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#240 Anson Dorrance, 21x NCAA Champion, on Creating the UNC Competitive Cauldron (Session from 2021 Way of Champions Conference)

by John O'Sullivan
October 1st 2021

Anson Dorrance loves competition, and has spent decades understanding and creating relentless competitors in his teams. As the University of North Carolina Women's Soccer Coach, he has won over 100... More

Welcome to the Wave Champions podcast. I'm your host, john O'Sullivan every week, we connect you with the top minds in the world of sports coaching leadership and building championship programs so you can take your athletes and your teams to the next level. Yeah, everyone, Welcome to the UefA Champions podcast. It's jOHn And this is a special special episode this week for all of you, loyal listeners. Um thank you so much for your support and as you all know, we recently in late August ran the 20, way of champions conference virtually. And so we had this incredible line up of speakers steve Kerr quin Snyder Tara, Vanderveer jenny levy, Um George Mumford Brad Stevens. I mean it was incredible. It's just such a cool conference. We had over 250 coaches from every continent listening in sharing and um now what we are doing is we have just finally published and we're releasing the videos of that conference for all of you.

And so to kind of give you a little taste of what you may have missed if you didn't join us in august and give you the chance to get all the good stuff. Right now, we have Anson Dorrance from the conference on the podcast today. So this is the interview that Anson did on creating a competitive cauldron or what he would say is his expertise is creating competitive environments. Now, I think as coaches, this is what we all want to do. We want to create environments where people compete like crazy where they're not afraid to compete where they're not afraid to stand out where they're not afraid to be the best of the best. Now, Anson has the track record to prove that this stuff works. He's won 21 N. C. A. Titles, He's won a World Cup as the head coach of the 1991 U. S. Women's soccer team. He's been the national coach of the year, not only for women's soccer but for men's soccer when he worked as the UNC men's coach And he's had so much success.

Hall of Famer over 1000 winds. All this that Dean Smith, the legendary unc basketball coach once quipped when talked about talking about the success of his program. He said this is just a women's soccer school. We're all trying to keep up. So this is what you get with anson, someone who has done this year after year for almost 50 years now. And this is such a great talk when Jerry and I were talking about, which is one that we would love to share. Anson just popped into our head because um we both got so much out of this conversation about creating competitiveness about how to make things, especially in team sports less subjective and more objective, which you thought was fascinating and so much more so you're really, really going to enjoy this conversation. This is one that you have to take notes, You have to probably listen to it once and then go back with your pen and paper and listen to it again because there are so many gems and we got so much feedback from conference participants um about this that they just said, man, that was just incredible.

So we wanted to share this with all of you and then give you a chance in the show notes here or on the website or if you're on our email list that we now have the conference videos for sale. So if you want Anson and steve and Quinn and brad and Tara and jenny and Cindy, Timchal and George Mumford. Um you can get access to all of that right now and watch it at your leisure. Okay, so before we dive in, I want to thank two new Patreon podcast champions this week, David Masterson and chris teaching Your thank you guys both for um, your support of the podcast. If you want to be a monthly supporter of the podcast, just go to Patreon dot com Forward slash wave champions. And if you sign up, you're gonna get like $300 worth of videos, you're going to get um, a bunch of transcripts, you get opportunities, you get some videos of interviews we've done that we haven't released to the public and so much more. So it's a really cool way to support our work here and also to get some great stuff.

Okay. Um, and then also thank you to our two amazing sponsors. We have good sport, our friends at good sport Michelle. They have been such great supporters of ours for these last couple of months, title sponsor for the way Champions Conference and so much more so good sport dot com for this delicious energy drink made from milk but way less sugar and way more of the good stuff they take out the protein. It's just like the sports drinks that you're used to drinking. And it's what goes with me every time I ride my bike. So check it out. Good sport dot com. And also to our friends at sports refund now, your kids might be playing sports right now and let's face it fees are pretty expensive. Well what happens if they get hurt? What happens if they miss a month or two or six? You're still on the hook for those fees unless you go to sports refund because what sports refund has done is they've kind of created trip insurance but for your youth sports fees. So for just pennies on the dollar you can pay and ensure your kids fees so that if they get hurt and they can't play, you don't have to pay pretty cool.

Huh? So check them out. Sports refund dot com forward slash game G. A. M. E. And you can put in your sport and your fees and it'll show you a quote to and again it doesn't have to be just a really long term injury. Even if you miss a month you can get a few bucks back. Okay, sports refund. All right, okay, buckle end wave Champions Conference sneak peek at one of our best interviews and endurance telling you how to create the competitive cauldron, enjoy. Anson welcome to the Way of Champions Conference. We're so excited to have you be a part of it this year and join this incredible panel of coaches and, and teachers and mentors um, for all of our coaches who are attending from around the world, we really, really appreciate you making the time my pleasure. As I mentioned earlier, it's an honor to be on with both of you. So um, yeah, let's go.

Yeah, well, um, this is really exciting for us and one of the things that we wanted to bring you on to really talk about is this idea of competitiveness and certainly in your 40 plus years now and over 1000 wins and uh, you know, dozens of final fours and you know, nearly two dozen championships. I mean competitiveness has been a cornerstone of uh, your program. So talk about that. Like how do you start if one of our coaches here is listening and they're just starting a program. What do you think is the building blocks of building a competitive culture or competitive cauldron that you talk about? Well, it's interesting. I'm a huge fan of Rachel Maddow, I listened to her so much. My wife actually came into the tv room yesterday and I was worried about me because she thinks I'm addicted to her new show. And honestly I am obviously, certainly during this period when you know, we've got all these different political issues.

Um I think she's a voice of reason and I was listening to the show I guess about two or three months ago and she made a really profound statement about herself. She said, um I'm not an expert on much, but I am an expert on reading comprehension. So all of a sudden this brilliant commentator on the world basically is trying to narrow down what she really sees in her self awareness mirror. And it was reading comprehension, I thought to myself, well you know what uh obviously we've had, you know, all kinds of wonderful teams over the years. And so everyone would think that to what I really understand is the game itself, uh and how to teach it. But then all of a sudden when she summarized herself with that statement, I was thinking to myself, my expertise is in competition. So um I've been a part of three dynasties, My first dynasty was not a soccer dynasty, it was an intramural sports dynasty at the University of north Carolina chapel hill and I transferred into unc and when I got there, this sub dorm, inter mural manager comes down to my room and Teague dorm and he's got a clipboard and he says, Anson, we take intramurals very seriously here at Teague.

Um and I'm gonna hand you this list of sports and please let me know if there's a sport in here. You think you can compete with at an international level for us here in Teague dorm. And so Danny Newcomb was the guy's name. So Danny hands me his clipboard with all the winter and spring sports at U. N. C. And I looked at him for a second and I handed the clipboard back to him and I said dan if you want to win put me on every single team and he thought I was joking I wasn't joking. Uh I can play almost every sport known to man and I don't care how good you are. I'm gonna rip into you in whatever sport it is and we're going to do something here in T. And so Danny thought this was hilarious. And sure enough he started to put me on some of the winter teams and we were going around kicking everyone's rear end and then he put me on some of the spring teams and it kept happening. Yeah We started an 11-year sports dynasty, a teague dorm and the streak was extraordinary.

