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Beating the Odds

What Successful Teams Have More Than Anything Else

Let’s say you’re the athletic director at a school.
You hire a coach who will be there only one day a week. He’s not a coach by trade, and he does not even attend his team’s competitions.
What do you get?
Well, in the case of the Essex Catholic High School fencing program, you get a dynasty. Multiple, multiple state titles. And a winning streak that soars well beyond 100.
So says my friend Tom DePoto, a college fencer of some renown and a graduate of that Essex Catholic program.
At first when he told me the story, I didn’t know what to make of it. Now I do. It’s the story of a great team culture, where accountability and sharing mean everything.
“The seniors coached the juniors,” my friend said. “The juniors coached the sophomores and the sophomores coached the freshmen.”
And the process kept repeating itself, year after year, long after those freshmen graduated.
“Culture is simply a shared way of doing something with a passion,” said Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb.
In our book “Ten Things Great Coaches Know,” Gary Pritchard and I define team culture as “The way we do things here.”
Culture shows itself in many ways. If players or employees wander in late, that’s culture. If the coach favors some people and denies others a chance, that’s culture.
Culture surrounds you. Your family has one. So does your office or your sports team. It’s either a good one or a bad one, but it’s there.
“I used to believe that culture was ‘soft,’ and had little bearing on our bottom line,” said Vern Dosch, author of ‘Wired Differently.’ What I believe today is that our culture has everything to do with our bottom line, now and into the future.”
It certainly worked for the Essex Catholic fencers.

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Thank you for visiting Total Game Plan. If your team, group or business needs a motivational speaker, please email coachtully @ totalgameplan.com. Here are some other resources for your success:

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Do you coach females? Are you a female athlete, or the parent of one? Here’s “Was It Something I Said? A Guide to Coaching Female Athletes” by Vanessa Sullivan and Mike Tully

Need some motivation? Everyone needs it now and then. Open any page of “Thank God You’re Lazy! The Instant Cure for What’s Holding You Back” by Dr. Rob Gilbert and Mike Tully.

Are you a teacher, boss or sports coach? Here’s “Ten Things Great Coaches Know” by Mike Tully and Gary Pritchard.

Want to have your best basketball season ever? Here’s “Basketball: What Great Players Know that You Don’t Know,” by Mike Tully and Gio Grassi.


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