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Posts Tagged ‘Mike Krzyzewski’

How to Breathe Life into Your Team—My Story Used from the Wall Street Journal

Editor’s Note: I thought I’d share with you a story that ran in today’s Wall Street Journal that I had a chance to experience.

How do you get some of the world’s wealthiest athletes to perform—in peak form—during their summer vacation?

This is USA Basketball’s eternal quandary. It is a challenge that only got tougher last month, when Paul George gruesomely broke his right leg during a Team USA scrimmage.

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Achieving Greatness through Teamwork

Shane Battier’s season—and career—ended last weekend in a solemn locker room with emotions he wasn’t expecting.

Battier’s Miami Heat had just lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals. For Battier, this swan song of his career didn’t allow him to hold the championship trophy, but he did pick up a piece of hardware that spoke volumes about the years he’s played and what so many of his colleagues think of him.

Battier is one of my favorite players in the NBA. He possesses a grittiness in his defensive play that has consistently fascinated me throughout his thirteen-year career.

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Overcoming Epic Wins and Losses

Ask anyone in the worlds of business or sports the most important qualities for success, and their list is likely to include “hard work” and “determination.”

While no one can argue the importance of both of these traits, they often tower over a value that I’ve learned can play as pivotal a role in sustaining success as any: humility.

Success can blind us temporarily and subject us to various pitfalls, perhaps the easiest and most problematic of which is complacency. Too much pride after a Great victory can open us up to potential disappointment if we focus too much on applauding what we just accomplished instead of preparing for the next obstacle. Additionally, one of the Great challenges to winners is dealing with defeat. In the event that next obstacle results in disappointment, dealing with loss in too negative a way can jeopardize our future goals.

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Great Leaders Never Stop Coaching

Great leaders are magnets for praise, respect, and adoration. But the greatest leaders are those who give more praise than they get. Three examples witnessed recently:

Just last month, Duke University’s head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski put his highly touted program on the court against a seemingly inferior and overmatched basketball program from the University of Vermont. While the national audience predicted an easy home victory for Coach K’s Blue Devils, the final score was decided by just one point. In fact, a made free throw with five seconds left in the game sealed a 91-90 victory for Duke. Most coaches would’ve stormed into the locker room and immediately chewed out their team for a poor performance.

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About Don Yaeger

Don Yaeger

Don Yaeger is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), longtime Associate Editor for Sports Illustrated, 11-time New York Times best-selling author, leadership expert and executive coach.

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