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Coach K on How to Connect

Source: wsj.com READ FULL ARTICLE AT wsj.com

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I believe that my work is as much about words as it is about basketball. Choosing the right words is no less important to the outcome of a game than choosing the right players and strategies for the court. As a coach, leader and teacher, my primary task is motivation. How do I get a group motivated, not only to be their individual best but also to become better as a team? I have always said that two are better than one, but only if two can act as one.

After the 1999 season, when we lost to Connecticut in the national championship game, several of our top players left Duke earlier than expected. Shane Battier, who had played a supporting role on that team, was going to have to become our star.

Shane and I agreed that he would need to emerge as the team leader, but there was one problem: Shane had never imagined himself as a star.

After the players had gone home for the summer, I gave Shane a call.

"Shane," I said, "this morning, did you look in the mirror and imagine that you were looking at next year's conference player of the year?"

He chuckled, "Coach, I…"

I hung up.

The next day I called again. "Shane, it's Coach. When you were on your way to work this morning, did you imagine scoring 30 points in a game this season?"

He laughed cautiously and began to respond before I hung up again.

Seconds later, my phone rang. "Coach," Shane said, "Don't hang up on me."

"I won't hang up on you if you won't hang up on you," I told him.

Shane needed to imagine these sorts of things in order to become the player that he could be. Before he graduated, Shane earned National Player of the Year honors while leading our team to...

Full article: Coach K on How to Connect

More About: Professional Networking Sports social media Coach Motivation

Feb 24 2012 submitted by Susan Copper

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