Thursday, January 26, 2012

Coaching Knowledge Project #7 Don Shula

            Over the last few summers, I have started taking notes on some of the coaching biographies and books that I have read. One problem that I have had over the years is that I read so much and look at so much different info that I don't ever retain the knowledge for future use. I will read about a drill or a philosophy and I will think "Hey, that fits pretty good with my guys. I wanna use that this year." Then I will lay the book or the info to the side and forget all about it.
                 Earlier this year, I began to compile & organize these notes & axioms into a single document. Ideally I would like to eventually have a notebook that I could add to each offseason and look at again each pre-season as I reevaluate my program. I thought that as part of this blog and my compilation efforts, I would share some of the things that I've found.
             These are quotes about coaches, quotes from coaches about their influences, and outside observations on coaches and their programs. Some of these are Hall of Fame coaches, some have losing records, and some are career assistants; all have good things to offer.
                With the Miami Dolphins in the news as a possible landing spot for Peyton Manning, I figured let's go with a classic and pull out some Don Shula notes.


·         I try to get the edge with mental preparation, and physical preparation, and in general, with overall preparation to accomplish the ultimate.

·         Don always wanted to know why we did what we did.

·         He always gives the “why” to everything that is put into his playbook.

·         He studied the opposition and always wanted to know “why” if something wasn’t working. When he dealt with a player, he’d always ask, “Are we asking too much of this guy?”

·         That is what coaching is….the ability to transmit information.

·         Everything is laid out to the minute. There are four and a half minutes here, eighteen minutes there. He has taken the coaches out on the field and put us through warm-up exercises just the way he wanted players to do them.

·         The team sees him working so hard and that feeling rubs off.

·         In the end, winning & losing doesn’t depend on trick plays or using new systems each week. It comes down to a matter of motivating people to work hard and prepare as a team. That’s what really counts. In a word, it’s called coaching.

·         The relationship I want to establish with my football team is one of mutual respect. I want my players to respect me for giving them everything that I have to prepare them to play their best. My respect for them has to come from knowing they are willing to give me all that they have to prepare themselves to be ready to play.

·         Determine your players’ talents and give them every weapon to get the most out of those talents.

·         Preparation means everything to me. I’m passionate about my players being ready for anything. If our players are worrying about their assignments, they have a tendency to hold back. They should be so familiar with their assignments that when the game starts they’re operating on auto pilot – not thinking, just doing.

·         He gives not only the Xs and Os, but the theory of why the play has been designed, why it is run and what it was designed to do with other plays to be used in a game.

·         Winning early helped because I was asking them to do so much. It made them think the work was worthwhile. They saw it pay off.

·         Each player, regardless of his position, must be taught to innovate & deal with situations he hasn’t practiced against.

·         One of the big things I’ve learned is to become more understanding of others in this regard. There might be a better way to teach a guy than to blow your stack on the sidelines, depending on the player’s personality.

·         On appearance: The key word is moderation. But I’ll draw the line the minute a player begins to think more about the way he looks that the way he plays.

·         When we win we know it’s not final. We know we’ve got to line up next week and prove ourselves all over again. If we lose, we also know we’re not dead and we must get off the floor and have a chance to change the score the next time we play.

·         The fact that you, as a coach, are asking performers to go beyond themselves, to push their limits, will automatically mean that you’ll be doing unpopular things. If what you’re after is being liked, that is going to dictate how hard you push; you won’t want to offend anybody or get them mad at you. As soon as that happens, there goes your effectiveness – and respect as well.

·         He rationalizes that if you come up short in your attempt for perfection, you’ll still be a formidable team. But if you strive to be just good and come up short, you’ll likely wind up an average club.

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