Coach K’s Three E’s


This past summer, I had the opportunity to coach at Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke Basketball Camp. Several times during the week, Coach K spoke to the campers, telling stories of past Duke and USA Basketball teams, motivating campers towards individual greatness, and even providing tips about personal hygiene for the week.

On the first night of camp, Coach K shared the three “E’s” he used with his 2015 NCAA National Championship team:

  • Energy. Former Duke All-American Gerald Henderson once said about Coach K,. “He brings it every day. He wants to come out every day and make every player better, make our team better, and make himself better. He has been doing this for a while, yet he still has that intense passion for the game and winning.” Do you bring that kind of energy every day for your team?
  • Enthusiasm. “Enthusiasm is great interest or excitement. When you are enthusiastic, you are a catalyst to those around you,” Coach K said. Players notice your enthusiasm and passion. Especially for a group of younger players, they feed off your enthusiasm.
  • Emotion. In sports, emotion has several components, including facial expressions, posture, gesture, touch and the voice. Are you afraid of allowing too much emotion to be shown on your team? Psychological research has found that positive emotions are necessary for successful athletic performance. Don’t fear emotion. Show emotion. Encourage it among your players.

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