The coaching profession has some interesting entry points when it comes to how certain head coaches arrived at their chairs and found success; it usually reads like a good adventure novel.
Like all of Malcolm Gladwell's books, David and Goliath takes a unique view of the "Big Fish-Little Pond Effect". Specifically, the book adroitly sheds light on why certain programs like Gonzaga, Butler, Davidson, and Belmont continually sleigh giants in our business. In short, Gladwell's research is second to none and he makes complete sense out of the head scratching, hard to understand.Yes I am recommending that you read David and Goliath. Yes you should pay attention to such phrases as "delay of gratification" while understanding that does not mean gratification denied... and yes you should be mindful of Gladwell's keen distinctions between "knowing your limits" while exceeding all expectations.
Every coach would be well served to take a class or two in parenting. For example, Gladwell addresses the importance of establishing boundary lines and articulating the difference between "no we can't" to "know we won't." Certainly the smaller basketball programs, be it Division 1,2, or 3 must frequently say "no we can't" whereas the Goliath must LEARN the phrase"no we won't." My guess: the Goliath coach has a hard time making his team understand the difference between unique and special. In short, David and his coach inherently understand that he must work hard all the time while Goliath frequently coasts: his unique athletic ability gives him a passive aggressive attitude towards work.
Gladwell goes on to point out that "easy" is not a good path for sustained success....not at all....or as former Temple head coach John Chaney would say,"....world championship boxers don't go to bed in silk pajamas".....in other words "desirable difficulties" often make for a better competitor. However, Gladwell is right to point out that there must be a balance between failure and success as abject waves of rejection and defeat can shred many competitors. Additionally, early and easy success can be a disaster for teams, especially the bigger programs. Why? Too much cheesecake ruins the appetite. Whereas difficult beginnings may create a "stubborn character."The idea is to avoid a team made up of cherries.
I would say that the New York Giants provide a good example of an organization that traditionally starts slow and gains momentum because of their coaching staff and players. A closer look would also reveal that their way of drafting players indicates a tilt towards "the free range" tough guy while passing on some "look good poor motor players." My point: the winning is in the picking and to bypass character is a big time mistake....yet some organizations and coaches give an individual's character very little consideration...and they keep losing. "Character" does not mean we should look for choirboys per se, just that an individual shows a pattern of good decisions, be it family, friends, school, and displays a mental and physical toughness spawned by such things as dyslexia.
Gladwell goes on to point out that any teacher, parent, and coach must be competent. In other words, understanding the "principle of legitimacy" means players have a voice, rules are consistent, and fairness rules the day. In summation, a healthy team functions in such a manner because the leader knows what he or she is doing. I would say that Coach Popovich and the Spurs provide us with a salient example over an extended period of time.
Coaching is a difficult business. Sitting in the seat of the underdog has its own advantages, without question. Most of what Norman Vincent Peale addressed was about how one approached adversity and truly believing that there is merit in such disadvantages. Gladwell's David and Goliath confirms that there are distinct pluses to being the hunter.