Wisdom from the Sportsman of the Year

Wisdom from the Sportsman of the Year

Last week, I shared a few takeaways from Sports Illustrated’s article about 2011 SportsWoman of the Year, Pat Summitt. Today, let’s glean a few insights from SI’s SportsMan of the Year, Mike Krzyzewski.

Coach K has always been one of my favorites, not just because he wins, but because of how he wins. He understands that winning traditions aren’t built on talent alone. I have a deep appreciation for the way he leads his team and develops boys into men.

These quotes stood out to me (my short comments in blue italics):


Metaphors are my crutch for a limited vocabulary. I’ve always felt a kid needs to see things, not just hear them or read about them. People remember stories and examples better than words.

Keep in mind the different ways people learn. Use stories and examples to get your point across.

We have five new managers this season. Do you know their names? If you own the program, you know every person on the bus.

Teach respect for every person around your program who contributes to your success.

If you lose while believing in one another, you can handle the loss. But in fact you have a really good chance of winning.

Never underestimate the power of unity, whether you win or lose. 

The group that can play as one, with spirit and courage, has the best chance to win.

Talent isn’t enough. Great teams exhibit many other characteristics necessary to win. 

They [Henry Iba, Pete Newell, Bob Knight] told me, ‘Don’t ever try to be like any of the three of us. Don’t try to be like anybody. Take what you like, but don’t mimic.’

Learn from others, but be yourself! Otherwise you rob the world of your unique gift.