Incrementalism…little things make a difference

During camp, our seniors make a short presentation to the team about any topic of their choice. The main idea is that they share something that will have a positive impact on the team. One of the most memorable for me over the last five years was by one of our defensive lineman. He hasn’t had the best of luck in his career. He’s had to battle back through a knee surgery at the beginning of last season and work hard to be able to play his senior year.

He shared a concept he learned in his internship this past summer. The concept is “incrementalism.” Incrementalism is making changes by degrees or in small steps. Addison, our senior tackle, pointed out to the team that finding just a small way to improve each moment will add up to big improvement over time. I’m sure that approach helped him in his recovery. It’s hard to see progress some times in those situations because the recovery seems so slow.

The same certainly applies on the field. We work to perfect our plays and techniques everyday, but perfection doesn’t come at once. It’s working those drills over and over focusing on getting the exact technique needed to be successful. The small improvements each day get us to where we want to be.

This idea popped back into my thoughts this past Friday at a high school game while I was talking with someone who runs a scouting service. He said that most high school teams really don’t get good until about week four. I can see some truth in that statement. It does take time to really get good at those schemes and concepts that were installed in August. The daily repetition and attention to detail really start to separate the good teams from the average or bad teams.

Incrementalism is the key to success. The teams that can stay focused and keep getting better at the little things within what they installed in camp will be the ones who compete for a championship. Those the get bored and try to find success through making big changes in scheme or constantly going back to the drawing board during the season are usually doomed to fail.

Ultimately, getting players to understand this concept will help them both on the field and in life.

Here are some quotes that relate to this idea:

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
― Desmond Tutu

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
― Mother Teresa

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
― Confucius

“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”
― Abraham Lincoln

“Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”
― Winston Churchill

Good luck this week. Keep moving forward!

Please check out my iBook 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays available on the iPad now and soon available on the Mac as well.



One thought on “Incrementalism…little things make a difference

  1. I love the idea of players sharing something they learned that will have a positive impact on the team. I am going to incorporate this with my junior high kids. I love the idea of incrementalism, kind of like UT coach Butch Jones giving his players an inch, literally an inch cut from a ruler to show the importance of the little things.

    Please take the time to check out my blog at


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s