes to the geography you and your staff will be recruiting, as well as who is best to recruit those areas.
  • When you scout prospects, everyone is using the same measurement metrics that reflect the criteria for a top prospect as outlined by the head coach.
  • Are you giving your recruits a consistent, compelling message that tells the story of your program and answers the question, “why they should want to compete for you?”
  • Are you setting-up fair but firm deadlines that put you in control of the process?
  • Is your staff evaluating how a previous recruiting year went, and what can be done to change and improve the results for the next year?

The process you put in place is critical to your success as a recruiter.  Without a good process, all the talented people in the world won’t matter.

Your Product

In one sense, you might say that this is an area where you, as a college coach, have no control when it comes to the quality of “the product” you can give a recruit.  You can’t control the type of facilities you have, what they look like, the location of your college, whether it’s blazing hot in the Summer or icy cold in the winter…all of that is out of your hands.

But let’s choose to focus on the parts of your product that you do have control over:

  • The coordinated effort with your team to wow a recruit you bring to campus, making them feel like your team wanted them the most, and are the easiest to get to know.
  • How you interact with the parents of your recruit, and what you do with the separate from their son or daughter during that recruiting visit.
  • The tone of your voice on phone calls, and how you personalize a recruiting letter.
  • Using the largest and most influential public relations resource that you have at your fingertips to engage with your recruits, showing them what your program’s personality is all about.

Coach, don’t get sucked into the false assumption that it’s only the size and quality of your facility that sways recruits into choosing one college program over another.  That’s false.  You can counteract any shortcoming when it comes to something like facilities, location or your team’s recent performance by nailing those four important parts of your overall product.

I’m not suggesting that any coaching staff or athletic department can be turned around magically overnight with just a few simple tweaks.  However, these three areas are a good foundational starting point when it comes to figuring out what to focus on when you’re looking to include you program’s recruiting performance.

And the best part? There won’t be any reality T.V. cameras following you around while you do it!

If Nothing Else, This Has To Get Done!Thursday, May 15th, 2014

by Mandy Green, Head Women’s Soccer Coach, The University of South Dakota

What is it for you coach?  What is it that no matter what else gets done, as long as these one or two things are finished by the time you leave the office, you are feeling pretty good about your day?

I thought I knew what it was for me.

Being that I read, write, and talk to people about time management regularly, I certainly have a general idea which few activities for me were the ones I knew needed to get done.

Then, about a week ago, I went home feeling uneasy and stressed.  I started to reflect on what happened during the day and what maybe didn’t get done that was causing me to feel this way.

That day I had to readjust my schedule of To-Dos because a few student-athlete meetings lasted longer than planned.  When I got home, I took out my Green Time Management Planner and looked back over my day.  I had finished the majority of things on my To-Do list, but there were still one or two things pushed aside.  Reflecting back on my day helped give me some insight as to what was causing me to be stressed, but I needed to look more into it.

The next day was just as crazy as the day before, but I went home feeling okay with what I accomplished during the day.  Did I get everything done on my To-Do list, no, but I did get a few of the things done that I hadn’t gotten done the day before.  I again sat down and looked at what was finished and what was pushed aside during the day.

I ended up experimenting for a few days, monitoring what I had completed and what I left for the next day to do, while really paying attention to how I felt when I got home that night.

What I found is, for me, I feel good leaving the office as long as I have sent my recruiting emails out and had a chance to plan and prepare practice for the following day.

The development and future success of my program is obviously dependent on my ability to consistently communicate with recruits.  The success of my current team depends on preparing and executing challenging practices so we can keep getting better.  When I make sure to get these two things finished before I leave for the day, I feel assured knowing I still have time to review my practice plan the night before and make adjustments if necessary.  As a result, I walk into practice feeling more prepared.   I also love the feeling of accomplishment I get when I know I have taken another step forward with the recruits we are trying to get.

When these two things don’t get done at work however, I have to do them at home.  These things have to get done.  What causes me the most stress is not only does this take away time with my kids, but I feel they don’t get done as well as I would like them to be.  I feel like my recruiting emails are not as clear and concise and my practice plans aren’t as well thought out as they could and should be since I have a 4 and 1 year old also competing for my attention.

To avoid feeling stressed out, it took three or four days of analyzing what I did and didn’t do, as well as assessing the feelings that followed for it to really hit home with me which tasks absolutely had to be done before I left the office.

I now try to do my most important activities first thing in the morning, when I get done with practice (we practice from 6-8 am).  I found if I put them off until later, I get busy and run out of time to do them.

So coach, what are your most important activities?  What are the one or two tasks that you know if you get done, even if you don’t get everything done, you can leave the office and feel good about what you’ve accomplished for day?

If you are not sure, do what I did.  At the end of the day, review your To-Do list and see what got done and what didn’t get done.  How are you feeling when you get home?  Once you have your data, analyze what could be causing you to feel this way.  Then try to restructure your day to make sure you are getting your most important tasks done.

I would love to hear what they are?  Please email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com and put “My MIT’s” (Most Important Tasks) in the subject line.

Mandy Green has a Coaching Productivity Newsletter that goes out every other Sunday.  This newsletter is for coaches who have an email overload issue.  She shares methods or techniques that she is trying in an effort to process, manage, and keep track of recruiting emails better.  If you are interested in joining in on the conversation or if you have something to share please go to www.mandygreencps.com.  Opt in and she will send you her newsletter every week it goes out and you can get a FREE copy of the chapter in her Green Time Management For Coaches Workbook called Organize Your Recruiting.  

