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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Coaches Are Agents of Change and Artists

Who are your favorite coaches and why? It's not an either-or question, it's simply opinion and taste.  

Gregg Popovich. Everyone knows his name; he has street cred. When asked whether the Spurs were going to win another championship he answered:

"I don’t know, but it’s not a priority in my life. I’d be much happier if I knew that my players were going to make society better, who had good families and who took care of the people around them. I’d get more satisfaction out of that than a title. I would love to win another championship, and we’ll work our butts off to try and do that. But we have to want more than success in our jobs. That’s why we’re here. We’re here so you’ll understand that you can overcome obstacles by being prepared and if you educate the hell out of yourself. If you become respectful, disciplined people in this world, you can fight anything. If you join with each other and you believe in yourself and each other, that’s what matters. That’s what we want to relay to you all: that we believe that about you or we wouldn’t be here.”

Steve Kerr. What's on his bookshelf? "Part of what he has learned is the importance of perspective: Maintaining a sense of humor and playfulness by showing your team that, indeed, there is more to life than basketball." 

Dean Smith. "You should never be proud of doing what's right. You should just do what's right." Smith shares that ego isn't contained within doing right and doing good. 

Geno Auriemma. Coach Auriemma demands players be engaged. "So recruiting kids that are really upbeat, that are loving life, that love the game, have this tremendous appreciate for when their teammates do something well, that's hard, it's really hard. So on our team, we — me, my coaching staff — we put a huge premium on body language. And if you're body language is bad, you will never get in the game. Ever. I don't care how good you are."

The Greeks discussed persuasion within three spheres - ethos, logos, and pathos. Ethos is character, who you are. Logos is the logic of your argument. Pathos is emotion. The Heath brothers modified this slightly in Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. They discussed change with a metaphorical RIDER, ELEPHANT, and PATH. The rider is reason, the elephant emotion, and the path is potential obstacles. 

Key excerpt:

Within that metaphorical journey, the elephant (emotion) is much bigger than the rider. We have to nudge the elephant in the right direction (add value, get buy-in), and overcome obstacles/adversity in dimensions of skill, attitude, and psychology. The 'model' coaches continually reinvent themselves and their teams, while negotiating organizational hurdles. 

Are coaches models? I think we're more like artists, working in different materials with unique properties and possibilities. And art is often a matter of taste. 

You would recognize the "art" of Pete Carril, John Thompson, or Phil Jackson as well as the painters below. 




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