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Mindful Running Expert Michael Sandler On Better Performance Being In the Now

Mindfulness in sports, breathing, recovery

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When it comes to injury and recovery, running expert Michael Sandler has been through the valley of the shadow of death and back again. He’s had several bone-crushing life threatening accidents and fought his way back to health and fitness. Once an elite distance athlete, he’s now a coach and an eloquent proponent of mindfulness in sports.

Michael’s website is mindfulrunning.org where he offers a wide range of educational and performance programs for amateurs up to elite level runners. He’s also an advocate of true barefoot running, something that long-time listeners of this show will know is an big interest of mine. Even if you’re not into running but want to know more about mindfulness in sports, this interview is well worth a listen.

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Sports Coach Radio dot com is a weekly series of interviews with world-leading coaches, sports scientists and writers. It’s hosted by Glenn Whitney, a mentor to coaches and a leadership advisor. Twitter is a good place to keep up with us – the handle is @sportscoachtalk.

Link to a video about Michael’s injury recovery: YouTube: Healing Through Barefoot Running

Topics: Mindfulness in sports, extreme injuries, repair and recovery, mindful running, breathing techniques, barefoot running, mindful running, sports meditation, visualization, mindful running,

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Coaching Researcher Martin Toms on Creating a Kids-First Culture

Positive coaching for young athletes
sports_psychologist_dr_martin_toms_birmingham_youth_sportsOur guest this week is Martin Toms, senior lecturer in Sports Coaching at the University of Birmingham in the UK. He’s one of very few people in the world who can call themselves a “sports ethnographer.” I looked the word up and it means someone who systematically studies people and cultures from within, rather than as a non-participating outsider. Among the many sports Martin is involved in, cricket, golf and soccer are at the top of the list.

He is also an expert in teaching sports to kids, ensuring that sports remain fun and helping coaches see their sports from the point of view of their young athletes. One of Martin’s key area of focus recently has been whether young children should specialize in just one sport or rather sample a wide range of sports until adolescence – a topic we discuss extensively in this interview. His Twitter handle is @drmartintoms

Sports Coach Radio dot com is a weekly series of interviews with world-leading coaches, sports scientists and writers. It’s hosted by Glenn Whitney, a mentor to coaches and a leadership advisor. Twitter is a good place to keep up with us – the handle is @sportscoachtalk.

Topics: Positive coaching, youth sports, young athletes, coach development, mindful coaching, coaching research

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True Cross Country Running With Mega Marathon Man Daren Wendell

cross_country_runner_daren_wendell100 marathons 100 days in a row

Ultra endurance, extremely fast recovery, mental toughness – we’ve got it all in this interview. Daren Wendell recently ran across America – 29 miles a day, 100 days in a row. A lot easier said than done. Yes, it’s kind of the Forest Gump thing except Daren isn’t a Hollywood invention.

In the process he’s raised nearly 150,000 dollars for the charity Active Water, which  brings safe water to people in Ethiopia. You can still donate on the website rundarenrun.com.

He’s a man with quite a bit of endurance experience including in recent years cycling 4, 400 miles across the country, walking 3,400 miles across the country, hiking the length of the Appalachian Trail and swimming 50.6 miles across Lake Michigan, and not without some negative consequences, as you’ll hear in this interview.

Sports Coach Radio dot com is a weekly series of interviews with world-leading coaches, sports scientists and writers. It’s hosted by Glenn Whitney, a mentor to coaches and a leadership advisor. Twitter is a good place to keep up with us – the handle is @sportscoachtalk.

Topics: Marathons, cross country running, ultra endurance, extremely fast recovery, mental toughness, Ethiopia, Active Water

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Mental Toughness Expert Rob Bell on the Psychology of the Pivotal Moment

Performing under pressure; handling anxiety
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This week sports psychologist and mental toughness expert Rob Bell joins us. He’s got a huge depth of experience in golf, distance running and swimming and works across a wide range of other sports. He’s also served as a caddy in numerous top PGA events which gives him a unique perspective on putting anxiety, known as the “yips.”

Rob has a PhD from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, is widely published in professional journals and is the author of the very engaging book The Hinge – The Importance of Mental Toughness. I also highly recommend you check out his short film NO FEAR on You Tube.
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SportsCoachRadio.com is a weekly series of interviews with world-class coaches, sports scientists and sports writers. It’s hosted by Glenn Whitney, a mentor to coaches and a leadership advisor.

You can follow us Twitter, where we post coaching news and tips just about every day of the week. The handle is @sportscoachtalk.

