Squash Coach Paul Assaiante sat down with Mudit Pant to talk about his life experiences and learnings that have led him to become one of the most successful coaches. Paul currently coaches the Trinity Squash Team in Hartford, Connecticut USA and he is also the USA National Coach. From 1998-2012, Assaiante and Trinity won 252 consecutive matches, including thirteen national championships—the longest winning streak in USA college sports history.
He is known to nurture individuals and teams to perform well consistently and develop leadership qualities.
Some of the key takeaways from this discussion are as follows:
- Coach mentions that it amazes him that how many people are seeking happiness but they do know what will give them happiness. Coach starts by touching upon what led him to choose the title of his book "Run to the Roar". The book has many themes, and one of them is how to manage fear. Coach touches upon the story of lions in Africa. In Africa, the lions hunt in packs where the oldest female of the pride who has a very deep roar, but has lost its mobility and can't catch her own food is positioned in the middle of the field facing the bush. The lionesses she hunts with hide in the bush. When she roars the prey run away from her to bush to death. The point being if the prey went at what was frightening them, they would find out it was not as bad as they thought it would be. The analogy here is that always go at the problem and always attack the problem - attack what you see as your biggest challenge.
- The rhetorical question one needs to ask everyday is what is the worst that could happen. Once you come to terms with that then it is not so bad.
- For anyone to stay at the "top" of what they are doing needs to have the ability to analyze and make adjustments. What worked last year might not work this year. The world is constantly changing, as the Buddhists says that the only thing that we can count on is impermanence and rest everything is constantly changing, and if you want to stay ahead of the pack, you must constantly change as well. One must have fire all the time to grow and improve.
- Coach shares his purpose in life, which is to help people grow and become better, and the vehicle that he has used for the same is sports. Everyday one must learn how to win and learn how to loose, and how to adjust and re-strategize on the fly. In the business world, everyday you win at all cost, in sports that is not the case. There is an underlying issue that is character. One must do things as well as they can in the proper way. At the end do it in a way that shows class and dignity. Winning with class is easy, but losing with class is much harder.
- Coach shares that failure is the playground to success. In society the parents in the name of love will do anything to make sure that children do not fail, as they do not want to see them go through any pain, but it is essential to fail for the development of the person. You have to let the children fail, and then you need to be there to teach them how to embrace that failure and make it into something more positive. As you climb to the mountain while the view is better the fall is farther. Making mistakes is not bad but it is important to try to learn from them all the time and become better. It is important to provide an environment where people can make calculated and intelligent risks. and teach them at that moment on how they can improve.
- Coach talks about learning to laugh at yourself. If you try to be perfect then you cannot grow, and that is why one should not try to be perfect. Laugh at yourself, see the irony in the day, accept your humanity, give everything the best you can. In life you do not regret what you did, you regret what you did not do. People have to go out there and try and take chances. Also he touches upon the fact that it is important to reflect that are we happy doing what we are doing?
- One thing about being young is that you are not trapped at this age, your responsibilities are to yourself and your career. It is okay to redirect from what you are doing if you are not happy..completely okay! Coach talks about the longest streak that Trinity Squash created, and also shares how he and the boys felt when the winning streak was broken. Coach says it was never about the streak for him, he was there for a much bigger purpose which was to work with the players and also help them grow. When the streak got over, he realized that the team has lost and it was time to get back to work the next day what they normally did, and which will be a start to a new streak...
- Coach shares that his father was his hero, he was a gentle soul and coach realized that everyday he tried to make everything better for the people around him. It is not right for one person to tell another how to lead life, but life can be much more meaningful if we can pay importance to the relationships of those around us where we can make a small piece of the world just a little better, by being kind and gentle. We are only renting space and we will not be here for very long in the big history of world so we have an obligation while we are here to try to make the little corner we occupy better. At the end of it all, it is just good acts - paying it forward is our purpose in life!
- If life is hard and you are trying to get through the day, you can still share a little love around you!
-He says could you imagine if every person in the world wakes up and says, I am going to make sure that someone else smiles today, right now we are so full of anger, hatred and lies. Just take care of each other:)
I think the talk was very inspiring, there were many takeaways the one that particularly touched me was the quest to improve everyday and failure is playground for success.
Thanks for such a wonderful post.