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How to Win

What Great Coaches Do

“Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve.” ~ Tom Landry

Richard Quick, legendary collegiate and Olympic swim coach, died earlier this month of cancer.

I had never heard of Quick, but anytime a coach is accomplished enough to have his obituary appear on the national wires, I want to know more . And everything you need to know about Quick comes from the way his former athletes describe him.

“Richard’s biggest strength is his enthusiasm and his intensity,” 2000 Olympic gold medalist Misty Hyman once said of him. “The way that Richard inspires our team is that he believes that anything was possible if we work hard and believe in ourselves.”

“The most important thing I learned from Richard was to believe in myself,” said 2004 Olympian Dana Kirk.

“Richard inspired me to believe and dream at the highest level every day in practice. My life as an athlete, and better yet as a person, is better because of my Stanford swimming experience,” said Shelly Ripple, a multiple All-American.

Did you notice that nowhere in the praise was any mention of strategy or technical ability? Come to think of it, try to think of any great coach who is described as a great tactician but who has absolutely no ability to relate to people. There aren’t many. Even the toughest coaches — Vince Lombardi, Bobby Knight, Herb Brooks — found a way to touch something deep within the athtete’s soul.

As my friend, volleyball guru Dr. Carl McGown, says, “It is NOT about the drills. It is about finding ways to teach and to motivate.”

Sounds like Richard Quick did both.


3 comments for “What Great Coaches Do”

  1. Sounds like Dr. McGown does both too.

    Posted by Ellis | June 18, 2009, 5:55 am
  2. Yes, as well as anyone

    Posted by Coach Tully | June 18, 2009, 11:04 pm
  3. And better than most

    Posted by Coach Tully | June 18, 2009, 11:04 pm

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