Seattle Seahawks head football coach Pete Carroll said his charitable work with his A Better L.A. foundation had its roots in a thesis he wrote on self actualization while a grad student at the University of the Pacific.
Years later Carroll said he realized that helping players reach their potential started with getting them to adopt a positive vision of themselves.
Carroll quickly learned that this coaching style worked on and off the field. He took his “Win Forever” philosophy to gang-ridden Los Angeles and started A Better L.A., with the hopes of changing inner-city youths' perspectives the same way he could change his team’s vision.
“[The youth of South Los Angeles] kept telling me that they were going to die or go to jail,” explained Carroll. “That wont change, unless we can adjust that vision.”
Carroll attempted to combat this self-fulfilling prophecy in the same way he would coach a member of his team.
“Create a vision for themselves so they can become something other than a kid that is going to die or go to jail. Support them and build them up and keep them in contact with that vision. It’s no different than coaching a tail back.”
In his new book "Win Forever: Live, Work and Play like a Champion," Carroll elaborates on his coaching style.
“The most important thing is developing a practice routine that will hone your skills, get you into shape and help you to believe in what you are doing,” Carroll said. “Understand your game and who you are. Understand your strengths and weaknesses so you can maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. Practice diligently and prove to yourself how good you are.”
Carroll explained that it’s his job as a coach to help each of his players understand what they are capable of accomplishing, so that they can be their best.
On January 11, 2010 Pete Carroll announced that he would be leaving Southern California and the Trojans, for the Seattle Seahawks. His nine-year stint as head football coach lead to seven consecutive Pac-10 titles, two national championships, and seven bowl-game victories.
“I loved my time at USC,” Carroll said. “I loved the people, I loved representing the school… I had the time of my life there.”
USC fans were sad to see him go, especially as they watched their team unravel from accusations by the NCAA.
Carroll expressed his own shock at the outcome of the NCAA investigation and sympathized with Trojan supporters.
“I understand the pain that you feel,” Carroll said, likening coaching to parenting. “I look at every one of the guys – and you know they’re kind of like your kid. You work really hard, and even though you’re as mad as you can get, you look toward how you can help them see for next time.”
Carroll intends to take “Win Forever” to the Seahawks, but when asked if they were headed to the Super Bowl, he responded that they were taking things one win at a time.
Until then, Carroll will continue to create his “positive vision” environment, encouraging discipline, strength and self-confidence.
“Be the best you can be," concluded Carroll. "Then you’re a winner.”