Will You Please Leave?!

Published on September 2, 2001

“Will you please leave” are the words Brian Billick, head coach of the World champion Baltimore Ravens, once used in asking two ladies to leave the practice field. It turned out the two ladies were actually mothers of the two players they were speaking to. Coach Billick did eventually apologize to the two women, but this story has lived on famously in the organization, emphasizing that there should be no distractions in practice.

Coach Billick often refers to the idea of ”teaching moments”, which he picked up from a book by Noel M. Tichy. The theory is lessons can sometimes be learned and remembered best when they are re-enforced by an experience. Asking the two ladies to leave the practice field was such an experience that taught the players a lesson — that practice is best when there are no outside interruptions.

Complete focus is essential in practice to ensure that you are getting the actions down right. Complete focus is also essential when you are playing the game. In fact, if you are doing something that does not have your clear and undivided attention, then maybe you should ask why are you doing it to begin with. A good example is using cell phones while driving. The laws states are passing like NY to ban use of hand held cell phones are lame at best. Accidents are being caused not so much by people holding phones to their ears. They are being caused by the lack of attention to driving as their minds are focused on the phone conversations.

1) Leaders can teach lessons using experiences
2) Complete focus is crucial to winning, even in practice

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