Nick Saban seems to be the first coach that would come to mind when thinking about putting the success of the team over any individual accomplishments.
It’s this kind of approach that has helped Saban lead the Alabama Crimson Tide to four national championships during his decade-long tenure in Tuscaloosa.
But, with a new batch of 17 and 18-year old kids coming into his program every year and even younger recruiting prospects, each class with a different mindset than the last, Saban has to find new ways to get through to them.
On ESPN Radio’s The Ryen Russillo Show on Wednesday, Saban gave somewhat of a surprising answer to how he approaches reaching these young minds.
Saban on Today's Athlete during the Ryen Russillo Show pic.twitter.com/wCtHmqcltJ
— BamaInsider.com (@bamainsider) July 26, 2017
“My approach has changed over the years,” Saban said. “I try to make as much I expect a player to do, then relate that to how it impacts that player and his future. In other words, I make it all about them. I don’t talk about the team and tell the players you have to invest in the team. I say you have to invest in yourself.”
But it’s not like Saban has abandoned any type of team-first philosophy. Instead, he’s subtly reaching that goal indirectly, knowing that if players do whatever they can to help themselves, in turn, that’s going to help the team progress. Because good players constantly improving and becoming great makes for great teams.
“If you do the right thing and make the right choices and you’re a good person and work hard and graduate from school and work hard and develop a career, that’s going to benefit you the most,” he said. “It’s going to benefit us, too. But the individuals make the team what it is.”