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Your Coaching-Improvement Action ListMonday, May 9th, 2016

by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com

Few of us are exactly the coach we want to be. We constantly work to get better — that comes with the profession.

I’ve yet to visit a coach who isn’t a consumer of “how to get better” books, podcasts, and websites. The coach in the next office was that way.

Every week he was reading a new book about coaching. He stayed away from digital, favoring as he said “real-books.” From those books he built an action-list of improvement-ideas.

A Critical Action List

We each should have a list like my neighbor’s. A handy one we can flip to in times of doubt or struggle. Yes, I’ve got one. It includes actions I do and don’t do to improve.

I use it more as a mantra, to read when things are getting a wee bit wonky. Here are several of the actions on mine:

5 Actions that DON’T help me improve:

  • Copying: imitating what a successful coach does just because that coach is successful
  • Demeaning: purposely putting someone down, believing it motivates
  • Cheating: knowingly breaking the rules to get an unfair advantage
  • Egoing: believing that this coaching thing is about ME not about THEM
  • Siloing: reacting mentally to the events of the day without investing time each day processing the big picture

5 Actions that DO help me improve:

  • Being curious: asking thoughtful questions
  • Being helpful: helping another coach overcome
  • Sharing: giving information with no expectation of reward/return
  • Listening: hearing what is said and what is going on around me
  • Breathing: focusing on my breathing several times daily

Those are actions that I know from years of coaching (35 and counting) that hurt/help my coaching. I refer to them often.

For example, recently we were preparing for a difficult competition. I was having a tough time getting my head in a good place prior to the race. I was struggling.

I referred to my list, and went right to asking questions, and listening. I asked the athletes three questions:

  1. “How they felt?” – “We feel good!”
  2. “What they needed?” – “For the Starter to say ‘Go!’”
  3. “What they thought?” – “This is going to be fun!”

I listened to those answers — really listened — and gained strength from them.

Time For Action: Create Your Improvement Action List

If I were to bet, I’d wager you have just such a list. Somewhere, somehow, in some form, you have one, right? It may be nothing more than fuzzy-thoughts but it exists. A few thoughts on this critical list:

  • The list can and should change over time
  • There should be no set number of items
  • Hand writing your list helps it to become ingrained in your long-term memory
  • Having a digital copy (image, text file, etc) of the hand written version helps me keep it handy (Evernote is my choice).

Creating an action list like this is something you can dismiss. Of course you are busy. And, of course, there are big issues on your todo list. However, this list can be an invaluable tool in your coach’s tool box. I suggest setting aside a few minutes to bring it to life.

Is Your To-Do List Working For or Against You?Monday, March 28th, 2016

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

I want to share a great way to eliminate running around like a chicken-with-your-head-cut-off and always feeling busy.  It’s as simple as creating a proactive way to set up their to-do list.  

A daily to-do list for coaches I’m finding with the coaches that I work with tends to be a reactive list – it’s based on what has just recently come up and is in your immediate area of concern for that time.

As you are working through your reactive list, by the end of the day you have worked hard, done lots, but achieved very little.

Sound familiar?

It makes for a “busy” coach – but not necessarily an effective coach. It’s like you’re always chasing your tail!

So, how can you make your To Do list work for you?

Getting organized so you can be less “busy” means creating a proactive system that works best for you and saves you time and effort.

I believe being proactive begins by making a master list of everything you can think of that has to be done over the course of the year as a coach.  To do this, take out a piece of paper, or turn on your computer, and as they occur

On a piece of paper or on the computer, record all the “must-do, should-do, gotta-do” tasks that pop into your mind. Whenever you think of something new that you have to do, write it down on your master list.  

This Master To-Do List holds all of the tasks that need to get done over the course of the year–and gets them out of your brain until you’re ready to act.   This list then becomes the central control list for your coaching life.  

I have my Master To-Do List organized by the month that I should work on it.   That way I already have a list that covers everything that I can be proactive on in the coming weeks so I can avoid rushing to do it last minute.   

At the beginning of the month, I pick a few things from my Master List and put them into my daily planning pages in my Green Time Management System for Coaches that I created.  

