Monday, February 20, 2012


The following comes from "Coaching the Mental Game" by H. A. Dorfman:

Major league manager Tony LaRussa is a learner. He’s credited with being a “a smart manager” and his law degree is often a point of reference. But for me, while working in the Oakland Athletics organization, he illustrated his “smarts” by being so open to learning.

Tony and I were discussing a point of view he had about a player, in particular, and people in general. He asked me what I thought of his viewpoint and I told him I didn’t agree with what he had expressed. I also told him why. He was not pleased with my emphatically contrarian belief. That much I could see in the expression on his face. What I couldn’t see were the gears operating in his head. He turned moments later and went to another area of spring training.

The next day, a catchers’ meeting was held. The pitching coach, the catchers at the came, and I found a quiet place to conduct the meeting: Tony’s office. My eyes happened to move across the front of Tony’s open locker during a lull in the meeting. There on the top shelf were three books relating to the topic we had briefly discussed the previous day. They were library book. Tony had gone to the Scottsdale, Arizona public library and checked them out, open to the possibility that he had something to learn beyond and/or in contradiction to what he felt he already knew.

To this day, he continues to express his inquisitiveness about matters of mutual concern/involvement. His questions indicate as much about his smarts as his answers. Sometimes more. Tony LaRussa knows this; Socrates knew it 2,500 years ago.

Learning is part of preparation. For athletic competition; for life itself.