By Sean McDevitt
When it comes down to it, coaches are teachers. How they teach it is what makes each coach unique. Some coaches yell. Some coaches mentor. Good ones can communicate their instructions effectively. Illinois head women’s gymnastics Nadalie Walsh wanted to pass along her lessons as a coach, and thus began her journey to self-publish a book on Amazon, Enough.
Walsh has been coaching and teaching for more than 20 years. She has taken her Illini teams to NCAA Regionals in four seasons during her five-year tenure with Illinois (the one absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
Over her coaching tenure, she has used hundreds of anecdotes, stories, and other methods to help her student-athletes be the best they can be as women and as athletes. At the prodding of her husband, she decided to take all her lessons and collect them in, Enough. The book is her positive approach to coaching and teaching. Her goal with Enough is to help readers shift their focus, build confidence, and generate success on and off the mat, track, court, field, or pitch.
Bite on the Hook
Walsh started coaching right away after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
“I was fortunate to get a really young start as a head coach,” said Walsh. “I haven’t ever really learned from anybody else. I’ve always just had my own programs and made a lot of analogies with my team. I felt those stories could reach them better than telling them what to do. Give them an analogy to relate it to whatever we were essentially trying to accomplish that day, whether it was an actual sports, team, person, or relational thing. They always seemed to just bite on that hook. They would always remember the analogies better than anything else that day.”
She recalls coming home after practice and telling her husband, Victor, about how she would connect with her student-athletes through a story or analogy. He would always push her to write these ideas down.
“He just kept saying, write it down, and I said, yeah, but nobody is really going to want to read that,” said Walsh remembering her dismissiveness.