Is Your Floor on an Angle?

img_0007Have you heard the theory of the angled floor? If not, this is great content for you. I first heard of this concept while working at the University of Wyoming under head basketball coach, Larry Shyatt.

The angled floor is a basketball analogy. Visualize a basketball court as a surface balanced in the middle between the offensive and the defensive end. If you want your team to keep the court balanced, then they give optimal effort on both the offensive and defensive end – making for a ‘complete‘ team.

Unfortunately- Players often put themselves before the team. In these types of situations, individuals see the basketball court in a specific way: in most cases, angled towards the offensive end. When the court is angled down towards the offensive end, the player is giving more effort towards one area of their game – the part of the game they want to do.  Visualize it this way.  The offensive end is slanted downward on the angle, meaning the player is running downhill with less resistance.  The defensive end would be on the high side of the uneven floor, making the player run uphill with more resistance.

Think about the most influential athletes of our time.  Those athletes they receive the attention, the ones our students idolize and hope to be.  What names stand out?  The Ones that SCORE.

Unselfish players give the same effort on both ends of the floor. This type of player competes just as hard on defense because they understand it is part of the game they have to do. They run as hard towards the defensive end as they do the offensive end, realizing that champions give optimal effort on both ends of the court. Unselfish players put the team first because they realize that by doing so, everyone is successful.  Now take a second to visualize those athletes that transcend the game.  Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James.  The ones that can domainate the game on both ends of the floor.

Consider your current profession. Place your role on a scale with the things you want to do (offensive end) and things you have to do (defensive end) on opposite ends. Is your floor balanced, or do you find yourself on an angle? Do you work as hard giving as much energy and effort to the things you have to do as you give to the things you want to do? If, through self-evaluation, you find that you are not giving a balanced effort, why not?

In each of our roles, we have every day tasks that we have to do vs the roles that we want to do. Let’s reinvest ourselves to the process every day to bring balance to our role(s) and provide the best support possible for our students. Balance your Floor.

Please consider following me through Social Media: Twitter, @WesDMaas / @FIU_SAAC Instagram: WesDMaas / FIUSAAC  and as always, #LiveMaas

Special shout out to all of those who assist me in the creative process and encourage me to continue moving the needle. Rumors are true, in an attempt earn more of the most desired commodity in our market (YOUR ATTENTION), I am going to take my blog from a written blog to a Vlog (Video).  Wait for it….  AM, LE, KC, TD, JB —> you know who you are and you are Absolutely essential to this process.


The Modern Office

img_0004The Modern Office

There is a great conversation ongoing by administrators in different communities regarding the Modern Office. I found myself fortunate to be on a conference call with professionals from both higher education & marketing this past week where this concept was introduced to me, and I have been drilling down on it every day since.

Growing up, my concept of the office was one of routine. My parents would leave for work every morning by 8:30am to start their work day at 9:00am. They would have an hour for lunch and then shut down and head home at 5:00pm. After fighting rush hour traffic, they would get home each night at roughly 5:45pm-6:00pm. Telemarketers did not exist yet, nor did caller ID. When the house phone would ring, it would solely be a family member or friend. I distinctly remember being excited when the house phone would ring, and I can’t recall a time growing up when someone from either of my parents work called our home during the evening or on the weekend. No emails, text messages or calls. The office mentality was solely Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm. My parents worked extremely hard and had to get everything accomplished during a very strict timeframe.

Let’s fast forward 20 years. My work day in the office starts by 6:00am, lunch is often at my desk and even though my ‘office’ day ends randomly each day between 4:00pm – 6:00pm, my actual work day ends about 10:30pm-11:00pm. My evening is a steady combination of home life with my family, as well as email, text messages, calls and progression on social media channels.

Technology has changed the Modern Office, but as administrators, we have not adapted to change our staff’s office hours. As part of our #SAACares initiative in the Student-Athlete Academic Center, we are changing this mindset. Our staff has the freedom to set their own work schedule based on when we can be ‘high touch’ with our student-athletes. That might mean coming in at 11:00am, but staying until 7:00pm. It could be traveling with their team to provide support on the road – or leaving early to go by a practice or attend a home game. We give our staff the professional freedom to take a day of professional leave if their teams are on the road so they can focus on personal or professional development.

