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Browsing For BrowsersMonday, August 15th, 2016

IMG_2590 (1)by Josh DiCristo, Front Rush

Have you ever heard from a student athlete that a website you’ve sent them to isn’t displaying correctly or looks wrong? Usually the first question is “What browser are you using?”. Some websites will even ask the question for you – they greet you with a message telling you to switch browsers for a better viewing experience. No “Hi there!” or “How was your day?”, instead you get, “Please use Google Chrome”.


It’s a strange request, the first time you see it. You’d think that the internet is a massive, global network so surely it can all be accessed in some global way. Why are there multiple browsers, anyway? The same question could be applied to Mac vs. PC or iPhone vs. Android – all browsers are built slightly differently and are better for slightly different uses. So when you’re scouring the internet hunting for wild recruits (okay, I know that’s not exactly how it works but just let me have my fantasy), what browsers should you use?


Chrome is arguably the most reliable web browser as well as the most current. Though it’s updated about as often as Firefox, it’s ability to keep up with trends is greater than any of its competitors. That is to say: when in doubt, the site will work on Chrome. Chrome is the overall winner when it comes to speed and performance and also allows the most opportunity for personalization through chrome extensions. Like this one, which changes every image on your page to a picture of Nicolas Cage. Hey, I never said all of the extensions were useful.

Microsoft Edge

Edge is the newest browser on the market so you’re forgiven if you haven’t heard of it. Replacing Internet Explorer as the default browser on PCs starting with Windows 10, Edge is remarkably efficient when it comes to battery usage and is fast when it has to load simple pages. If you’re frequently visiting sites with lots of features however, you may want to look elsewhere. Considering it’s the newest browser on the market, its speed and reliability is impressive, though it’s not first place. Give it a few years and maybe it’ll be near the top.

Internet Explorer (IE)

With the release of Edge, updates for IE have ceased. You’re probably fine to keep using it for now, but it was always the slowest and least adaptive browser in the first place and it’s just going to get worse as time goes on. In a year, you might as well sit at your computer and yell, “SHOW ME CAT PICTURES” rather than use IE to search for it. Actually, in a few years voice-controlled computers could be a thing. That’s not as crazy as it seems.

What I’m saying is don’t use Internet Explorer.

Netscape Navigator

Your computer is legally old enough to drink. Get a new one.


Firefox is built in a different language compared to other browsers on this list, so when it converts a page from code to a display on your window, don’t be surprised if the page seems a little… off. The browser is fast (though not the fastest), reliable (though not the most reliable), efficient (though not the most efficient, but it makes a strong case), and will keep your personal internet data safe (actually, it’s the best at that). There’s a fair share of pros with Firefox so, like all browsers, it really depends on your usage. If you left your charger at home and you’re scared of WikiLeaks, this might be the choice for you.


Safari doesn’t eat up nearly as much battery power as it’s competitors and it’s just as fast, but you’ll see some of the same issues as Firefox when it comes to webpages displaying incorrectly. In addition to that, not all features will load properly on Safari. Although if you love Apple products and live in an Apple household and have debated legally changing your name to begin with a lowercase ‘i’, then you’ll enjoy Safari for how it interacts with your other devices. Otherwise, you may find other browsers more reliable if you depend on the internet for your day-to-day.


Oh, Opera. The most popular web browser in Sub-Saharan Africa and Bangladesh (that’s true). Look, Opera’s actually a really good option when it comes to speed, performance, personalization*, reliability, privacy, your webpages will look normal, blah blah blah, but be honest with me. Did you know Opera was even a web browser before you read this article? You won’t have any problems if you use Opera, I’ll give you that. Just know that when you ask your nephew for help with your internet, he’s just going to download Chrome and call it a day.


Honestly I’m just impressed that your computer still has a CD-ROM drive. If I give you the tracklist, can you burn me a mix CD? Don’t worry, you can find most of the songs on Napster.

*Want to know why Opera is good at personalization? Because Opera allows you to download and use any Google Chrome extension on their browser. Cheaters.

Hit Em’ Where it Counts!Monday, August 8th, 2016

nicole1by Nicole Sohanic, Front Rush

Long gone are the days of snail mail and email correspondence as the main tools of communication. Historically messaging apps had a tone of being too casual and lacking in professionalism. Times sure have changed. Being the main medium of communication among ‘kids these days’, it has also found its place as a staple communication tool among working professionals.

