Monday, May 18, 2015

The Psychology of Bo Schembechler

Does This Experiment, In The 1940s, In Any Way Pertain To Bo Schembechler? Remember, For Schembechler It Was About The Team, The Team, And The Team. Let’s Apply Principles From The Mayo Experiment And Superimpose Them On The 1969 Michigan Wolverines Football Team Focusing On Variables Of Social Participation, Aim, Purpose, And Attitude. For Instance, Of The 10 Scheduled Teams For 1969, Only Two Were Circled-Michigan State And Ohio State On Coach Schembechler’s Blackboard. Simply Put, Those Circled Games Were Primary And Major Goals For The 1969 Season. The Players Were Expected To Beat The Other Teams, But A Major Focus Had To Do With The Rivalry Between Those Two Circled Teams.

Schembechler Formed And Created A Cohesive Group To Accomplish His Goals. He Put Up The Sign “Those Who Stay Will Be Champions” Which Clearly Delineated Whether Or Not You Were Either Part Of The Team Or Not Part Of The Team. If You Agreed To Stay, You Were Part Of His Experiment. He Also Reinforced The Team Concept By Telling The Players Something To The Effect That” Son Of A Bitch, You’re Not Red, You’re Not White, You’re Not Blue. You Are Michigan. You Can’t Be Divided; No One From The Outside Is Going To Get Between Us.” So The Players Clearly Realized That They Were Part Of The Team And They Were Expected To Practice, Practice, Practice, Which Meant A Lot Of Repetition And Drudgery [Monotony]. However, Each Player Had To Learn His Position Assignment, Regardless Of Whether It Was Offense Or Defense. Not Only That, The Players Knew That Aside From Knowing Their Assignment, They Had To Execute That Assignment Because That Would Be Important For Many Reasons.

Jim Brandstatter, An Offensive Tackle Not Only Had To Learn His Blocking Assignment, But Also Had To Call Out The Correct Blocking Assignments For Others On The Line. His Call Was Based On The Defensive Scheme And Player Location On The Field Of Play. This Wasn’t An Easy Assignment Since The Defensive Opponents Didn’t Stand In One Place, But Moved About Prior To The Snap. Jim Knew That His Job Was Not Easy, But Highly Significant, And It Had An Aim And Purpose. If He Blocked His Opponent Successfully, And Made The Right Blocking Assignments [By His Call], Then, His Teammates Would Be In A Better Position To Block Their Opponents As Well. And, If The Blocking And The Line Play Was Successfully That Could Result In Making An Important First Down Or Even A Touchdown. If Jim Made A Mistake, Then That Particular Play Would Likely Be Unsuccessful. In Essence, Jim Would Be Letting Down His Teammates, Himself And His Coaches.

Each Player Had A Part To Play, And Through The Combined Efforts Of All Team Members They Could Be Successful. Players Like Brandstatter On Offense And Keller On Defense Did Not Want To Let Their Teammates Down By Not Doing Their Best-By Being Successful. They Did Want To Be Out Of Position, They Did Not Want To Be Beaten By Their Opponent. They Simply Wanted To Excel. Keller’s Calling His Teammates “A Band Of Brothers” Suggests The Cohesiveness Among The Members Of The Team.

This 1969 Team Was A Group That Had A Sense Of Belonging; Had Similar Expectations; Common Interests; Interdependent Goals And Identified With Each Other. This Sense Of Belonging, The Social Aspect Resulted In An Attitude Change. Having Membership In The Group Resulted In A Highly Cohesive Band With Solidarity. These Teammates Socialized Together, Attended Classes Together, Roomed Together, Joined Fraternities Together, And Partied Together. As A Consequence, These Athletes [Friends] Were Motivated To Contribute To Themselves, To Each Other, And To The Team’s Welfare. Their Individual Narcissism Was Appropriately Developed And Held In Check Or In Abeyance As They Became Part Of This Larger Band Of Brothers. They Were Not Individuals Acting Alone. They Were Part Of Something Bigger Than Themselves. They Were A Highly Desirable Bunch With High Value Status. They Were The University Of Michigan Football Team.

In Essence, Bo Schembechler Created, Molded Attitude Change Among His Group [They Became His] Of Highly Motivated Athletes. Schembechler And His Coaches Made Practices Meaningful As Keller Told About The Creativeness Of Position Coach Gary Moeller. Every Player Knew That Their Participation Was Important As Brandstatter Told About His Experience, Going Through The Tunnel To Play Ohio State On November 22, 1969. He Said He Was Walking On Air; In His Heart He Thought That The Wolverines Were Going To Win. He Said His Senses Were Heightened. He Wanted To Get On The Playing Field And He Experienced, And Became Part Of The Moment. Even Though He Was Not A First String Starter, He Knew He Was An Important Component Of The Team, And Made His Contributions To The Team During Practice And By Being A Good Teammate. For Jim; It Was About The Team, The Team, The Team And He Said “I Felt Special.”

Coach Schembechler Knowingly Or Unknowingly Somehow Incorporated The Findings Of Dr.Mayo In That Chicago Factory. Perhaps He Used Research Findings In His Approach To Running The Michigan Wolverines. Or, Perhaps, Others Could Study Schembechler’s On The Field “Experiment” And Find Support For The Earlier Findings. In Any Event, It Is Clear That Schembechler Was Smart, Intelligent And It Was No Accident That He Got The Best Out Of His Players By Employing Sound, Psychological Principles. He Obviously Knew What He Was Doing And His Record At The University Of Michigan Speaks Volumes.

Since You Can’t Converse With Coach Schembechler, I Suggest That You Communicate With Jim Brandstatter, Thom Darden, Fritz Seyferth, Mike Keller, Jim Betts, And Others At Our Book Signing Of Bo’s Warriors-Bo Schembechler And The Transformation Of Michigan Football On September 17 From 6 To 8 PM At Sesi Motors In Ann Arbor. This Band Of Brothers Remains Close To This Day. You’re Invited To Participate In Their Joy.

PS-Go Blue!

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