If recent history has taught us anything, it's that nobody goes through life unscathed--no matter how rich, how smart, how talented, or how fortunate they may be. White collar, blue collar, or no collar, there is an undeniable commonality to the raw emotion that strikes people when they are knocked down. University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari has experienced his share of public setbacks, but he has learned that bad situations are permanent only if you allow them to be. What Coach Cal--as players, peers, and his legion of fans that make up the Big Blue Nation call him--learned from his experiences was the importance of having the right attitude when dealing with life's major impediments. On the court and off, he emphasizes to his players that a big part of success is being able to handle obstacles. Now he is offering you the chance to learn the same strategies that he teaches the young men who play for him. By becoming an active participant in your own resurrection--through practice exercises and tips from Coach Cal and his deep bench of highly successful people--you too will gain the tools and insight to understand that it's never a matter of how far you have fallen, but instead it's about how high you bounce back.tion of tough love and understanding, Coach Cal takes you under his wing in much the same fashion he guides the young men who play for him. By becoming an active participant in your own resurrection -- through practice exercises and tips from Coach Cal and his deep bench of highly successful people who have survived their own bounce backs -- you too will gain the tools and insight to understand that it's never a matter of how far you have fallen, but instead it's about how high you bounce back.
"If you are a college basketball fan like I am, you'll understand why I've long admired John Calipari's leadership style. While no coach treasures a win more than John, this terrific book reveals his greater purpose--to lead his young players to better lives, and then challenge them to give back to others." --President William J. Clinton In Players First, John Calipari relates for the first time anywhere his experiences over his first four years coaching the Kentucky Wildcats, college basketball's most fabled program, from the doldrums to a national championship, drawing lessons about leadership, character, and the path to personal and collective victory. At its core, Calipari's coaching philosophy centers on keeping his focus on the players--what they need to get the best out of themselves and one another. He is beloved by his players for being utterly honest with them and making promises that he always keeps, no matter what. He knows that in this age, they come to Kentucky to prepare for the NBA; every year he gets players who in a previous era would have gone directly into the pros from high school but now have to play college basketball for one year. Calipari has fought against this system, but he has to play within it, and so he does, better than anyone. The result is an extraordinary leadership challenge: every year Coach Cal gets a handful of eighteen-year-old kids who have been in a bubble for the previous four years at least, filled with hype about their own greatness, and they come to Kentucky feeling sure that they will play for their coach only for seven months before they go on to greater glory. Every year, he has to reinvent his team. After his 2012 NCAA championship, it was particularly dramatic; he lost his first six players in the first round, meaning that someone who couldn't even start for Kentucky was a first-round draft pick. The overall record at Kentucky, and for his career, puts Calipari in the pantheon of the greatest coaches in the history of the game. Bold, funny, and truthful, like Coach Calipari himself, Players First is truly the first deep reckoning with the meaning of his experiences and the gifts of insight they offer.
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