I had the tremendous opportunity to learn from and work with two of the best in the world–Pat Summitt and Don Meyer. I’m forever thankful for those opportunities.
There were so many opportunities to learn from the hallways between the Men’s and Women’s Basketball offices–the people that would come and visit Coach Suhr–Kevin Eastman, George Raveling, and so on.
We discussed the outline of my book that is a collection of notes, thoughts and ideas from Coach Meyer and Coach Summitt. The title, “The Best Things I’ve Seen In Coaching” comes from a part of the Coach Meyer Coaching Academy where he would talk on a variety of topics ranging from leadership, politics, religion to coaching.
Coach Suhr and I spent a lot of time while I was working down the hall from him at UCF about note taking, and systems of organizing our notes. Both of us have volumes of notebooks, legal pads, post it notes and napkins with thoughts and ideas captured. We’ve all had the moment where “I have some great stuff, if I could only find it.” One of the greatest organization tools I’ve come to use is the app “Evernote”. Michael Hyatt on his blog best describes how to use the too.
A key lesson from Coach Meyer about note taking was to get a system. Any system. And use the system. Make the system work for you, not the other way of you working for the system.
You need a system to Capture, Retrieve and Review your notes and ideas.
All of these conversations and thoughts led Coach Suhr to ask about the format of the book, which is different than most books because it’s assembled in a Cornell Note system. We use this system in our notebooks as well.
Below is a picture from the book to show it’s layout.
I had 3 goals when assembling the book:
1. I wanted a way to share the notes in a format that I could look through daily, make notes or write down thoughts to share.
2. I wanted a format to share and leave these notes and ideas with my two sons.
3. I wanted a way to share and organize these notes/ lessons with our staff and team.
I didn’t want a book that you would just read and put back on a shelf. I wanted a “thought pad” or a working journal.
ADAPT vs ADOPT
Coach Suhr and I discussed the principle of adapting vs adopting that Coach Meyer taught. Constantly look for things, ideas, etc that you can adapt for your team, company or family. Get all the good ideas that you can, but know you can’t use all the good ideas. Then, the ideas you use, must be adapted to the time and place you are in.
COACH MEYER’S TEACHING
The thing that separates Coach Meyer and Coach Summitt is their ability to teach.
Brevity…Coach Meyer could say in 4 words what it takes many of us to say in a paragraph. Great teachers, teach with word pictures. Words are out there and then there is an immediate picture associated with the words he used in that teachable moment.
His ability to use words and experiences and events around him to the team or skill that he was teaching. He could relate the stories to specific teaching points that he was trying to make.
His teaching would seem so simple. You would think, “sure everyone knows that.” True, but everyone may know it, but not everyone can articulate it with such clarity and simplicity.
As coaches, we tend to complicate things and teach by adding layers–He was able to take layers away–simplify but clearly articulate his message. He wanted his teachings to be Sound, Solid and Simple.
COACH MEYER AS A LEADER
Coach Suhr asked what defined him as a leader?
It was his legendary following. It wasn’t the National Championship, or record number of wins, tapes, or clinics.
It has taken me 3 years as a head coach to really appreciate the concept of his transformational leadership. I’ve heard the word transformation and have used it..But it has taken these 3 seasons as a head coach to understand what it truly means. It wasn’t the X’s and O’s that made Coach Summitt and Coach Meyer great leaders.
Everything they were about was transformational not transactional. I heard the following recently from Ken Coleman’s interview with Tom Ziglar. He described productivity the following way:
ATTITUDE + EFFORT + SKILLS = PRODUCTIVITY
That is the exact formula they used and taught in this manner. Both are know as great skills coaches. But their leadership came from teaching Attitude and Effort (constantly) then skills. That’s the transformational aspect of their leadership.
The lesson I’ve learned over the past 3 seasons is that when things do not go as we planned or expected we tend to move more towards the transactional part of coaching (looking at results over the process) rather than the transformational aspect.
It was an honor to serve on Coach Summitt’s staff. Brian Billick said that working for Bill Walsh was like working in a laboratory of excellence. I certainly look at my time with Coach Summitt and Coach Meyer as laboratories of excellence.
Pat had the unique ability to coach anything. Won national championships with different styles of play and different levels of talent. She had a great ability to assemble talent and then get the talent to do what was needed to be successful.
It wasn’t the X’s and O’s that drove the program it was the Definite Dozen. I wanted to show how the Definite Dozen was woven into every part of the program at all times–practice, games, staff meetings, etc. It was how we went about doing things and what things mattered.
Pat taught the Definite Dozen by living it. Modeling it. Always looking for the teachable moment.
Both were authentic and made everyone around them comfortable. Everyone felt like they knew them and comfortable to talk with them.
Coaching Podcast is a great resource and mentor. Thankful for the opportunity to have been a part of it.