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Coach Krzyzewski’s Best Coaching Practices for Sports and Business

When many people think of coaches, they automatically think about those who coach in sports. However, those of us who are entrepreneurs know that there’s all kinds of coaches. Back when I first published this post on December 18, 2011, I had recently done a comparison of sports coaches and whether or not their practices transferred well to professional coaches. One such comparison I think transfers well was “Lombardi Time”. Today I think of it as “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.”

So, to make sure you’re on time ALL the time when you’re trying to make a good impression – set that clock for 10 minutes ahead!

Another sports coach that we can get a lot of takeaways from is coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke Basketball.

There’s been a number of people through the years who have studied the mindset and habits he forms with his players.

Here are a few that I think are notable.


Coach K’s Practices:

Overall Mindset:

“Why do you play a game? I play a game to see how good we can be.”

Slightly different than the mindset of coach Herm Edwards who responded to this question with the infamous quote “You play to win the game!”. One might think that these are the same thing, but they’re slightly different. Personally I would mix these two quotes into something like “I play a game to see how good we can be in winning the game!!”

Why is this first part of important? Because if your foundation isn’t strong, then winning games becomes almost luck at times. Other times you might try and win by not being completely moral about the way you got there. Many believe that as long as you’re “winning” it doesn’t matter how you get there. Heck, that might as well be a Charlie Sheen quote.

Interestingly, that’s probably why his whole situation was amusing to all of us. It showed us as a society that “winning” is almost cliche. That we all, at one time or another, don’t care how we win – just as long as we do.

On Defense:

A sign prominent in the Duke locker room: NO ONE PENETRATES OUR DEFENSE.

In the world of college basketball, defense is key to winning games. If you build your team based on playing good defense, then you won’t be scored on and you won’t give the opposing time at the line throwing free throws. Defense is more important than offense, it would seem.

“He’s coaching like he’s defending the most precious thing in the world to him, and he does everything with the passion you would as if your were defending the most precious thing in the world to you,” said Steve Wojciechowski, a former Duke player (1995-98) and now a Krzyzewski assistant.

And they are – they are defending the standards of their program. Chances are when they lose games, it’s probably that they were beat by a better team and/or they didn’t play good defense. The Blue Devils place equal stress on keeping opponents off the line. Krzyzewski considers that a “critical” aspect of playing intelligent basketball. His teams practice situations in which they have six fouls and must strive to play tough defense without incurring a seventh that would put the opposition on the line with a one-on-one opportunity.

On Offense:

Duke is known for getting to the foul line on offense, often attacking the basket with dribble penetration. For many teams that they face, this is probably a great concern. But that’s just scratching the surface. Coach K. says, “I have a plan of action, but the game is a game of adjustments. Our offense is based on thinking. If you can really think on the court, then you have as much freedom as your abilities will allow you. What you try to do is create roles for your players. Not numbered roles or titled positions, but you try to say, ‘Look, here is where you’re successful, now in this frame of reference you can do whatever the defense allows you, so read the defense.”

In true leadership, this is knowing what the strengths of your players are and putting them in the team accordingly. Put them in a position where their natural abilities let them excel. As a coach/leader, we need to recognize these natural talents early on so we don’t waste time forcing a square peg in a round hole. However, there’s nothing wrong with rounding the edges of the square peg just a bit to help them be more flexible. Just don’t expect them to be as good as a natural in that position.

On Recruiting:

That last point brings up another good one. Back in my LTD days, I remember my upline Greg and the other Diamonds on the team talking about how they got the chance to watch Duke practices on an annual basis. One thing that stuck out to me that Greg mentioned was that the best coaches aren’t necessarily the greatest at coaching. They’re just really great at recruiting. Great coaches find talent that want to get to the next level. It limits the amount of conflict that occurs between the “players” and the coach. “I don’t need to necessarily be a great coach to my players,” said Greg. “I just got really good at picking good talent that make me look good!”

Other Quotes for You to Think About:

Here’s a few handpicked quotes that I think are pertinent to building a winning mindset and positive habits.

“I don’t think we surprise people. We try to out-execute them.”
-Coach K

“Last year, I said I wonder where we’ll put the second banner. We’ve got to find out, don’t we? I’m probably stupid for saying this, but I wonder where a third one might go.”
-Coach K

“The best teams are teams in any sport that lose themselves in the team. The individuals lose their identity. And their identities come about as a result of being in the team first.”
-Coach K

“You can’t defer if you’re the person who’s in the leadership position.”
-Coach K

“I think leadership is never singular. In a good organization, it’s plural.”
-Coach K

 

Action Steps

Love him or hate him, you gotta admit that Coach K is a great coach. He’s written several books that I’m a fan of. If you want a good book of his that I read a few years back, check out Leading from the Heart. If you liked the quotes, I got them specifically from a book called Coach K’s Little Blue Book. While it’s an older one, I highly recommend checking it out if you’re a sports fan and like applying successful principles into your life.

I’m not the biggest of basketball fans, but I really respect Coach K’s philosophy. To me it seems that having the structure that he gives his teams is the number one reason they do so well. I think that any coach that takes some of his style of coaching is setting their players or clients up for success.

