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Friday, October 3, 2014

COACH MEYER: PROCESS OVER RESULTS

I have spent the past few nights re-reading "How Lucky You Can Be," the outstanding book written by Buster Olney on the life of Coach Don Meyer.  This weekend we will have our 3rd Annual Gary Blair Coaching Academy.  I designed the Academy in a format extremely similar to the legendary Academies put on by Coach Meyer.  In fact, one of my speaking topics this weekend will be: Coach Don Meyer: Lessons Learned and Leaving a Lasting Legacy.  Buster's book gives great insight into who Coach is and what he stands for -- it's a great read for all coaches of any sport on any level.

There has also been a lot of banter on twitter the past few days on the importance of process over results in the development of players and teams.  Here is a passage from the book and how Coach Meyer was also a process-oriented coach:

Meyer's strength as a coach, (Randy) Baruth thought, was in the daily intensity that he imparted to his team -- an intensity level that his players mostly learned to match -- as well as his ability to identify the smallest fundamental flaws that prevented players from executing.
Jerry Meyer thought his father loved the process of finding solutions to basketball problems more than the games; it was if Don Meyer were a musician who preferred the practice sessions in the garage to the concerts.
Don Meyer focused on the process and taught his players to think more about the process than the results -- but of course, he understood that a preponderance of correctly executed plays would almost inevitably lead to victories.  A rival coach thought this was a brilliant method through which Meyer took pressure off his players: He relieved them of the big-picture worries about potential wins and losses by relentlessly training them to think only about what they could do better in any given moment.
What Meyer did far less than other coaches was focus on major in-game adjustments of tactics.  If an opposing player got hot and was wrecking Meyer's team with his shooting, Meyer did not usually make  significant alterations in the defense by switching to a zone or to some sort of specialized coverage designed to slow down that player as many coaches would do.  This was partly due to Meyer's belief in his own system, Baruth thought.  A rival coach once stood next to Baruth and said about Meyer, "You know what I like about Don?  His attitude is: "This is my team, this is what I do.  Find a way to bet me."