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Beyond Basketball: Coach K's Keywords for Success Hardcover – 5 Apr 2007
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Short but extraordinarily powerful essays as to how Coach K of Duke inspires, motivates, and teaches his basketball players about the game of life, both on and off the court.
About the Author
In addition to winning numerous NCAA championships and Coach of the Year awards, Coach K has also been selected to coach the USA men's basketball team at the Summer Olympics in 2008.
Top customer reviews
Coach Krzyzewski is joined in this easy-to-read and hard-to-apply book by his daughter, Jamie Spatola, who is an example in several of the book's segments.
This book has an unusual concept. Be sure you understand and like that concept before you buy and read the book. Coach Krzyzewski likes to focus his team's attention. Rather than leading into a game with a long speech, he will put one word up and ask the team to keep that word in mind. It will be a word that reflects something needed to keep the team's focus and performance in balance. This book is organized much the same way. There are thirty-nine essays that explore one or two words in 2-3 pages . . . followed by a conclusion that looks at the essence of great team play. Each of the thirty-nine essays begins with explaining what the word means and why it is important, and then goes on to provide an example from Coach Krzyzewski's life. The examples are particularly charming because Coach Krzyzewski seeks to make others look great . . . while he plays the straight man.
As I read this book, I was reminded of a comment Larry Bird made about one of the Celtics coaches who liked to direct everything the team did. Bird noted that it's hard to start a fast break if the whole team is watching the coach to find out what half-court play the coach wants to call.
Coach Krzyzewski obviously tries to stay out of the way of his players' genius and tendencies. I loved the sections where he learned better methods of playing from many of his great players.
What are the thirty-nine words and word combinations? Here they are (in alphabetical order): Adaptability, Adversity, Balance, Belief, Care, Challenges, Collective Responsibility, Commitment, Communication, Courage, Crisis Management, Culture, Dependability, Empathy, Enthusiasm, Excellence, Failure, Family, Friendship, Fundamentals, Giving Back, Guidance, Imagination, Integrity, Learning, Love, Motivation, Next Play, Ownership, Passion, Poise, Pressure, Pride, Respect, Selflessness, Standards, Trust, Will, and Work. The conclusion focuses on The Fist (the team's focus on five core concepts of cooperation: communication, trust, collective responsibility, care, and pride).
The best way to gain from this book is to start by reading the words that you don't think are important . . . then move on to the words you think are important. You'll deepen your understanding in both cases. Then re-read this book at least once a year to reinforce these positive lessons.
My favorite examples in the book didn't have anything to do with basketball (although the ball is always in the background). But there are also wonderful examples of behind-the-scenes moments when Coach Krzyzewski took action to deal with a challenge and create a better effort . . . or a success.
However, the whole gleams with a special shine . . . like a highly polished diamond with 40 perfect facets.
Coach Krzyzewski knows that one sentence, beyond any other, can inspire in his players the determination to succeed: "I believe in you." In life--whether it be academics, athleticism, or anything else--knowing that someone believes in you can make the difference between losing and winning. Coach K. knows that, and so do his players.
BEYOND BASKETBALL is broken down into numerous short "chapters," which include the following:
Adaptability, Adversity, Balance, Belief, Care, Challenges, Collective Responsibility, Commitment, Communication, Courage, Crisis Management, Culture, Empathy, Enthusiasm, Excellence, Failure, Family, Friendship, Fundamentals, Giving Back, Guidance, Imagination, Integrity, Learning, Love, Motivation, Next Play, Ownership, Passion, Poise, Pressure, Pride, Respect, Selflessness, Standards, Talent, Trust, Will, and Work.
Whether you're a follower of college basketball or not, BEYOND BASKETBALL is a fitting book that deals with working hard, playing hard, and dedicating yourself to whatever goals you set for yourself.
Reviewed by: Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius"