The Coach

Set a goal, stick to the basics, execute, be confident, be brave and never quit before reaching the goal – how to transform learnings of sports to Business.

I had read and internalized above advice years ago. It became my inner voice to motivate me time and time again. Especially after a failure or if I had not reached my goal in the first attempt. And it became an example expression in many conversations with employees or even at townhall meetings at sites reporting to me.

I could recognize myself in my role some time as the soccer coach I also was. Target setting, confidence and courage are equally important in sports and business life. And to never give up is probably the most important one.

I found it in John Grisham’s novel Bleachers: “Then the voice will tell you to pick yourself up, to set a goal, […], stick to the basics, execute […], be confident, be brave and never, never quit.”

In the German translated edition, the title reads “The Coach” and the respective sentence is on page 178, just a few pages before the novel closes. Although apparently a story focused on the high school All-American Neely Crenshaw, the novel is really about a man who remains off-stage but dominates the action: retired high school coach Eddie Rake, who spent most of his life turning the Spartans into the successful football team they finally became.

The book was published in 2003 and I had also recommended it to my daughter Annika, who was just completing her exchange year in Des Moines, Iowa at that time. I mentioned this saying to her as my key take-away and when she arrived reading page 178, I received a wonderful email note. “If I hadn’t searched so carefully for the saying, I might not have noticed it properly. When I finally came across him, it seemed to me that the whole book was ultimately geared towards this advice.”

“Even though it might sound like it, this book is not only for football lovers”, Annika wrote at the time as conclusion in a review for the high school newspaper at Des Moines. How right she was!

“A quitter never wins – and a winner never quits” (Napoleon Hill).

What is your experience with this whether in sports, in business or in life?

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