Pursley Pep Talks: Appreciation

Swimming World will publish a collection of coaching perspectives written by Alabama head swimming coach Dennis Pursley. This is the second installment of a series that will be rolled out throughout the coming months.


It is important that we occasionally remind ourselves of how privileged we are to have the opportunities that are available to us in our athletic careers. It is easy to take them for granted, especially for the veterans who have “been there and done that.”

If we don’t appreciate an opportunity, we won’t value it; if we don’t value it, we won’t put our heart and soul into it; if we don’t put our heart and soul into it, we won’t achieve the results or experience the rewards and benefits to the fullest degree. In other words, we will fail to take full advantage of the opportunity.

Appreciation can also help us put things into their proper perspective. In enables us to recognize the fact that much of the credit for our accomplishments and opportunities is due to those around us. Our family, friends, coaches, teachers and teammates have all helped us become who we are, and many “behind-the-scenes” people whom we don’t even know have worked hard to provide the opportunities that have been presented to us.

Through appreciation, we are more grateful for what we have–which is more than most–and more inclined to make the most of it rather than to be discontent because of what we don’t have. All of this can help us achieve our full potential.

We all have a responsibility and an obligation to do everything we can to take full advantage of the opportunities that are presented to us. The formula for success is not complicated:

Commitment + Teamwork = Success

About Dennis Pursley
After getting his start as a volunteer coach on Don Gambril’s first Alabama staff, current Alabama head coach Dennis Pursley has gone on to one of the most extraordinary careers in the sport of swimming, a career that led him to be named one of the 25 most influential people in the history of USA Swimming in 2003.

Pursley has helmed coaching staffs throughout the world, including stops as the first head coach of the Australian Institute of Sport, the inaugural director of the United States National Team and most recently the head coach of Great Britain’s 2012 Olympic squad. Pursley returned to the deck in 2003 as the head coach of the Brophy East Swim Team in Phoenix Ariz., before becoming the head coach of British Swimming in 2008.

Pursley and his wife Mary Jo have five children, Lisa, Brian, David, Steven and J.J. Lisa and David have joined him on the Alabama staff.

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