If you enjoy the show, please support it by posting a short review on the Apple iTunes page – just a couple of sentences will do the trick.

Topics: Mental toughness, sports psychology, yips, choking, performing under pressure, mood management, golf psychology, resilience

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Basketball Coaching: English NBA Standout On Enlightened Leadership and Fatherhood

John Amaechi, gay athletes, sports coaching psychology
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We’ve been looking forward to having John Amaechi on the show for a long time. He’s a gentleman, a scholar and a retired world-class basketball player.

He’s best known for having been Britain’s most successful NBA player, with starting roles at the Cleveland Caveliers, the Orlando Magic and the Utah, Jazz. Impressive, but what’s amazing is that John hadn’t even picked up a basketball until his was 17 years old. Before that he was a bookish, chubby kid living with his single mum near Manchester.

What followed was an incredibly ambitious and intense five-year training programs that brought him into the NBA. This is all detailed in his excellent book Man in the Middle. The autobiography also movingly recounts his evolution from being an “in the closet” gay man during his time playing professional basketball to becoming an active and articulate advocate for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and trans-gender rights, inside and outside the world of sports. Oh, and did I mention he also adopted two at-risk boys and raised them to adulthood. At the ripe old age of 44, he’s now a grandfather.
john-amaechi-bbcHaving studied organizational psychology while playing full time basketball, John is now highly sought-after consultant and performance coach as well as being a commentator on the BBC and active with numerous charities. His website is www.amaechiperformance.com
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SportsCoachRadio.com is a weekly series of interviews with world-class coaches, sports scientists and sports writers. It’s hosted by Glenn Whitney, a mentor to coaches and a leadership advisor.

You can follow us Twitter, where we post coaching news and tips just about every day of the week. The handle is @sportscoachtalk.

If you enjoy the show, please support it by posting a short review on the Apple iTunes page – just a couple of sentence will do the trick.

Topics: Basketball coaching, NBA, Orlando Magic, John Amaechi, gay athletes, sports coaching psychology, fatherhood

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Getting Tough for Soccer and Golf With Sports Psychologist Dan Abrahams

Mental toughness, improving focus, emotional self-management and dealing with extreme pressure
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Our guest this week is Dan Abrahams, a young and successful sports psychologist in the U.K. A former professional golfer and PGA golf coach, Dan is the lead psychologist at England Golf. He also works extensively in soccer – or football as it’s often called in Europe.
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Dan coaches a wide range of players, including at the highest professional level – the English Premier League from clubs such as Queen’s Park Rangers, Fulham and West Ham. He is also author of three books so far – Soccer Tough, Soccer Brain and Golf Tough.

SportsCoachRadio.com is a weekly series of interviews with world-class coaches, sports scientists and sports writers. It’s hosted by Glenn Whitney, a mentor to coaches and a leadership advisor.

You can follow us Twitter, where we post coaching news and tips just about every day of the week. The handle is @sportscoachtalk.
sports-psychology-mental-toughnesss-for-soccer-soccer-tough-dan-abrahams
If you enjoy the show, please support it by posting a short review on the Apple iTunes page – just a couple of sentence will do the trick. Many thanks to someone with the handle Kah0nee for his or her recent review.

Topics: Sports psychologist, mental focus, visualization, emotional self management, dealing with performance anxiety, choking, yips, performance improvements, self control, sports psychology, mental toughness, soccer, golf, football, resilience

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Sports Genes & Talent Development: Skills Expert Joe Baker

Talent Identification & Skill Development
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We’re happy to have Joe Baker back on the show. Joe is a sport scientist at York University in Toronto, Canada. He has a PhD and specializes in human skill acquisition, and talent identification and development.

We go around the houses several times in this interview, talking about nature versus nurture, whether or not there is such a thing as a sports gene, the famous 10,000 hours hypothesis of skill development, Canadian hockey, American basketball, you name it.
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Among Joe’s most recent publications, he co-edited the book Developing Sport Expertise: Researchers and Coaches Put Theory into Practice, which is available on Amazon. And co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Sport Expertise coming out in April 2015.

Sports Coach Radio is a series of weekly in-depth interviews with world-class sports leaders, coaches and sports scientists. It’s hosted by Glenn Whitney, a coaching adviser and leadership consultant. Follow us on Twitter, where we post coaching tips and links to interesting articles just about every day of the week. The handle is @sportscoachtalk. And we’d be grateful if you’d leave a short review of the show on the Apple iTunes page.

