Book Review: The Messiah Method

At the recommendation of our soccer coach at North Cobb Christian School, I picked up a copy of The Messiah Method to read.  Messiah College is located in Pennsylvania and is well-known for a strong commitment to Christian education and an outstanding soccer program. Due to the extreme success of the soccer program, one of their faculty, Michael Zigarelli decided to do some research to see why their program has done so well.  After extensive interviews and very thorough discussion, he centered the book around seven main disciplines.  These don’t just work in soccer, Zigarelli proposes that they should work in any organization that desires to be successful.

Discipline 1

Pursue a Higher Purpose Than Winning
Success Begins by Redefining It

Discipline 2

Be Intentional About Everything
There’s More Under Your Control Than You Realize

Discipline 3

Recruit the “Both-And” Players
Why Talent Is Not Enough

Discipline 4

Cultivate Team Chemistry
How Close Relationships Create a Competitive Advantage

Discipline 5

Link Training to the Match
What Everyone Knows but Few Can Do

Discipline 6

Choreograph Game Day
Readiness by Design

Discipline 7

Play to a Standard
The Secret to Sustaining Success

I highlighted several thoughts while reading.  I’d really encourage you to pick up this book and add it to your repertoire of excellent leadership resources.

  • My basic research question has been how do they do it? What’s the process these teams have followed to achieve excellence and to sustain it year after year? And how can we do the same with our own teams, in and out of sports?
  • The longer you are in this program, the more you’ll understand it’s really not about soccer. Dave Brandt Men’s Coach, 1997-2008
  • “The winning isn’t what happens on the field. Ninety-five percent of it is what happens before we ever get to the field.”
  • ‘the only thing worse than running is not having something to run for.’”
  • Be Intentional About Everything
  • “If you don’t like what’s happening on your team, it’s your fault.”
  • “I’m not looking for the best players. I’m looking for the right players.”
  • “team chemistry isn’t something that we just hope for,” says Coach McCarty. “It’s something that we work really hard at. It’s not easy, it’s not simple, and it doesn’t just happen.”
  • “Playing to a standard is a higher calling than winning. The problem with making winning the highest calling is this: After you win, the question becomes where do we go from here?”
  • “‘The best place to play’ means you love the guys you’re playing with. It means you develop deep relationships that go well beyond soccer.
  • Sportsmanship should never be sacrificed for the cause of winning a game— even if it’s a championship.
  • As you go through the program, you begin to enjoy other people’s successes more than your own.
  • “Christians on the athletic field are often viewed as soft. We don’t treat our task that way. Jesus didn’t just go around hugging school children. He was also on a mission.”
  • Intentionality may be the biggest part of our success.
  • “If you want to know why your life is the way it is today, look at what you did yesterday. If you want to know what your life will be like tomorrow, look at what you are doing today.”
  • There are no unimportant details. We do things a certain way for a reason. Little things make big things happen.
  • They cultivate chemistry by design.
  • “Confronting the human tendency to be comfortably mediocre is exhausting. It’s a battle in leadership.”
  • Messiah College is a “both-and” place. While elevating faith to a paramount ideal, it does the same with intellect. While affirming the value of discipline, it affirms the value of imagination. While seeking harmony among people, it respects and even celebrates difference. While maintaining that absolute truth exists and is knowable, it also allows students to think broadly for themselves to pursue it.
  1. A fiercely competitive spirit AND selfless love
  2. The hardest working team AND the most technical team
  3. Champions heart AND humble spirit
  4. Driven individuals AND selfless teammates
  5. Dare greatly AND the courage to fail
  • Make the necessary changes and move on.
  • Whoever said Christians can’t be competitive?
  • The cultural norm is to do your best for the team, so there’s a stigma associated with not aspiring to the standard.
  • Teammates are to say nothing and do nothing that undermines one another, and on the receiving end, they’re not to interpret comments or actions as personal attacks.
  • Do your best at everything, but be great at something that matters to this team. Model it for your teammates. Raise the bar for everyone. Take on a role. Be a standard-bearer.
  • Leadership is not a title but an attitude. Dave Brandt
  • There is nothing more important than organizational culture. And it is 100 percent under your control.
  • Team agreements are things that the players must do. It’s not a choice. We agree it’s what’s going to happen.
  • Great leaders must be great teachers. Otherwise, few are influenced. Few follow.
  • Practice harder than you play.
  • “We separate act from feel.” Distinguish these two things. Set them apart, one from another. Do what you’re supposed to do regardless of what you want to do.
  • “Doing it when it doesn’t matter carries over to the times when it does.”
  • “If there’s no melody in your head, then it’s possible your leadership lacks vision. If there once was a melody but you’ve forgotten about it, I encourage you to reinvest in that idealism.”
  • Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
  • If you’re going to label something “Christian,” then you’ve got to do it with excellence. Or don’t do it at all.
  • Measurement matters. You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Always do a postmortem. Don’t trust your gut.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.