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College ball’s most aggressive coach

by on
in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Despite last month’s Cotton Bowl loss, Mike Leach has turned Texas Tech University’s football team into a powerhouse by implementing some of the most far-fetched theories in the game’s history. Better yet, his ideas can supercharge results in any field.

Here are five of his strategies:
  1. Maximize the number of people in critical functions. Leach spreads out his offensive line and makes some linemen eligible to receive passes, not just block. After all, pass receivers score and linemen usually don’t.

    Leadership lesson: Identify your key functions and let everyone know they’re expected to fulfill them.

  2. Change the way you use time. Most teams are happy to run between 65 and 75 offensive plays a game. Leach trains his team to run 90. That simply provides more chances to score and wears down the opposition.

    Leadership lesson: Perform critical tasks faster and more often than your competitors.

  3. Delegate authority. Leach’s quarterbacks have the right to overrule his play-calls, based on what they see on the field. His reasoning: They’re in a better position to view the opponent’s defense than he is.

  4. Overtrain. Professional wide receivers train by running 1,500 yards of sprints a day. Leach has his receivers run 2,500. He also installed a sand pit and has his team run in it to strengthen their ankles, knees and thighs.

    Leadership lesson: Overtrain your people in key competitive functions and tasks.

  5. Learn about your opponents while you compete. Leach runs all kinds of offensive plays early in a game so he can learn what shakes up his opponent. When he knows its weakness, he’ll exploit it repeatedly.

    Leadership lesson: Use some competitive activities to probe the other side’s frustrations and weaknesses.
— Adapted from “The most offensive mind in football,” Michael Lewis, New York Times Magazine.

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