The Coaches Bookshelf
Chasing Perfection: The Principle Behind; Winning Football The De La Salle Way
Bob Ladouceur with Neil Hayes
Triumph Books 2015
“Strange is our situation here upon Earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that men are here for the sake of other men.”
-Albert Einstein quote on the opening page
Chasing Perfection: The Principle Behind; Winning Football The De La Salle Way is a book about coaching. Specifically it is a treatise on how to coach and lead “for that sake of other men.” Written by the legendary former De La Salle head coach Bob Ladouceur and the De La Salle staff, Chasing Perfection is a clear and direct brief about the fundamentals of the De La Salle football program.
For more information on just how legendary Ladouceur and De La Salle are check it out here.
This read should not be limited to football coaches, players, and fans. Chasing Perfection has valuable insight for coaches in all sports, business leaders, and parents.
The first two chapters, roughly a fifth of the book, are filled with principles that are ubiquitous for running any quality organization. Whether you are an assistant high school football coach or a manager at a local business, the early chapters discuss principles of leadership and organization. The first two chapters could easily exist as a standalone for any organization that desires to see the most from and for their players and employees.
Lessons on incorporating program expectations (for coaches, players, and parents alike), developing team motivation, and peer leadership are detailed in ways that can applied beyond the football field.
The football starts in Chapter 3 with Practice, Scouting, and Gameplanning. As the book dives deeper into football themes and stratagem I would encourage all football coaches to keep reading. Regardless of what type of offensive and defensive schemes you run, the Offense and Defense chapters are worth reading. As a spread/Air-Raid influenced coach I personally found the Running Backs section particularly valuable. More than just knowledge for knowledge sake, read all parts of this book, as there is application for all programs.
Offseason conditioning is perhaps the most important thing that makes De La Salle De La Salle. The chapter is not as much of an in-depth day by day plan, rather it is more a recipe for the conditioning principles that guide the Spartans: work hard year round, show up on time, get your work done, and get out. Conditioning only takes up a few pages of the book, but it is an important few pages in understanding how quality programs can be successful.
Chasing Perfection: The Principle Behind; Winning Football The De La Salle Way is a book that I will consult from my bookshelf throughout the year. It is an overview, a guide, and a reminder for the ways quality programs can be run. The De La Salle coaching staff tells you what they do, why they do it, and how it can be helpful for reader and the programs they run. They qualify their results with statistical and anecdotal evidence. From time to time it feels like a collection of memoirs from a staff that has done brilliant things for youth. More often however, it reads like a manual. Most importantly it is clear that the mission of the book is to empower other coaches to build youth to be great for others- the very mission the De La Salle program undertakes for their athletes.
-Coach Tim Davis