A spirited survey of some of the techniques of winning coaches in building winning teams.
A successful coach, writes CBS analyst Davis (Wooden: A Coach’s Life, 2013, etc.), takes a collection of individuals and turns them into a single entity: an “us.” By the author’s account, the formula it takes to do so is “the PEAK profile,” that being an acronym for persistence, empathy, authenticity, and knowledge. It would rob Davis of some thunder to get too deep into the formula, but suffice it to say that it has plenty of merit. Even if some of his case studies seem not always to embody every aspect of it, it’s clear that “the real secret is that there are no secrets” but instead endless work and application. One of those subjects, renowned Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer, chooses to travel a tumultuous path, “fueled by his ADD inability to leave well enough alone,” authentic to the core but perhaps a little shy at times of empathetic matters. By the same token, Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski might “have been diagnosed with attention deficit order” as a kid, but he settled down when pressed into service as a player for the tyrannical Bobby Knight, he of chair-throwing fame, and has led his players by example. Jim Harbaugh combines depth of knowledge with a commitment to do good in the world, a “willingness—an eagerness, even—to apply his talents beyond the football field” into the realm of service to the poor. And so forth. Davis sometimes falls into jock-talk (“though he is no longer able to run alongside his players until he pukes, he still embraces every opportunity to feed his competitive jones”), and his narrative is more diffuse than its textbook-ish opening might suggest. However, he provides plenty of useful information for aspiring coaches and committed fans.
Want to score big? Read a book, as many of Davis’ coaches do. This one makes a good start.