Jim Harbaugh: Motivational speeches are overrated
A handful of Bay Area high school coaches got the opportunity to sit down behind closed doors with 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh last night for a "Gameday Speech Clinic" where the head coach touched on everything from leadership, to teaching, to relationship building.
The coaches in attendance got a lot of quality material from the experience, according to MaxPreps.com.
Sequoia HS (CA) coach Rob Poulos noted that Harbaugh was very down to earth and addressed the group of coaches as colleagues while offering some some quality insight.
"I liked him right off because he peeled away the BS real fast and the motivational issues. He got right to the heart of the matter – your relationship with the players. He wasn't selling a bill of goods. We found out there was a lot more similarities than differences between his level and ours."
Harbaugh also told the coaches in attendance that he's not real big on motivational speeches.
"If those things really could make a difference, you'd see motivational speakers as coaches. I'm an information guy. That's what I think all good coaches are about." Harbaugh explained.
Leigh HS (CA) head coach Kyle Padia, a former quarterback at Northern Illinois, took one idea from the mini clinic that he plans to go back to share with his assistant coaches.
"He talked about trusting your coaches and putting your ego aside. The best idea doesn't necessarily have to come from the head coach. It's all about taking that plan and carrying it out."
Padia also noted one nugget that stuck with him about Harbaugh and those motivational speeches. "He's a big proponent of preparation and practice and not necessarily needing a big speech on game day. He said pregame speeches all are forgotten by the time you get out the field and warm-up anyway."
There you have it. A solid, and proven approach to building a program.
Forget the motivational material and focus on what really matters (although everyone does enjoy a good motivational highlight video to get the blood pumping). Harbaugh and his staff revitalized the Stanford program, and immediately helped to breathe new life into the 49ers organization, by doing what coaching is really all about; quality teaching and instruction, providing players with the information that they need to be successful, and building meaningful relationships.
Leave the motivational speeches to the professional speakers.