Topics: The sports gene, talent identification, skill acquisition, skill development, genetics in sports, Joe Baker, Daniel Coyle, Malcolm Gladwell, David Epstein, Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, Bill Bellicheck, talent ID

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Sleep: The Under-Used, Perfectly Legal Performance Enhancer

Rest & Recovery; Boosting Performance With Better Sleep
sleep-coach-sleep-athlete-performance-nick-littlehales-sportsleepcoach
Sleep. It’s one of the final frontiers for improving sports performance.

Substantial gains are available to those who can improve sleep quality and consistency. The amazing thing is that some of the world’s best athletes of all time weren’t great sleepers. Imagine what they could have achieved if they’d worked with the week’s guest and others in the sleep improvement field?

Nick Littlehales is one of the world’s pioneering sports sleep coaches. Based in Nottingham, England,  Nick has consulted to the likes of British Cycling and the two-time Tour de France winning Sky Professional Team, power house soccer clubs Manchester United and Real Madrid as well as in Olympic rowing, sailing, track and field and boxing.

You can find Nick him via the website sportsleepcoach.com

Sports Coach Radio is a series of weekly in-depth interviews with world-class sports leaders, coaches and sports scientists. It’s hosted by Glenn Whitney, a coaching adviser and leadership consultant. Follow us on Twitter, where we post coaching tips and links to interesting articles just about every day of the week. The handle is @sportscoachtalk. And we’d be grateful if you’d leave a short review of the show on the Apple iTunes page.

Topics: Sleep for sports, athlete recovery, rest and recovery, injury prevention, athlete resilience, sleep performance

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Continuous Compassionate Criticism: The Essence of the Art of Coaching

When you make a mistake in typing or in spelling, it’s good that an icon doesn’t flash all over your screen with a green monster sticking it’s tongue out and screaming at you that you’re a total idiot. Those kinds of frequent attacks on your self-esteem are unlikely to motivate you to produce more and increase the quality of your work. It’s an overwhelming, debilitating form of feedback.

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However the opposite of this is also a problem. Most people can merrily type away while their word processing program automatically fixes mistakes that the person never realises he made. This is not blissful ignorance. This is the kind of cluelessness that leads to arrogance and complacency.

To stay on top of our game, and especially to get better at what we want to be excellent at – we need continuous compassionate criticism. It’s hard to find sources for that, but absolutely essential.

A key reason great athletes become great, stay great and get even better is that they have an insatiable appetite for improvement. They are highly receptive to feedback and being challenged. They believe in themselves and their pervasive superiority over their competitors but they are almost always open to improving and recognising what they are doing now might not be optimal.

This is less true in the case of top-level executives. Most I have worked with and know about are hyper-sensitive about criticism. They are thin-skinned and they avoid it. That may be an important reason that the average time at the top for a chief executive in most developed countries is about 3.5 years. Eventually all those blind spots and delusions of superiority (and even infallibility) catch up with these arrogant executives and they are deposed.

The art of the coach is to deliver this continuous compassionate criticism in a highly individualised way; tailoring the feedback and leavening it with humor and warmth so that the athlete – and ideally the top business leader – can receive it willingly, hear it fully, internalise it completely and put the improvement into action consistently.

Topics: The art of coaching, reslience, focus, discipline

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Running Coach: Middle Distance Legend Steve Cram

Running-Coach

Mile, 1500m, Sebastian Coe rivalry

It’s an honor to have on the show this week one of the legends of middle distance running – Steve Cram, a man who set world records, in the 1,000 meter, 1,500 meter and the mile, all in 1985. He was also among the top 800 meter runners of his generation, carrying on a fascinating multi-Running-Coach-Steve-Cram-1year rivalry with his countrymen Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe.

Several of Steve’s times are still up there among the very fastest ever run.

Steve has a lot going on, including serving as primary coach for British 1,500 meter standout Laura Weightman, providing ad hoc coaching to a wide range of professional and amateur athletes and acting as lead athletics commentator for the BBC.

In this wide-ranging interview you’ll hear all about his transition from athlete to coach, preferred training methods and his view on all sorts of trends, from low-carb diets to barefoot running.

Sports Coach Radio is a series of weekly in-depth interviews with world-class sports leaders, coaches and sports scientists. It’s hosted by Glenn Whitney, a coaching adviser and leadership consultant. Follow us on Twitter, where we post coaching tips and links to interesting articles just about every day of the week. The handle is @sportscoachtalk. And we’d be grateful if you’d leave a short review of the show on the Apple iTunes page.

