Preparation Is Key
In Every Detail
Tom Coughlin is the kind of guy that intrigues everyone. He seems a bit brash on the outside but his ability to win football games at every level consistently over a lengthy career, even the biggest game of all – not once but twice – proves he is more than just noise and bluster.
His second book, Earn the Right to Win, reveals just how deeply the stream runs below his turbulent exterior.
And in chapter 3, Success Is In The Details, you get a glimpse of how information rich football is and how cerebral Tom is in mastering the game. Winning at football means processing endless details.
Tom, of course, isn’t focused only on football. His point in the book is that there is a correlation between the effort to win at football and what it takes to win in the rest of life.
Success, Tom says, begins with superior preparation and as Christians we must believe that what is good for football success is also good Gospel success.
Football Is Complex
To appreciate the meaning of Tom’s point we need to first take a look at the complexities of football.
Football has one objective, score more points than the opponent, which seems quite simple until you look at the process. Football is no simple game and the proof is the many people who watch even several games and say, “I don’t understand.”
The reality is, very few people completely grasp everything that it takes to run even one play successfully much less win the game. It really is that complex!
Let me illustrate. Read more
Life Can Be Unpredictable
But Preparing To Win
Requires A Schedule
In the mid 1960’s The Rolling Stones recorded a song titled “Time Is On My Side.” It was one their first recordings and it was a big hit.
In the song Mick is philosophizing about a wayward girlfriend. She’s running around instead of staying faithfully by his side but instead of expressing hurt feelings Mick patiently waits claiming that “time is on my side.” And he confidently asserts that “She’ll come running back to me.”
Now, you might be wondering what a song about wayward girls sung by one of Rock N Roll’s most prominent bad boys has to do with winning. Well, the context of the song isn’t important but the refrain is.
The main issue in the song is “Time” and Mick repeatedly says it is on his side. In fact, at the end of the song he builds to a crescendo with: Time, Time, Time is on my side.
But there is good reason to think Mick may not be correct. Time can be on your side but there is no guarantee.
And that brings us to Tom Coughlin and the book he wrote. The title of Tom’s book is:
Earn The Right To Win
And it’s worth reading because it makes some universally valid points about winning. Read more
Preparation Is Winning
I just read Tom Coughlin’s book, Earn the Right to Win, and gleaned some valuable insights. Insights anyone can appreciate. This isn’t just another book written by a popular icon to entertain the masses and make a few bucks.
Although the book includes plenty of anecdotal material it isn’t a bio of the NY Giants or of Tom. This is Tom telling us how he won the most coveted prize in football, the Super Bowl, and he assures us, even in the title, that the principles he used can be applied to any field of work. Tom is very intentional in his coaching, his book tells us how he does it and it illustrates the point that a lot of thinking went into his approach to football.
If that’s true for one of the most physical sports around then it is probably true for anything else one might do.
Tom does have impressive credentials. He began his coaching career at Rochester Institute of Technology, starting the schools football program from scratch. He also served in several assistant coaching positions before taking the head coaching job at Boston College and was eventually hired as the head coach for the new NFL franchise in Jacksonville. At every level and in every position he established himself as a no nonsense leader who won games. How he accomplished this winning tradition is what his book is about.
I was impressed enough with the book to think it deserved more than just one short review. Since Tom is the kind of man who can start with nothing and eventually reach some lofty goals, He’s also a man to whom we should listen. If you’re looking for inspiration and how-to advice, Tom’s your man.
This post is just the beginning and will be followed by more.
It becomes very clear in the book that Tom is very deliberate. I was actually surprised at how much of a thinker he is and the overall theme of the book, preparation, illustrates the point. Everything Tom led his teams to do was his way of preparing them to win. Every detail of the preparation was well thought out. Winning was the goal and detailed preparation was his way of getting there. He introduces the “preparation” theme in the subtitle:
How Success in Any Field Starts with Superior Preparation
He elaborates on preparation in his introduction and then expands on it in every chapter that follows. He uses sports to illustrate his points but his illustrations can easily transfer to any other sphere of endeavor. He argues his points well. Read more
I Now Know
Why They Call It
Whether you cycle professionally, to stay fit or just to be social, the 94.7 Cycle Challenge is a great option. I entered the race for the first time this year and plan to do it again next year, the Lord willing and finance allowing.
My daughter-in-law, Sara, rode with me and it was her first race of any kind. She is planning to be there again next year also.
The route is circular starting on the M1 leading into Joburg and finishing at the picturesque Waterfall Estate. It mostly follows main thoroughfares around Joburg but briefly juts into a historic section of the city centre before following the Nelson Mandela Bridge out of the city and along what is deceptively referred to as a rolling track which includes several types of roads: four lane stop-start highways, freeways (national and metro) and two lane roads in both residential and rural areas.
The list of high points is quite long and combined they helped create a great atmosphere for a road race. All credit goes to the organizers and to Joburgers for making that possible. The synergy was remarkable.
There were ten official water points all providing refreshments, mechanical assistance, medical support and physio treatment. The longest distance to any table was 15 kilometers and that was the first two tables following the start. All other tables were separated by no more than 10 kilometers. Several were only 5 kilometers apart.
Loads of additional, yet unofficial, tables provided refreshments, toilets, mechanical assistance and encouragement, all sponsored by small businesses and friendly people and at least one provided great humor. It featured a sign that read “EPO sponsored by Lance.” I got a good laugh out of that and later learned they were giving out shots of Tequila.
The ambiance was great! Hundreds of braaing spectators set up gazebos along the route and clapped and cheered riders on. Even large corporations set up additional stands to support the race and these stands really stood out. Organizers referred to these stands as “Power Zones.” They were so impressive, Sara and I paused at one thinking it was a water table but kept moving once we realized we were in the wrong spot. It was encouraging, however, to know the community was coming out to spend their morning – and afternoon – watching us ride. Read moreComrades is certainly one of the more grueling. It is definitely the king of road races in South Africa.
The route runs between Durban on the Indian Ocean – sea level – to Pietermaritzburg and crosses a terrain which rises and falls several times, reaching almost 900 meters above sea level at one point.
And to make things worse, there is a time limit – argh! You must finish within 12 hours to get a medal and finishing in that time is not a given. Over fifty percent of the runners finish in the last hour and several finish late. Many don’t make it at all.
The race is run in both directions. Sometimes up – Durban to PMB – and sometimes down but don’t kid yourself, even down is no piece of cake. The record times for each are only 5 minutes apart.
In spite of these limitations it has become one of the most popular races going and this year registrations reached a record high of 19,617 for an up run. Approximately 1,300 runners came from overseas. Considering the length and difficulty of the course, and how far South Africa is from the rest of the world, those numbers are impressive.
One of the international entrants was my friend Ritchie Miller from Avalon Church in McDonough, Ga. It was his first Comrades, his longest marathon and his most difficult run ever. He didn’t complete the race in regulation time but the cause he ran for compelled him to make it across the finish line.
He ran to raise money for charity:
- Those supported through his church’s ministry, Avalon Hope
- And the SACRP – South African Children’s Resiliency Project – otherwise known as CRP. The CRP is the brain child of Dr. Robert Graham who is a US citizen and highly qualified but has dedicated himself to the cause of African children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.
The neat thing about this race is the route runs right by the CRP orphan village and because roads are closed for the race, the occupants of the village have no choice but to sit beside the road cheering the runners on, and sipping cool drinks of course.
But back to Ritchie. Read more