The 2011 PAC 12 Season is looking like it will be the last where a true double round-robin is used to determine the conference championship.  As such, our staff is working hard to ask a lot of important questions about the nature of our conference, the key skills that need to be developed in order to better compete in the conference and a myriad of other questions that I hope will lead to further blog posts.

The goal is to clearly identify the little things that make a big difference in the outcome of matches. Then, go to work this Spring getting better at those details.  Why?  I had one quote in my locker at BYU when I played for Carl – “When I tend to think of the awesome consequences of little things, I tend to think there are no little things” – William James.  We should be obsessed with “little things” and work to know if we are in the right “little thing forest.”

My favorite blog right now is thetalentcode.com by Daniel Coyle.  You can subscribe to the blog on Facebook or Twitter.  I’d suggest doing both.  The latest blog post talks about great coaches being more like construction workers, than those come up with “killer ideas.”  Rather than subscribing to the concept of a killer innovation to win, great coaches are obsessed with the little things.  Daniel Coyle writes about Bill Belichick and his film breakdown sessions –

This is not an accident — this is, in fact, his construction-worker mindset in action.  This mindset focuses on three qualities, which can be approached as questions. Think of these questions as the filter in a great coach’s mind, governing his attention and action.

  • 1) Is it Replicable? Is this a one-off fluke, or is it an action that can be applied in a variety of situations? Blocking technique matters on every single play. If Belichick were a guitar teacher, he wouldn’t care about that kick-ass solo — instead, he’d obsess about thumb position and finger angle, the stuff that matters on every single chord you play.
  • 2) Is it Controllable? Is this something that has to do with effort, awareness and planning? If you watch the breakdowns, you’ll see how he makes heroes of players who pay attention, who anticipate, who get to the right spot at the right time. If Belichick were a high-school English teacher teaching Huckleberry Finn, he’d make heroes of the students who are first to spot the themes and connections in the text, because that’s about awareness and effort.
  • 3) Is it Connective? Is it related to a successful outcome? Belichick understands that every big play is built on a scaffold of solid technique. So he focuses, like any good construction worker would, on the foundational things that made success possible. Each of those small moves (the perfectly executed block) is in fact vital, because without it all the good luck (the big pass play) never happens. If Belichick were a sales consultant, he’d focus on the first ten seconds of the sales call — because without a warm emotional connection, the sale would never happen.
I’m convinced the outcome of matches is determined by the cumulative effect of little things.  In two weeks we get to see if it has an effect on who wins the Super Bowl.