And so not only do we started destroying everyone in every sport on campus but then we started doing things like recruiting which was unheard of an intramural sports. We would find out a great athlete that was about to attend the University of North Carolina. We would write him and recruit him and insist that he put down Teague dorm as the dorm, he wanted to play intramural sports in. And then we would have training sessions which of course was also unheard of an inter mural sports and this dynasty lasted 11 years. And so of course whenever I tell the story, everyone says, oh my gosh, Anson, were you an undergraduate for 11 years? I said no, no no, no. You know, we put the seeds of the success of, you know what we're doing into the water. We took it seriously. And then of course we went after everyone. Um and so for me, everything has been about competition. So when I was given the position on the men's side at U. N. C. And then the women for me, that was that was my, I guess my North star.

Uh And so as a result, when I first started coaching, um what I really enjoyed about practice wasn't sort of I guess finding out what the latest ideas were on, you know, tactical training uh, in our game. Uh and as a result my vision of the game was so different that what that what everyone else in the world was doing. So I didn't have references to the great Brazilian teams and their methodologies or the european dynasties. So I had this own unique view of how I was going to coach my team. And so the way I was going to coach my team is I was gonna have a team that I would hate to play against and obviously I played at U N. C. Um so my philosophy and developing my team was, here's what I would hate, I would hate if someone was all over me, every time I touched the ball, I would hate if the guy was playing against was fit as could be. I would hate it if the guy was playing against, took every physical risk to try to win a ball against me. And so we designed a system that not only helped us establish a dynasty at U.

N. C, but the principles of that system helped us establish a dynasty in winning world championships and olympic gold medals. So it actually bled into the world game as well. So for me, uh it all comes down to competition and even though, yes, you know, I know some things about the game uh you know, yes, I think we do some good things in training in terms of fundamental technical and tactical development. I still think uh the ring that rules them all in my player development system is the competitive cauldron. So if you look at two aspects of my program that I think absolutely separate themselves from everyone else and by the way everyone believes in competition, but I don't think everyone understands how to generate it. Well that's what I'm really asking and that's what I think that's the key right, like, and every team wants to win on saturday. What do you do six months before saturday? Right? No. Exactly. Right. So it's like the old, you know, bobby knight cliche. Uh everyone has uh the will to win.

But do you have the will to prepare? Uh So for me it's all about all these different elements and again, it's not like people don't understand that cliche as well. Of course everyone understands it and of course, you know, everyone talks about this, but the fundamental element is what do you do every day and what do you do to motivate this and drive this? Well, I think um to be completely honest and the sociology and the way we raised our boys and girls, um boys are set up in a culture of competition. So when a young man or a young boy is competitive, he's put on this pedestal, but there's something going on in the sociology of the way we raise our girls and our young women uh and for some reason if they're competitive, they're excoriated and every young girl and every girl and young woman can feel the pressure of her own culture. That tells her not to be competitive, they tell her to genuflect, you know, to sit in the back of the room and not say anything and not get involved in the debate that all of us, you know, with our levels of testosterone have to because in our culture and the culture of the alpha male, we've got to dominate everything.

So our culture is telling us that this is what we have to do. The culture of the way we raise our girls and young women is the opposite. So what happens to a young woman when she enters the university of north Carolina is all of a sudden, she's hit in the face with the fact that everything counts, everything is competitive and everything is a matter of public record. So based on the year, I'm gonna throw out a number, we compete and let's say 28 different competitive categories Every time we do this competition and we add on to it. So it's not like every single day we're reworking all 28 categories, but there's a bulletin board in our practice complex where there's a ranking from 1 to 30 assuming that's the size of our roster and you're on that bulletin board somewhere in that competitive category from 1 to 30. So it's a matter of public record as to where you are. And then we have an analytics team which is basically our managers that are recording all this data and so what they learn is everything counts because the way most of us train, let's face it, Some days we're going, you know, 50%, sometimes we're going 90 and then of course, you know, the day before they picked the team that's going to start on the weekend, we go 100%.

So all of us, you know, have a limited amount of emotional and physical energy and we invested, uh, you know, when we consider most critical for our success, but human nature is naturally lazy, human nature wants to be comfortable, so as often as possible, we're cutting every conceivable corner. Now, obviously some don't, then you end up if you're not that sort of person and you've got this incredible genetic plant platform, your name is a Michael Jordan's. Uh, but obviously those people are exceedingly rare because everyone will say, oh yeah, I'm really competitive. I'm watching them thinking, No, you're not even in people, I'm 70 years old now and I'm out there in the pickle ball courts. And I can tell when, you know this alpha, year old thinks he's competitive and I'm shaking my head thinking, no, you're not. Um, so, uh, this stuff is very apparent to me. Um, and this is where I think the margin of our victories, a lot of them come from.

Uh, so the cauldron, I think it's critical, it's not just a tool and it's not just a coaching platform, it's an accountability system. And if you look at most of us, most of us have an internal narrative, that's not the truth. It's an internal narrative that protects us from pain and accountability And we've all got these excuses for why we're not world champions are Olympic gold medalists or national champions or whether or not we won that particular competition on the day and this narrative is this stream that's going through our head basically 24/7, why is it going through our head 24/7? Because very few of us want to be accountable, Very few of us want to suffer from the pain of lack of success. And so what I think we do in our environment, uh I think at a very high level is we try to create a narrative, that's the truth. We try to create a, I guess an accountability system that's not subjective because let's face it in most environments, the accountability is a subjective review.

Uh and yes, I think we all recruits some objective measures, but I think where most of us fail is we don't understand that. The thing we're really coaching is the narrative in the player's head, my expertise is reading comprehension, Rachel Maddow, and yet you listen to her and you're thinking you are limiting yourself to reading comprehension and you are absolutely brilliant and you are telling me that you are your expertise, this reading comprehension, that's unbelievably humble what she's saying. And yet the more I listen to her, the quality I enjoy most about her is the way she explains things to me and how does she do that? Well, because she's absolutely brilliant and understanding the things she's reading and then turning it into a language that I can understand. So I think what's vital for us is coaches that we often overlook when we all assume were extraordinarily competitive is we don't really know how to inject this into the athletes were coaching.

So what ended up happening and all of us have a range of athletes were training from the extraordinarily competitive to the ones that aren't even though in any given moment anyone can be competitive. But that's the issue. The issue is everyone selects different moments to be extraordinarily competitive. And of course the narrative we have in our heads is um this quote I can remember I was in this um press conference following uh an A. C. C. Championship one year and one of my favorite former players was in there with me and she had been the margin of victory and helping us you know win this um this a C. C. Championship. Uh she had a combination play goal on the top of the box and ripped one into the upper corner to help us win the game against I think florida state it was a glorious goal that she scored. So of course the press gets to pick which athletes to speak to following a championship and they picked her and all of a sudden we're in the press conference and all the reporters of course have already written the stories in their heads.

