Nick Saban operates at a different level than most coaches.
Via Giphy

8 Things Nick Saban Does Differently At Alabama

Nathan Baugh, Matt Trombley
Articles

After watching Alabama roll through college football the last 15 years, I got curious about their process.

Since Nick Saban took over in 2007, Alabama has:

  • 6 National titles
  • 7 SEC Championships

That's the definition of a dynasty. Now, how does Saban do it?

Nick Saban has won 6 national titles since coming to Alabama in 2007.
Nick Saban has won 6 national titles since coming to Alabama in 2007.

Here's 8 things that Nick Saban does differently at Alabama that has produced his insane level of success.


Discipline. “There are two pains in life: The pain of discipline and the pain of disappointment. If you can handle the pain of discipline, then you'll never feel the pain of disappointment.” Saban works harder than anyone and expects the same of his players.


Focus On The Individual. “Everybody always says there's no 'I' in team, but there is an 'I' in win.” At Michigan State, Saban had psychiatrists create a profile for each player. He understands how to motivate his players better than anyone.


Culture of Excellence. A hard truth from Saban: “Mediocre people cannot stand high achievers. And high achievers cannot stand mediocre people.” His goal for spring practice: “Get the right guys on the bus, get them in the right seats. And get the wrong guys off the bus." Check out this clip from Saban below:


Pride In Performance. “I don’t care what you did yesterday. If you’re happy with that, you have bigger problems." Alabama players get 24 hours to celebrate a win. Then it’s onto the next game.


Always Be Innovating. Once a ground and pound team, Alabama became a team with 3 future NFL starting quarterbacks. Once a disbeliever in name-image-likeness (NIL), Saban now touts his quarterback making millions in endorsement deals. Saban refines his approach every year, keeping Alabama in front of every trend.

Alabama had 3 future starting NFL quarterbacks at one time.
Alabama had 3 future starting NFL quarterbacks at one time.

Take The Blame Publicly. Saban takes the blame whenever Alabama falls short of expectations. It frees his assistants up to innovate and take chances. “So have confidence in it; believe in it. If the kids don’t make the plays, we’ll live with it. And it’s all on me.”


Preparation Over Results. Saban believes:

  • If you lose, examine why and work to improve
  • If you win, fight to avoid complacency

With the right process, the results will come.


Give Second Chances. “Everybody wants to know ‘How are you going to punish the guy?’ But there’s not enough – for 19 and 20 year old kids – people out there saying ‘why don’t you give them another chance?’” Watch this video:


Ultimately, many coaches do a few of these. Some even try to copy ‘the Alabama process.’ But none put it all together like Saban. Proof? He’s 24-1 against former assistants.

If you're interested in reading more, here's the best piece I've read on Nick Saban from @polina_marinova:

The Profile Dossier: Nick Saban, America’s Most Successful Coach
“Don’t look at the scoreboard; play the next play.”
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