Today's newsletter isn't answering a question.
Today I want to share a story sent to me my my good friend and teacher Chris Sritharan.
“Thought you might like this.
In July 1961, Vince Lombardi kicked off the first day of training camp for the 38 players on his Green Bay Packers football team. The prior season had ended in a heartbreaking loss to the Philadelphia Eagles after blowing a lead in the 4th quarter of the NFL Championship Game.
When the players came in to start training camp, they expected to immediately begin where they left off and work on ways to advance their game and learn fancy new ways to win the championship in the new season. When they sat down and began, Vince Lombardi held up a football and said, “Gentlemen, this is a football!”
He then had everyone open up their playbooks and start on page one, where they began to learn the fundamentals – blocking, tackling, throwing, catching, etc. That was clearly not what they expected as players who were at the top of their game.
This hyper-focus on fundamentals allowed them to win the NFL Championship that season 37-0 against the New York Giants. Vince Lombardi went on to win five NFL Championships in seven years. He never coached a team with a losing season after that and never lost a playoff game again.
If focusing on fundamentals can elevate a great team to such heights, imagine what it can do for your business and life. We are often putting time, energy, and money into looking for the next magic bullet, quick fix, or business trick. Instead, we should focus on the fundamentals.
First things first, if you haven't heard of Vince Lombardi, you'll be familiar with some of his quotes, of which there are many.
“Winners never quit, quitters never win”
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”
“Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence”
“The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall.”
And so many more.
Vince was an NFL coach with an incredible track record and a man who has influenced generations of coaches since.
The story sent by Chris is an example of the man's genius.
This focus on fundamentals.
I often talk about my own youth training Karate under Jack Parker in Lancaster, England. And how Jack was constantly shouting “BASICS! BASICS!BASICS!” at us almost every session.
Jack drilled us on basics no matter what our actual level was.
Chatting with another coach I've worked with, Mick Coup of C2 or Core Combatives. Mick himself is former military at the highest operating level, and now trains “high speed, low drag” operators around the world, and normal folk in his spare time.
Mick explains that Basics are better described as fundamentals, and if we view training with Occam's Razor, we see that the more time we spend on fundamentals, the easier anything advanced becomes.
Look across any high performer and you're going to find the same perspective.
Take it away from sports and fighting, there's a musician that's been causing a stir this last while. Tim Henson, the lead guitar player in a band called Polyphia.
Whether you enjoy this style of music or not on beside the point. Watch and listen to this guy play and you can't help but be amazed at his technical ability and prowess, especially as he's so young still.
In an interview I watched with him he was asked about his practice and development.
He answered by talking about how over the last couple of years he's gone back to the fundamentals of guitar music.
Something he wishes he'd spent more time on when he was younger.
Is it a coincidence that the bands massive rise in popularity coincides with him refocusing on fundamentals?
Only he knows.
It does take a maturity to focus on fundamentals and to not be drawn into the shiny fancy tricks of training.
Is there value in the fancy stuff?
But following the 80:20 rule, we see how 80% of our results come from 20% of our techniques.
So 80% of our efforts should go into fundamentals with the remaining 20% on fancy stuff.