So what they're doing and this is the nature of journalism. They're going to ask questions to basically check the boxes for the story they've already written. So then they're not interested in the real story. They're interested in the story they've already written in their heads. And so the questions they're asking are to confirm the story in their heads. So they're looking at the review of this kid and her name was Libby, guess an absolutely phenomenal soccer player. But one of the issues she had, she didn't really come into any season fit. So her issue was self discipline. So we're in the press conference and all of a sudden the press are looking over her data and all of a sudden her data are she only seems to score goals in the A. C. C. Tournament and the N. C. Double A. Tournament but then she scores them in buckets and so this you know the reporter that's obviously already written the story in his head says you know uh Libya, I'm looking at the list of goals you have scored in your career and it's phenomenal how often you're scoring you know, game winners in the A. C. C. Tournament, the N. C. Double A. Tournament. Are you just a big game player And of course you know Libby just went along with this wonderful now.

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah I get up for the big games and I'm looking at her saying you know Libby you are so full of garbage and this is a public press copy and she's looking at me a scant saying you know, what do you mean? I said the reason you score goals. Finally in the A. C. C. Tournament in the N C double A tournament is because you come into the season unfit. It takes us three frigging months to get you fit and by the time you're fit you start scoring goals. And she looks back at the guy that answered the asked her the question says, yeah, like he said, so this is the challenge that all of us have in the coaching profession. The challenge that all of us have in the coaching profession is get a narrative. That's the truth because maybe that was her narrative. Maybe the reporter hit the nail on the head and was feeding her own narrative. But yeah, she's just a big game player. No, uh, that wasn't the truth. The truth was she didn't come and fit. That took us all year to get her fit when she was finally fit was a phenomenal soccer player and athlete.

Yes. But there was a piece missing that, you know, I wish that she could have corrected and of course I'm in this press conference and by correcting her narrative in the press conference. What am I doing? I'm coaching her? I'm letting her know. No, that's not a narrative I'm going to allow you to embrace, I'm not going to allow this reporter to write that because here's the truth and coaches are truth tellers like that's maybe the most important thing we we do and then build that relationship that can bear the burden of that truth correct. Because what you're doing is you're in a fight with the athlete to get the athlete to his or her potential. And even though the athlete is fighting you to stay at a more comfortable level, that's your quality and coaching, that's the quality. And the player development coach is to get the athlete to embrace that. This is not who you really are. You are really this other thing. But we have to get through all the flotsam and Jetsam to get you there.

So here we go. So let's get better at this. Let's get better at that. And of course, none of us have the emotional energy to critique a player every single day. That's where the cauldron comes in. So you don't have a chance to review them consistently. So all of a sudden it's on the board, not that you're not trying to do it in practice. Of course, you're trying to do it in practice, but you've only got a limited amount of resources with your own emotional energy and physical energy. So you're recruiting these other elements to help you, I guess dr the truth and try to get the player to be accountable because keep in mind as soon as something happens, it's wrong, there are all kinds of things that are going on in this. Uh, Players Brain the first instinct, the primordial, you know, instinct for the, you know, the reptile is to protect itself somehow. And so the reptilian brain is all of a sudden justifying every excuse or actually recruiting every excuse possible to protect them from the pain of, oh my gosh, I'm responsible.

It's so interesting that we're talking about this right now, because I was trying to clear email before I jumped on with you guys and and I read that a coach was fired. That's coaching in the MLS, I guess the first firing of the year, I think the coach's name was chris armas and of course, whenever coach goes down, I have huge empathy for them because we all know there are a million different reasons that he might not be responsible for and all of a sudden he was protected by his captain. And I know his captain is captain, is Michael brady Bradley. I had the privilege of flying next to a business class to europe when he was going back to play in Germany and this was a former captain for the U. S. Full national team. This is a wonderful young man whose father coaches for a living. So all of a sudden you could see his answer. His answer was a combination of elements. One of the fact was his father has also been fired through out his coaching life like any of us, the coach. And so he was jumping in to protect our missed from the fact that he one of his players and hit the captain of Fc Toronto didn't get the job done for the coach and here he was taking full responsibility for everything, for the poor start, for the season, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

That's a rare uh, individual, uh, that plays the game. But it's the classic great captain that takes responsibility for everything for winning and losing. Whether or not he was responsible, they take responsibility. That's where you want every athlete to go. Now, obviously his background because I knew him at the end of that plane flight, my respect for him was off the charts. And so I followed his career, obviously admired and respected him because I think he's not just a good soccer player. I think he's a great man. But what made this great man? The fact that his dad was a coach, The fact that the Sun, I'm sure had conversations with his dad about the element that you and I are talking about right now. So he was fully aware of what he was doing when he basically was interviewed by soccer um, era America and tried to protect his coach and and take the responsibility himself. And so I think that's our challenge and coaching. How do we get every one of our athletes to go there as fast as possible.

How do we correct their internal narrative and the tool I use is the cauldron, can I ask you this? And I know jerry wants to jump in and talk about the the culture around the cauldron. But I think it's an important place to just slip this injury, which is um, when you're recruiting players, when you're bringing them in, of course you're talking about this. How what kind of culture shock is it for a lot of them when they come in like yeah, I heard about it, we talked about it and I'm sure some of them are like, wow, this is way more than I thought and some are like, oh my God, I'm home, I'm finally home. Yeah. The ones that are finally home. Uh one of my favorite quote and Mia hamm's book go for goal was when I got to north Carolina, I could finally be the player I was. What kind of player was she? She was a shark with blood in the water because in every other environment she was raised in, she wasn't permitted to destroy people by a maximum score in practice.

These were her teammates. And in the culture of our girls and young women, uh we had a player that came in with the opposite perspective. Her name was Carla warden. Over back. And the thing I loved about Carla is through the course of her career, she changed to become a shark with blood in the water. But when she got to you and see she was classical, you know, young woman sociology, She didn't want to beat anyone in practice. She started for me and her freshman year. She didn't win 11 V1 game. When you look at her results in her freshman year, everything was a tie. Why? Because she was so good. She could arrange the tie. In other words, she could arrange not to be beaten because that's how good she was. But she refused to beat anyone because she wanted to be loved and embraced by your teammates. Why? Because that's the way we raise our girls and young women. And then finally I'm reading in a newspaper article somewhere. I guess at the end of her sophomore year, maybe the beginning of her junior when she started to win everything. Uh and the reporter asked her, you know what had happened and she said I am sick and tired of seeing my name at the bottom of the list.

The reporter didn't know what she was talking about. She was referring to the cauldron that's on the bulletin board. Did I berate her into becoming competitive? No. And as anyone of my program will tell you, I am not all over them to win everything I just posted. And then unless you're winning everything you don't get on the field, it's just not complex. So if you want to play. Yeah, here's how you play beat everyone and everything and you get on the field, do you want to get on the field. Oh yeah, I want to get on the field, right, let's take a look to see how badly you want to get on the field? Oh my gosh, it doesn't look like you want to play at all. Mhm. So uh so you're giving you're giving them responsibility and absolutely you're putting them in a position and somewhere if they don't take accountability, then they can't come to you and say, hey coach, why am I not getting more minutes? Right, so it's all about them, it's all on their shoulders and you sit back and you just make sure that they understand that that's also so you're not the bad guy and a lot of exactly, a lot of coaches out there are afraid to institute what you're talking about or to be tough on the kids and demand from the kids because they will be the bad guy, but when you're doing what you're saying, you're flipping it around and all of a sudden is like I'm the bad guy, you know, I'm not doing, I'm not doing what all the other girls are doing, you know?

So so it's kind of interesting when you make that shift that it takes, it takes the responsibility off of you and uh they make the decision, don't they? It's fantastic jerry, you hit the nail on the head, that's exactly right, what we're doing, this is interesting, so when I do uh corporate speaking, uh what I talk about is one of the toughest things in an uh boss employee, I guess evaluation meeting is if it's subjective, then the employee in his own head is writing his narrative. That sort of I hate the boss narrative because he has no respect for me. And uh this boss doesn't understand me and you're eliminating that because here's what you're doing, What you're doing is you're putting the numbers in front of the player. Now you're sitting next to the player with your arm around the player's shoulder and you're saying, you know what you are a lot better than this. Here's what I saw when I recruited you, I saw this, I saw that I saw the other thing, this is who you really are.

These numbers are not you. Now let's figure out ways to correct these numbers. So now you're you have this this platform to discuss how much better they can be. If only they would do this, this and this. So what it is, it's you and the player against the numbers. But here's what's hilarious. I'm the numbers. Yeah, but they don't see that. Why don't they see that? Because everything we record is a matter of basically objective review, Its winning and losing. It's the beep test. When you're beaten in the beep test, you have to step out. So now you've been beaten by the beep test. So it's all these different tests we set up in front of them that make it seem like it's them and of course it is them. But what's the design of the the job review or the Player of Development conference? It's you and the player looking there at the numbers and I am sitting here thinking you are so much better than this. And now the players agreeing with me, I'll tell you this guy really believes in me.

Yes, I believe in you. I recruited you. I believe in you now you've got to make some choices and right now you're choosing not to play. Would you like to play? Yeah, I'd love to play. Well, let's choose to play. So here's what you can do to play. Obviously come in fit. Mhm That will be a great step forward. So please come in fit here are the things you can do because we send out this thing, you know, early in the summer where if you do these things every single day with the right intensity you're going to come and fit. So check that box and then you can check basically eight other boxes which in my opinion gets you to the promised land and we talk about those nine qualities that are so critical for player development. But the most important thing john and jerry is what you and I are talking about right now. It's to have a narrative in their head. That's the truth and that's one of the hardest things to get to. And you're right, all of a sudden there's this, you know, animosity between the player and the coach because the player feels they're disrespected because of the tools that most of us use and evaluating.

So why not use objective tools and then sit there with the player and it's you and the player against the numbers and now you're advising them on what they can do to get to the promised land, which is playing time, which is whatever it is, gold medal, world championship, national Championship, whatever it is, starting position, more playing time, whatever the conversation is, you are allied with the player against the numbers and I am going to be your advisor because yes, I would love for you to get to your dream land I'm going to help you I believe in, but here's what we gotta do. How do you overcome because the narrative in their head and I love this idea. It's this it's this constant tug and pull between your best self and the narrative in your head. Um that's not, you know, the coaches, one influence on it, parents, peers, society in general saying, you know, take it easy, how do you how do you combat the narrative because you're just one voice. So how do you influence the other influencers?

I guess my best story for that is when I was a young national team coach um I hadn't been coaching women that long and so you know, as I share in a lot of uh the podcast I give, but also the books I've written, there was an evolution for me to be a much more effective coach of, of young women. So I'm a new national team coach. I was hired in 1986 and in my early camps, uh, one of the problems I had was the exit interview. So let's assume I brought in 32 players and try out for an 18 team roster. We're taking the Monday Alito in Italy. So I bring him in on a sunday night, our first practice is monday morning and they leave the following sunday afternoon, Basically Sunday morning, right after the 1111 scrimmage, um, I announced the 18 I'm taking. So uh, the first time I announced that I did it in front of the entire team and in the exit interviews, the girls that didn't make it were telling me that was so humiliating and I should never do that again.

And I'm thinking, okay, okay, you know, I'm, I'm coachable. So the next time we had a camp, I posted something on a bulletin board following and then in the exit interviews, the girls that didn't make it were telling me, I'll tell you answer, you're such a coward, you couldn't even tell me to my face that I hadn't made the roster, I went through, I guess, you know, yeah, all kinds of different permutations of how to tell them that they, you know, weren't gonna make it and the ones that did make it. And finally I gave up because what dawned on me because I tried it every conceivable way. It wasn't that I was telling them the wrong way, it was that I didn't pick them. And then it finally dawned on me. All right now, I finally corrected that I decided that was an un correctable problem. Now, the exit interview, the problem with the exit interview is I need player 19 to compete with player 18 Because I can't, you know, completely eliminate 19 through 32 that I haven't picked.

A lot of those kids are coming back to camp with me But I want to make sure that 18 is under the gun because you don't develop in a recreational environment. Clearly, because that's the core of this conversation we're having right now, you develop in a competitive arena. So I need it 19 to be going after player 18. But I could sense the player 19 was sitting there with her arms folded and I could tell she wasn't even listening to anything. I was saying, I was thinking, gosh, what the heck is going on here? So I decided I had to make a change. So here's the change I made players come in on a Sunday first training session is on a Monday morning. And then what we would do on Saturday night, we would have a 4 V4 tournament. So I would pick eight players to captain my eight, teams Who are these eight players, they are mia hamm Kristine lilly Tish adventuring. I mean Michelle Akers, Shannon Higgins, these the best players of mine roster, these are eight Out of the 10 Field Player Starters.

Now, who are they picking? Uh they're uh they're not picking their friends because here's the dilemma with the girl that is folding her arms in front of me and not listening to me in the exit interview. The girl I haven't picked right after she's gone to the bulletin board and seen she hasn't been picked. She immediately goes to one of her friends that has been picked. Now this is her friend, she walks up to her friend and says can you believe it, I wasn't picked. Now what does her friends say? Her friend says, oh my gosh, I can't believe you weren't picked. You were phenomenal all week. So every girl she walks up to that made the team tells her the same thing. So now what does she think? She thinks I am a world class jerk because I didn't pick her. So she's not listening to a thing I'm saying in the action interviews, but now I've got this possible solution. So basically eight of my most respected players are picking teams the next morning, the final two field players picked the teams for the final 11 11 scrimmage.

