When the New England Patriots have success — a frequent occasion in the last two decades — head coach Bill Belichick is quick to credit his players.
Belichick almost always shoulders some of the blame when the Patriots lose, but he never fails to be effusive in his praise of his players when things are going well. That’s not completely schtick, either, as he clearly puts a lot of trust in his players to be able to do their jobs on the field.
University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban learned that from Belichick when the two of them coached together with the Cleveland Browns. Saban revealed Thursday that it was Belichick who cautioned him against overcoaching while in Cleveland.
“Sometimes, players are kind of depending on that kind of reinforcement all the time in practice, but in a game, there’s no coach out there,” Saban explained to reporters Thursday. “I used to coach like that when I was an assistant with the Cleveland Browns, and we’d have a scrimmage and Belichick would chew my butt out, man. He’d say ‘Let the players play.’ And I was like, wow, I’ve never had my butt chewed out before for coaching, teaching, but I have to say the same things sometimes to our coaches now.
“There’s a time where you’ve just gotta let the players play because in the game they’ve gotta know what to do, they’ve gotta know how to do it, and can’t depend on someone else to make the call for them. They can’t depend on somebody else to recognize things for them.”
It’s clearly working for both Belichick and Saban, as the two have won 12 combined titles in their respective jobs. It also makes sense as to why both so dearly value practice time and why both can have reputations for being hard on their players. They obviously use those situations to educate their players as much as they can to the point where they feel the players can take what they learn and do it on the field when the chips are down during games.
Hard to argue with the results.