What are messaging apps? These apps replace text messaging on your devices. Among them are WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, and many more. Using messaging apps, you can avoid text messaging charges and even communicate across country borders without worrying about a hefty bill. These messaging apps all have their special affordances that cater to individual’s needs. They can provide awesome bonus features that the regular text messaging app on your device just cannot do.

Competing with other coaches, you need speed and clarity when reaching out to your recruits. The quickest way to get in touch and express your interest is through messaging apps! That recruit will receive your message right away and can immediately start communicating with you in a medium they use every single day.

Casual is Comfortable

We all have at least one adult friend on facebook that will close their comment with their name as if they are writing a formal letter. No need for such formalities when you are messaging! Say hello and express your interest. Keep it light!

Short and Sweet

It is best to keep your messages on the short side! When chatting in a messaging app, sometimes it is hard to keep up. Messages can be long or can come in short, rapid bursts. Make it easy, give recruits time to respond to the messages you send. The more you get to engage with your recruit, the more you get to learn about them as an athlete and a person.

Timing is Everything

Even though recruits may receive your message right away, does not mean they can respond at that time. The tone of messaging apps can sometimes bring about some anxiety or impatience when someone doesn’t respond as quickly as we would like. Be patient, give the recruit some time to finish up whatever they could have been doing. If you have not heard from them in a day or so, feel free to touch base again to be sure they got your message.

Team Communication Tool

With your existing team, you can use messaging as a fast way to communicate. Group messages are your number one friend for mass communication. Inform your roster of practices times, schedule changes, and upcoming team events. GroupMe is a popular app among college teams. Allowing you to see when messages are sent, received, and read is super crucial to making sure everyone knows what is happening. This instills responsibility in your athletes to get back to you in a timely manner and acknowledge your message. You also have the ability to set up groups for your support staff, trainers, and current roster. Since these groups always remain, you are one click away from talking to who you want.

Get out there Coach! Jump right into these awesome messaging apps and take advantage of them for recruiting and team communication. Learn something new, talk it up, and have some fun along the way.


Expand Your EmojicabularySunday, July 31st, 2016

ken1by Ken Whittaker, Front Rush

I have a confession to make. I used to think emojis were useless. I didn’t get the point. When I made the switch from Android to iPhone (gasp!) in 2011, emojis were just gaining popularity. Some of you might remember that to even enable emojis on the iPhone, you had to go to the keyboard settings and add the specific emoji keyboard (the horror!). A friend of mine stopped by my dorm room one day, and must have noticed I was still typing emojis the “original” way 🙂 She said something like, “You gotta get emojis” before leaving. “Nah,” I thought to myself, “it’s faster to type the symbols.” Fast forward five years, and 😍.

Now, if you don’t know what emojis are – you’re probably very confused. In short, they are cartoon like representation of emotions, images, shapes, food…and just about anything. It’s not a new concept – but neither is Season 32 of Survivor. Everywhere you look – emojis have popped up. Just last week my auto insurance company sent me a statement reminder and had a dollar bill emoji in the subject line. This naturally begs the question – are emojis professional? I wouldn’t venture that far – but when used in the right context – they can be a great tool. They’re funny and can often summarize a feeling that might otherwise be too awkward to type out in words 🐢.

At Front Rush, we use an instant message client to communicate as a team, which is especially convenient considering many of us work across the country. It’s no secret that emojis are a huge part of our day to day interactions – whether they are for fun, to drive a point home, give props for a job well done, or even help to take lunch orders 🍕. There is no question that your recruits and players use emojis. I’d be willing to guess most of you also use them as well. Here are a few ways you can use emojis in your day to day recruiting methods:

Break the Ice

Using emojis when communicating with recruits lets them know you’re a fun person (I know you are) – someone that’s not just all about business. It gives a message more of a personality and could even help with some confusion. For example, “I saw your video from last weekend’s tournament” vs “I saw your video from last weekend’s tournament 👏” Subtle, but it definitely sends positive vibes their way. The best (worst?) part is there’s no limit to how many you can use, however…

Don’t Go Overboard 🙄

Some people like to string multiple emojis together to create a sentence. Honestly, I never really saw the point in this. I think of emojis as helpers, not complete replacements for entire words in a paragraph. It’s possible this mentality might change in the near future, as Apple has announced a feature coming in the next version of iOS that will allow users to tap on a word and replace it with an emoji. 🆗👍(That’s emoji for, “Hmm, ok. Got it.”)

