It’s that time of year when I get inundated with tons of football information for the new season.
Especially from coaches talking about their teams for the new season.
Most of it is pablum, “coach speak” if you will.
But not this dispatch from Tuscaloosa.
This is head football coach Nick Saban’s opening statement on the start of Alabama’s new season, and the importance of leadership and personal development.
Take good notes. Lots of nuggets in this.
(Reprinted courtesy of Alabama Sports Information).
Head Coach Nick Saban
“We are very excited to have the opportunity to try to get this team ready to perform as well as they possibly can, and hopefully reach their full potential. I know it is an exciting time for you as well. I think you kind of have to keep perspective on what’s going to make that happen. Our team is only going to do as well as the players can learn to develop an ability to execute on a consistent basis. This is especially challenging for young players who really want to do well and have high expectations coming in. Some of those expectations have been created by external factors. That also creates a risk aversive, an ‘I don’t want to mess up attitude.’ It makes it more difficult for them to be free and go compete and play hard and make mistakes and learn from those mistakes because they just don’t want to mess up. You go back to the old Nike commercial that says ‘Just Do It.’ In some cases, that’s what we are trying to get our players to do. Playing fast, playing hard and being aggressive; that kind of mental energy is really important to being a good player. When you get risk aversive and you don’t want to make mistakes, it actually can hinder your ability to learn and grow and perform like we would like you to. I think leadership is also really important to helping all the players on our team develop in terms of the support that they get. It really takes a passion, a commitment and a buy in on everybody’s part to get there. You’ve heard me talk about how everybody must buy in to the same values and principles and the standard that you have to do it. I think the standard is really critical. Sometimes leadership has to affect players so that we get more and more players to that standard. A good analogy is, do you want to be a thermometer which goes up and down with the circumstances around it, or do you want to be a thermostat that creates the same temperature all the time with consistency that you can count on, depend on, trust and believe in. That’s what we are trying to gain. Everybody is individually responsible for that. The coaches are responsible to try to get the individuals to be able to be responsible to that. We are working on trying to develop that consistency. Our focus right now is developing a synergy on our team. The goal of our team is to be relentless competitors. To be a team that nobody really wants to play by the effort, the toughness and the ability to be relentless and sustain for 60 minutes in a game. We need to play every play in a game like it has a life of its own. That’s what we have to condition and work to get our players to buy in, believe in and have passion for. That’s what our focus is right now and that’s what we are trying to do in camp.”
For me, two things stand out.
1. Set your own expectations and become the type of person that can accomplish them.
2. To be a successful leader, a consistently high standard of excellence must be reached and maintained.
Thanks, Nick. A great way to start the season.