When the legendary San Francisco 49er’s coach died on July 30th, one of the things that came out in the days following was Bill Belichick talking about the 1997 book that Walsh wrote with Brian Billick and James Peterson called Finding the Winning Edge. The Patriots coach had high praise for this book, declaring it a must-read for any one involved in coaching.
I managed to get my hands on a copy of the book…no mean feat since used copied are being sold for as much as $600 on Amazon.com. I thought that over the course of the season, we might take a look at various bits of advice from the book as it relates to the Patriots and the situations they might be facing at that particular time.
When talking about training camp, Walsh talks about teaching the system to the players, and near the start of the chapter, says:
Whatever the offensive or defensive philosophy of the head coach however, the core of any type of detailed preparation is the need for maximizing meaningful repetitions. Accordingly, as the head coach, you have to develop and implement a plan that ensures that every player gets the meaningful repetitions he needs to refine his skills and techniques.
When you think about the fact that there are 70+ players in a training camp, the importance of organization is really highlighted. The players aren’t just running through drills, it needs to be ensured that they’re getting the right drills and reps appropriate for their position so that the coaches can see their strengths and weaknesses, and thus address each.