International 🌎

If the situation arises where you’re still brushing up on your foreign language skills, emojis can help you in a bind. As I mentioned earlier, emojis can represent just about anything – including emotions. It’s like tech slang, so the more you can pull from your existing emojicabulary, the safer you’ll be.

Familiarize Yourself 🤓

Ok, so maybe I haven’t sold you yet. Maybe you’re still acting like the 2011 version of me who was a holdout. The truth is, emojis are just such a common part of texting, instant messaging, and even emailing, that there’s no doubt you’ll come across them if you haven’t already. Emojis are continually being added to the universal library (in fact, 72 new emojis were released last month), so it’s important to know what they are and what some of them mean. This resource (http://emojipedia.org) will help you get started.

Drones: What’s All the BuzzMonday, July 25th, 2016

cip_pic_360by Chelsea Cipriani, Front Rush

Every week, I head over to Dusty Rhodes Dog Park in Ocean Beach, San Diego with my two crazy Italian Greyhounds (semi-instafamous @izzy.the.iggy).  Throughout the year, I have witnessed many different activities in the park however, more recently, I can’t help but notice the increasing recreational use of drones.

Maybe they have always been there but there is one defining moment that I began to notice their existence.  Just for a visual, the dog park is separated by a fence, keeping the small dogs on one side, and the bigger dogs on the other.  I probably wouldn’t have noticed this drone, until Baxter, a lab mix, made a run for the corner of the connecting fences barking uncontrollably.  He launched over the fence and headed straight towards the center of the field.  It was then I realized what Baxter was after.  He was after the drone.

This drone was piloted by a young boy and his father.  They were operating the DJI Phantom 3, one of the more popular drones on the market.  There are lots of different brands of drones out there, but I have just decided to focus on the DJI Phantom Series.

The DJI Phantom 3 features 4 models to choose from.  Phantom 3 Standard (the “beginner model”), Phantom 3 4K, Phantom 3 Advanced, and Phantom 3 Professional (the “phantom that has it all”).  Each of these drones were created for High-Level aerial photography and cinematography.  The prices typically vary from $499 – $1259.

To Learn more about the features of all of the DJI Phantom drones visit their website.

Aside from recreational use, businesses have caught on to the trend using the drones mainly for  photography and video. However some companies such as Amazon are taking it further with the idea of commercial drone use for package delivery.  On June 21st, the FAA Finalized the first operational rules for commercial use of UAS (drones).  These regulations will create new opportunities for Businesses and Government moving forward.

Okay, so how does all of this relate to you?  The other day I was at the USA Women’s Rugby Sevens Olympic trials at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw it again, a drone taking off and eventually hovering above the field.  I had to pause for a moment because up until this point, I never thought of a drone as anything more than just a cool piece of technology, but now I see how valuable it can be in athletics.

Not only does a drone have a very functional purpose when it comes to filming your practices, it is really really awesome.  Drones offer that futuristic angle for media purposes, in promotions, and highlight films, but I sat down to speak with one of the players on the team to find out if and how drone use at practice has impacted their video analysis.  Below are my findings.

  1. The View / Depth Perception: Having a higher angle allows the players and coaches to see the entire width of the field as well as distances between players.

Imagine this, you’re a field hockey coach and your main focus all week has been off ball movement.  You are putting everything together in a final scrimmage before the upcoming game.  The ball transfers from the right back, to the center back, out to the left back, and ahhh you can no longer see the right back, right midfielder, and you have no idea if those players are making the correct cuts / movement.

  1. Moving with the play:  The use of a drone allows you to move with the play from the back field to the forward line.  

Everyone has watched film.  Typically you have this one problem.  Maybe your camera is set in a lift behind a goal.  That is great when you are defending or attacking that goal, but what happens when you need to see the rest of the field.  “Is that #7 or is it #9? Oh no, it’s #6…I think.” This can help you solve that problem.