Topics: Running coach, The Mile, 1500m, middle distance coaching, Steve Cram, Sebastian Coe, Steve Ovett, Laura Weightman, athletics, track and field, periodization, altitude training, low carb diets, running coach, barefoot running

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A Winning Mindset and Overcoming Adversity With Sports Psychologist Jim Taylor

Power of Visualization and Mental Preparation
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Sports psychology this week, with one of the country’s leading practitioners.

Dr. Jim Taylor has been a consultant for the United States and Japanese Ski Teams, the United States Tennis Association, and USA Triathlon, and has also worked with world-class athletes in cycling, track and field, swimming, football, golf and baseball. He has been invited to lecture by the Olympic Committees of Spain, France, Poland, and the U.S., and has consulted with the Athletic Departments at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley.

There is tons of great information on his website: www.drjimtaylor.com and from there you can get links to the excellent articles he writes for the Huffington Post and Psychology Today.

Sports Coach Radio is a series of weekly in-depth interviews with world-class sports leaders, coaches and sports scientists. It’s hosted by Glenn Whitney, a coaching adviser and leadership consultant. Follow us on Twitter, where we post coaching tips and links to interesting articles just about every day of the week. The handle is @sportscoachtalk. And we’d be grateful if you’d leave a short review of the show on the Apple iTunes page.

Key topics: Sports psychology, visualization for sports, mental training, mind coach, winning mindset, overcoming adversity, life after competition, Jim Taylor, positive focus, mental preparation, innner game

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Building Speed Endurance With Track Coach Jimson Lee

Track 200m and 400m, athletics, sprinting
speed-endurance-jimson-leeSpeed endurance. One of the most physiologically challenging of athletic pursuits. It combines explosive velocity with the ability to hold onto a high intensity when your lungs are crying out for mercy

Jimson Lee is an expert on speed endurance, particularly in track and field, including the 200 meter and 400 meter events. He heads up the highly engaging blog called – what else? speedendurance.

In this interview we discuss a wide range of topics from Usain Bolt to Michael Johnson, of course, the effect of genes on athletic performance and the difference between the various metabolic systems. Don’t forget that we have already had several top coaches in speed endurance area on the show, including Michael Johnson himself and his former coach, Clyde Hart, who currently coaches top women’s 400 meter runner Sanya Richards-Ross. Those interviews are available in the SportsCoachRadio.com archives.

Key topics: Speed endurance, track sprinting, 200 meters, 400 meters, Michael Johnson, Usain Bolt, Jeremy Wariner, David Rudisha, Sanya Richards Ross, Allyson Felix, speed endurance training

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Conquer Nerves, Keep it Simple and Enjoy Yourself: Downhill Mental Toughness

mental-tougness-downhill-travis-ganongThis is what world-class self confidence sounds like: Long-shot downhill ski racer Travis Ganong of the United States. His belief in himself has been building up over time, since last year’s Olympic in Sochi, where he finished fifth. Now he’s the 2015 Silver Medallist in the downhill World Championship, at Beaver Creek, Colorado.

“Sochi was a great race for me. After that, I just kind of took off. This is a building process. You have to learn how to ski downhill. It’s such a dangerous sport and on the limit, you have to know how to ride that fine line between risk and reward and know how to get to that reward and know how to get to that reward at the end of the day.

“I knew could ski fast, I knew I had it in me to be competitive at the highest level. It was just a matter of figuring out how to conquer the nerves and conquer the over-excitement of being at these big events.”

“I woke up and I just told myself – ‘Hey, be relaxed. You’ve been skiing your whole life. You know how to ski. Don’t think about it, just go have fun and enjoy the day. Make some good turns and keep in simple…’ I love skiing. I have a passion for it.”

Topics: Mental toughness, focus under pressure, self talk, self belief, conquer nerves, keep it simple & enjoy yourself: self-confidence

 

 

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Brain Training to Boost Endurance Performance With Samuele Marcora

Mental Fatigue; Brain Endurance Training 
samuele-marcora-2Can brain training make substantial improvements in endurance performance? Is self-talk really effective? The results from preliminary research are highly encouraging. This week’s guest is the man leading the studies, Professor Samuele Marcora. He is director of research at the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Kent, in England.

Prepare for a little brain pain. In this episode we’re going to dive deep into Sam’s cutting edge work integrating exercise physiology with motivation psychology and cognitive neuroscience. This psychobiological approach has generated several innovative studies including the effects of mental fatigue on endurance performance and brain training for endurance athletes (Brain Endurance Training). Sam has also been a research consultant for MAPEI Sport Service in Italy where he contributed to highly cited research on soccer and mountain biking physiology.

