David Duchovny: What a Good Coach Does

"Coach Byrnes told me I was worthwhile and good and that we could win. He talked to me as if I were someone worth telling a story about, subtly enjoining me to become active in that story. My father was mostly gone by then, and now here was a man who respected me by demanding that I respect myself and a game. I never knew if he liked me. That wasn't so important. He saw potential in me, and I began to respect myself.

That is what a good coach does. He fills you with a belief that may or may not be justified. As you make the dangerous crossing from unproven belief to actual accomplishment, from potential to reality, a good coach holds your hand so expertly that you don't even know your hand is being held. I got better because Coach Byrnes told me I was already better. It was that simple -- a magic trick. And every success I've had ever since has had some of this same magic in it, either at the hands of other skilled teachers or by the generous trickery of the voice inside me that they instilled."

-- David Duchovny on his high school basketball coach, Larry Byrnes, in the Wall Street Journal series, 'What a Good Coach Does'

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