What a beautiful day in the Renton, Washington attending Seattle Seahawks practice today at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. I am amazed by the property (second largest facility in the NFL) itself which is bounded by Interstate 405 to the east and Lake Washington to the west. I honestly cannot see how you could get any work done with such an incredible setting. The Seahawks practice facility is situated on 19 acres and houses an indoor practice facility and three full-sized outdoor practice fields.
Head Coach Pete Carroll has been emphasizing his “win forever” philosophical approach toward football since his days with the Jets. His desire is to create an environment that allowed for success to be sustained over a long period of time. In Carroll’s nine years at USC, the Trojans went 97-19 and played in seven BCS bowl games, winning two national championships. After winning the Super Bowl last season, Carroll erased any thought of himself not being capable of having success in the NFL. He showed that his approach can indeed succeed at the highest level of competition. And this goes well beyond the football arena as it’s a mindset of striving for excellence–striving for your full potential and not against someone or something else.
I was taken back that all of the players and not just the coaching staff carry this mindset around. After winning the Super Bowl, they wanted to know “what’s next”? The approach to the season is to control what is widely considered to be the most competitive division in football. Controlling the division means that they are in the playoffs with an opportunity to compete for a Super Bowl.
One aspect of this crystallizing is their approach to teaching proper tackling. When asked why coach Carroll and his staff emphasized rugby-style tackling, Pete believed that it was the most fundamental and effective way of bringing someone down to the ground. He made reference to how in the earlier days, there were no helmets (at least not like the ones used in the NFL today) and how there are no helmets in Rugby and yet they display the best tackling techniques.
Coach Carroll shared,
“Our tackling system features shoulder tackling and a renewed emphasis on taking the head out of tackling. We’ve found our style to be successful in the NFL and in college, and we believe it can be employed at all levels. This system of tackling was inspired by those who play rugby around the world. Rugby players have truly taken the head out of the game and truly exemplify shoulder tackling.”
Coach, we like what we’ve been seeing and enjoyed the spirit of competition and approach of “What’s next?”
A few of these pics are from seahawks.com and from today’s practice.