The 3rd Key to Beating Big Shots is Strategy
Strategy is all about beating a specific opponent on a specific day. Strategy shows up in your game plan. The goal is to maximizeyour strengths and to minimize your weaknesses.
You want to identify and be able to exploit your opponent’s weaknesses, and everybody has weaknesses. As much as possible, you want to steer them away from their strengths, because that’s likely how they’ll beat you.
You don’t want surprises
You want to have studied your opponent so much that most of the time you know what they are going to do before they do it. You want to know their tendencies, how they usually react in specific situations.
If anything, you want to be able to surprise them. You should have some trick plays to run if you need them. You want plenty of special plays and have back up plans prepared for special situations. Who knows what you may need? You want to be prepared for everything.
That’s why you hear professionals talking about watching “film” on their opponents.
When you see NFL coaches waving their clipboards and laminated sheets around on the sidelines during games, that’s what you see. Game plans. These are the result of hours a hours of study and strategy.
Coaches constantly refine and re-invent their favorite plays to keep their competition guessing. They like to add twists and surprises because if the other guy knows what you are going to do, he’ll stop you.
Vince Lombardi took this to high art
Famous TV announcer and Super Bowl winning coach with the Oakland Raiders John Madden tells the story of attending a Vince Lombardi coaching clinic when he was starting out as an assistant coach.
He said Lombardi spent 9 hours talking about 1 play. In painstaking detail, he explained what each player had to do, why he had to do it, and how they worked together to make it work. It turns out there were infinite variations inside this one play.
Opponents knew the Packers ran primarily that one running play over and over, to the left and the right, but no one could stop it. What they didn’t know were all the variations and twists Lombardi had incorporated into it. They thought they were seeing the same play but they weren’t.
In fact, if you go to Broadway and see the play, “Lombardi” with Dan Lauria and Judith Light, you’ll see Dan as Lombardi describing this very play.
Madden said after spending the day at that coaching clinic his mind was blown. He went on to say …
“I couldn’t spend more than 2 minutes describing any play that I knew. After Lombardi spent 9 hours on that one play I realized there was a lot more behind their success than I ever imagined.”