  1. Safety: No longer have your student workers, players, and coaches standing at dangerous heights which have the potential to result in injury or even a tragedy.
  1. Cost Effective: You can purchase a very advanced Drone for $1000 or less.  Now that may sound expensive, but think about the cost of a mechanical lift, or scaffolding, in addition to a quality video camera, which would easily cost $600.  

The quality of video on the Drone is so high that it will most likely be better than the quality of the camera due to its 4K resolution.  

  1.  Be known as the tech-savvy coach: Players, other teams, and most importantly recruits will think its really awesome.

When you have recruits on campus, typically when they come to watch practice they do not have much to do.  Here you can have one of your players show them all about the drone and footage and even allow them to take a turn flying the drone (if you’re feeling adventurous).  It will definitely be a memory they will remember and share with their family and friends.

In the past, the use of drones really didn’t seem practical.  After witnessing how common they are becoming and digging into it a bit more I can see how drones will only evolve more and help overcome some of the obstacles the camera and tripod may encounter.  

From creating marketing videos of your campus and your sports program to utilizing drones in your day to day practice and game film, the possibilities are endless.  If you have an extra $1000 in your budget, I highly recommend exploring how a drone may be a benefit to your program.  

Pokemon Go – Why You should care, and how to use itMonday, July 18th, 2016

neal_headshot_dantudorby Neal Cook, Front Rush

By now, you’ve probably heard the word ‘Pokemon Go’ hundreds of times. You may have even seen some people – more than normal – walking around staring at their phones. Odds are they are trying to catch digital Pokemon. So what is Pokemon Go and why is it taking the world by storm? To understand Pokemon Go, you must first understand the origins.

Pokemon was originally a concept from a video game designer named Satoshi Tajiri. Tajiri had a childhood obsession with insect collecting and a passion for video games. Hence, the original Pokemon game (pokemon is a combination of the words pocket and monsters).

If you were a kid in the 90’s, chances are you had a Gameboy and played Pokemon non-stop. The game, coupled with a hit TV show, made Pokemon a cult-phenomenon. But that was 20 years ago.

Flash forward to the present. Pokemon Go was released on July 5th. It’s a free, augmented reality, mobile game that can be downloaded on most iPhone and Android devices.  Augmented reality blends the real world with technology. The game uses your phone’s GPS sensors to track where you are and uses Google Maps as your game board. You can’t play this game sitting in your house. You need to get out and move. As you walk around in real-life, Pokemon will appear and you can catch them with your digital Pokeballs (sounds kinda lame, but it’s actually really cool).  Depending on your location, you’ll notice different Pokemon. Fire-type Pokemon appear close to gas stations, grass-type Pokemon appear in parks, water-type Pokemon appear when you are by water. Chances are your school has some unique Pokemon that your recruits and team would love to catch.

Why should you care about all this? Because it’s huge. Really huge. As of Monday, July 11th, the game was seeing about 21 million daily active users (in a span of a week). In terms of daily users, it is the biggest mobile game in U.S. history. While it’s hot, it’s most likely playing a role in the lives of the student-athletes you engage with.


How can you use your knowledge of Pokemon Go with your recruits and team?

#1 Check to see if your school is a PokeStop or Gym.

A PokeStop is a predetermined landmark that you can interact with and gather items (pokeballs, potions). Odds are, you’ll have a few these on your campus. Gyms, on the other hand, allow you to battle your Pokemon against other real people. Both draw users of the game to their locations (small businesses are actually using Pokemon Go to bring customers to their businesses).

#2 Catch Pokemon with your recruits

Recruits and parents are coming on campus to learn about your university and program. That comes first, but doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun along the way. Maybe take a detour to your local Pokestop/Gym on campus and catch a few Pokemon. Doesn’t have to be for long. But this would be a great icebreaker and show the recruit you are pretty cool and in-the-know.

#3 Tell your recruits which Pokemon you caught

Next time you send an email to your recruits, let them know how many Pokemon you’ve caught or which Pokemon has the strongest CP (combat power). Recruits will get a kick out of it. Maybe it’ll even spark a larger conversation about your program.

#4 Have fun with your team

Most of your team is already playing. After practice or a meeting, lighten the mood by having a Pokemon walk with your team. Sure, some might be “too cool’ to participate, but it’ll be a great team-bonding experience.