So I have the opinions Of the 10 most respected players on the roster and these are these are the best of the best I'm sitting in the exit interview and now even before the discussion begins, I say, would you like to know your draft rank? And of course they would because of course everyone they walked up to said they should have been picked, I said, well your draft rank is 28th. So guess what everyone thinks you suck. Of course that's not what I say. But basically that's what the implication is. So now for the first time they're listening to me, why are they listening to me? Because Mia Hamm didn't pick him in the top 18 Julie Foudy didn't pick him in the top 18. All the girls they respect didn't want to play with them As a player in the top 18. So now for the first time they're listening to me. So now their arms are no longer folded, they're sitting on the edge of their seat. What can I do to win? Everyone's respect? Well, I'll tell you, there are some things you can do and then you go over the litany of all the different things and of course, as I mentioned before, I got nine different things that I review and player conferences.

So now I'm going through some of those things with each player because I want them to come back at a completely different level. But what's helped me, it's now they realize that they are the problem, not me. This is a similar sort of transition. The conversation we had earlier, the critical element is few through your own leadership qualities, but also by understanding the people you're talking to, you have to recruit the elements that give your wisdom credibility with the athlete. You're coaching ability, credibility. But the thing you're really fighting for honestly is trust. And that's one of the hardest things to gain as a coach. You're constantly fighting for trust. Because if they trust you, they're gonna listen to you. They're going to believe you if they're going to do what you say. Um And so for me it's this fight for trust when we started doing that with the U. S. Full national team all of a sudden I was trusted Because I was going to help them if they're player 19 slip into player 18 and who helped me gain their trust.

The players they trust and respected most on the roster Basically The 10 Field Player Starters. Mhm jerry. Mm Let me sit here and digest this for a little while. You know, I can keep bloviating. I don't need questions to go. I mean seriously, I mean there's so many implications for what you're saying. Uh All right, so there's a lot of coaches out here who who work with men or young boys. But the things you're saying are relevant for them to what's really astounding to me as you're working with women and as a culture. If you if you group women into a culture, uh you know, they really love it. They want to love each other and they want to be loved right? And and and so when when, when they are seeking out the opinion of a mere ham uh and Mia hamm might say to them well, yeah, like you're really good, you deserve blah blah blah. Uh they're afraid to be honest with each other and they're afraid that they will be picked on and and they won't be friends and and and all of that when when I'm listening to you, I'm thinking the more demanding we all are in our culture of each other.

I ironically the more love we're demonstrating. There's no question. In fact, let me just, I'll throw this stuff out because we can certainly tee off on this stuff as well. Excuse me, You want to hear me? You want to hear you. So here here is what we chat about in the player conference. We chat about nine different qualities. We talk about self discipline. We talk about competitive fire. We talk about self belief. We talk about my sport, love of the ball, we talk about love of watching the game, love of playing the game, we talk about grit, coach ability and connections. So those are nine qualities that I review with every one of my players in every player conference now because I am trying to get them to develop self awareness. I am asking them To evaluate themselves in all nine qualities. Yeah, so I'm doing it on a 1-5 scale five is I'm an olympic or full national team player in this category. 4.5 as I'm professional level four is I'm unc starter.

Level. 3.5 is I'm a U N. C. Kid that comes off the bench in every half three as I make the traveling team 2.5 and below, I don't even make the traveling team etc etc etc. So the first one we talk about is self discipline. So when I meet with the players, uh when I meet with them, we've already done the beep test, the standard for us and the beep test is 40. So um I meet with the players and self discipline's alright. What, where would you evaluate your self discipline now? The player is dying to start for me and if it's a freshman, they don't know how this game works, but they're thinking all right, so four is starting caliber, I want to start. So I better not say anything below a four. So I'm gonna say 44 And I'm gonna say what you get on the beep test. Well I got a 28, I'm going to give you a two eight on the, on self discipline And now the smarter knives in the drawer will know that what I've done with the beef score as I've taken it and I've moved it one decimal point over.

Not all of them get this quickly. So I basically say, well I've taken your beef score because I expected everyone to get a 40, you got a 28. So in self discipline I'm going to give you a 2.8 because everyone can come and fit Fitness is not a talent, it's a decision you made every morning when you decided to sleep in and not get your rear end out of bed and you've got your 28. So your self discipline obviously needs some work. So your self discipline and a 2.8, you're not even make the traveling roster right now. So let's not even talk about starting because you're in such a deep hole right now, I don't know if I can get you fit by december. Uh so anyway, so right out of the gate now, the rest of this thing is really nerve wracking because of course now the athlete thinks I've got an objective reference for all nine of these different categories. And of course, to some extent I do, but to some extent I don't, but what am I trying to do when I have self discipline is the first part of the conversation, I'm taking an objective reference because again, getting back to our previous discussion, the more of your references that are objective, the more powerful and more trustworthy, you're going to declare yourself between, you know, you're gonna have with this player.

So it's critical. So the ring that rules them all is the second ring, the competitive fire things. So self discipline, competitive fire, self belief etcetera etcetera etcetera. So now we get to competitive fire. So what's your competitive fire now? They've just been blown up in the self discipline category. So there's no way they're going to sort of just invent something now. They've got to really think now all the kids that have been there for a while know what they're self discipline there. I'm sorry, competitive fire number is it's their rank in the cauldron. So if you're number one, you're five, if your number to your 4.9, if you're number three, your, you know, 4.8, it's all the way down to wherever you are in the 30 player roster. So now all of a sudden all the aspects of our culture are brought into this numerical matrix, which is telling them that everything counts. It's the first time in their life, everything counts. Even the player of conference discussion, everything counts.

So now they begin to realize that, you know, everything counts. Even the things they do for their penance when they fail in a core value behavior. Uh the first thing they memorize is the first penance in the area. I've made a mistake in my character and what do we take for that? We take a C. S lewis quote about the safest road to hell, the safest road to hell Uh is the gradual one. The gentle slope, soft underfoot without sudden turnings without milestones without signposts. And what is this a statement? This is a statement of the most minor of compromises. If you're a catholic, is this a mortal sin? No it's not a mortal sin. But this is the way you go to hell. You don't go to hell while all of a sudden you wake up one day at the age of 28, you murder someone. That's how you go to hell. No, you've built up this road to hell with moral compromises every step of the way.

So what you're teaching them is you're teaching them about the things you can't compromise. And basically what you're telling them is if you want to be truly extraordinary, you can't compromise anything. Now do you do it by bashing them into the head of every opportunity when they make any kind of mistake? No, because the penalty for, you know, some sort of uh Principal center compromises. Just the memorization of that short line, the safest road to hell. And it is it's a very safe road because you feel like you're fine because you're not going straight down, it's not like a vertical drop, it's a gentle slope. It's the most minor of compromises. And so here's what you're trying to teach them. You're trying to teach them not to compromise on anything. And of course the references I have for the players that did not compromise that list is as long as my arm I could go through so many players that were the best in the world of players that I've trained. So it gives me a wonderful sort of credibility when I'm having this discussion, but we go through all nine.

