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SGG episode #38: Andy North’s medical prognosis in the 7th grade led him places he'd never imagined


Coaches are important educational leaders in our schools, communities, and universities. The Sport and the Growing Good (SGG) podcast provides embedded, front-line insights on winning and positive development. The SGG podcast can be heard here and on all major podcast platforms.

Andy North is a two-time U.S. Open champion and one of the most respected names in golf. After his long, successful professional career, he’s enjoyed a great run at ESPN – along with a wide range of other pursuits on and off the course. Andy’s also a loyal, lifelong supporter of the Wisconsin Badgers. Andy joined the SGG podcast, where we discussed:

1. His dad’s background as a coach – and the innovations he made capturing video and focusing on the mental sides of the game.

2. His dad’s lessons about the difference between “just goofing around” and “purposeful practice.”

3. The value of playing a team sport for individual sport athletes.

4. Being a “good player on a bad team” and being a “bad player on a good team.”

5. The injury that catapulted him into golf.

6. Lee Milligan’s long-time influence in his life.

7. The competitive fire of his friend Michael Jordan…and the fire within all great competitors.

8. How many golfers get too “bound up technically.”

9. His college coach understanding “if you need help, come to me” as opposed to trying to get overly involved in changing kids’ games.

10. Differences between his generation of athletes and today’s athletes. How playing multiple sports assisted in “learning how to use your body.”

11. Keeping things simple.

12. The importance of knowing yourself as an athlete.

13. Helping UW football team’s kickers.

14. “The great players are the guys who can go out there with nothing (on an off day) and figure out a way to get it done.”

15. Not letting others know you’re nervous and talking yourself into everything being ok. “Get to where you enjoy being there.”

16. Visualizing his next day’s round as a method of preparation.

17. The value of “figuring things out” without an entourage of supporters.

18. Common attributes of the great coaches he’s been around.

19. Byron Nelson’s comment that to be good in golf “you have to be really, really smart or really, really dumb.”

20. Making it through ongoing injuries, mentally and physically – and “never-ending” rehab.

21. What he learned about working on TV from Hubie Brown and John Madden – “they told me something I didn’t realize.”

22. “Empathy” in coaching (including the example of his dad communicating with his high school players’ girlfriends.)

23. “Sometimes the smartest thing a coach can do is sit down and be quiet for five or ten minutes.”

24. The young coaches he’s impressed by.