Practicing For The Less Than Perfect Pass

May 16, 2024

I live in Athens, about 4/10 of a mile from the University of Georgia track which is in front of the football facilities. I’m a UGA alumni and will confess to being a big Bulldog fan. Twice a week I go down to the track to do an interval workout. One part of the workout is to run the stairs in the stands at the track. Directly behind the stairs is the football weight room. The outside wall of the weight room is glass, so I can see everything that’s happening in the weight room. One day a few years ago, when Stetson Bennett was quarterback, I reached the top of the stairs and leaned over the rail to catch my breath. More than a dozen football players were working out. I scanned the room to see if I recognized anyone. On the left side I saw Stetson Bennett, the quarterback, doing something that at first glance seemed odd. He was throwing short passes at weird angles to another player. I watched in fascination and then it dawned on me. They were preparing for the unusual reception – when the pass is not ideal and the receive must reach for it at a weird angle. I thought to myself, “Who prepares for those weird angles?”

Then I thought, “Those that want to consistently win championships. They are the ones who prepare for the unusual reception.” 

 I’ve been fascinated about how Georgia has been able to create such a consistent winning streak since Kirby Smart became the head coach. He does recruit excellent talent. But so do plenty of other teams. What separates Georgia is how they develop their players.  The coaches don’t play the game. The players play the game. The coach’s job is to recruit the best talent they can, and then develop the players to thrive in the imperfect world that is every football game. No game goes completely as you plan it. There are always surprises. Does your Talent & Development model prepare people for the perfect situation or does it prepare people for the imperfect situation. If you practice for the perfect catch, it may not ever come. If you practice for the imperfect catch, though, you win games – lots of games.

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