Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Studies in Leadership: Urban Meyer

Posted by admin February - 9 - 2021 - Tuesday

Let’s change venues this week and look at a successful coach instead of a military officer. I find the similarities interesting. See what you think!

I found a video that was aired a few years ago where 4 Ohio State players were asked, “What makes Coach Meyer a great leader.” It’s always revealing to hear what underlings have to say about their leader. They were candid in their assessment while also being insightful.

The main characteristic shared about Urban Meyer’s coaching style was that of “tough love.” He has high expectations and he pushes his players. However, all 4 players stated that Meyer has a great relationship with his players. “We know that he cares about us and wants the best for us. That’s why he pushes us to be the best we can be.” That statement is quite telling!

What I hear here is that there is a fine line between “pushing” and “abusing.” If a coach does not show compassion, he comes off as a martinet. That “Lombardi” style of coaching went out the window years ago!

A second characteristic that was reiterated by all 4 players being interviewed was an “attention to detail.” They knew that they were well-prepared by their coaches when they took the field for a game. Here is a classic example of my “5 P’s of Success“: PROPER Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. They called Meyer a great teacher. The players were not confused. Meyer is consistent— no mixed messages. Interestingly, one of the players said that “he is not intransigent. He is willing to listen and evaluate. But Coach Meyer is clear in what he wants us to do.” Another player said that “on game day, the only thing to worry about is: Go Fast!”

A coach who does his homework and then presents a clear and concise game plan to his team is one who will succeed more often than fail. However, preparing properly is one of those things that most people do NOT like to do. I have never forgotten the phrase I heard years ago about separating the “good” from the “great.” The quote says that “successful people DO the things that unsuccessful people do not LIKE to do!” Notice that it doesn’t say that successful people ENJOY doing those things. It simply states that they possess the self-discipline and the realization that those things must get done!

One player said that Meyer is a great motivator. He talks to the players a lot about “why are you here?” “What are your goals?” What is our mission?” By challenging his players to look inside, Meyer has that ability to spark his players’ fire.

Finally (and I think this is extremely important for HS coaches), several of his players said that Meyer develops them as men. “Coach Meyer does not look at us as just football players. He is concerned about our character too. He teaches us about being winners in life. He challenges us to be successful in ALL phases of our life. He shows care and concern.”

THAT is so important in building that coach/player relationship. It’s trite but true: “Nobody cares how much you KNOW until they know how much you CARE!”

Urban Meyer, like the others I’ve shared, possesses that “it” factor. He is confident; he is intense. Meyer has high expectations…. of himself, his staff and his players. Most of all, he is a “people person.” How would your players describe YOU if asked “how would you describe your head coach?” Hummmmmmm???

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