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Beating the Odds

Winning Made Simple

“Live daringly, boldly, fearlessly. Taste the relish to be found in competition — in having put forth the best within you.” — Henry J. Kaiser

Coaches and players often make things too complicated. It’s this simple: In order to win, you simply must play better than the opponent. You don’t have to be bigger, stronger or faster. You don’t have to have a better record or a bigger reputation. All you must do is play better.

That’s what happened Sunday night when Ball State stunned Tennessee in the first round of the women’s NCAA basketball tourney. Tennessee entered the game as the most illustrious basketball program in women’s history. Its coach, Pat Summitt, owned more victories than any Division I coach.

And yet Ball State won for one very simple reason. It played better. Even Summitt said so.

“They had a lot more toughness,” Summitt said. “They beat us to loose balls. They made shots.”

It’s a lesson for every coach and athlete. If you focus on HOW YOU PLAY, instead of on things like seedings and records, you can accomplish miracles.

Coach Tully’s Extra Point: Ball State’s first-year coach, Kelley Packard, entered the game with 980 fewer career college coaching victories than Summitt.


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