Coaching: More than Words

Coaches often believe their effectiveness is primarily the result of what they say. However, one of the most important things leaders can do for their teams doesn’t even involve spoken words.

“A leader has to show the face his team needs to see,” says Hall of Fame coach, Mike Krzyzewski. “He presents an image that gives confidence to his team.”

Take, for example, the events that occurred in the last 10 seconds of the 1992 NCAA East Regional Final between the Duke Blue Devils and the Kentucky Wildcats. With just several seconds left in the game, Kentucky hit a contested bank shot to give the Wildcats a 103-102 advantage. As the shocked Duke players walked towards their bench for a final timeout, a determined and focused Krzyzewski met them on the floor yelling, “We are going to win! Do you understand? We are going to win!”

His belief quickly became their belief as Krzyzewski called a simple, regularly-practice play and handed out individual assignments. After one final “We’re going to win,” the now-confident Blue Devils returned to the floor. A 75-foot pass, two dribbles, and a turnaround Christian Laettner jump shot later, Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils were headed to the Final Four.

When faced with adversity, what kind of face do you show?



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