Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

Lessons From Urban Meyer


                         Urban Meyer’s “Plan to Win”


It’s really hard to argue with Urban Meyer’s success as a coach. He has been a winner at every stop, Bowling Green, Utah and now at Florida. I like to study successful people to gain some insight on what makes them tick and how they became leaders in their field.


Why Study the Successful?


This probably comes from my experiences with my first professional job after college. I had the pleasure of working side by side with Mike B for nearly a month. Mike was one of the best and most successful people in the structural building materials manufacturing business. While everyone is different and we all have our own styles, I concentrated on learning from Mike what the critical success factors were for my job and the methods he used to become the top person in his field. I just tried to copy much of what Mike did and modified my approach only to accommodate some unique strengths I had.  I also spent some time trying to understand those that were performing poorly and obviously did my best to avoid following in their footsteps. I didn’t want to wait 5-10 years to excel in this job, I wanted to add value to the company I was working for day 1 and of course provide for my family as well. Those 30 days saved me years of stumbling and probable failure, as my initial thoughts on how I would prioritize my time and efforts were way out of whack.


That was a valuable life lesson that has served me well beyond that first post college job. In order to make myself a better coach and an more effective husband and father, I have an extensive reading list that includes topics like leadership, communication, business, coaching and even a few on X’s and O’s. The latest stack includes books by John Wooden, Tom Osborne, Kevin Kush, Coverdale and Robinson, John Maxwell and Steven Covey to name just a few. My bride was kind enough to buy me a stack of books for Christmas. I usually read one or two of them on my flights back and forth to all the clinics I’m doing or late at night in the quiteness of the hotel room.  It makes the down time in and the flights go so much faster. I’ve found many of the ideas we implement in our youth football teams are spawned in many of the non-football related books.


One recent book I finished was written about Urban Meyer, “Urbans Way”. It is an authorized biography written by a pretty capable guy, Buddy Martin. While there are a handful of ideas in this book that all of us can use to improve our youth football coaching, there was one concept that stuck out to me like a gaping wound.  It’s Urban Meyer’s “Plan to Win”. This is not some detailed grandiose scheme, but a peak into where Urban Meyer’s priorities are when he goes into each season.


Urbans “Plan to Win”:


Play great defense

Get turnovers and protect the football

Score in the Red Zone

Win the kicking game


While this doesn’t seem like much of a plan or is anything any of us don’t already know, it is a recipe coach Meyer has used to gain nearly unparalleled success of late. Many youth football coaches are on this site right now because they saw some real cool video clips of my Single Wing offense scoring gobs of points or maybe they saw for themselves a team using my system putting up gawdy numbers on the scoreboard in their own backyards.


 Reality is our first priority is always defense, followed by winning the special teams game. We do have a precision based offense, but we don’t sacrifice practice time to the altar of the offense, our practice time is nearly even when it comes to offense and defense and in fact the defense goes in first. This is counter-intuitive to many youth coaches, since it seems like the offense is more complex and has many more plays and adjustments etc. We rep the defensive techniques and schemes very much like we do reps on air or fit and freeze reps on offense.


The net is, Coach Meyer knows what it takes to win in the College ranks and prioritizes his effort and practice time based on those factors. In those respect, the critical success factors and setting priorities is not so different than what it takes to coach successfully in youth football.


I might add I have no allegiances to Florida or coach Meyer. I like studying successful coaches in every field.

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  1. dbusher

    I know this is not related to the article but I really need to ask:

    What are the various ways of calling plays out to your players?
    Is there a drawback to using visible signs to do this such as flip cards on the sidelines?

    What has worked for you?

    1. admin

      We use wrist bands for every player with a code we call in verbally.
      Flip cards are good, but some kids cant see that far and it takes time to flip the cards etc


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