Core Coaching from Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer is listed among the top college football coaches in the 21st century. Over the past 17 years Meyer has held head coaching positions at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State University.


The heart and work ethic of a college coach in any sport is focused on recruiting 17 and 18 years olds, turning them into responsible young professionals and instilling the belief that a National Championship should be obtained along the way. Regardless of the program or sport, successful coaches will bring talented young recruits to the program. And while recruiting is a valuable asset to any managerial position, equally important is maintaining a distinct organizational culture and development process to turn fresh talent into hardened iron. Coach Meyer discusses his theories, his coaching high’s and low’s, as well as personal and familial experience in recent publication called ‘Above the Line’.


One of the most pertinent ideas to be drawn from Coach Meyer’s experience is the ‘Core Focus Theory.’ Coach Meyer explains that early in his coaching career, he spent a significant amount of time attempting to convince players on the ‘periphery’ to get their act together. Individuals on the ‘periphery’ (expressed as the outside ring below account for roughly 10% of any team) can be described as those who regularly miss assignments, don’t give the team their all, are distracted by ulterior events...The individuals on the periphery may be very talented but just can’t seem to get their act together. In any management or team situation, we’ve experience working with these types of individuals. You can probably even name a few. Most likely you had the same re-action that Coach Meyer had early on in his career: to focus a majority of your efforts trying to get this individuals to see things your way. To take extra time to explain to them why it is so important to show up on time, to share with them your favorite books or management theory and to even lend them personal favors when they are in need…


After reading this article, you should be on the lookout for this exact situation in your line of work. It is actually not the most effective approach to managing your team or organization. Most likely these same individuals will continue to let you and your team down. Although it is hard to neglect these types of individuals, it is time to do just that. Instead focus your energy on the core group that make up your team. In Coach Meyer’s diagram you will notice 3 rings. The middle section is accounts for about 80% of any team. These are your solid B players. They show up on time, have a lot a talent, rarely make mistakes and hold to their assignments. We all love this players and most of us fit right in with this group.

The center, the core of the team made up of the top 10% are the leaders. They show up early for work and stay later than anyone else. They spend their nights and weekends dedicated to getting ahead on projects or preparing for the next breakthrough. These are our straight A students. They set the pace for the rest of team. ‘Core Focus Theory’ is based on turning your B teammates into A’s. Focus your energy on increasing the number of core leaders on your team and the rest of the group will continue to make improvements.