Pokemon Go is a global and cultural phenomenon that may or may not be here to stay. Familiarize yourself with how it’s being used within your world. Get creative in how you could use it to engage with your team, recruits, and even your University as a whole.

Gotta catch ‘em all!


Digital Angel or Digital Devil?Monday, April 25th, 2016

by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com

There comes a time when I need to face the truth.

In this instance, there are three truths, digital truths, that I’m trying to process:

  1. Digital Truth #1: Digital is impacting coaches
  2. Digital Truth #2: Coaches adopt digital at different speeds
  3. Digital Truth #3: Screen sizes keep getting smaller

Here is what has me scratching my head … there is a positive impact (Digital Angel) and a negative impact (Digital Devil) to each of these truths. And I’m trying to understand how this will work.

Truth #1: Digital is impacting coaches

In a recent survey of sport coaches, over 35% of them told me they were significantly concerned about the impact digital was having on their coaching.

04-24-16 - impact of digital on coaches


Yikes — all those coaches worried about data flying around, media that’s called social, and powerful phones in people’s pockets.

Are their concerns valid?

At the other end of the survey results, 31% of coaches told me that they were NOT worried about the impact of digital. AT ALL.

Are they ignoring reality?

Who is right? On my end, I see the Angel and the Devil:

  • Digital Angel: One day I was pumped about the value of sharing a race video I just recorded, through social media, to team members.
  • Digital Devil: The next day I spent hours trying to sort out a “social media dust up” between team members. At the end of the day I was ready to condemn all things electronic.
  • Digital Angel: A huge percentage of coaches report the impact of digital on their recruiting is positive (>70%)
  • Digital Devil: Everyday there is another story about a coach who runs into trouble due to digital, like this one.

See, there’s an Digital Angel and a Digital Devil sitting there. On a shoulder. Whisper confusing things.

Truth #2: Coaches adopt digital at different speeds

Almost half of coaches in my survey (44.1%) told me as soon as they know about a new digital thing they want to try it.

04-24-16 - coaches adopt digital

That’s crazy stuff. What are these coaches looking for? A recruiting advantage? Easing of workload? Distraction?

Yet, the other half yawned when new digital popped up. They said they don’t care about the new stuff..

So, half of coaches are early adopters (that’s me, actually I’m a super-early adopter), and the other half are late (if ever) adopters.

Angel and Devil again.

Truth #3: Screen size is getting smaller

Thanks to Moore’s Law, digital gadgets are shrinking and so is their cost. And this is leading to smaller screen sizes.

desktop => laptop => tablet => smartphone => smartwatch

I have a theory. Here’s the first part: “smaller screen size means devices are becoming more mobile.” It is so easy to stick the smartphone in your pocket or slip the smartwatch on your wrist and take the screen with you — everywhere.

Here’s the second part: “smaller screens lead to greater human contact which leads to greater use.” And, of course there is an Angel/Devil aspect here.

  • Digital Angel: quick communication is at arms length
  • Digital Devil: distracted coaching becomes a reality (how many times do you check during practices?)
  • Digital Angel: everyone has a smartphone
  • Digital Devil: a smartphone in plain view, even if off, changes conversations

The list goes on.

So What?

Does any of this matter?

Growing up, rock-n-roll was just becoming popular. The adults around me were split between how great it was, and it being a sign of our society’s demise. Angel/Devil.

Digital is part of our coaching world. There are smart/safe ways to use it. I doubt if we will see a lessening of it’s popularity. Knowing there is both a Digital Angel and Digital Devil might be helpful as I (and you) keep moving ahead.

Will A Robot Take Your Coaching Job?Sunday, March 27th, 2016

by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com

You’re not going to like this, but I have to ask you a question. You’ll probably think it’s the stupidest question you’ve gotten today. Or this week. Or maybe this decade.

Regardless, I’m going to ask …

Will a robot take your coaching job?

Will you be replaced by a machine?

There’s a new reality brewing

You, we, me are way too valuable to be replaced by a machine. We bring too much to the role of a coach.

How could we possibly be replaced by a robot?

Heads up — it’s happening already.

