Coaching when they’re dumber than pigeons

I have paper archives.  I keep the dead-tree version of things — especially things older than, say, Netscape — because I want to read them again and am afraid they won’t be around in a digital format.

That’s no longer true for The Science of Winning, an article by Thomas F. Gilbert and Marilyn B. Gilbert that appeared in Training magazine in August of 1988.  The Vancouver chapter of ISPI has a PDF version.

Tom Gilbert was teaching at the University of Alabama during the heyday of legendary football coach Bear Bryant.  The Gilberts recount what Bryant said he did in coaching, and what he actually did.

As usual, there’s a gap — and that gap’s filled with treasure if you are thinking about accomplishment, rather than about behavior.

For me, sports metaphors are like Cool Whip — bland, predictable, and of almost no real use.  The Gilberts get past the Great Coach mythology, and they do it entertainingly — as with the story of how a young Joe Harless, on the Alabama football team, got called into the Bear’s presence.

As for motivation?

“But, coach, ” we protested, “what about all that talk of leadership and inspiration being your keys to success?”

“Aw, people like to hear that shit,” Bryant replied.
Winning inspires my boys.”