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How to Win

The Road to Excellence

Coaches who can outline plays on a black board are a dime a dozen. The ones who win get inside their player and motivate.” –– Vince Lombardi

For Olympic runner Erin Donohue, the road has led to coaching.

Donohue, who competed in the 1500 meters in last year’s Summer Olympics, in China, is confronting what all coaches must: the fact that every athlete has a different personality and thus must be motivated in a different way.

“It’s easy when a kid already thinks the world of themself and thinks they should be a great runner,” Donohue said, adding that it’s another story when the athlete lacks confidence. In that case, she said, “I try to build them up and take everything they do and put a positive spin on it. I stay away from crticizing.”

Donohue is also learning what would be immediately obvious to anyone with coaching experience: that not all athletes have her attitude toward competition.

“I’m finding that a lot of people don’t have my attitude that doing something every day can make you better in the long run,” Donohue said. “It comes naturally to me so I have to think outside myself and communicate the mental aspect of training.”

Donohue recently received the Distinguished Award from the New Jersey State Coaches Association. After winning nine titles in high school, she became a four-time All-American at the University of North Carolina. Then last year she experienced Olympic competition, finishing seventh in her semifinal heat.

“I wasnt satisfied, but it was OK,” she said. “Looking back on it it’s tough. You’re there for two weeks and it’s over in four minutes. I feel a lot better now than i did when it was there.”

For now, she will continue to run. And do some coaching. Perhaps she can communicate the feeling she has on the Olympics.

“Going forward I take from it that any other thing I want to do in my life I can do it if I put my mind to it,” she said.

Coach Tully’s Extra Point: For daily motivation, see www.brightmoment.com


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