Tony La Russa is enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame as a manager. He won three World Series and reached another three. He has 2,728 career wins. He can still learn from New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
Tom Crean is the former head coach at the University of Indiana. He’s reached the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament and has led three regular season conference champions. He has a lot to learn from Belichick.
“What Bill does so well, I think, is reset his team every year at zero,” La Russa explained. “What you did last year doesn’t matter. You’ve got to learn from everything, but last year’s over. And he’s got a great leader who believes the exact same thing in Tom Brady. That helps.”
“I would take it another step, beyond Tony,” Crean added. “Bill resets every day. You’ve got to look and see where you are every day. Everything matters. There’s nothing he leaves to someone else that matters. A lot of people say it, but I’ve seen it. He lives it. The fundamentals, the details, the winning in the fourth quarter. Being around Bill, you can see it come to life.”
Belichick is the type of coach to open up the year by showing his team Tom Brady’s worst throws from the prior year, or all the missed tackles by the linebackers, or simply showing Super Bowl LI and shutting it off halfway through the third quarter.
He will have his lesson for his team- they’re not perfect and any talk of 19-0 is ridiculous- and then he will simply move on from 2016 with the intention of rebooting the team for 2017.
There are new faces that haven’t been a part of the Patriots system. There are some that have won two Super Bowls with the team. But every single player needs to approach the offseason with the intention of improving fundamentals and technique so they can dig deep and draw upon their experience when they’re tired in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.
The Patriots aren’t the only team in the league to approach the new season in this fashion, but they’re undeniably the most effective.