The following is the first of four parts of notes taking from a Coach Nick Saban clinic talk while he was coaching at LSU. Thanks to LSU women's assistant, Bob Starkey for sharing this article on his blog, Hoop Thoughts.
You have to relate all the good and bad things that happen to you to some individual play or player. Sometimes players hide within the team. They don’t do what they are supposed to do. I see it in the fourth quarter or in our off-season program all the time. What it boils down to and what I address with the players is, “You don’t get what you want, you get what you deserve.” You are going to get out of the program to what you put in it. The challenge is greater for coaches, plus the kids are different. Are kids different today or does it just seems that way to me? I have a 16-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl at home. They are different because they are not allowed to suffer through anything. We coach a competitive game. In that game there is adversity and failure. In that game you have to play the next play and try to overcome that adversity and failure to receive self-gratification. That is really important. None of the kids are allowed to suffer. As soon as something gets hard for them, someone fixes it for them. They grow up not knowing the difference between cause and effect. Discipline is getting people to do what they are supposed to do, when they’re supposed to do it, and the way it is supposed to be done. Discipline is not punishment. Discipline is changing someone’s behavior to get him to do what you want him to do.Whatever you take away from the players in terms of discipline had better mean something to them. We have a simple rule at LSU. If the player doesn’t do what he is supposed to do, he doesn’t play in the game.I have suspended seven players for academics in 10 years of being a head coach. We are 7-0 in the games where I had that player suspended.It is our responsibility as coaches to get them to do the right thing, not enable them to do the wrong thing. As teachers and coaches, we have to get guys to understand the reasons behind doing things a particular way. That is the best way to coach. Everybody has to have a vision of what they think they can accomplish. You don’t have to be able to see it to do it. Ray Charles sings “America the Beautiful” better than anyone I know. Everything he is singing about he has never seen. He has never seen the sky or the mountains but he has a vision. It is important that people understand what they want to do and how they want to do it. I think you have to have a road map and direction in your program so guys can see that. We have principles and values in our program. Players have to know what is important within a program. Our principles start with helping the individual become successful as a person. We want the player to be more successful for having been in our program than he would have been if he were not here. We want to continue to develop the commitment and character of the players. We want our players to get an education. We have an academic support program that will help the players get that education. The players need to know that their welfare and best interest is at heart with the coach, his staff, and the people whoa re trying to help them. We want every player who comes to LSU to have the opportunity to win a championship before they leave. Since I have been coaching here, all our guys have had a chance to do that. There are no individual goals included in this section.