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How Sports Can Transform Lives

by Joe Ehrmann with Paula Ehrmann and Gregory Jordan

Pub Date: Aug. 2nd, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4391-8298-7
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

A retired football player makes the case for a kinder, gentler approach to coaching.

Who would have thought that Ehrmann (co-founder, Coach for America), the bruising defensive tackle who once played for the Baltimore Colts, would decades later offer a heartfelt template for coaches to be more compassionate leaders? After all, it was the author, an admitted drug abuser while he played, who once said he wanted to knock Jets quarterback Joe Namath's head clear off his shoulder pads. "I...was not trying to be entertaining. I meant it. I thought that way and I played that way," he writes. But inside the brute beat a heart of gold waiting to be psychoanalyzed. After his brother died of cancer, Ehrmann began to unlock his own narrative, understanding his motivations, and in turn those of so-called "transactional" coaches, who engage with players solely to win games or secure inflated contracts for themselves. That approach is antithetical to the author’s "InSideOut" paradigm. "Being an InSideOUt coach,” he writes, “means turning my struggles, errors, and misfortunes into lessons that will make me a coach who instills a sense of community; is a better classroom leader; is a clearer and more empathetic communicator; is an advocate of healthy and constructive competition; and is a mentor who turns sports into a ceremony of celebration for young people."

In the age celebrity coaches and a revolving door for "student athletes" who never graduate but bring in millions to their universities, it's a downright revolutionary message. Ehrmann delivers it with candor and courage.