On January 4, Coach Don Meyer stopped by the UCF campus to address our women's basketball team. He was at his best giving a tremendously enthusiastic message. Here are some of my notes:
Coach Meyer started his message to our team by quoting Doulas MacArthur: “Never give an order that can be understood; always give orders that cannot be misunderstood.”
Talked to our team about the “Foxhole Test.” He said he would give it to his team during the middle of the season after they had been given an opportunity to handle some success and some adversity. We have always done this with our team and it will give you as a coach and your players some great insight.
A player is to place her name in the top slot. She is in the foxhole and they are being fired upon. It’s a life and death situation. She then fills in the name in at the #3 slot which is directly behind her — this is the most important person in the foxhole. She is responsible for having your back. You are not looking to put a buddy or a pal in this slot. You are looking for someone with toughness who is trustworthy. The next slot in terms of importance is #2 because we tend to spend more time looking to our right. This again has to be a person that is tough and that you can count on. The same is true about the final spot — #1. Remember, you are fighting for your life — who do you want in there with you.
"There’s a big difference between playing and competing. Decide on being a competitor. It’s all about toughness. Learning to compete is a life a lesson. I used to lean down and tie my shoe. Now I lean down and put my leg on. I cried the first time I did it. I’m glad I was taught how to compete."
Competition is also about your ability to think. Smart competitors know when to walk away. Coach Meyer mentioned the fight in the Nebraska-South Carolina bowl game and the Xavier-Cincinnati basketball game.
Your mindset has to be to “bring it everyday.” Coach Meyer mentioned Vanderbilt baseball coach Tim Corbin as an example in the coaching profession.
You can’t pick and choose when to bring it. You can’t just bring it on the days when you feel good. Coach Meyer asked our team if they knew when NBA players were healthy. He told them on the first day of the first practice. After that they had to play through soreness and pain — it’s comes with the territory.
Coach Meyer than went over the Beswick Scale talking about the combination of “Talent” and your “Mindset.”
For instance, if you have a player that gets an A grade in Talent and A grade in Mindset then you have a special player. This player is your hardest worker. He mentioned players like Peyton Manning and Albert Pujols. He explained to our team how precise Pujols is in his performance — locked into routines created by self-discipline. He told the team how much preparation was part of his success—looking at film of his own swing constantly as well as other pitchers.
“Don’t just show up — you have to have a sense of urgency.”
If you get an A grade in Talent but a B grade in Mindset than you are a player that has a poor attention span and doesn’t retain that which is important. He went back to Peyton Manning as an example (A Talent and A Mindset) — drafted with the 1st pick of the NFL draft in 1998. The second pick on that draft was Ryan Leaf (A Talent and A Mindset). The result is that Manning is a future Hall of Fame while Leaf went on to drive a grain truck for his brother.
If you get a B grade in Talent but an A grade in Mindset you’re going to make it over more talented players because of your ability to concentrate and learn.
“Don’t know you are going to win, you must know HOW you’re going to win.”
Coach than stopped and looked at Coach Williams and said “I would’ve wanted my daughter to play for your coach. She’s going to go beyond making you a better player. She cares and will make you a better person.”
He spoke to our team about the importance of “complimentary players” and how you must not only accept your role but embrace your role. It’s important that complimentary players play off the go-to-players. It’s important that the go-to-players know they succeed based on the level of the complimentary players.
Every year the team is different.
Coach talked to our team about the importance of roles. He said they must be clearly defined and that is the role of the coaches. It is important that the player completely understand their roles. It is also important for everyone to know that every part of the team is important.
He talked about players holding each accountable but then was quick to point out that you “can’t confront without credibility.”
He told the story of Mike Ditka calling a team-only meeting with the Cowboys and saying “we know that Coach Landry is not a butt-kicker but I’m here to tell you that I’m going to the Super Bowl this year and anyone that brings their absolute best everyday at practice is going to have to deal with me.” The Cowboys went to the Super Bowl that year.
It’s important that each team has a leader — you can’t replace “internal leadership.”
“Each player has to be his own captain.”
He explained that you make your own luck by playing hard. You’d better not count on luck. Luck might win a game but it will never win a championship.