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Who should read this book?
Karch Kiraly’s Chasing Greatness is recommended for anyone who is looking to improve themselves – coaches, players, business professionals, parents, and everyone in between. It’s an intimate look at the methods Karch has used to achieve unparalleled success in volleyball and life. He applies a very specific order of operations to each challenge – big or small, mental or physical. Nothing is left to chance. The personal philosophy he shares in Chasing Greatness will help prepare any reader to reach beyond the ordinary and achieve their goals.
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Chapter 1: Learning It, Earning It
Chapter 2: Making Every Minute Count
Chapter 3: Practicing Purposefully
Chapter 4: Embracing Adversity
Chapter 5: Developing Willpower
Chapter 6: Learning from Mistakes
Chapter 7: Playing to Strengths, Overcoming Weaknesses
Chapter 8: Carrying Yourself with Confidence
Chapter 9: Managing Less Productive Thoughts
Chapter 10: Being a Good Teammate
Chapter 11: Preparing to Be Your Best
Chapter 12: Organizing for Success
Chapter 13: Learning by Doing
Chapter 14: Inspiration
Chapter 15: Go for It!
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Sneak peek from Chapter 1, “Learning it, earning it”:
“This distinction between absolute and relative greatness is an important one. Absolute greatness implies world-class, Olympic-medal levels of skill, something few people actually achieve. On the other hand, relative greatness is within anyone’s reach in countless pursuits: parenting, foreign languages, sports, musical instruments – the list is endless.
If you’ve set a goal to be as good as you can be at something within the parameters of internal factors – like genetics – and external factors – like the amount of time you’ve put in – you can take great pride in the improvements you’ve made and the levels you’ve reached. Every time you add a new skill or improve an existing one, you earn more confidence, enhance your learning abilities and increase your chances for success. That’s true in sports, school, your job or anything you might want to get good at in everyday life.
It’s the same process that worked for all of us when we were babies learning to crawl, and it keeps on working as long as we keep working at learning.”
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Sneak peek from Chapter 2, “Making every minute count”:
“To this day, I regularly seek information and feedback from coaches, teammates, players I’m coaching, mentors and outside sources. At the end of one-on-one meetings with an athlete or assistant coach, I often say: “How can I be better for you?” Other questions I might ask are:
- “What do you need to be coached on next?”
- “What’s something you really like that I do or say for you?”
- “What’s something you really don’t like that I do or say?”
Our staff has found it useful to give players anonymous polls and surveys. This helps them feel comfortable being completely candid when it comes to assessing our coaching methods. We would never hold it against a player for offering an honest critique, but you can see where athletes, especially those who might be new to the program, would be reluctant to criticize coaches who will ultimately decide their standing on the team.
For me, the bottom line is simple: Feedback of any kind is valuable. The more I can get, the more I believe I’ll be able to adjust my preparation and get better at my job.”
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About the authors
Karch Kiraly is the head coach of the U.S. women’s national volleyball team and one of the greatest players in the sport’s history. Under his guidance, the USA women have reached two milestones, winning the first Olympic gold medal in team history (Tokyo, 2021) and the program’s first World Championship (Italy, 2014). During his playing career, Kiraly won three NCAA championships at UCLA and was a key player on the U.S. men’s national team that dominated the world in the 1980s, winning consecutive gold medals at the 1984 and ’88 OIympics. The Federation of International Volleyball (FIVB) honored him as the world’s top player in 1986 and 1988 and has since named him the greatest volleyball player of the 20th Century. In 1996, Kiraly won his third Olympic gold medal in the beach discipline of the game at the Atlanta Games alongside Kent Steffes. In a beach career spanning 25 years, he set an American record with 148 beach tournament titles. He lives with his wife, Janna, in San Clemente, California, and Heber City, Utah.
Don Patterson is the senior content manager for The Art of Coaching Volleyball. He was the executive editor of Volleyball Magazine from 1991-2002 and has also been the editor of Volleyball USA and DiG magazines. He lives in Carlsbad, California, with his wife, Kendal.
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