And the reason I'm bringing this up now jerry is by what you said, one of the most important things that I've added in the last five years is the connection thing. It's how you answer this question. Are you loved by your teammates and you love them? Or do you love your teammates? And do they love you? And that's a really critical element in your revolution. But they have to I think for those coaches listening, I've been wearing a lot of teams, there's a lot of like, yahoo, I love you and you know, all this stuff and you know, isn't it great? We love each other, but we don't ask for each other when and and as a coach, I want to I want to define that I'm demanding from you. I freaking want you to compete against me. I want you to bring your game today in practice and beat up on me if that's what it's gonna take us. I'm gonna beat up on you and the reason I'm gonna beat up on you is because I'm gonna make you better and I want to make you better because I love you.

So, so a lot of coaches are afraid, you know, a lot of athletes are afraid that it gets mixed up, you know, between so it's a demanding plus a love or demanding is love. And I think you're doing a good job when I'm listening to you of communicating to these athletes that you love them, that you care about them, that you connect with them and and that's that's the key because when you love and care and connect, they're gonna go the distance and they're going to get it themselves and they're gonna understand that when you're being demanding is because of that connection and because of that caring. Does that sound familiar jerry? This is spot on. I received one of the greatest backhanded compliments I've ever received about two years ago from a kid that was in the pro league and she called me up one day in frustration. And one of the things I will not put up with is the criticism of the coach they're playing for because of course everyone's got their own, you know, reason for why they're not successful.

And of course, the main reason if they're not getting on the field is they're going to blame the coach that's coaching them of course, do I identify with this? Absolutely no better example than player 19 on an 18 player roster when they've gone around and they've checked with all their friends who tell them they should be playing and so of course who's blamed the coaches blamed. So this player calls me up just in utter frustration with her coach and here's what she said, you know, Anson, uh, after I finished playing with you, I thought I could play for anyone. And of course the implication, implication being you are so hard on me, I didn't think there was a coach out there that I could go to be any more demanding of me than you were and I understood what that meant. So, you know, Anson, you know, after I played for you, I thought I could play for anyone, but you know what, through your criticism, I could feel the love, that's what she said, and that was a, I took that to heart when she finished saying that I'm saying, you know what, that is an incredible competent you've given me and I appreciate that because I do love you.

And yep, there were times when you were an undergraduate where, you know, I had to let you know that this wasn't good enough and that wasn't good enough and you know, you weren't going to go to where you wanted to go. Uh and that was a gesture of love because I was going to hold you accountable. So there's absolutely no question about that, and this happens on a regular basis for me basically, if you watch me before a game, I'm not one of these coaches that, you know, in the pregame here, I'm jumping in there with my team and I'm celebrating, you know, life and how much we love each other when we're about to try to beat some other team to death, I let them, you know, go through all of their own pregame rituals and I don't get involved at all. I think coaching is what I've done in practice, what I've done in the pregame and all the other stuff is unless I can sense they're not ready, then I will address it. But basically, um I'm always watching my girls pregame cheer and I don't want it to be too up and I don't want it to be too down, but oftentimes we will lose the pregame cheer because I'm looking the other team, I think, oh my gosh and the actresses and the other huddle are all worthy of Academy awards because they're so filled with joy and love of their teammates and then, oh my God, you know, that one would definitely get an Oscar for me and I'm looking at my kids and uh they are, you know, celebrating the pregame cheer the same way and I get it because basically one is a performance and the other one is everyone gets ready in different ways.

Um but oftentimes I would say 90% of the time and we lose the pregame cheer, I'm not concerned if we're ready because basically I know what's real and I know it's not um and I know if my team is connected and I know if they're not, I know if they're ready and I know if they're not and they don't have to go through some performance to demonstrate in the pregame cheer that they're ready, because I can see in the way they went through the pre game warm up as to whether or not they're ready, I can look through the week and see if they're ready. So for me, uh um yes, I want real love and so real love is a player is down and you see another player come up to them and wrap their arms around their shoulders saying, hey, you know what, you're gonna be okay, yep, wasn't a good day today, but you're gonna be okay tomorrow or I've got a kid that plays for me right now by the name of Ali Gambone and this kid is one of my captains and let's assume we split the team up into six different, you know, technical training platforms, even before the practice begins.

I know the platform that's going to be doing the best and working the hardest, it's gam bones platform and sometimes I'll just go over that platform just to enjoy my life and watching this incredible kid drive her teammates to a different level because she's fun and she's funny and she's going 100 miles an hour and there's a smile on her face as sweat flies off her brow and she just has this joy of being alive and it's infectious. So uh if I'm ever down, all I have to do is we'll wander by gam bones part of the session and she revives me and there are kids like that, that all of us coach that are just wonderful and she loves her teammates and they love her and I learned about this, which is why I now have connection as one of our nine elements for getting to the promised land.

And I talk about Gambone in these player conferences, uh because let's face it, life is difficult. No one, you know, is on top of the world every single day of their lives. But even in the bad days, you can't tell if ali's down because she won't uh she won't burden you with it. Now obviously sometimes you can tell which is when I do walk over to her and a part of our job as coaches is to look at the faces and practice and see who needs a boost, see who needs to have support. And here's what happens on a regular basis as well is certain players will come up to me and tell me who needs a bit of a lift. And I really admire those players because not only are they trying to lift this player that's down a bit, but then they'll tell me because I don't have the antenna that people like Gambone have to understand who needs a lift. I've had players in every single team that can tell me much more than I could observe and I have relied on those players and I can remember when I was coaching the U.

S. Women's national team, I had a very quiet player and this is a player I could ask to tell me if I had burned everyone out and her name was Christine Lilley, she was one of the hardest working players I've ever coached. She has more international caps than anyone male or female for all time in the international game any country and I would walk up to her in some practices now would pull asides a little uh should we end practice right now? And in a very quiet voice lil would say yes and it wouldn't be a criticism of everything I've done even though if she wanted to in practice there, I obviously did not do a very good job in practice in determining whether or not it was burning everyone out, but I could rely on her and I trusted her because no one worked harder. And even during a practice when I was burning them all out, lily was still going a million miles an hour because she was that kind of a competitor and human being. But we all need these touchstones and invariably they are people that love everyone on the roster and they care about everyone.

