Pete Carril, the outstanding former Princeton basketball coach, in his book, “The Smart Take From The Strong,” says the following about the basics. “One of the things I’m grateful for about my coaching career is that I started teaching guys to play in the tenth grade… I taught the basics.”
He went on to say, “Even at the college level, I always spent a good half hour on the basics. And one thing I noticed: Sometimes in an effort to shorten our practices, we cut out the basics. If we did that for a long period of time, the guys began to slip.”
Then going on to coach in the NBA, he said, “And now I’m teaching the basics to the pros.”
While we were speaking together at a basketball coaches’ clinic, Joey Meyer, the excellent DePaul coach, said this to me. “You’re lucky you began coaching at the high school freshmen level while I went from playing college ball directly to coaching at the collegiate level.”
I never thought of that before, but I was fortunate to begin at that level because I had to learn to teach the basics to these young players. And I carried that same concept into my thirty-four years of collegiate coaching.
Is it any different in business?
I always respected our Joliet 7UP Bottling Co. executives. From the president on down, when these folks graduated college and went to 7UP, they all began the same way – driving a truck to deliver the product. With this beginning, they learned the basics of the trade.
Tom Thayer, a starter on the Chicago Bears Super Bowl champions, never forgot where he came from. To this day when someone in Tom’s hometown of Joliet, Illinois needs help, they can count on Tom. He never forgot where he came from.
If you begin doing the basics and never forget that beginning, you will prevent slippage in your leadership role.