  • Yesterday, I took my pulse during practice by placing two fingers on my carotid artery, Coach would count to 10, then I would multiply by 6.
  • Today, I all have to do is look at my Fitbit and read the display.
  • Yesterday, to fine-tune a player’s moves to the basket, Coach would stand, watch and then instruct.
  • Today, video cameras are turned on, and players can watch their mistakes in all shades of slow motion. Where, when and how they want to watch it. (Each NBA team has six cameras in the ceiling.)
  • Yesterday, the intensity of my workout was at best an estimation.
  • Today, an app tracks my steps, stairs and heart rate and tells me to work harder or rewards me when I exceed my goals.

03-26-16 - Fitbit image

Are those robots? Close.

robot can be defined as a mechanical or virtual artificial agent, electro-mechanical in nature, which is guided by a computer program or electronic circuitry.

I think it’s scary how close we are to robot-coaches.

Human powered?

Why do humans even need to be involved in the coaching process?

Is it because we know more than machines and computers. Actually, we don’t.

Is it because we can communicate better. Actually, we can’t.

Is it because a machine could never drive better than us? Actually, they can.

Or is it because we learn as we go — and machines don’t. Actually, they do. As evidenced by an artificial intelligence named Giraffe, which taught itself to play chess and attained an International Master status in just 72 hours.

Taught. It. Self.

Knowledge, communication and learning are NOT just human strengths. Machines can do them, and if they aren’t doing them better than us TODAY, they will TOMORROW.

Our advantages

So what does a human-coach actually do better than a robot-coach? Humans blow away robots in at least two areas — areas critical to coaching: empathy and relationships.

Empathy — We can read people’s facial expressions. We can tell by the look in their eyes or their voice intonation how they’re feeling and what’s going on. We can grasp what they are emoting.

But, how long until robots can do that?

For instance, the computer I’m typing on has facial recognition. How difficult will it be to connect that recognition with an emotional data base? Then, when I sit down at my computer, it knows how I feel. “Need a few minutes of Twitter, Mike, to see what your friends are doing? It’ll pick you up.

Stay tuned on this, because I think it’s happening now.

Relationship — A critical factor in coaching is the ability to build positive relationships. A robot could never do that. Right?

Well — what’s your relationship with your smart phone?

Even if you don’t do any of those, I bet you know someone who does.

A prediction

I’m lousy at predicting the future. But there are voices to listen to.

Scott Santens wrote Robots Will Take Your Job, published in the Boston Globe. In the article Santens writes about the jobs already being replaced by robots (hint — it’s not just on the assembly line).

And he throws this bomb shell on the reader, “Nothing humans do as a job is safe anymore. From making hamburgers to anesthesiology, machines will be able to successfully perform such tasks and at lower costs than humans.

Evidence suggests Santens is right.


To keep our coaching jobs, we need to be valuable.

So, what makes YOU more valuable to your athletes/team/organization than a robot?

I’d love to hear …

How To Coach Sports and Deal With Digital OverwhelmMonday, March 14th, 2016

by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com

“Technology is a great slave but a terrible master.” – Tim Ferriss

My first experience with my cell phone was awful. I finally threw it away.

It was a dumb phone. I liked it for the camera. Hated the phone part — because people would call me. I’d have to stop what I was doing to answer the phone.

That makes sense, right? I got a cell phone because I wanted a camera in my pocket, and I get miffed because the phone works. The camera was my slave, the phone turned out to be my master.

And that summaries what a coach told me in my recent digital impact survey:

“I’m a coach and I every time I turn around there is one more new digital product, or change that I have to get used to. I don’t have the time to keep pace with all of this new stuff.”

Slave or Master

I don’t know your coaching-workflow, but I bet the you use several digital tools. Something like:

  • Smartphone in your pocket
  • Computer on your desk
  • Tablet in your bag
  • Apps galore

Is that how you roll? If so, what’s your relationship with them? Who is the master? Who is the slave?

We think it’s the athletes who are slaves to their phones, not raising their eyes to look up, always swimming in the Facebook pool.

But coaches are not immune to being enslaved by digital. It can be so overwhelming. Like old school me who could figure out the camera, but done-in by the phone.

Money or Helpful?

Few tech-companies make digital products because they are good FOR you. They make them to make money FROM you. When a money stream dries up, out comes:

  1. a new product
  2. a new update
  3. a new platform

I’m not a Luddite. I like digital toys, but …

not when they bring work to me … outside of work
not when my free time … gets invaded
not when I’m forced to upgrade … that which already works well
not when they don’t work … such as exposing my personal data

And especially not when I spend more time learning and massaging a tool that should have saved me time.

