It has been said that sport doesn’t build character so much as it reveals character—and Jason Dorland’s Pulling Together is the embodiment of that thought. He was himself an elite athlete, an Olympic rower, and from years of coaching developed a sports philosophy profoundly different from the old-school ‘stick-and-carrot’ methods. He found his way in producing not just elite athletes, but elite human beings: winners before the finish line, winners well beyond any line.
Through his coaching philosophy, Jason captures the pure essence of living in the moment. Pulling Together reveals an honest look into a life story of what courage, grit and a powerful mindset can really accomplish even through some of the most challenging circumstances.
As a reader, one is continuously self-reflecting and processing new take-aways (or tools) for coaching and life. A must read for all coaches who want to understand the real meaning of developing young women and men of the next generation through sport.
Pulling Together is an inspiring and genuine testament to what can can be achieved through positive, athlete-centered coaching and a focus on process. Dorland’s athletes gain so much more from his mentorship than just wins and medals.
The culture in sport to ‘win-at-any-cost’ was something many of us experienced to our detriment, but few of us talk about. All athletes, coaches and parents should read Pulling Together as Jason Dorland bravely speaks out against our broken system while offering an alternative; a culture in sport based on love and support.
In the world of sport, we treat young people like adults. We start them younger. We push them harder and we want them to specialize sooner. Having spent more than 25 years in high performance sport, it’s clear to me we are consistently ignoring the ‘why’—why a young person competes and what motivates them to be their best. Jason Dorland has again told a moving and compelling story about the joy found in challenging one’s self. For me, this is mandatory reading for both coach and athlete.
A well told story that brings to life the journey of a coach and a group of athletes and how through navigating adversity and striving for success all are found standing a head taller. Jason shares a compelling illustration of the enduring power of sport to unlock human potential.
Jason’s story is about much more than rowing. It’s about struggling and learning and realizing that all too often the most formidable competition is…you. No matter what you’re trying to improve—times, scores, standards or sales—a destructive attitude about competition is self-defeating. Pulling Together is a better way.
Many coaches are so focused on the techniques and tactics of a sport that they forget the number one rule: you coach a person, not a sport. When you connect with your athletes, and they know you are in it for them, they will perform their very best. Pulling Together shares a lifetime of lessons learned from an Olympic athlete and elite coach so that you can create an environment that will help your athletes reach their potential in sport and life.
In this inspirational and engaging book, Jason Dorland shares life-changing lessons on achieving one’s true and full potential. Pulling Together will help make you a better leader, athlete, and person.
Dorland’s deeply personal convictions of what ignites high performance and what invites human potential are timely. In a world where athletes, coaches, organizational leaders and politicians are reaching for anything that will create a win—Jason reminds us of those themes that will sustain and shape our finest selves into the future. His convictions will make us better.
So much of Jason’s own story resonates with my own experiences as an Olympic rower which similarly left me with questions and a fascination for what a high performance culture really should look like—Jason does a great job of describing and demonstrating what high performance should be, dispelling lots of myths and challenging many sporting assumptions about what competition and winning really mean.”
Pulling Together is Jason Dorland’s way of combining his love story with rowing and for Canada but ultimately his love for his wife and the inspiration that she has given him since his journey as an Olympian. The book takes the reader through a memorable journey of the rites of passage, not only of the coach as he focuses on personal growth, but also of his student-athletes as they grow through the discipline and dedication of sport within academia. While I am a believer in the Canadian High Performance sport system I also appreciate that the voices of challenge, including Jason’s, are heard as we continue to grow, improve and build future generations of athletes.”
I see sport as a paradox. On one side, the winner takes all. Winning is delightful, yet often difficult. After overcoming the challenges, being the best is undeniably fun. That said, if you win or lose, the end moment of high-performance sport is remarkably short. As I age, mature and reflect, I have to agree with many of Dorland’s points. It’s who you become on the journey that matters most. What kind of character traits are we nurturing in young adults through sport? How are we using sport to make the next generation better than we could ever be? Pulling Together will help you wade through the philosophy of coaching to find an answer that is right for you.”
Jason Dorland’s insights into basic motivation and leadership, as described in his latest book Pulling Together, are essential for all ‘high-achievers.’ In every aspect of life, Jason’s hard-learned lessons are transferrable, relevant and practical for anyone interested in uncovering their true potential.”