When Vince Lombardi passed away in September of 1970, he left behind a vault of leadership speeches, inspirational sayings and examples of how a football team should be operated. Some of it was in print, some of it on film, and some through the memories of his players, coaches, friends and family. In 2001, his son Vince Jr., published a book on his father’s leadership beliefs. Vince Jr. has made a career as a motivational speaker, using much of his father’s material. He had written other books about his father’s beliefs meant to improve the skills of business leaders. But his 2001 manuscript, What It Takes To Be #1-Vince Lombardi on Leadership, was written with all leaders in mind. It is full of Lombardi stories to illustrate his points and is the perfect off season book to prepare you for the upcoming year.
Vince Jr. had a unique perspective as the son of the great coach. He was around the Packers daily, and with his father at work and home. Vince Jr. took the words from his father’s most famous speech and explores the fundamental leadership qualities-character, mental toughness and integrity– that Lombardi considered essential to success. He then shows how to apply those qualities to your team or organization and inspire others to achieve outstanding results.
Most of all, What It takes To Be #1 is a book for football coaches who want to improve their ability to lead their teams and coaching staffs. The book forces you to take a long look at your self and examine your philosophy toward coaching football. The principles of Vince Lombardi are more than half a century old, but they are solid and foundational for football teams of today. In fact, many of the items discussed in the book may very well be some of the problems that present teams and coaches are experiencing.
The book opens with a frank discussion of self knowledge, one of Lombardi’s favorite subjects. The Vince Lombardi Leadership Model is examined, followed by chapters on Character and Integrity and Developing Winning Habits. Vince Jr. discusses his father as a teacher and coach and describes how Coach Lombardi believed in vision. One of the most interesting chapters is on Building a Winning Organization. This is a great read for coaches on what is really important in building the foundations of your team. Lombardi on Motivating the Team to Extraordinary Performance and Vince Lombardi on Winning round out the book.
As coaches read the book, it will be impossible not to see yourself and your team discussed. Football on all levels has much in common and Lombardi’s beliefs surrounding team building, discipline and integrity are something that all coaches should hear. If your team is struggling, if you are a young coach or you think you have it all figured out, the book will cause you to take stock of yourself and get you and your team headed in the right direction. Do you have a philosophy? Do you have a vision of how your team is going to carry out that philosophy to success? If not, this Lombardi manuscript should get you thinking about the truly important aspects of coaching and leading a football team.
A paperback copy of the book is only $12.78 on Amazon. Buy it and take it with you when you get away this summer. Make sure to get a highlighter and take your time going through the book. You will want to mark the best portions and refer back to it often. It could be the difference in your 2017 season!