Action That Can Help

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, what can you do? I’ve had those feelings, and here’s what I did. Maybe one will work for you:

  1. Be the Master. You are the master of your digital. If you aren’t, YOU’VE given digital permission to be your Master. All things digital should be your tools. If you are feeling forced to be enslaved to digital (“My boss says I have to have my phone on and next to me 24 hours a day”) you need a better job. Seriously better.
  2. 80-20 it. You’ve been hearing about the Pareto Principle recently, unless you’re living under a goal post. Basically, in this case, it says a large percentage of your overwhelm is caused by a small percentage of your digital tools. So, is there one or two tools that are the culprits? Can you become the Master of them?
  3. Ask yourself, “Why do I need this digital tool?” I am NOT on Facebook, because it isn’t helpful to me. I could easily be enslaved to it, but since it is not a helpful tool for what I do, I’m not there. Look at any digital tool you use, and ask yourself, “Why do I need this?”
  4. Will simpler work better? What is the simplest tool you can use to get your job done? For example, I love to write using the fantastic program Ulysses. It is a helpful tool, however sometimes it is too complex for my writing. So then I use the very basic Notes program that comes installed on all my Apple devices. (I’m writing this on it now) and DayOne. They are basic, but meet my needs. In-and-out and I’m done. Is there a simpler digital tool you could be using?
  5. Look to automation. Are there tools, or part of a tool, that can automate some of your workflow?

Digital overwhelm is a fact for many. Keeping up with the new stuff can be a challenge. A constant stream of products designed for better connection, deeper engagement, greater productivity often means burden on the limited time we have.

Keep in mind who is the Master.

Are Your Athletes Glued To Their Smartphones?Monday, February 22nd, 2016

by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com

Do they hear only half (or less) of what you say?

Is it hard for them to concentrate during practice?

Are you wondering why they don’t respond to your emails?

If so, then when I say “attention is your new battlefront” you understand.

Right now, it’s tough getting and keeping your athlete’s attention. 

But you have to, because if you don’t you won’t stand a chance of surviving as a coach.


Because a coach must guide, must nurture, and must protect — and that won’t happen if your athletes are zoned-out and ignoring you.

Curse You, Smartphones

It’s easy to blame smartphones for your athlete’s brains being somewhere else. But do that and you miss the big picture — and a few important reasons your words fall on deaf ears.

Here’s what I mean.

First, your athletes are a skeptical lot. If they are between 12 & 34-years old then you are coaching Millennials. A trait of Millennials is they are skeptical. They ask things like:

  • Why should I believe you?
  • What’s in it for me?
  • How can you help me?
  • Can I trust you?

You might not hear those questions but they are asked. And if you aren’t answering them to their liking, then why SHOULD they pay attention to you?

Second, a tidal wave of information is hitting your athletes square in the face — everyday. It’s almost impossible for them to hide from the incoming stream of messages/information/requests — making it hard for the athletes to concentrate. So, why SHOULD your words stand out? Is listening to your message more important, more engaging, more entertaining, more helpful then all the rest?

Third, the Millennials (yes, back to them) want to know what is going on. They want information — scratch that — they demand it. And they don’t like not getting it. Which means, if they feel that they are only getting half the story, they WILL stop listening.

Fourth, now to smartphones. At your athlete’s fingertips is that constant stream we just talked about. And it’s there all the time.

Most athletes don’t have filters or times limits on their phones. So they are the ones who have been put in charge of monitoring their own smartphone use. And you are a witness to how well that’s working.

As my dad used to say, “The kids have been given the keys to the candy shop.

Finally, social media is this generation’s Cheers. It’s the place they go because everyone knows their name. So when the real word gets uncomfortable, boring, or stressful social media offers an engaging haven. Can’t blame them, I guess.

It’s almost like a perfect storm between their generation, smartphones and the appeal of social media. What’s a coach to do?

I’m glad you asked.