Mhm wow. Um there's so much good stuff here anson and and you know I was gonna I was gonna ask you about, you know, in four plus decades now of coaching, um you know kids are changed right, that you know the environment they grow up in is very different and I was going to ask you how you've managed to stay connected to athletes over time. We have Tara Vanderveer on here as well, who just won the national championship a couple of decades apart and and same sort of question that we're proposing to her, but um you know what it really sounds to me is that the best way to connect to who's ever in front of you, You know, it is obviously look at them but also make it as objective as possible. It's like the more that they get from everyone else, the more that's objective in their life, then you can connect on, I want to help you reach that next objective level. Am I missing that?

No, that's that's a part of it, but that can't be it alone because that's not uh that wins trust, but it isn't necessarily the most powerful connective conduit, the most powerful connective conduit is for the athlete to know that you really care about them beyond the game because what you and I are talking about right now is that's the game. If that's your only connection that's not gonna be enough. Uh you've got to connect with them outside the game at every opportunity as well and they have to get a sense from you that your connection and admiration of them are for human qualities well beyond the game itself. So if that's your only conduit, it's not gonna be enough. Which is where you know of these extraordinary coaches have that quality as well, where the athlete consents that their love knot because of what they're going to contribute in the next game. But because of the fact that they are positive life forces and they are impacting on the quality of the lives of the people around them that they care about people.

You know, at the end of practice, they can see the managers scrambling to gather all the cones and practice pennies and all of a sudden this extraordinary human being is over there helping them um where you know, when a couple of girls are trying to move a goal and they're struggling all of a sudden this this person sprints all the way over and picks up a part of the goal that's being moved off the field or the best example for me of all time is carla word. And over back we fly from Los Angeles to Hong kong and we're about to jump on a train to Guangzhou for the first women's world championship and what's she doing? That's a long flight L. A. To Hong kong. And as we uh are getting on the bus, you see carla helping everyone put all of their equipment underneath the bus? And you see, once we get to the hotel and everyone's asleep on the bus because we're exhausted and you can see the equipment manager struggling to grab everything. You see Carla helping the equipment manager, then you see Carla helping the kid that over packed, whose bag is too heavy uh and helping that kid drag that bag up to her room and you see her doing all these things off the field that all of a sudden allow her on the field to tell the players what to do.

She was the athlete that could yell at me at a track, why would be a track when Carla opened her mouth? Because that week Carla had done, you know, all kinds of things to help everyone, but also help me up. And so all of a sudden she's won her leadership platform how, because she cares about everyone. So the connective tissue can't just be the competitive cauldron. That's just one element. That's one element of one aspect of the accountability thing. But the other elements, the more human elements are absolutely vital. Yeah, that to me, I'm sorry that I can't, I can't express how how good that feels. To hear you say that it's the and so many coaches miss this, Anson and, and john it's the human element. I mean, it's easy to love a mia hamm, she shows up before the practice. She stays after practice. She gives her all on and on and on, it's easy to love those kind of athletes. But what about the other athletes who struggling, who's dog just died, whose mothers have has cancer or something and they don't show up and they don't bring it and what have you, but it's a human being, the nature of us as human beings.

I love you because you're a human being, you want what I want and I know that but some obstacle in the way that's gonna block you from doing that. So how do I do that? I, I need to address that because these people are off the field more than there on the field and, and, and I contend that listening to you that there's an element, okay, correct me if I'm wrong, but there's an element of deep respect that you have for these kids, which every coach needs to understand. There's an element where if I'm, if I'm working with you together as an athlete and you're my coach, I feel important and I feel valued and I feel empowered and, and, and when you're hitting those points, that's not necessarily on the field, that could be like just passing on campus or that could just be a note going into a locker room, some at some point when it would not even practicing, you know, I really value your contribution. Uh, so that human being, I want all coaches to realize that that's such an important variable and you seem to be hitting it right on the head.

I love it. You are absolutely correct. In fact, if you look at our core values and all you gotta do is to type in UNC women's soccer India uh, Search engine, unc women's soccer core values. Hopefully you'll get the latest version because we have 13 of them. Now. He went up from 12 a couple years ago, but here is core value, number eight. I'm gonna read you the whole thing. The most critical thing is the quote. But I'm gonna read you the thing because it gets to the core of what you're saying right now. And by the way, the kids memorize all of these motivational quotes and they have to live by them. So for me, if I took the two most critical pillars, uh, my program, it would be the competitive cauldron, which john wanted me to introduce early. But the other piece would be the core values. And here it is, here is number eight, this is caring and I'm reading this right out of my book here. We care about each other as teammates and as human beings. This is that non judgmental, caring and inclusive friend that never says a negative thing about anyone and embraces everyone because of their humanity with no elitist separation by academic class, social class, race, religious preference or sexual orientation and every one of these core values has a quote attached to it.

And I select the john Dunn quote from for whom the bell tolls and here it is and I've abbreviated this. This isn't the entire quote, but this is what they memorize. No man is an island entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main part of the main any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee. In other words, in the old days, as you guys know when someone died in the village, the bell tolled. And then of course, what would happen during this culture that john Dunn was brought up in. They would all be running around saying, oh my gosh! Who died? Who died? Who died. And john Dunn is telling us, no, no, no, no, no. Don't ask for whom the bell told it was a human being because that person was a human being. It's tolling for you to let you know that another human being has died. So regardless of who died, you are going to reach out with empathy in the theater of your mind to extend it to this human being that has died.

That you might not even know. So this is the critical element. So jerry, you are spot on. Well, well, no man is an island. It's interesting you say that I was trying to explain to somebody last week. You know, we're not islands, but we act as if we are. But if you go under the water and you go a little deeper, which is what we're really talking about the deepness, the love. When you go under the water, you'll notice all those islands are connected and that gets back to your whole concept of connection. So on some deep level we can find a place and meet us together. We were all connected in some fashion. And I think that's part of what you're doing. And I think that's what's really special and that goes along with the values and the cauldron. But I think there's that underwriting theme of that connection, which you've discovered and I think it's brilliant. Well jerry thank you. Yeah, the connected of the island's no man is an island. No we're not. We're all connected underneath. You answered Anthony realize jerry was an english major. So all these quotes is like he is on fire today. This is this is his type of classroom right here.

Um, hey, so as we come to the end here, just a couple of last little sort of rapid fire questions and we always when, when we're talking to people, they've always kind of touched on those, but we just want to kind of come back around. So I'll take the first one here, which is um you know for for Anson and and this doesn't just have to be with U. N. C. But you know for you in life like what what are your non negotiables. What are the things that are not we don't negotiate about when it comes to character traits and the things of the people in your life. No. Mm hmm wow. Well I think you've got to start with your with your home basis. So based on who you are, I think everyone's home base has to begin with your family. Mm You've got a figure out a way within your daily life to connect with your immediate family in very aggressive ways uh as often as possible and then you've got to extend that out and then based on um the different I guess groups that were involved in.

