The Anson Dorrance biography The Man Watching describes the constant chaos in the North Carolina women’s soccer program. Dorrance has piles of papers on his desk — sometimes, he finds big checks he has yet to deposit. And his team regularly shows up late to the airport, something I couldn’t handle at all.
Ironically, it’s a Duke guy writing this post about the benefits of chaos in coaching:
Before meets, Bowman hid goggles, so that Phelps had to swim without them; he deliberately arranged late pickups, so that Phelps would miss meals and swim with hunger; he cracked goggles, so they would fill up with water and obstruct Phelps’ vision in the pool. We don’t know how Phelps did in those earlier meets, but we know that Bowman created uncertainties for him in lower-risk situations so that when it really mattered he had familiarity with the unexpected and a mental adaptability that gave him the best shot at winning.
So, parents on my soccer team — if I’m late for practice or a drill goes horribly wrong, it’s all part of the plan.
Categories: olympic sports