Your Attention Strategy

Here’s the centerpiece of any attention strategy — athletes GIVE you their attention. You can’t grab it or steal it. Screaming and berating won’t work. They have to give it to you, and to get them to give it I offer a few suggestions that might work:

A. Set up a distraction free zone. Have them put their phones away, off and out of sight.

B. Don’t  be tempted to meet them half way.Just turn your phones off and put them down,” is not enough. It has been shown that a smartphone in plain site, even turned off, is a distraction. Not just to the owner but to those who can see it. “Phones off and out-of-sight,” is a good mantra.

C. Matter more. With their phones away, explain to them what you are trying to achieve, and why. They want to know the why. “Because I said so,” just annoys them, and their attention is gone. “Because we will be working on you getting better, that’s what’s in it for you,” goes much further.

D. Tell the athlete’s “support-people” what you are trying to do, and what you are noticing. Those people could be a youngster’s parents or a college student’s friend. Maybe they can help.

E. Be the example. Turn your own phone off, and put it away. “Ah, but I use it for video, and pictures.” Get a digital camera or use a GoPro Hero. See B, and phone away.

F. Set the expectations. Expect your athletes to follow your lead, and help them to do it.

G. Be Engaging. When you talk to them, make your content so engaging that they cannot resist giving you their attention.

I. Have them write. In a meeting or class session, have the athletes write notes on paper. The act of writing deepens engagement and snags attention.

J. Reward them. Rewards like self-satisfaction and a sense of purpose grabs and holds people’s attention. Identify the rewards that most appeal to your athletes and use them to get their attention.

K. Use Your Reputation.  If you’re trying to capture the attention of people who don’t know you, tell them about your expertise. Robert Cialdini calls this “directed deference.” His book, Yes: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, is a must read.

L. Use Mystery. We love stories, and our brains are fine-tuned to remember incomplete stories and tasks. We also dislike uncertainty. Using stories at a base level grabs people’s attention.

M. Be brief. Respect them by getting right to the point. Don’t waste their time.

N. Use images. Words are only one-half of the way our brain is designed to process the World. Images are the other half. Simple images can grab and hold attention, and are a great way to promote long term memories. I wrote about that here, on Copyblogger.com.

O. Love boredom. This sounds strange, but if an athlete says, “I’m bored,” tell him that’s good. Solitude and boredom are a respite from our crazy world, and are times when we do some of our most creative thinking. Personally, I believe boredom can be very productive, giving the brain an opportunity to free-style think. Boredom isn’t a bad thing. Your athletes should know that.

— — —

You, and everyone else in the world, are vying for your athlete’s attention. You’ve got to:

  • out-think
  • out-promote
  • out-engage

those others. It’s a battle you need to win. I’d love to hear how you are fighting it.

– Mike

The New Technology Tool Some Basketball Coaches Can’t Live WithoutMonday, March 23rd, 2015

Larita Wilcher knows a problem when she see’s it. Years of experience as a college basketball recruiting coordinator does that to a person.

So when she ran across an issue she and her fellow coaches kept having to overcome, she set out to solve it.

“I used many scouting services and databases, but none gave the recruiter a platform to host schedules in a way that would allow them to manipulate the data”, says Wilcher.  “I also realized there was no central location that provided the schedules of those prospects that I needed, which meant that each year planning how we would efficiently use our recruiting days and coordinate it with the staff was a time consuming process.  Even when I had administrators and managers to help with compiling the schedules it became a static outdated piece once it was put into a spreadsheet.”

So after years of research and work, Wilcher launched Recruit Scheduling Solutions.

“It’s a solution for college coaches who value their time and efforts in recruiting”, says Wilcher.  “We assist them by providing a tool and service that keeps them organized and efficient managers of their time.  Our service of providing the playing schedules of their top prospects and the software to manage the information is the most innovative and interactive approach to recruiting, and it provides that data to them in one central online location.”

And high level coaches agree.

“RSS makes tracking and staying relevant with our recruits a snap”, says Louisville basketball coach Stephanie Norman.  In my opinion, it’s a must have in a college coach’s software library.”

Xavier coach Bryce McKey adds, “This service and tool has greatly helped our staff stay organized and has saved us countless hours of prep time.”

The service is affordable, as well.  Especially when coaches consider the time and wasted energy in tracking multiple recruits.  Annual subscriptions start at just $1,500 per year, making it one of the most cost-effective tools available for college coaches.

For a more detailed overview of what the service provides coaches, click here.

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