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The Full 90 With Coach Mike Avery

90 word reflections on coaching. (Not as easy as it sounds, but neither is coaching)

90 words on "my coaching philosophy".


Exceptional Coaching of the game, and through the game.


To provide my players with the best possible education of the game. Progressive tactics, latest advances in physical preparation, technical competency, nutrition, recovery, psycho-social development.

To emerge as better athletes, as more complete players.


To see the game as a vehicle to teach life lessons through intentional participation. To understand the value of attention, commitment, consistency, cooperation, empathy, drive, imagination, kindness, optimism, resiliency, etc.

To emerge as more than just athletes, but as better people capable of affecting change.


But wait a minute Coach, what about winning?

Shouldn't your philosophy include how you plan to win?

Isn't the point of competition to win?

In short, no. For me, the point of competing is not to win, but to grow. For me, competition needs to be redefined because competition is not about me against you or me against anyone else - it's only about me.

Competition is about my current level of performance versus my potential level of performance with consistent excellence as my goal.

I need the opponents, and the better the opponent the better the process for me, but with all due respect to the opponent - competition isn't about them. It's about me. My team. My players growing individually and collectively.

Look, I think in life you get what you chase - and if you want only to win, and you chase only that outcome, you can get there. But then, the question becomes, how did you get there? What were you willing to do for that win? To what lengths were you willing to go. Did the ends justify the means?

Ask yourself this - right after the championship match, immediately after that thrill of victory (which is, of course, awesome and not to be discounted) - what's the next thought? For me, it's always been, "ok, that was fun, but now how do we do it again?" The joy of the win is real, but it only last as long as the first minute you get to finally quietly reflect, because in that first minute by yourself you find that pressure again - the pressure to do it again, to do it better.

Again, just for me, trying to win is more important than the winning itself. The process of doing everything in my power to prepare myself and my team for success is of critical importance. That's the "of the game" part of my philosophy. That's me, the coach, constantly evolving and growing and learning so I can deliver the best education of the game humanly possible. That's a real goal for me. I am not there, but I am always striving for that.

I have always, intentionally, tried to play the hardest schedule I could find, to challenge the team and myself in the most daring ways possible because I know that as the pressure increases, we learn more about ourselves. If winning was the only thing, we could schedule that. It has to be about more than just winning. It has to be about exposing ourselves to ourselves so we can learn about ourselves.

And, even more importantly - especially at the level of college sports where I have spent most of my life - sport is about the holistic education of the individual. Sport is about developing people. Teaching lessons learned on the field and applying them to life 20 years down the road as a friend, a co-worker, a husband, a father. That to me is really what this is about. It's about "becoming".

Through the game - who are we becoming?

So, again, I say that in life you get what you chase.

As a coach I choose to chase relationships.

I choose to chase connection. I choose to chase young people becoming great people.

I choose to chase me becoming a better version of myself.

And, by the way, the greatest irony in all of this is this: Winning is actually more likely to happen more frequently, and mean more, when it comes as a product of chasing excellence of the game, and chasing excellence through the game.

What's your philosophy? I'd love to hear it... comment below.


“The moments in my life when I have improved are closely related to failure; the moments in my life when I have regressed are closely related to success.

Being successful deforms us as human beings, it relaxes us, it plays tricks on us, it makes us worse individuals, it helps us fall in love with ourselves.

Failure is the complete opposite, it forms us, it makes us more solid, it brings us closer to our convictions, it makes us more coherent.

I was happy when I enjoyed amateur football, I was happy when I matured as I was in love with my job. I have a deep love for football, for the game, for the corner kick, for the narrow space, for the long line on the pitch, for the football itself.

I despise everything that comes after those concepts. In order to explain this a little bit better, I know that joy after winning only lasts 5 minutes, then there is a huge void and a loneliness that is hard to describe.”

Never allow failure to deteriorate your self-esteem. When you win, the admiration messages you get can be confusing.

They stimulate self-love and that can always deform you. When you lose, the exact opposite happens. What matter is being noble with all the resources you use.”

- Excerpts from a speech given by Marcelo Bielsa that hang on Pep Guardiola's office wall.

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I seek to make the world a better place through sport and is deeply rooted in the Fairo Sport brand.  Through soccer, I have seen much of the world and I have made it a point to immerse myself in different cultures. This is why I and Fairo Sport seek to join forces with coaches of diverse backgrounds linguistically and culturally, to work towards being more reflective of the world’s game.

“My hope is that players that work with me discover in training the knowledge, skills, and goal-setting abilities to help them to successfully continue in the sport at the highest level as well as to create pathways by which they can be healthy contributing members of the community beyond…

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