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ANSON DORRANCE - "THE VISION OF A CHAMPION"

Book Quotes

The following quotes are taken from "The Vision of a Champion", which is a book written by legendary University of North Carolina Women’s soccer coach, Anson Dorrance.  Anson Dorrance teams at UNC have won a record 18 NCAA championships.

The vision of a champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion when no one else is watching.

If you had to do one exercise every day....my recommendation is to get a ball and play some kid in the neighborhood one on one.  That’s going to develop you....if another kid shows up, show a little spunk and play ’em both.

Soccer is basically a struggle between the ones who want it and the ones who don’t.  Every single duel is a statement of who wants it more.

The fitter you are, the harder it is to surrender.

The winning mentality is partly optimism, but mostly it’s a combination of focus, pride, competitive anger, relentlessness, hardness, fitness and courage--all the most descriptive words for competitive athletics.  This type of mentality is not about your skills or tactics.  What it comes down to is intense desire.  To get this winning edge, you need to build an indomitable will.  This means you must be relentless; you must never give up.

At UNC, we talk about transcending ordinary effort.  Ordinary effort is when you’re comfortable.  That’s mediocrity.  A lot of athletes work within their comfort zone, physically and technically.  They don’t feel like they are going to lose control or pass out from fatigue.  When you train within your comfort zone, you’re not preparing yourself for a match.  In a game situation, the other team is trying to take you out of your comfort zone.  So as soon as they do, you’re in unfamiliar territory.  You panic.  You make a mistake, or lose the ball. 

It is critical for you as a young player to understand that vision and great tactical minds are built on a complete foundation of skill, so that you can problem-solve individually and hurt the other team tactically.  Knowing what to do is easily compromised by being unable to do it.  Much of the game is spent with this frustration.

While some wonderful things can happen in this game, it can also be filled with adversity.  Even though we like to think that if we work hard, positive results will follow, obviously, that doesn’t necessarily always happen.  But if the challenges the game presents weren’t difficult, it wouldn’t be worth playing.  That’s why one of the wonderful life lessons of athletics is that success itself shouldn’t be the ultimate reward--because there are a lot of people who work incredibly hard and never "make it".  What is important, above all, is being in the arena.