Book Summary: Win Forever by Pete Carroll

I wish I could remember where I initially came across the book, Win Forever, by Pete Carroll but I don’t. Something you should know about me was that when I initially purchased this book, I honestly didn’t know who Pete Carroll was or what he coached. I had read a book that recommended Win Forever and so I bought it and let it sit on my shelf for a bit. Then sometime in 2016/2017 I read it and it changed my life. Yes, I know, sounds silly that a football book changed my life considering I don’t follow football. Well, it’s because it’s not about football really, it’s about leadership and y’all know I love a great book on leadership.

The piece of this book that’s changed my life is about the leadership philosophy Pete created and that he leads with. And over the last few years, I’ve been collecting and refining pieces of my own philosophy. I’ll share more about that in a future post but for now, I wanted to share some great quotes with you from the book that I continue to reference 6 or so years after my initial read.

  1. What I learned in Maslow’s insights challenged me to start asking: What if my job as a coach isn’t so much to force or coerce performance as it is to create situations where players develop the confidence to set their talents free and pursue their potential to its full extent? What if my job as a coach is really to prove to these kids how good they are, how good they can possibly become, and that they are truly capable of high-level performance? 
  2. I knew that the first step to doing great things was affirming the belief that great things are possible. 
  3. In order to be successful, you must have a consistent philosophy. If you change who you are from year to year, he explained, you’re never going to be great at anything. At some point, I realized, I was going to have to stop collecting just pieces and develop a philosophy of my own. The realization that I would need to have a philosophy in order to really maximize my potential was one of the breakthrough moments in my personal education and professional career. 
  4. The only competition that matters is the one that takes place within yourself. It isn’t about external factors.
  5. I had learned that they were winners not solely because of their win/loss records but also because of their strict attention to detail, confidence in themselves, and rock solid philosophies. 
  6. The wealth of detail that went into that knowledge was incredible. He had figured out absolutely everything about his program – his belief system, his philosophy, his delivery, and a million other details that made that first championship possible. He had figured it out so completely that he could recreate it year after year. Even more important, he had done more than just become aware of those details inside of his own mind. He had refined them to the point where he could explain them to the people around him. I think a great part of his genius was that he was able to explain his beliefs and tie them back into a clear vision that brought it all together with a single effort.
  7. In my experience, however the real essence of competing is often misunderstood. Competition to me is not about beating your opponent. It is about doing your best; it is about striving to reach your potential; and it is about being in relentless pursuit of a competitive advantage in everything you do. 
  8. Competition is typically defined as a contest between individual groups, teams, or nations; it is a test of skills. In my world, however, competition is much more than that. It is a mentality, an outlook, and a way of approaching every day. The traditional definition of competition requires having an opponent. For players, the real “opposition” is not necessarily the team they are matched up against in a given week – far from it. The real opposition is the challenge to remain focused on maximizing their abilities in preparation for the game. 
  9. At the end of the day, that opponent is the person that makes you into the best competitor you can be. 
  10. I want to be honest about what it takes to compete at an extreme level – but I don’t for a minute want to scare anyone away from embracing competition. Having the drive to always compete doesn’t necessarily mean you have to either make the choices I’ve made or not compete at all. That couldn’t be further from the truth. You can compete to be a good student, compete to be a good friend, compete to be a good dad, or a husband or wife. My point is to make conscious choices about what you compete at and always compete to do your best at whatever that is. The idea is that you can be a great competitor at whatever you’re doing. You can direct this competitive mentality to serve you in all aspects of your life. 
  11. My message was that there was no room for anybody to thinking that last year’s success granted anything for the upcoming season. If they wanted to compete at an uncommon level and live our philosophy, they needed a brand-new perspective on the upcoming season; by changing their seats, at least symbolically, they now found themselves with a new perspective. 
  12. I never wanted to get too excited about wearing our championship rings or make a big deal about our past success. Why? Because we can’t do anything about what has already happened. All we can ever really have is the very next moment we are facing. Of course, we always can celebrate, learn, and grow from the past experiences, but the very next step we are about to take may be the most important one and we don’t want to miss it. 

It was hard to narrow it down to just 12 quotes, but these are powerful statements about coaching, building environments, shaping new perspectives, competition, and the recognition that past success doesn’t determine future success.

Leave a Reply