Monday, December 22, 2008

Key Secrets of Good Coaching & Leadership II : Winning 151 Football Games in a Row can be Taught & Learned :: Prepare Your Team : Recognize Priorities

This posting is Nr. II of a series about The Key Secrets of Good Coaching & Leadership : Winning can be Taught & Learned : Personnel : Recruiting : Mentoring : Preparedness.

How is it possible that Bob Ladouceur, the head football coach at De La Salle High School in Concord, California, won 151 straight football games from 1992 to 2003 and keeps winning at an incredibly high percentage rate?

Ladouceur's football coaching record is phenomenal, even though Ladouceur uncharacteristically just lost to Centennial High School of Corona - a team which runs a no-huddle spread offense quarterbacked by Husker bound QB Taylor Martinez - 21-16 in the California D-I State Championship Bowl Game (De La Salle won the previous year against the same opponent 37-31).

Quwan Spears writes:

"The orchestrater of De La Salle's stellar dynasty the last 30 seasons, Ladouceur, 54, needed one victory to become the all-time winningest coach in state history, according to Cal-Hi Sports.com record book.

He remains at 344 career victories (22 losses, 3 ties) in his illustrious career, one that includes a national record 151-game winning streak from 1992 to 2003, 24 North Coast Section titles and sixth mythical national championships (5 USA Today, 1 ESPN)."

Does anyone doubt that Ladouceur will break that record to start out the 2009 season?

As written by Harold Abend at ESPNRISE.com, September 26, 2008, there are No secrets to De La Salle's success.

Abend quotes Ladouceur about his coaching philosophy on the topic of preparedness:

""Preparation is a high priority," said Ladouceur, whose teams regularly defeat opponents from schools twice their size. "It's also about offseason hard work. I tell the boys that in order to succeed you have to be working to get yourself into a position where success is possible.""

Ladouceur - in the things that he regards to be important for coaching - reminds of Larry Kehres, coach of the Mount Union Purple Raiders, who just won the NCAA Division III Football Championship for the 10th time in 16 years and who is famed for the quote, "without learning . . . there is no teaching." The onus of learning via teaching is thus on the coaches, not the players.

Abend quotes Ladouceur on this topic similarly. Says Ladouceur:

"My strength is in teaching. Plus, I have a feel for the physics and geometry of the game, and see how it applies on the field. . . ."

Moreover, Ladouceur is very similar to Larry Kehres in that he is well-known for being greatly interested in the welfare of the players, not just in winning. As Ladouceur says:

"[I]t's about being a positive part of so many young kids' lives."

People's lives are also a special area of interest to Centennial High School Coach Matt Logan, who bested Ladouceur in this year's championship game, and who was already elected Riverside County Coach of the Year last year. Logan had a personal tragedy to overcome as his young wife of 41 passed away last year from cancer, as written at the LA Times.

The Logan Crew website has a link to the Helping Hearts for Friends Foundation, set up by Matt Logan to provide financial support for families stricken by serious illness or injury.

Winning on the football field is important, but there are more important things. That recognition too is a secret of good coaching and leadership. It is also a good message to keep in mind as we enter the holiday season.

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