In our Modern Office, we want to be where our students are, not chained to a desk because of the traditional office hours. If we want to be great at what we do, then the trade off is the inability to shut down at 5pm each day as the establishment has trained us to. The world around us no longer stops at 5pm and picks up the next day at 9:00am. I am lucky to be surrounded by like minded professionals at FIU. Dr. Elizabeth Bejar is the hardest working professional I have ever met. Ayssa Roza, our Associate Director, is often in the office until 7 or 8pm; only to return before the coffee is done brewing the next morning. Lyzbeth Armenteros has been known to work past 10pm with her track & field students. Donald Senat worked every weekend in February assisting our football program with the recruitment of the 2017 Class. Denisse Olarte comes in early on Sunday to help our students with math. Shirley Caballero, forgoing time with her adorable twins, travels with our men’s basketball program to make sure they have academic support on the road. Cristina Estevez stays past 7pm on Monday and Tuesday night so she can provide additional support for our baseball program. Alison Riccobono might literally live in our office as much as she is there.

At FIU SAAC, we take advantage of the technology that we have available to us to be effective communi1cators. We provide our cell phone numbers to our students, coaches and colleagues alike. Our Modern Office is not the established four walls with a window. We are where our students are.

National Signing Day

Thoughts and Insights on #NationalSingingDay LiveMaas

Today is a life changing day across the country for thousands of young women and men as they sign National Letters of Intent (NLI’s) on the NCAA’s National Signing Day for Women’s and Men’s Soccer and Football.

The events that we witness today on SportsCenter and through social media will pass quickly, as our attention spans will be drawn to the ‘next’ thing. But if you can, just this one time, give these young women and men a little bit more of your time on this occasion. These students will be taking a significant leap in the next few months. Going from very big fish in very small ponds to very small fish in a very big pond. Let them soak in the attention and allow them to feel the love from not only their families, but also their new fan base and the alumni from the school they have decided on.

Today is possible because of the hard work and determination of the student and their families, but also because of the hard work of the people behind the scenes. Over the past 9-12 months, staff members across the country have put in countless hours to secure these recruiting classes. Everyone will immediately think of the Coaches – but dig a little deeper, look behind the curtain and you will find…

Operational Staff members. Football Ops, Olympic Sport administrators, etc – their titles might vary from university to university – but these guys are the unsung hero’s of the recruiting process. Staff members like Nika Cleary, Jed Keime & Marc Davis at FIU. Matt Dudek, Ryan Reynolds and Mike Parrish at the University of Arizona. Brent Vernon at the University of Wyoming. Some of the absolute best in the business at what they do and people that (if you are in Athletics) should be high on your list of ‘people to watch’.

Academic Support Staff Members. When families come to visit, parents automatically matriculate to the academic units. Recruits can be signed or lost based on the availability of majors and the support surrounding the students academic pursuits. In no particular order – if you are a recruit, you WANT TO talk to these academic support staff members… The entire OFFICE (FIU), Katie Christensen (USC), Sara Ray (CSU), Andy Salgado & Sam Amato (U of A), Steven Cox, Jessica Goerke and Mike Maziarz (ILL), Dee Kennedy & Jennifer Barth (UNF), Britney Clarke (Syr) and Jeff Guin (TAMU). If you are a parent and your daughter or son is considering a school not listed above, do yourself a favor – pick any of the professionals above and cold call them. The way these professionals treat students and their approach to academic support will floor you.

Athletic Sport Oversight Officials. The officials who make the magic happen. Absolutely none better than Matt Whisenant at Wyoming. If you need an AD and you haven’t offered Matt everything and the moon to sign with your school, you’re losing. James Francis and Mike Ketcham (U of A). Ervin Lewis (UNF). Julie Berg (FIU). Rarely do these names get the true attention they deserve, but they are the glue to the program. Visiting one of these fine schools? Request 15 minutes with these guys. You’ll want to commit that day!

A special Thank You to all of the recruits who have signed with FIU Athletics today. We appreciate your trust and look forward to working with you! Until next time, #LiveMaas