Sports Coach Radio is a series of weekly in-depth interviews with world-class sports leaders, coaches and sports scientists. It’s hosted by Glenn Whitney, a coaching adviser and leadership consultant. Follow us on Twitter, where we post coaching tips and links to interesting articles just about every day of the week. The handle is @sportscoachtalk. And we’d be grateful if you’d leave a short review of the show on the Apple iTunes page.

Key topics:Brain training to improve endurance performance; self-talk for athletes, mental fatigue, training to exhaustion, Central Governor Theory, Timothy Noakes, endurance training for cycling, cognitive stimulation

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Getting Ready to Run With CrossFit Mobility Expert Kelly Starrett

cross-fit-kelly-starrett Barefoot running; CrossFit Mobility WOD, minimalist shoes

Mobility WOD, Mr CrossFit San Francisco, Mr Ready to Run is back with us this week to talk all things resilient, robust and really fast and furious.

Of course it’s Kelly Starrett one of our favourite and most popular guests. He has a doctorate in physical therapy and is a consultant to a wide range of athletes and teams, from cycling, to rugby, and skiing from to ballet. He’s the author of the highly successful and influential book Becoming a Supple Leopard and now his second work is out, the hugely practical and informative Ready to Run – Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally.
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Sports Coach Radio is a series of weekly in-depth interviews with world-class sports leaders, coaches and sports scientists. It’s hosted by Glenn Whitney, a coaching adviser and leadership consultant. Follow us on Twitter, where we post coaching tips and links to interesting articles just about every day of the week. The handle is @sportscoachtalk. And we’d be grateful if you’d leave a short review of the show on the Apple iTunes page.

Topics: Getting Ready to Run With CrossFit Mobility WOD Expert Kelly Starrett; barefoot running, minimalist running shoes, injury prevention, San Francisco CrossFit, TJ Murphy, CrossFit mobility

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Triathlon and Cycling Coach Joe Friel On Being Fast After 50

Cycling, Triathlon, Fat-Adapted Nutrition, Paleo Diet
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Master endurance coach Joe Friel is back, this time to talk about a subject near and dear to many coaches I know – being Fast After 50. So whether you’re coaching older athletes or you are an older coach-athlete yourself, this interview is for you. We cover a wide range of topics – cardio vascular performance, strength training, mobility and agility and, of course, nutrition.

Coach Friel is the cofounder of software company Training Peaks and the author of numerous books including The Cyclist’s Training Bible, The Triathlete’s Training Bible and co-author of the ground-breaking Paleo Diet for Athletes. He’s been a coach for nearly 35 years and is past chairman of the USA Triathlon National Coaching Commission.
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Sports Coach Radio is a series of weekly in-depth interview with world-class sports coaches, leaders and scientists, hosted by Glenn Whitney, a coaching adviser and leadership consultant. Follow us on Twitter, where we post coaching tips and links to interesting articles just about every day of the week. The handle is @sportscoachtalk. And we’d be grateful if you’d leave a short review of the show on the Apple iTunes page.

Topics: Endurance expert, triathlon, cycling coach Joe Friel on cardio vascular performance, strength training, mobility and agility, and nutrition, Paleo Diet.

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What Makes for World Class Coaching?

world-class-team-coach-john-woodenA massively important question, but not necessarily a difficult one.

Here’s my wish list. What’s yours?
– Demonstrably successful training methodology
– Personal integrity (ethical standards)
– Reliability (delivers on commitments; can be depended upon)
– Clear, pro-active day-to-day communication
– Ability to explain complex ideas in simple ways; adjusts to various audiences
– Respect for diversity; non-racist, non-sexist
– Personally well-organised; good at planning; on-time, disciplined
– Proactive communication to all key stakeholders (athlete, parents, home club, physios, S&C coaches, etc.)
– Emotional maturity
– Willingness and ability to teach and mentor junior coaches
– Adaptability, mental flexibility and open-mindedness
– Fluency and eloquence communicating with the media and with sponsors; is discreet and discplined
– Growth mindset about him/herself and towards everyone else
– Generosity in helping others
– Low ego; puts athletes’ needs before his/her own
– Able to listen as well as talk
– Capacity for empathising with others

That’s John Wooden, of course, but who else fit’s the bill? Alex Ferguson? Bill Belichick?

“If you don’t have time to do it right, will you have time to do it over?” – John Wooden

Topics: World class coaching, attributes, temperaments and standards