Um we've got to extend that out certainly within the context of what I do. Uh My extended family would certainly be the kids I'm currently training and then the ones I've been connected with um and you've got to figure out a way to stay connected with them. Yeah. Then you're colliding with time because uh to do this properly. Uh the amount of time you've got to spend uh is a huge investment. She's got to figure out a way how to navigate that because the older I get, the more I appreciate every connection I've ever made and then I end up regretting dissolving a close connection or not responding to it in a way that uh I would like to if I had more time. So for me that's the those are the most critical elements.

Um, and then uh, that's sitting on a bed of what I call principle centered living. Uh, Principal center living. And this is where you can tie in your spirituality, which obviously is, is absolutely critical for some people. And if it doesn't have to necessarily be a religious spirituality because obviously what's happening now is our cultures are becoming more secular. Um, does that mean that you can't have a deep spirituality as a secular human being? Uh, no, you can, you can be deeply spiritual and be secular now. Is it more difficult to be deeply spiritual if you're secular? Yes, it takes more work, which is why the people that do have some sort of spiritual bond and connection are actually better suited to this. The ones that try to reach it through a secular conduit have more work to do because they're not sort of doing it on at least a weekly basis or the truly spiritual daily basis.

But that's possible as well. But this principle center living has to sit on something. Uh, and the books that my uh, seniors are reading now to try to reach all that Is David Brooks his 2nd mountain. And also if you don't have, uh, if you're not a reader or don't like to read and don't have much time just reading David Foster Wallace is, this is water. The commencement address he gave at Kenyon College sort of get to the core of what's most important, which is about leading a compassionate life and basically what I've just tried to share is summarized best. If you don't have much time in the commencement address, this is water by David Foster Wallace and it gets to the core of what I'm trying to share, which is about leading a compassionate life. Mhm jerry was our second question would be like, what book would you recommend? Or what book have you gifted the most?

But maybe you just kind of touched on that or do you want to add one to that list? No, I, I'd certainly, uh, the commencement address, if you don't know how much time is the easiest thing to jump into. And then what I would do with that commencement address is treated like scripture in other words. Read it every two or three or four months because you're going to get something different out of it every time you read it. Um, the book I would recommend. And again, this is not a long book, but I think this would really help people, uh, if they read it. My favorite book of all time is Viktor frankl's Man's Search for meaning. Uh, yeah, it's just uh, it's just, the messages in that book are so deeply profound and they're not complex and they're within reach of everyone. And it's not such a cerebral stretch that some people won't understand it. So that book is absolutely extraordinary. Uh, the evolved uh I guess book along those lines, which maps it out in more detail would be uh the second mountain because uh he talked we're all climbing mountains and when you're young you're sort of climbing the happiness mountain, which is sort of the meritocracy, I want to get a good job, I want to have a, you know, a marry a wonderful man or woman.

Um and uh that's the first mountain we're climbing, but he wants us to get to the second mountain. The first mountain is about happiness and when you're young you're not deep enough to understand that happiness is not going to be fulfilling, what's going to be fulfilling is joy. So joy is the second mountain. So that's the mountain we should all be climbing and that's where the spiritual elements and that's where you know, doing things for other people. Uh that's where you know, living a purpose driven life, what's your purpose? It's a more, it's sort of a deeper, more sophisticated of I guess mountain to climb. And as you mature, you realize that the first mountain is very selfish. The meritocracy is very selfish and and this is of course, you know, contradicting the elements that we talked about earliest when we were talking about getting to your athletic potential because these are all very, you know, selfish goals and there's nothing wrong with that. So we're all climbing these uh different mountains at different times in our lives.

But eventually We hope to be climbing the set 2nd mountain present you're giving back. Uh And almost every older wise person is giving back in some fashion. Uh So um that's why I'm trying to get my kids to read the second mountain while there seniors in college. And that's why I recommend that everyone uh read this is water. Yeah great. I I want to add something to that if I may uh Leo Tolstoy once said that the sole purpose of life is to serve humanity and looking at our conversation that we had today, it really is about service. It really is about giving. And that becomes a quality of selflessness. And uh and and then selflessness. I'm leading up to the top of the mountain on joy. Uh and then when we're selfless we're giving and when we're giving we're grateful we're grateful for all we've been given. Like I I've been given more than I've ever wanted and and I'm very grateful every day.

And that gratefulness brings me joy. And and I think that for for a team to function at a high level we have to experience that joy. But there's a gateway to that joy which is open the gate to giving and how can we give more. You know you get an athlete to recruit coming in and say you know what am I going to get out of this program? U. N. C. Or you get an athlete come into your program and say how can I give to this program? You know, I'm gonna serve this program. I'm going to give my best to you and and the program what a difference. And and that's a maturity level that goes beyond much of, of what you see at the adult level. Right? And say nothing about the the young people's level. But this whole idea of that second mountain enjoy uh, you know, every day when we wake up, what are the seven ways? What are seven things that were really uh grateful for specifically my health, my friendship. I'm grateful for you. And john today this was on the top of my list and every day it changes. But the bottom line is now I want to go about the rest of my day no matter what I do and make it a mere reflection of all that I've been given.

And that's joy for me. Anyway. I just wanted if that was something That great summary Jerry, I am with you 100% my friend. Yeah. I think I said I think that was a great way to bring this to an end right there. So um jerry well said and Anson all of this. I mean incredible. Uh So much great stuff here. I remember, you know, we talked for 90 minutes a couple of years ago on the podcast and we covered all new ground here, which was amazing and I know that everyone listening into this is extremely grateful for your time and uh your insight as well. So thank you so, so much john and jerry, I've thoroughly enjoyed it. So gentlemen, thank you. You've, you've made my day. I've enjoyed this conversation. This is a day's worth of feeling for me. It's a day's worth. It's not a morning. Thank you. Thanks guys. I Did you get enough notes out of that 1?

Did you listen to it once or twice or three times? Um, what a talk. Thank you Anson. Thanks jerry. That was such a fun interview to do and, and so much actionable stuff right away. I've told people about this so many times. I've got so much feedback from the conference about this talk and we really felt like for all of you are incredible podcast audience. It was just worth giving you a sneak peek of the goodness that happened back in august and reminding you that now you have access to that as well. So if you didn't attend in august, you didn't sign up, then you can get the recordings of all these incredible talks and the link is in the show notes and it's on the website too. If you got a change in the game project dot com, just click on the way of Champions Conference and it'll take you a page where you can see all the interviews, all the topics and you can see what you missed and grab yourself a copy right there that you will have access to forever. So, well, well worth it. Okay, So thanks everyone for listening.

Thanks to Sports refund. Thanks to Good Sport and thanks to both David and chris for being Patreon podcast champions. Remember everyone, your influence is never neutral and you just got a bunch of great stuff from Anson to go out and make your influence even better. Even more positive for all of your athletes. See you again next week.

#240 Anson Dorrance, 21x NCAA Champion, on Creating the UNC Competitive Cauldron (Session from 2021 Way of Champions Conference)
#240 Anson Dorrance, 21x NCAA Champion, on Creating the UNC Competitive Cauldron (Session from 2021 Way of Champions Conference)
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