Star Summary Urban Meyer Part 1

Content distilled from the Urban Meyer autobiography Above the Line


“Do you know many people who wake up in the morning and say, today I’m committed to being mediocre. I don’t.  I believe most people want to give the best they have but they don’t have the necessary tools and mindset to get there.  That’s where leadership comes in.  I go back to the ways companies like Nike and Apple operate and there willingness to push the envelope.  That’s what we want our players at Ohio State to do.  We train, coach and perform at the highest possible level, and that level is not for everyone.   I often refer to our players as elite warriors not because they are going to war or because they we are doing anything remotely serious as war.  But because they are trained in an incredibly rigorous way.  And they are constantly engaged in physical, mental and spiritual combat.”


Urban Meyer is without a doubt a champion and a leader of men.  In my Star Summary on Nick Saban I titled Saban as the greatest college football coach in the World but after learning more about Meyer, his coaching philosophy and his training methods I think he definitely gives Saban a run for his money.  You can purchase Meyer’s book Above the Line here.  These summaries are here to help you train to get to the highest possible level, so fittingly let’s get into our first All-Star idea training to get to the highest possible level.


Let’s do this!

“Do you know many people who wake in the morning and say, today I’m committed to being mediocre. I don’t.  I believe most people want to give the best they have but they don’t have the necessary tools and mindset to get there.  That’s where leadership comes in.  I go back to the ways companies like Nike and Apple operate and there willingness to push the envelope.  That’s what we want our players at Ohio State to do.  We train, coach and perform at the highest possible level, and that level is not for everyone.   I often refer to our players as elite warriors not because they are going to war or because they we are doing anything remotely serious as war.  But because they are trained in an incredibly rigorous way.  And they are constantly engaged in physical, mental and spiritual combat.”



Love this!  Couple great mini All-Star Ideas here –


  • If your in this program then I know that you’re committed to being the best. I want to provide you with additional tools and the right mindset to get there.  If you want to be the best then you need to be on the relentless search for new tools, new teachers, new strategies to getting better.  This is a never ending journey.  Let’s Enjoy the ride!
  • Meyer views his players as elite warriors because they are trained in an incredible rigorous way. You need to be training the same.  Remember our definition of peak performance is a life dedicated to mental and physical training.  You accomplish this then you are an elite warrior.


Questions to Ask

Do you view yourself as an elite warrior?

Why or Why not?


Star Summary Challenge

Take 3 actions this week to make your training more disciplined, more rigorous.



“It isn’t hard to find people who are caught up in below the line behavior, all you need to do is look for those whose first reaction is to… Blame others, complain about circumstances and defend yourself, or BCD.  At Ohio State BCD is the worst thing you can do outside of lying or disrespecting a woman.  It is much worse than fumbling or throwing an interception.  When there is a lot of BCD going on it means people are not owning there mistakes not being accountable.”


Urban Meyer’s book is called Above the Line and this concept is the center of his coaching philosophy.   Making decisions and taking actions above the line means no complaining, no blaming and completely holding yourself accountable.


From a 10,000 foot view every moment we all have a choice to act in the best interest of ourself, our family and our team, that is acting above the line.  Or we can go below the line and do what feels good in the moment.


When I was studying adult education at Portland State we read and studied Abraham Maslow’s work more than anybody.  A 20th century psychologist who studied what he called:  “Self-Actualizing Individuals” people who achieve their highest potential.  Kind of sounds like a peak performer, you Go Maslow, do your thing baby.


Here’s Maslow from his textbook Motivation and Personality “Musicians must make music, artists must paint, poets must write if they are to be ultimately at peace with themselves. What human beings can be, they must be. They must be true to their own nature. This need we may call self-actualization… It refers to man’s desire for self-fulfillment, namely to the tendency for him to become actually in what he is potentially: to become everything one is capable of becoming.”


Maslow said that in any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.  Step above the line or step below the line.  Back to Urban Meyer “Above the line is with purpose, it’s intentional, it’s taught,” Meyer says. “Below the line is impulsive, autopilot – whether it’s how you handle your relationships, your work every day, as a college athlete you better be disciplined about living your life and doing the right things.”


