LEO’S LESSONS FROM LOMBARDI

For those who know me well, you will know that I am a huge Green Bay Packer fan and have been one since way back in the day when Vince Lombardi was coach and Jim Taylor was my first real football hero.  Recently, a college buddy of mine (who just happens to be a huge Packer fan as well) emailed me an article by Dan Oswald (CEO of BLR) in his “Oswald Letter”.   The article really summarized one of the major reasons Lombardi is one of my all-time favorite coaches.

The following story was chronicled in the article.  Going into the coaching clinic given by Coach Lombardi, another great coach was at the clinic thinking he knew a lot about football (John Madden).

He was astounded by what occurred during that clinic.  In his own words, “I went in there cocky thinking I knew everything there was to know about football, and he spent eight hours talking about one play – the power sweep.  He talked for four hours, took a break, and came back and talked four more.  I realized then that I actually knew nothing about football.”

Here are the major concepts to be taken from this clinic by Vince Lombardi:

  • Attention to Detail:  Lombardi spent 8 hours just going over one single play.  It is often the little things that make a big difference.  As he once told his players, “Gentlemen, we will chase perfection and we will chase it relentlessly, knowing all the while we can never attain it.  But, along the way, we shall catch excellence”.
  • Mastery of the Subject:  As a teacher/coach/leader of athletes, your knowledge inspires those around you and makes success possible.  As Lombardi says, “Success demands singleness of purpose”.
  • Clear Understanding of Each Person’s Role in Success In order to work together as a “team”, the coach has to clearly convey what each person’s role is as part of the whole.  Lombardi stated, “The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual”.
  • The Importance of Teaching Good coaches have to be good teachers.  Even as a manager, you must be a good teacher.  You can’t expect your people to properly execute movements they don’t understand.  As Lombardi said, “You cannot coach them what they have not been taught”.

Think about these concepts and how they apply to your situation as coach/teacher/leader.  Are you on the path of consistent, quality coaching?  There are a lot of so-called “experts” out there.  Seek out the highly qualified, highly respected coaches and teachers who they themselves are constantly learning.  The primary lesson to be learned is – be humble, be a life-long learner.  There is SO much information out there.  Keep learning and never be satisfied that you know it all!  For me, the lessons taught in this one session are great lessons to be learned.  In fact, I try diligently to use these concepts in the way I teach and coach and the way I manage my team (East Coast Gold).  It has proven to be a successful game plan!

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