Tuesday, February 20, 2007

How is it?

Dirk Demol, winner of the 1988 Paris-Roubaix
But winning that day wasn't part of the plan. Demol recently told Pez:
My job was that when Eddy [Planckaert] caught our breakaway, I would have some reserves and could help him. If he got a flat tire, I could help... I finally saw my director, with about 5 kilometers to go and he asked me “how is it”? That day I felt so good, in the final I was so sure that this was going to be my day. And in the final sprint, I had a feeling that I have not had since.

How is it? More than just asking how are you feeling. Or how are your legs. The purpose of the question is more important than the answer. The purpose is to inspire effort.

Any director/coach can ask how ya' doing, but the mark of an excellent coach is whether he can inspire a rider/player to excel beyond their abilities. Take for example, Mike Krzyzewski, Duke's basketball coach, he could probably coach a group of high school freshman into the NCAA tournament. Ability to inspire.

The answer to the question, well there probably was no answer. Demol knew what he had to do to win and felt that he could. He won Paris-Roubaix in the longest breakaway to date. His last line sums it up:

I had a feeling that I have not had since
See PEZ for the full interview. Photo: GrahamWatson.com. and Pez.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It also helps when a plastic bag gets caught in your opponents rear derailleur (sp?), locking his gears and leaving him unable to sprint in his gear of preference.

That's not a criticism, but an observation. I do enjoy watching that edition of Paris-Roubaix, especially Demols reaction beyond the finish line.