Determining Staff Roles for More Effective RecruitingMonday, June 24th, 2013

There are a few precious times during each year as a coaching staff that you actually have a chance to sit down, take a deep breath, and figure out what you want to do differently the next season from a recruiting standpoint.

I’m not talking about plays you should have called, or strategies you failed to execute during competition.  And, I’m not talking about the way you coach together as a staff.

I’m talking about the way you organize what you do as a staff – especially when it comes to recruiting.

Summer is one of those times of the year that is usually ideal for organizational planning for your staff.

That kind of planning is especially important when it comes to recruiting.

Because “organizing” and “planning” were big topics among the attendees, I wanted to share one key concept we’ve discussed with some clients who have struggled with the organizational approach to the way they plan an execute their recruiting approach .  It’s a concept originally outlined by business author Michael Gerber in his best-selling book, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What To Do About It.

The concept is that a small business – similarly to your operation as a college coaching staff – won’t grow and prosper unless it is organized in a very specific way.  Gerber contends that every small business needs a Visionary, Managers and Technicians.  I contend that the same would hold true for college coaches when it comes to their recruiting approach.

Here’s the basic concept and the role of each individual coach in this proven plan for how (and why) you assign roles and responsibilities to members of your coaching staff:

VISIONARY

The Visionary’s role is fairly obvious: He or she needs to set the direction of the program, develop the core recruiting philosophy, determine the goals that need to be met, and help pin-point who in their organization is right for the other two roles of Managers and Visionaries.

When we work with our clients, this is one of the areas that we try to determine early on in our work with them.  Here are some quick observations after seeing different staffs change their organizational philosophy and adapt this format:

  • Sometimes, the head coach is not the best person to be the Visionary.  Most of the time, yes.  Not all the time, though.
  • Visionaries need to be able to make the tough calls, put their name on a plan, and be confident in their vision for the program.
  • Can there be more than one Visionary?  No.  However, the Visionary can get input from other people on their staff.  But there needs to be one person that is in the role of the Visionary.
  • If at all possible, the Visionary should not also be a Manager.  And, they should almost never be a Technician.

Visionaries on a college coaching staff should constantly be assessing where they are with regards to their recruiting class, and figuring out if the vision that has been outlined is being realized.  It’s ongoing, active work.  Visionaries are accountable to the whole organization for the overall success of the year’s recruiting.

MANAGER

The next role(s) that need to be assigned would be that of Manager.

The Manager’s role is singular in focus: To make sure that the vision your staff has established is realized through daily management and measurement.  The Manager needs to make sure that the individual assignments tied to the vision are being completed exactly as planned.

Good Managers need to:

  • fully buy-in to the vision that’s been established when it comes to the staff’s recruiting goals.
  • be loyal to the Visionary.
  • be looking for more efficient and better ways to achieve the vision sooner and more effectively.
  • be able to keep the Technicians on task and accountable.
  • be able to measure what is being done on a regular basis to achieve the vision.

Can there be more than one Manager?  Sure.  But each Manager needs to have their own separate areas of responsiblities whenever possible.  Don’t bog down this emerging organizational system with double coverage.

And last, but absolutely NOT least…

TECHNICIAN

Just because I’m listing this last, don’t think that it is the least important.  Especially when it comes to recruiting.

The Technician(s) is responsible for making sure the Vision happens.  Without great Technicians, its all just a bunch of good ideas that never actually happen.

It’s natural to assume that assistant coaches and grad assistants, who perform the role of technicians when it comes to game planning and scouting, would be the likely choice of the Visionary to carry-out Technician duties when it comes to recruiting.  Here are the hallmarks of really good Technicians:

  • They’re able to focus in on the assignments established by the Manager.
  • They’re able to provide great communication on the progress or hurdles that transpire along the way.
  • They understand that they have an equally important role in the organization.  In other words, not Manager or Visionary envy (in many ways, Technicians have the best role of the three).

Why is recruiting organization like this so important?  Because without it you feel burned-out.  A coach that is the Visionary, but also takes on the role of Manager and Technician is going to be the coach that starts feeling trapped.  Bitter.  Frustrated.  They won’t quite reach their goals, and they’ll always feel three steps behind every one of their competitors.

Even if you have a small staff, try to farm out roles to those in the athletic department when possible.

What if you’re the only coach on a staff?  You already know you have it tough, so you don’t need me to tell you that.  In that case, you’ll want to try to organize your week into Visionary, Manager and Technician time blocks.  Separate your duties, and try not to mix roles in the same day.  You’ll feel a lot less exhausted and frustrated if you can do it.

That’s an overview of the concept, and it’s going to look different from college to college, and staff to staff.  However, it’s important: Think about how much time you put in to determining how to split up scouting and recruiting area coverage, but don’t put much time into detailing organizational assignments once those scouting details are back in the office.

Once you separate and organize roles in your recruiting plan, you’ll probably want to do the same thing with the rest of your duties as a coaching staff.  And why not…it works!

Need help in determining how best to use your staff for more effective recruiting?  You can bring Dan to campus to work with your staff or your athletic department this coming recruiting year.  If you have questions, email Dan Tudor directly at dan@dantudor.com.  

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