Tony DeMeo

Win Forever by Pete Carroll

I had never been a big fan of Pete Carroll and would have never read his book if it were not for my friend Carl Lee. Carl was an All Pro DB for the Minnesota Vikings and Pete was his secondary coach. Carl has nothing but good things to say about him. So I read this book Win Forever and was extremely glad I did. This gave me a new perspective on Pete Carroll and a new respect.

Since this book was written (2010) Pete led the Seahawks to the Super Bowl Championship which adds a great deal of credibility to Pete’s Philosophy. The thing I liked about Pete’s transformation of the hapless Seahawks is that he did it “his way” He defied the “experts” by drafting Bruce Irvin in the first round from WVU that the “experts” deemed a “one trick pony” m- that has been a pretty good trick. He took a QB that was “too short” in the 3rd round & he led the Seahawks to two Playoff appearances and outplayed future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl. Just imagine if he was tall. Pete also won with midrange 5th & 6th rounder picks that were passed over. Red Auerbach once said that its talent if it fits your system – Pete Carroll has seconded that.

In Win Forever, Pete Carroll bares his philosophy and explains how it was developed and how he used his hard times to develop the system that brought him to his good times. This is very similar to the book Peaks and Valleys by Spencer Johnson which recommended earlier.

Pete was influenced by the book The Inner Game of Tennis by Tim Gallway (I also am a fan of this book) In this book Gallway talks about “a quiet mind” or Mushin which leads to mastery. This concept formed the foundation of Pete’s coaching philosophy. The idea of “playing in the zone” appealed to Pete & he used this principle throughout his coaching career.

Pete’s experience with the 49ers was key part in building Pete’s philosophy. Bill Walsh was a QB guru that believed that everything should revolve around the QB. Practice should be based on the QB. The 49ers won because of the organization Bill Walsh put in place. Walsh believed in “contingency planning” which Pete adopted to his philosophy.

After shots with New England and the New York Jets, Pete decided to step back and reevaluate the way he was doing things. This impressed me that Pete would completely overhaul his coaching philosophy at this stage in his career.

The Transformation of Pete Carroll
1. He re-read everything he had on John Wooden. I am a huge fan of Coach Wooden and have reviewed one of his books earlier on this website. From his “Wooden study” he wrote down every little detail of his system and then refined those details further. Wooden was a stickler for details as is every great coach: Lombardi, Walsh, Saban etc.
2. Pete followed this by developing his own Pyramid. Taken from Coach Wooden’s famous Pyramid of Success.
3. Pete realized that competing everyday was essential and that practice was everything. One of my mantras is “Practice is Sacred” – this realization is a big step in every coach’s development. How a team practices makes a statement about who they are.
4. When you eliminate doubt, performance improves and winning occurs.

With a revamped Philosophy, Pete needed a team. He got a team, the USC Trojans. He brought the Trojans to a couple of National Championships and was convinced the new, improved Pete Carroll Philosophy of “Win Forever” was the catalyst.

Pete’s role at USC was to hire a great staff and then coach them into being able to impart his system. He viewed himself not as their boss but rather their coach. He, like Wooden and Lombardi, though of coaches as teachers first. He wanted his coaches to score everything in practice. Anytime the offense went against the defense they kept score. The more the offense went against the defense the better – competition makes you better. Stay positive and stay enthusiastic.

This is an interesting book by a coach who failed in his first two attempts at being a head football coach and then transformed his coaching style and philosophy to create a winning system. I would recommend this book to any coach struggling or not to use as a template to create his own philosophy and system. Don’t just try to Xerox the Pete Carroll system but work to create your own.

Also a quick reminder that our Triple Gun Webinars are coming up.