Powerful ESPN Story Telling

Sept. 15, 2011, 10:55 a.m. (ET)

Those of you who have seen me speak know how much I value story telling to be the best teachers we can be. In previous blogs I have noted some of the great information found in TED.com, and  Playing for Change

 So the AVCA wisely shares webinars in October about Down the Stretch – given the thousands of scholastic girls teams – both coaches and the players, who are in that final push towards season ending excellence. For me, some of the best stories to share come from ESPN’s Emmy Award wining show, E:60 “The Best Stories in Sports…”  Knowing how busy we all are, I have pulled out from youtube the ones which I feel many coaches would find of value – for either personal development, or that of team bonding and development.  Since these are stories mostly best shared down the stretch, I am sharing them now so you can decide if and when to watch them as you do apply your craft in the art of coaching…  E:60 – stories that are good like

GREAT stories at E60, all you can find, in addition to those on youtube, are at the main site:


My favorites posted on YouTube are noted and linked below…..Hope you and your program benefit from the great tales that the E:60 staff has taken so much time to put together…

Homerun - One of the most powerful stories of sportsmanship many have seen or heard about but as time passes, your team may not know of it.  The story of Sara Tucholsky’s home run, the ESPY Sportsmanship Moment winner. Sara spoke to the Volleyball Festival Opening Ceremonies back in the year it happened, along with one of the players who assisted her.


Unbreakable..A story about depression and teen suicide – 15 powerful minutes that apply to a lot of top HS athletes sadly…


Haiti Women’s Soccer – We work a lot with Haiti in volleyball, but the story is not really told…this story is much the same, just a different team sport and we are doing lots more Paralympic Sitting volleyball development for the amputees.


Josia Viera -- The joy of playing a sport you love, even if life makes you age far faster than it is supposed to…


Second Impact -- E:60 explores Preston Plevretes' life after tragedy


The Children of Bophal…The power and desire to play a favorite sport no matter what is seen in this….


Amputee Soccer – Haitian Amputee Soccer Team…most of the world cannot wheelchair around the environment they live in..these guys are great at showing how you can learn to move and play given the injuries they have…


E60 Freestyle Soccer – We need to start doing more freestyle volleyball during the breaks in a tournament.


 The Alligator Wrestler – Pushing yourself to be the best you can be in the choices you make about the things you do in your life…


Knuckleball Girl – A different way to send the message to all ages of players about the importance of developing a great floater serve…. 


Now,  add in the great 30:30 ESPN shows, which I own about a dozen of their shows …Given that we are down to the semifinals of the World Cup in Rugby, there is one 30-30 film I strongly get you to watch. – The 16th Man – Hollywood Reporter says this about it,


 it won a Peabody award and you can get it on Amazon.com at a very good price, used and new. Finish this Rugby finishing focus, there is a must read blog just posted by Arizona State University’s head coach Jason Watson, who is originally from Australia, on the Gold Medal Squared website…READ IT… 


There you have it… a whole season to share impacting sports stories that strengthen your team and programs.  Share yours below in the comments from ESPN or seen on YouTube so we can all share. And for those wondering, my all time favorite movie list for teams, up to 2004, as I used with the 2000 Olympic and 2004 Paralympic teams I was team leader for – can be downloaded below.  There are some NEW good ones out too of course, starting with Real Steel... Thanks for you help in growing the game together and let us know of other stories to share....john.kessel@usav.org   



The following comments were made on our previous web platform and have been transferred here to maintain the historical record.

On October 26, 2011 Aaron wrote

John, long time reader, first time commenter... I'm wondering if you've seen "Pelada"? It's a documentary about 2 former D-1 soccer players who travel around the world finding pick-up soccer games. The running theme in the film is that, all over the world, people are getting out and PLAYING the game. It is now available on Netflix. Sincerely, Aaron

On October 27, 2011 John Kessel wrote

Aaron, First I have heard of it, and will go get. Thanks for the tip, and for reading. For all readers, my daughter told me this one she watched in class this week, and thought coaches and teams would benefit from it also. The Perfect Game is the DVD, here is the short description of it... William Dear helms the period baseball drama The Perfect Game, a cinematization of real-life events that transpired in 1957. Clifton Collins Jr. stars as Cesar Faz, a 1950s baseball player who immigrated from Mexico to the U.S. with the intent of making it as a Major League player. After encountering racism and hostility that stand squarely in the way of his success, Faz high-tails it south of the border and decides instead to coach a Little League team, ultimately guiding it all the way to the Little League World Series.

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