If you’re a coach, how could you implement this into how you interact with those you’re working with? If you’re already having success as a coach, what kind of success principles have you been using to get your people to perform as well as they have?

Four Systematized Business Building Resources Which Will Help You Find Clarity in Your Work

The world tends to mistake desire for clarity.  When people talk in a no-nonsense way, it’s often mistaken for aggression. Getting aggressively engaged with your future will bring you clarity.

In a world of much chaos and huge differences in “factual” information, it’s pretty easy to get confused in what we want out of life. We spend so much time figuring out who we are, that many times we forget the actual process that we’ve taken to get to that point.

We forget that not everyone has had our struggles. We forget others don’t have our same background. And many times, we see the strengths that we’ve developed as no big deal.

Many of us, while we know we’re good at things, simply don’t choose to capitalize on those experiences and strengths. Many times believing that we have to emulate someone else to be considered “successful”.

But that’s simply not the case.

When we look at many of our favorite successful people, we might have different ideas of what made them succeed. It’s easy for us to think, “Oh yeah, that guy is a product of the system they’re in!” or “she was just lucky,” or my favorite, “dude, he simply has extraordinary talent”.

But, from successful person’s perspective, are those the true secrets to their success? That the reason they were good is out of their control?

Of course not.

So why is it that so many of us believe that success is given to us? That it’s from an external source?

Personally, I think that we’ve been trained to think that way. Our past schooling and our supervisors were the ones in charge in determining if we were successful. Success was based on our grades and our ability to move up in corporate ladder.

However, I’ve re-learned that true success comes from being able to build a sound foundation that all your future choices will be built on. That sound foundation is often referred to as clarity of purpose or simply clarity.

What Championship Sports Teams can Teach Us About Systemization

For a majority of people, professional sports seems simply as form of entertainment. On the surface, I can see how they see that. And frankly, they are. And I think that’s how many of us started watching our favorite teams. However, as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that we can study them, not for stats and trivia, but actually for key elements that we can apply to the rest of our life. We can learn about relationships, teamwork, leadership, communication, execution, metrics… the list goes on.

For me, I learned a ton from watching the 2006-2007 Colts team win the Super Bowl. Every year prior while Tony Dungy was their coach, they focused on the small things – the basics of the game.

They focused on tackling. They focused on timing. They focused on communication development. I mean, compared to today’s team, they were pretty polished on every aspect of the game. There’s no way that this would have happened to that Dungy team. The team was simply prepared to win that Super Bowl.

Looking around the NFL, there are a couple of teams that might stick out as teams that just “have it”. They have a working system. One of those, as much as I and other NFL fans would hate to admit, is the New England Patriots.

For as far back as I’ve been a fan of the Colts, the Pats have been a powerhouse in the NFL. While there hasn’t been too much released to the public about how they win so regularly, NFL fans can tell that the program that they utilize works for each player on the team. A program that stresses that their players must “Do Their Job“.

Across the sports spectrum, we can see many instances in college basketball. Take for example, Coach K. Just like the system that the Patriots have with Belichick, part of what makes coach Krzyzewski is that he starts with the basics and that he wants feedback from those that are around him. Before Belichick and Krzyzewski, there was Bobby Knight, and before him there was John Wooden. Each had winning systems.

“But, JC. You just said that people aren’t a product of their environment.”

Well, they are and they aren’t. They are in that a good system can provide a player a good environment to get better in. However, it’s up to the player to take advantage of that environment. Those that don’t follow the system are yanked out and replaced. That said, the more a player excels in that environment, the higher potential they have. They excel, they get rewarded by more playing time. They can’t let their ego get the best of them or the team and they, themselves, won’t win.

They simply need to let the system work it’s magic on them. For some it takes a little less time than others. However, when the player utilizes the right system, they’ll have a much better chance to succeed than if they were the only star on their team… or outside of the league all together!

 

Systematized Business Building

Since personal development and business development have gone hand in hand since the Wallace Wattles days, we should realize that there are ways to build a business and ways not to build one.

Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot of the same material repeated about building a business. Each time I hear it, it differs just a tad bit. However, the foundational pieces stay the same. And the biggest and most important piece that most people who want to start their own business struggle with, right from the beginning, is clarity.

Following a system that can give you clarity, just like in sports, is a HUGE advantage when you’re trying to figure out a business that’s going to function and be successful.

Through the 8 years that I’ve been studying the entrepreneurship world in detail, there have been only four sources that I quote regularly for helping me move on. One of them is finally systematizing his findings. So I wanted to do a quick review for you guys today. Depending on what you want to do, these will all help you move forward without wasting time and money.

Leadership Team Development (LTD)

Type: Immersive Training. Everyone starts from nothing. You will be working with sponsors who have had success already. You’ll be selling already existing products and getting others to join your team. Marketing and training is available through the company.

Cost: Varies. Depends on how you get started. Whether or not you buy the same product you advertise. How much marketing stuff you’ll use.

So this is going to be a hard turn off for some. However, others will love it. Just depends on what you want your business to incorporate. If you want to just focus on marketing and growth, this is totally your thing. If you want control over R&D as well, keep moving down the list.

