October’s book came to me from a colleague who recommended it personally, so I thought it was worth reading. I wasn’t disappointed!
Here it is…
Authors: Bill Walsh, Steve Jamison and Craig Walsh
Topic: Leadership, Coaching, Mindset, Self-help
Appropriate for: Coaches, parents and students
Overall rating: 5/5
Overview: Bill Walsh won multiple NFL Superbowls with the San Francisco 49ers. Not only is this an achievement in itself, but he also turned around a team that was struggling in the NFL, with a high turnover of coaches and 2 poor initial seasons. This book is a fly on the wall account of the techniques and processes Bill used to create a “Performance Standard” that was above the current accepted expectations.
He also discusses how he managed different playing personalities, or difficult characters and how he decided whether the issue was something that could be worked through, or something terminal for that person’s involvement with the 49ers. Bill also discusses his recruitment strategy, such as how he spotted a potential talent in Hall of Fame player Jerry Rice, that no other team was considering as a serious player. In some more candid moments, he discusses his shortcomings as a coach and manager, how the stress of the job took a toll on his mental health and how the processes he put in place helped his successor to continue a high level of success.
This book reaffirmed my own personal belief that a process-oriented approach is key to coaching “success”, whether that is the end score, technical development or psychological development. Bill also highlights that a results-based approach may indeed produce success, may it may also distract from the very actions that created it in the first place, thus creating a return to poor performance eventually! Whereas a process-based approach consciously acknowledges what processes were key to the development and progression to success and refines these further.
I think this is a key downfall in youth sport, many coaches pride themselves in trouncing the opponents with high score lines, or take immense negative feedback from a poor scoreline despite a high level of attitude and work ethic in their players. In my opinion this is a false economy and leads to either a false confidence that you are a good coach, or unneccesarily harsh expectations or feedback to players!
You can find the book here:The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership
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