Sunday, October 23, 2011


Everyone thinks talent is fixed—that this guy’s got it and that guy doesn’t—but it’s just not true. Talent is elastic, and particularly so in team sports. A team of athletes that are well coached well disciplined and play hard together can beat a team with more talent, if that team lacks character, or proper attitudes or cohesiveness. You can beat a team like that—and it’s satisfying when you do!

Everyone knows this. But how do you do it? I’ll tell you how: You coach them all—and let the cream rise to the top.

Here’s the point: You’re not going to yell your way to the top of your profession. If your people are going to perform their absolute best, you need to give them the tools to do so.

If you’re mining gold, you better give your miners the best shovels and picks out there—or you won’t get much gold out of them.

Why coach everybody? Because no one is so smart they can tell you which young prospects are going to develop, when they’re going to develop, or how far they’ll go.

Here’s another reason you should coach them all, instead of just the hotshots: because you recruited them! And if you picked them, you should help them. If he’s no good—well hell, whose fault is that? Yours! So you’d better do your best to make them better.

I’ve always thought you can get more out of every player, even the stars, if you coached them as a team. If you try to win championships, instead of individual awards, everyone will get better.

This means everyone on your team must have a clear, specific role to play, and they have to see those roles as being vital to the success of the entire organization.

The most important things we gave every player, though, were time and attention.

If one of our players wanted to see me, he got to see me, no questions asked. And whether or not they wanted to see me, I wanted to see them! That’s why we set up those meetings twice a year, so I could go over their grades, their goals, and let them know what they could do to contribute to the team’s success that season.

When they left that meeting, they had no confusion about where they stood on the team, what I expected of them, and why there were important to us.

From "Bo's Lasting Lessons" by Bo Schembechler and John U. Bacon