40 years ago, Al Michaels gave us this unforgettable call in the final seconds of the USA / Soviet Union Olympic Hockey Game. Sports Illustrated named the “Miracle on Ice” the top sports moment of the 20th century.
In celebration of the 40th anniversary, our local sports stations have interviewed several players from that Gold Medal-winning USA Olympic team. Recently I heard an interview with Rob McClanahan. What I found of interest was what he said about his personal preparation for the August USA tryouts.
Rob was a former player of Head Coach Herb Brooks at the University of Minnesota. He knew that for him to make the USA Olympic Team though he would have to elevate his game far beyond what it had been in college. He said that he spent the summer lifting weights 3 times a week, doing dryland training 5 times a week, and shooting the puck 200 times a day.
Sir Alex Ferguson, legendary Manchester United coach and soccer genius, writes in his autobiography:
“Good coaching relies on repetition. Forget all the nonsense about training programs to keep players happy. The argument that they must be stimulated by constant variety may come across as progressive or enlightened, but it is a dangerous evasion of priorities. In any physical activity, the effective practice requires repeated execution of the skill involved. Why do you think the greatest golfers who have every lived devoted endless hours to striking the same shots over and over again? Yes, I know golf, where the ball always sits to be struck, is so different from football that technical comparisons are foolish. But the link is the need to concentrate on refining technique to the point where difficult skills become a matter of habit.
. . . David Beckham is Britain’s finest striker of a football not because of God-given talent but because he practices with a relentless application that the vast majority of less gifted players wouldn’t contemplate. The practice may not make you perfect, but it will definitely make you better and any player working with me on the training ground will hear me preach the virtues of repetition – repeatedly.”
Sir Alex Ferguson preached it; Rob McClanahan practiced it. And the lesson is as old as time.
“We are what we repeatedly do.” Aristotle
Let MOTI help your players and students learn the correct
soccer skills and tactics.
 Alex Ferguson with Much McIlvanney, Managing My Live: My Autobiography, (Coronet Books: London), 2000, p. 137