The more thoughts, actions and decisions that you make above the line the better you get.  Let’s do this Baby!


Questions to Ask

Do you blame others? Who?  Why, how does it help you?
Do you complain?  Why, how does it help you?

Do you get defensive when people call you out?  Why how does this help you?


Star Summary Challenge

Tomorrow keep a tally of how many actions you take above the line and how many actions you take below the line.  Tally up the results at the end of the day.



“My job is to maximize our players genetic potential says coach Mick.  We do that by increasing their work capacity beyond their physical limits.  Too often the mind turns the body off.  We push you to stay engaged and train your mind to work harder and longer.  An important component of his program is the mental stress he puts on players when training.  He does this by adding sets and reps just one the players thought they were done not telling them until right before the workout what the training regimen is for that day, and mixing up their training partners among many other tactics.  It is all part of the mental stress that he induces to create the chaos for the players to work through and overcome.  He says chaos, confusion and conflict; our players are going to experience it on the field.  It is our responsibility to train them to deal with it and rise above it?”


A couple of awesome things here.  One, practice like you play.  If you’re going to experience chaos, confusion and conflict in the game then it makes sense to incorporate those things into your practice.


Here’s Jerry Rice “How you practice equals how you play.  It’s that simple, I don’t care if were talking about basketball or ballet, cooking or checkers.  The way in which you prepare for a challenge is usually related to your success in that same challenge.  If the level at which you practice is commiserate with the task, then on gameday you will be fine.  When I first joined the 49ers I brought with me something that I adopted early on in my football career.  Running out every catch in practice so even after the most simple receiving route and catch I would run full speed toward the end zone.  I know many of the veterans thought I was crazy or that I was a Hot-Dog trying to show them up.  But it’s the only way I know how to practice, to treat it like a game.  Sure enough others followed my lead and before long we were all running out every play in practice.”


Or how about the way Kobe Bryant practiced:  “Kobe’s Laker teammates didn’t approach the game the same way:  The only one capable of battling Kobe and not getting upset was Eddie Jones, which meant that he and Kobe would have furious battles in practice yet never feel the need to carry it beyond that.  “I’m gonna bust your ass,” Kobe would tell Jones during their battles, which only drove the intensity higher.  Other Lakers, however, arbored an intense dislike for Kobe because of the way he attacked practices.”


And two stress is a part of life, mental stress and physical stress.  We’ve mentioned Stanford professor Kelly McGonigal before in other Summaries and her book the Upside of Stress.  You can purchase the book in the link here.


Here’s McGonigal “Like a fight-or-flight response, a challenge response gives you energy and helps you perform under pressure. Your heart rate still rises, your adrenaline spikes, your muscles and brain get more fuel, and the feel-good chemicals surge. But it differs from a fight-or-flight response in a few important ways: You feel focused but not fearful. You also release a different ratio of stress hormones, including higher levels of DHEA, which helps you recover and learn from stress. This raises the growth index of your stress response, the beneficial ratio of stress hormones that can determine, in part, whether a stressful experience is strengthening or harmful.”


Coach Mick is developing the challenge response with his players.  By doing this in training they will be ready when the team is losing in the 4th quarter on the road in a rivalry game.  Oh yeah, the stress will be there, but know that because of their training the Ohio State players will embrace the stress and apply the challenge response.



Questions to Ask

What sort of strategies do you apply in your training to develop your challenge response?


Star Summary Challenge

Write out in your SS how your life will improve if you apply the challenge response to every situation.


* Bonus Tip – And remember you must train yourself to be challenge response ready.  Displaying the challenge response is a definite skill.  If you believe that the demands of the situation exceed your resources, you will have a threat response. But if you believe you have the resources to succeed, you will have a challenge response.  It’s all in the training.  Let’s do this!



“Clarify what you really want, then work as hard as you can for as long as it takes.  Toughness can achieve things that talent by itself can never accomplish.  Success is cumulative and progressive, it is the result of what you do everyday.  Both successful and unsuccessful people take daily action.  The difference is that successful people take action above the line.  They step up and act with intention, purpose and skill.”


