Anecdotal Heroes

Virtually every modern coaching book has quotes from famous and successful sporting protagonists. These give the ideas under discussion support and credibility, particularly if, as in our case, the author’s credentials are not widely known.

Much of the popular coaching literature we consulted drew heavily from the experiences and performances of the world’s elite; Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Wayne Gretzky and Steffi Graff being favourites among athletes, along with a similar host of bona fide legends from the annals of coaching lore. Obviously, these individuals have earned the right to have their say and in many cases, have much to offer their readers and fans. They also boast the star power to sell truckloads of books. We felt whilst it might be the aspiration of many players and coaches to share the lofty realms of these gifted individuals, their freakish abilities and the unique opportunities they consequently enjoy often do not provide much in the way of practical information for the rest of us. Our worlds, although on the same continuum, remain functionally and logistically too far apart.

Certainly, to develop future champions, we need to learn from the Jordan’s of the world and employ their inspiration. The truth of it is however, these heroes live and perform around 3 standard deviations above the mean. Their methods, mindsets and attitudes come supported by innate abilities 99% of competitors can barely dream of, much less harness. Remember, the athletes listed above are considered all-time greats. In their company, even a World Champion is not necessarily in the same ballpark if they only achieve that feat on a single occasion.

By adopting lower profile and therefore less identifiable athletes as our examples, we risk losing the sense of credibility that these peerless champions afford. The trade-off however, is delivering more real world, real-time applications to our concepts and we believe that to be a worthwhile exchange. No…our models and anecdotes will not always come from legends of the 99th percentile, but rather showcase leaders and champions making a difference in arenas to which most of us can more personally relate; facing challenges and difficulties more common to us all.

Ultimately, it came down to a question of who had the most to offer in terms of learning relevance to the readers of this book. To an overwhelming degree, we have accordingly drawn upon our personal experiences and associations wherever real life examples were required.

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