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How to Win

The Lives Around You

There’s the story told of a conversation overheard years ago in a Chicago lounge, where a man was bragging about his career.

At great length and in great detail, he told the man next to him about his life as a sports writer, about the ballplayers he knew, about the columns he wrote, about the contacts he could instantly reach on the phone.

After a while, in grand fashion, he allowed the other man to get a word in. “What is your name and what do you do for a living,” he asked.

Calmly replied the other man, “My name is Eliot Ness. I’m the man who put Al Capone behind bars.”

As coaches, we too often are like the braggart in the lounge. We get so caught up in our vision, our drills and our teaching that we forget about the lives teeming in the gym around us.

Behind each one of those faces is a life, with dreams, a background, and a home life. These other lives shouldn’t be a distraction to what we are doing; they can enrich it! Our job is to blend all these personalities into a powerful unit.

 Getting to know your players can help them, help you, help the team, and cut down on the vast chasm between the bragging sports writer and the reserved law enforcement officer.

  This weekend we are attending a coaching clinic in Bedford, N.H.  On the way up, a coaching colleague recalled walking out of a music lesson and never returning to that particular teacher. The reason? Instructor could never find anything nice to say about her. No matter how passionate the student was about the music, no matter how how well she played, she never got any support.

  After a long time away from the instrument, the student finally returned to her lessons — with another instructor. She eventually played at Carnegie Hall and made a recording! But her original teacher never knew. He never knew about the life teeming in front of him.



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