- Series: The Education of a Coach
- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Hyperion; First Edition edition (November 1, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1401301541
- ISBN-13: 978-1401301545
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 162 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Education of a Coach Hardcover – November 1, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Pulitzer-winning journalist and author Halberstam focuses on Bill Belichick, one of the NFL's most successful coaches, and the game of football as a team sport with rich detail, exacting research and colorful anecdotes. He reveals what fans of the head coach of the New England Patriots have always known: the roots of Belichick's coaching lie in the essential mentoring by his father, an excellent teacher and college coach who taught his son how to scout players and teams, instructing the author on how to study films of players when he was just nine years old. As an assistant coach working with Bill Parcells's New York Giants in the 1980s, Belichick's "football first" credo was born of precision and discipline. He went on to guide the Patriots to win three Super Bowls in four years (2002, 2004 and 2005). Halberstam brings to his seventh sports book an encyclopedic knowledge of football, a firm grasp on the inner workings of effective coaching, an understanding of the systematic roles of the players and a shrewd psychological analysis of Belichick himself as a man and team leader. His book reminds readers that "residence at the top [is] as much a product of good fortune as it [is] of talent, willpower and planning." (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Bill Belichick is the head coach of the New England Patriots and a second-generation descendant of a determined Croatian immigrant family. The Pats have won three of the last four Super Bowls, an extraordinary accomplishment in an NFL that is structured to prevent extended dominance by one team. Celebrated investigative journalist Halberstam, who likes to do a sports book now and then, was first drawn to Belichick when he was a young linebacker coach with the New York Giants in the mid-eighties. He tells Belichick's story as part of the larger context of his family's acclimation to America during the Depression, and he spends as much time on Belichick's high-school and college years as he does on his career as a professional coach. Belichick learned his trade early on (his father was a football coach, too) and began breaking down opponents' film when he was nine years old. The natural affinity for x's and o's meshed with a passion for the game and, as Halbertsam tells it, produced a brilliant tactician and an effective leader who draws from the styles of other coaches he has encountered in his career, from a my-way-or-the-highway high-school coach to Andover Academy's Steve Sorota, the quintessential player-empowering coach-as-teacher. As he's done in the past, Halberstam takes the classic sports-bio formula--one stellar performer's rise to the pinnacle of American sport--and transforms it into a nuance-rich story of individual triumph and social history. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
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Here he tackles the subject of Bill Belichick, head coach of the New England Patriots, and how this man has created a sports dynasty in an age where all the rules were designed to discourage such a creation.
The author's words flow like poetry. Even if you are uninterested in the subject of the book, it is still compelling. There are a number of reasons to read a book like this, which may be far removed from your own area of expertise, and even normal interest.
Great learning sometimes involves people going outside their expertise. In doing so, it can make for great discoveries, and finding a fascinating idea or concept that a person would never think of for themselves in their daily work. Whether that work is being a Nobel Prize winning researcher in string theory, or a gent that builds cars, the bottomline always seems to be the same. These people can then bring these new ideas, and learnings into their own circle of competence, and appropriate it for what it is they are doing on a daily basis.
In this book, you learn about getting the edge on your fellow competitors. You learn about dedication, focus, and execution. We may talk about execution in business, but in business or government, it might take years before you know the results of the project you are working on. Not so in the world of sports. You make an adjustment on a football team like Coach Belichick, and you might know in 30 seconds if you look STUPID.
Usually wherever I am I have a selection of books with me. I read on average, about a book a day. Fortunately, my work allows me this luxury. Actually when I think about it, I am better at my work for the reading than if I did something else. This is probably true for you also. We read because we are compelled to read. I read the Education of a Coach while flying cross-country, and literally couldn't put it down, that's how Halberstam GRABS you as a reader.
What is absolutely fascinating to me is Coach Belichick learning at his father's knee about football. The father was a scout who really did not make it as far as he should have in the world of football. He did have a studious and willing son who is the subject of this book. The child was desirous of learning everything his father could teach him. I am reminded in many ways of the relationship that Tiger Woods had with his own father.
Just listen to a few words that Halberstam writes of the values that the father instilled in the son, "You worked hard. You saved. You did not waste anything. If possible, you grew your own food. You did not complain. You did not expect anyone to do anything for you. Discipline was not so much taught as it was lived, as an essential part of life for which there was no alternative."
This is reading folks, compelling reading. Learn how a masterful football coach learned the game, and taught a team how to play the game. This is the real thing, and Halberstam is at his best, when writing about what's real. You will love this book, even if you don't like sports.
This first deployment of the author's considerable skills on American football is the literary equivalent of a successful Hail Mary pass. Offered late in the game with but perhaps one chance to win the battle, a high-risk throw is tossed into the air with the hope that somebody down there might make the unlikely victorious grab.
The reader does.
Bill Belichick, the now-legendary head coach of the New England Patriots teams that dominated the NFL at the midpoint of the new century's first decade, comes under Halberstam's gaze. This cerebral, obsessively disciplined anti-celebrity with his passion for building a team on good value from the ground up is not at first glance a compelling subject for a professional biography. Yet Halberstam's gift is for discerning just how a key persona decided to move against the grain of a profession's received wisdom without necessarily calling attention to his methodological heresy.
Quietly building up 'Belichick University' while traversing the serial failures that are the calling card of professional coaching and coaches, Coach Belichick built a different kind of team and did the Thing that can almost not be imagined: he changed the NFL.
As he tells the story, quickly convincing his reader that it is a fascinating tale that merits his readers attention even as civil wars, terrorist alarm, and global warming conspire to argue that sport is an irrelevance, Halberstam scatters observations and knowing turns of phrase that leaders of any profession are likely to find invaluable.
Even if you thought the Patriots were a missile defense system, read this book.
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