For me, if I hadn’t started with LTD, it would have taken me a little more time to get into personal and business development. As far as passive income goes, nothing beats the multi-level marketing business type.

Why?

Well, for one, it’s super simple. Because anyone can enter and it doesn’t take a genius to be successful. You simply move product for the main company, and you get more people started as IBOs, coaches, or whatever they call their members.

The second thing is that the right groups, like LTD, will teach it’s members life skills (I learned about John Maxwell and Coach K, among others, from LTD).

And the third thing is that if you truly build it like those that have gone before you discuss, it literally is the most passive income source available out there available for people at all levels. Once you build your business, if you’ve brought in the right kinds of leaders and trained them well, then chances are as your group gets bigger, you’re needed less and less. Oh, and your income increases as well.

If you’re wondering, I’m still a card carrying member, so if your interested to know more, contact me directly about it.

Just make sure you put “LTD” in the Subject line somewhere.

The Foundation (TF)

Type: Immersive Training. Again, everyone starts from the bottom and works their way to the top. You will be working with coaches who have been students in the program before. Originally geared towards building online membership software (Software as a Service).

Cost: Relatively high up front. The expense of being in this program runs in the thousands. So it might not be an option to all future entrepreneurs. But it’s definitely worth it as you will be fully virtually immersed by the class.

Another very focused group that I’ve been a part of has been the Foundation. There are 10 types of online businesses that you can start. Being a “engineer” is one of these options.

As an engineer, we specifically fix a problem that clients and future clients will have. Many times that solution will be done through building software. We do this through what TF calls Idea Extraction. 

Now, idea extraction can possibly scare plenty of people because it might involve cold contacting people – especially if you’re not connected to an industry you want to help. However, there’s ways to mitigate the effects of doing this contacting and it’s explained within their course.

Check them out here.

Pat Flynn’s Book: Will It Fly

Type: Independent Training. Most training across the web is what I’d consider independent training. “Students” can start anytime, anywhere, and at any level. (The previous two options makes everyone start from scratch.) They have complete control over everything about their platform. Some might find this level of control too much. Others might love it.

Cost: Least expensive of the four as it’s a book. However, it’s put together from years of Pat’s studies for his blog and interviewing for the SPI Podcast.

Being released in February 2016, I have had the pleasure of being on the Book Launch Team for this book by the Internet Marketing Crash Test Dummy himself, Pat Flynn. While it might not come with the specific community that the three other options have (not saying Pat doesn’t have community, he does), it does have a great interactive framework that you can use to start your online business.

Specifically the book is divided into five sections. Those five sections are:

  • Mission Design – Through a series of thought-experiments, we’ll make sure your target idea aligns with and supports your target goals.
  • Development Lab – No matter where you are currently in your business, this phase is used to uncover important details about your target idea that you haven’t even thought about yet.
  • Flight Planning – This is where you’re going to assess the current conditions of the market that you’re entering so that you can see what (and who) you’re up against.
  • Flight Simulator – You will be combining everything you’ve learned through your research together to actually validate and test your idea with a small segment of your target market.
  • All Systems Go – You’ll be doing some final analysis to make sure you’re ready to move forward with your idea. In addition to that, you’ll get some helpful insight on your next moves, and how you can take a lot of the information you’ve uncovered during your research in this book forward with you, so you know your next steps.

Check it out here. (Amazon affiliate link)

Fizzle.co 

Type: Hybrid Training. Is a mix between Independent Training and Immersive. While you go at it your own speed and can start from any entry point, there is a community to ask questions regarding anything you might have problems with. I believe this is the Jack of All Trades solution.

Cost: Typically $35 per month. However, there is a trial period. Which you can try here. (Affiliate link)

This resource for building your business, like LTD, is for the long term. You can learn the basics that Pat discusses in his book, but it will take you from creation all the way up to scaling up to a point where you actually start hiring a team to help you. As of the writing of this post, I am a local Fizzle meetup host for Indianapolis.

There are three main phases:

  • Find and Develop your Business Idea – Build a Solid Foundation
    roadmappage-phase1
  • Launch Your Business – Earn Enough to Support Yourself
    roadmappage-phase2
  • Optimize & Grow to Increased Profitability & Sustainability
    roadmappage-phase3

 

Again, you can get started at Fizzle for a free trial here!

If you’re interested in being the best in anything, you got to find a working system to learn it in. As you can tell, I’ve gone through several myself. While I take full responsibility for my lack of focus and discipline in the past, it is my sincere hope that you will be able to excel in any of the above programs.

While each resource above is geared towards making you successful, whether or not you acquire that success is up to you. As the Under Armor Tom Brady (the Patriot’s quarterback) commercial says, “You are the sum of all your training“.

Homework:

If doing what you love for a living is really what you want to start working towards this year, I believe you need to get yourself in a system that will help you focus and excel. There are many out there, but I hope this review gives you somewhere to start. Below, feel free to ask any further questions about each resource you might have.

If you’re a seasoned pro and have had training outside of these 4, I’d love to hear about your experience. Eventually, I’d like to get a guide and/or review for various programs so that people don’t waste their time or money on a program that doesn’t fit them.