Fundamentals Matter

Posted by Judy Anne Cavey on Jan 5, 2012 in , , | No Comments


“I never made it to the NFL…”

In Professor Randy Pausch’s book, The Last Lecture, (a book I highly recommend), he speaks of achieving childhood dreams. One of his (being a player in the NFL) wasn’t realized, but he learned from his mentor and coach a life lesson.

At nine years old, Professor Pausch loved tackle football and his father had him join a league with a “really old-school” football coach. The coach, an imposing 6-foot-four former linebacker at Penn State, taught the kids on his league a valuable lesson. On their first day of practice, the kids noticed there weren’t any footballs on the field. The coach told the team they didn’t need any footballs, here’s why…

Coach: “…how many people are touching the football at any given time?”

Team: “One of them.”

Coach: “Right! So, we’re going to work on what those other twenty-one guys are doing.”

The moral of this story is the coach was teaching fundamentals. As a college professor, Pausch saw this as one lesson most college students ignore–to their detriment. “You’ve got to get the fundamentals down, because otherwise the fancy stuff is not going to work,” he stated in his National Bestseller.

In another section of his book, “No Job Is Beneath You,” he points out how the fundamentals not learned before leaving college will come back to bite you in the workforce. He states, “…when we get negative feedback, it was almost always about how the new employees (recent grads) were too big for their britches. Or that they were already eyeing the corner offices.” These are clear signs someone didn’t learn the fundamentals. My advice: learn the fundamentals, of course.

To read more about the late Professor Pausch, and see his lecture at Carnegie Mellon University, please go to TheLastLecture. I guarantee, you won’t soon forget what he says in either the book or lecture. And see One Inspiring Professor, another blog post about Professor Pauch’s childhood dreams, the people who influenced him, and what he passed along to his students.