When entering the NFL, most college football players would justly assume their days of term papers and exams are over. That is, unless, you join the Patriots.
During his keynote address at the “Sports Medicine and the NFL: The Playbook for 2013″ symposium on Thursday, Bill Belichick spoke at length about his personal team-building strategy and the most important aspects of building a winner. Belichick spent a good portion of time focusing on the important role preparation plays in achieving success, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, during which he revealed that he gives Patriots players pop quizzes every so often to help keep them mentally prepared.
“So it’s the whole idea of the ‘do your job’ feeling is to make sure you do your job and you’re prepared, and you’re confident in what you’re doing going into the game — we give them written tests or tests on the screen so their teammates can see that they’re prepared, they’re ready for the game, they’re ready for these situations that we’ve covered — and the next person can go out there and do their job without really a lot of concern about what’s going to happen around them. They’re confident of their teammate and the guy beside them.”
The Patriots do run a lot of quick reads on offense, which require players to adjust their routes and/or assignments on the fly. Belichick’s defenses are also well known for their complexities, so the inherent trust created by such tests is important for each unit to run efficiently.
Some players may not embrace the classroom-type atmosphere right away, but there’s no doubt they’ll conform fast or wind up out of New England soon enough.