Having this list allows me to:

  1. Free up my mind so I don’t have to remember everything.  
  2. Be proactive with my schedule and get things done in advance so I can avoid a lot of running around frantically trying to finish a lot of last minute things. There is no more “oh crap, I forgot we have to do this” for me…for the most part .
  3. I can plan ahead which tasks I NEED to do and which tasks can be delegated.
  4. Being proactive on my to-do list has made it easier to meet goals, it has reduced a lot of busyness, and I have been able to work more efficiently.

If you are interested in hearing more of the details of how I do this, please email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com.  If you want to read about How to Restart a Bad Day and get other productivity advice that is applicable to what we do as coaches, go to www.mandygreencps.com and sign up for my newsletter.  Have a productive week!     

The Beauty Of A System For College CoachesMonday, March 14th, 2016

by Theresa Beeckman, Tree Roots Consulting

For the past 11 years, as an assistant at both the Division II and Division 1 level, I’ve noticed an alarming trend.  Every year a minimum of five emails would come through asking if I had anyone in mind that might like to coach volleyball at their high school.  


Every single year.


Athletic Directors in a 50 mile area with no other idea of how to find a coach would seek the advice or recommendation of every college coach in the area.  I don’t blame them, coaches for all sports in both high school and college are being chewed up and spit out by athletes and their parents.  That’s not the only thing doing the chewing unfortunately….


The art of coaching has changed dramatically in a very short time.  Coaches that are unable or unwilling to change their style are chewing themselves up in the process.  These coaches are putting relationship building, culture development and mentorship firmly in the category of soft skills at their own peril.  They are sticking to their tried and true methods that ‘have always been the way we’ve done things’ and seeing their careers go by the wayside.


The thing is, kids can still take toughness, they can still take a coach driving them and they can still absolutely be held to very high standards.  However, they will take none of these things if a coach hasn’t, with both actions and words, made it abundantly clear that he or she cares deeply about them and proves that they know what they’re doing.  They also won’t hear a coach if they don’t understand the ‘why’ of a task.  In addition, their parents, without a good system in place, are very very likely to become an active part of their children’s experience.  They see 2% of what happens with their child and his or her team while they expect to have their input heard 98% of the time.


This is all a recipe for disaster.  High Schools are finding anyone who is willing to fall on the grenade to coach their teams.  These victims of bad timing are left to figure out the sport first while they feel their way through ‘this culture stuff’.  All the while the sharks are circling below waiting to snap off a limb should a moment be interpreted in a bad way by a player who thinks they should be playing more than they are.


It is said often that sports build character and bring about countless positive things for the players that partake.  This is not inherently true.  You don’t just plug a child in like bread in a toaster, hit a button, wait for the ding and out pops up a finished product.  Athletics has the potential to do so much good, but there must be a system in place to assure this will happen.


The system should address at least these 6 things:

  1. The ‘why’ of the program/team must be clear and understood by every person associated with the team.  Also, players and parents are too informed for coaches to act inconsistently with the team’s why.  If the team is all about the process and you, as a coach, are reacting mostly to results, you will have problems.
  2. Parents.  You need to have a clear system for parent communication and you have to follow the system.  A good amount of empathy will go a very long way toward gaining and keeping your parental group’s support.  If you ignore them, there are likely bad things festering in the stands.
  3. Organization speaks to competency.  There are too many tools hanging around that can assist coaches in communicating with athletes and parents.  If you are a disorganized mess in that department, your team will feel it and your leash will shorten with each misstep.
  4. Rules are overwhelming – standards are challenges to meet.  Set standards for your team that are clear, concise and empowering.
  5. Program Dictionary – take the time to define important words.
  6. Core Values – this can be a mission statement, a list of words that define your program, whatever you want.  It cannot be some business-like PR memo that no one looks at again.  It should guide your every decision and be talked about at every practice.

In addition to the above system points, consider empowering your athletes to look at you, your staff and the program as a resource meant to help them grow.  The coaches will not magically make them better, practices will not magically make them better, only they can make themselves better by putting forth the effort to learn and grow.


With that being said, try to empower your athletes to take charge of their own development with 4 questions:

  1. What does every team and player have in common: TIME
  2. Who is the best coach in the world: The BALL (or puck)
  3. What are your coaches to you: RESOURCES
  4. Who is responsible to make you the best player you can be: OURS (the player)

Athletics can and should be an awesome journey of self discovery and so much of that depends on the coach who is driving the ship.  Have fun, be inspired and put a system in place to help you navigate the journey.
Happy Coaching!

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.  

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

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.

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