Read John Madden’s Forward to “Chasing Perfection”
Here’s Madden’s contribution to a book author Bob Ladouceur and I hope will be a meaningful contribution to the coaching profession.
“I was so interested in De La Salle High School’s football program and Coach Bob Ladouceur’s success that I found a way to get an advance copy of the book When the Game Stands Tall: The Story of the De La Salle Spartans and Football’s Longest Winning Streak by Neil Hayes back in 2003. My entire family read it.
We were so inspired that my son Joe and I decided to make a documentary about the program in order to share Ladouceur’s story of success with as many people as possible. The result was 151: The Greatest Streak, which aired on ESPN in 2004. Hollywood producer David Zelon was so impressed with Hayes’s book and our documentary that he made it his mission to make When the Game Stands Tall into a major motion picture in 2014, with Jim Caviezel, Michael Chiklis, Laura Dern and Alexander Ludwig starring.
In some ways, however, the story still wasn’t complete. Both the book, our documentary and the movie focused on the important life lessons such as commitment, dedication, responsibility and brotherhood that serve as the foundation of the program.
But it wasn’t until Bob Ladouceur, with the help of Hayes, put his own words to paper that a more complete picture was revealed.
As everybody knows, football is a game fueled by paranoia. Playbooks are guarded and game plans are top secret. That’s what makes the pages that follow such a treasure. Ladouceur pulls back the curtain on the game’s greatest dynasty, revealing everything he learned during a 33-year head-coaching career that produced an astounding 399-25-3 career record.
In this book, Ladouceur not only outlines everything from hiring a staff to his philosophies on discipline, motivation, leadership, developing players, offense, defense and special teams, but also explains the specific drills, techniques and conditioning regimens that have resulted in De La Salle playing the game at what I consider to be the highest level in terms of execution, discipline and effort.
That’s right. I have been a professional coach or broadcaster for more than four decades, but when it comes to the fundamentals of blocking, tackling and getting off the ball, Ladouceur’s teams at De La Salle High School in Concord, California, play on a level that often exceeds college and pro teams. That’s why I consider Ladouceur one of the greatest coaches of any sport.
We often think of football as a complicated game. If there’s one thing to take from this book it’s that it doesn’t have to be. There’s nothing complex about how Ladouceur teaches the game. His genius is in his ability to reduce the game to its essence.
This book offers an incredible, time-tested blueprint for aspiring coaches and is a great contribution to the coaching profession. It should be required reading for anybody who wants to coach football, or any sport, for that matter. His valuable lessons about leadership, motivation, commitment, accountability, integrity, hard work and teamwork will also resonate in the business world.”