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Herb Brooks: Charismatic Motivation in Coaching

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Herb Brooks: Charismatic Motivation in Coaching

In the following essay, I will argue that Herbert "Herb" Brooks was a charismatic leader due to his powerful motivation and his high expectations. He expected great things from the players he coached, but mostly, he expected them to think of the team and not themselves. He motivated with a powerful punch, mostly through fear, but was able to unite his teams and eventually the country.

Herb Brooks was born on August 5, 1937 in St. Paul Minnesota (Herb Brooks). Growing up in Minnesota, he became attached to the sport of ice hockey. He spent years practicing and playing this sport, and in 1955, he led his high school team to the state championship. After three years of college at the University of Minnesota, he joined the 1960 Olympic hockey team, but was cut from the team just before the Olympic games. He played for the United States in the next two Olympic games, and in 1970 he picked up his coaching career at the University of Minnesota. In his six year's of coaching at the university, he led the team to three national championships (Herb Brooks). In 1980, his United States Olympic hockey team, consisting of all college students, achieved one of the greatest spectacles in sports history: "The miracle on ice." His team beat the Soviets in a white-knuckle, heart pounding game with a score of four to three. The Soviet's were a well trained, terrifying team that were considered to be the greatest hockey team that has ever taken the ice. After leading his team to this miraculous victory, he continued his coaching career up until his tragic death in 2003. His high expectations for his team and his fearful, powerful motivational techniques led him down a path of greatness that helped him become an inspiration to all.

Brooks' 1980 Olympic hockey team consisted of college students whose average age was 22 years, and was full of rivalry because of players being from different universities. This young team was being matched against some opponents who had played and practiced together year-round, for several years. The Soviets had beaten a team of National Hockey League all-stars the year before, and they triumphed over this young U.S. team at an exhibition game in New York a week before the Olympiad (Herb Brooks). Herb did not let these victories and challenges stand in the way of his expectations. He saw a weakness in other teams, and a strength in his team that no one else on earth could see.

Herb expected his team to achieve elevated, difficult, and challenging goals. He expected his players to sacrifice their time for the greater good and the team. He instilled the importance of selflessness and teamwork into their heart and soul's. Pushing the team to the point of exhaustion, helped them realize the level he expected them to perform at. They began to realize that giving one hundred percent was not enough, and neither was two hundred percent; nothing was ever going to be enough. He made them realize that maximum performance could always be obtained and exceeded. Herb understood his players, and understood how to get the best out of each individual player. Making their best a part of the team, made the team a strong, unbreakable unit. To have his team achieve such high expectations and goals, he had to find ways of motivating them.

Herb became know as a compelling and fearful motivator. According to the ESPN website, he motivated by fear, and the team became more afraid of him than they did of the Soviets. He motivated the team with exhausting drills, and threats to cut players and bring new ones in. He pushed them harder by telling them they were not good enough. The ESPN website accounts a time when Herb once said to his players: "You're playing worse and worse every day and right now you're playing like it's next month."

This may not sound like a good motivational tactic to some, but the players knew they had to play harder than ever for the good of the team. His motivation helped the team make it to the biggest game of their lives. Before the match with the Soviets, he told them "You're meant to be here.



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