Tuesday, October 20, 2009
You Can't Send a Duck to Eagle School,
by Mac Anderson
Two of the all-time greatest coaches in sports history were Red Auerbach, who coached the great Boston Celtics basketball team in the 1950's and 1960's, and Vince Lombardi, the legendary football coach for the Green Bay Packers. When I read their biographies, what struck me most was their "keep it simple" philosophy. While other coaches were teaching complicated offense and defense, both Lombardi and Auerbach only had a few plays, but this was the key...they executed the plays to perfection.
Someone once asked Auerbach what magic formula he had for winning games. He laughed and said, "Our secret to success is what I would call 'effective simplicity.' Nothing complicated. In fact, we only have seven different plays and Bill Russell touched the ball on every one of them."
Under Auerbach's "effective simplicity" philosophy, the Boston Celtics won every championship from 1959 through 1966 - eight years in a row, a record unmatched since.
Lombardi's coaching philosophy was strikingly similar, and he had only five running plays in his offense, but like Auerbach, executed every play to perfection. He'd often say,
"We really don't fool anyone. The opposition knows what's coming, but they rarely stop us because every player knows his assignment and we've practiced it a thousand times."
Lombardi was fanatical when it came to teaching and reinforcing the basic fundamentals of the game. In his mind, blocking and tackling were the keys to winning football games, in fact, to make his point on fundamentals, every year he would begin his training camp by saying..."Gentlemen, this is a football."