If you want to be elite then every action that you take needs to have a purpose.  To separate yourself from the competition then every action you take needs to have intention.  If you want to live a balanced, chill life then peak performance is not for you.  You have to be relentlessly looking for ways to cut the fat in your life.  You want to always be asking the question is “what I am doing right now getting me closer to my goal?”


You gotta be feeding the tuna mayo.  What the hell does that mean?  It’s a movie reference from the 1982 movie Night Shift.  In the movie Michael Keaton plays a character who finds a way to make his underutilized workplace—a funeral home—more efficient vy scheduling a different business there at night.  As the movie goes on he has a revelation about how to be more efficient, using the example of tuna fish.  To make a tuna sandwich, you always have to mix it with mayonnaise.  Keaton talking to himself and into a tape recorder says “What if you mix the mayonnaise in the can, WITH the tuna fish?  Or … I got it!  Take LIVE tuna fish and feed’em mayonnaise! Of, this is great.”


If you are trying to be elite then without a doubt you have to be more efficient than the competition.  Every action you take needs to have intention, purpose and skill.  You need to figure out what’s important, cut the fat, and feed the tuna mayonnaise baby!  Let’s do this!


Questions to Ask

What are you going after?

Why are you in this program?


Star Summary Challenge

Take 3 actions this week to work more efficiently .


4 to 6, A to B

“Our first core belief is relentless effort and it means going as hard as you can in every play, every rep.  The way we communicate it to our players is go as hard as you can 4 to 6 seconds, from point A to point B.  Notice the two components.  There is the duration component, 4 to 6 seconds because that is the length of time of the average football play, and there is the direction component, point A to point B, because in every drill, and in every play our players have a designated start point and a specific end point.  If you observe one of our practices you will repeatedly hear our guys shouting 4 to 6, A to B. that is the sound of our coaches and players challenging guys to give relentless effort.  It is non-negotiable.”


The best teachers keep things simple.  They know what’s important, and disregard everything else, when it comes to teaching they know how to feed the tuna mayo.  Most great coaches do not give long-winded speeches, long lectures, or long sermons.  They provide short, unmistakably clear directions.  They guide you to a target, 4 to 6, A to B.


John Wooden, the UCLA basketball coach who was voted by ESPN as the greatest coach of the 21st century, was once the subject of a yearlong study that captured everything he said to his team.  Wooden didn’t take long to deliver his instructions; in fact, his average utterance lasted only four seconds.  This underlies a foundational truth about teaching; it’s all about creating a connection and delivering useful information.


4 to 6, A to B, it’s clear, it’s concise, it’s important.  Let’s do this!


Questions to Ask

If you were teaching your sport, profession, or craft to a group what would be the #1 thing that you would want them to know?



Star Summary Challenge

Create a video of you answering the above questions and share it in our private Facebook Group.







A TO B, 4 TO 6


Urban Frank Meyer, III (born July 10, 1964) is an American college football coach and former player, currently the head football coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Meyer served as the head coach of the Bowling Green Falcons from 2001 to 2002, the Utah Utes from 2003 to 2004, and theFlorida Gators from 2005 to 2010.  Meyer was born in Toledo, Ohio, grew up in Ashtabula, Ohio, and attended the University of Cincinnati, where he played football.  During his time at the University of Florida, he coached the Gators to two BCS National Championship Game victories, during the 2006 and 2008 seasons. Meyer’s winning percentage through the conclusion of the 2009 season (.842) was the highest among all active coaches with a minimum of five full seasons at a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) program. In 2014, he led the Buckeyes to their first Big Ten Conference title under his tenure as well as the program’s eighth national championship.  Meyer is one of three coaches (the others being Pop Warner and Nick Saban) to win a major college football national championship at two different universities.


Quotes on the Left Hand Side


“The World is a competitive place.  To be at an elite level you have to train at an elite level.”

“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.”

“At Ohio State we believe being elite is not about how talented you are, it Is about how tough you are.”

“In coaching you don’t get the kids you want, you get the kids you build.”

“Everyday is a battlefield of how you will live your life.”

“Average leaders have quotes, good leaders have a plan, and exceptional leaders have a system.”

“If you think you know it all your setting yourself up for a major fall.”

“I know you have big dreams and goals but if your habits don’t reflect your dreams and goals then you need to either change your habits or change your dreams and goals.”