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Winning with Nos

posted Sep 2, 2011, 8:13 PM by K Day   [ updated Nov 10, 2011, 11:45 AM ]
I've just picked up John Holt's "Teach Your Own" and in the preface Patrick Farenga talks about John Gagliardi, the winningest college football coach of all time. He doesn't drill his team or follow traditional methods to train up a great team. He wins with nos.

Gagliardi's success is attributable to more than just football strategy and tactics. He creates an environment of fun and high expectations and he concentrates on methods and practices that truly focus on winning football games. In short, Gagliardi's approach is one of concentration at the critical point and flawless execution. It is accomplished through a practice regimen that is purposeful -- emphasizing repetition and fundamentals. His coaching methods have been distilled into a series of "Winning With Nos," some of which are listed below.

No blocking sleds or dummies
No athletic scholarships
No compulsory weightlifting program
No whistles
No "coach" - players call him John
No tackling in practice - players wear shorts or sweats
No long practices - an hour and a half or less

Each year, over 150 students turn out to be part of the Saint John's program. Through his current and former players, his accomplishments on and off the field and his place in the records of NCAA football, John Gagliardi has built a legacy that is unrivaled in college football.

I wonder if anyone ever thought to stereotype John Gagliardi as a misfit for not following "traditional" methods. I also wonder why more of a lesson isn't take from his playbook and used more frequently in other schools around the country. Why not make this the new model? Of course every model won't work in every situation but surely, there is something of value to take away here.