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Who is Jordan Spieth and Why Should We Care?

Part I: What Jordan Spieth’s success can teach us about the importance of coaching.

Jordan Spieth is a 24 year old golf professional who has been compared to golf greats like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods. He has won golf’s most coveted tournaments including the US Open, The Masters, The British Open and the Tour Championship. These are outstanding accomplishments, and it is difficult to comprehend how he has come to achieve this level of success at such a young age.  Impressive as this all is, Spieth’s character is equally noteworthy; he is mature, humble, and well-respected by his peers.  Michael Rosenberg of described Spieth as having a “champion’s character on and off the course.”

One of the things that most impresses me about Jordan Spieth is his deep belief in himself while simultaneously believing that his success comes only with the tireless support and dedication of his team.  His team being, first and foremost, his family; his long-time coach, Cameron McCormick; and his caddy, Michael Greller. McCormick has coached Spieth since he was 12. McCormick, in turn, relies on a network of coaches to mentor both him and Spieth.  When Spieth is interviewed, he never uses the word “I”, he always uses “we” to refer to the work or accomplishment that was achieved. It is never “I practiced hard and as a result I won.” For Spieth, it is “we practiced hard and as a result we won.” Spieth has taken the individual sport of golf and transformed it into a team sport. He always acknowledges the contributions of his coaches, his caddy and his family to his success. Since Spieth began referring to “his” successes as “our” successes, other professional golfers have adopted this same philosophy.  As Simon Sinek reminds us “No one achieves success on their own, success is a team sport.”

What can we take away from Spieth’s story of success? What can this young golf great teach us about the importance of the role of coaching to his success?

Consider for a moment some of the qualities that have contributed to Spieth’s success; might these be similar qualities we should seek to replicate in our schools today?

  • students with a positive mindset, internal drive/motivation, and humbleness of character

  • students developing talents/skills in areas in which they are passionate

  • supportive parents with a positive mindset and belief in the personal achievements of their children

  • teachers and coaches with a positive mindset, a passion for effective practices, and the belief in the personal achievements of their students

Many of you, I am sure, see the importance of these qualities, and no doubt, can specify a few others. Interestingly, the contribution of coaching to the success of teachers and their students is a relatively new addition to this list. Yet the results we see from “Team Spieth” suggests that coaching should be a vital quality, or ingredient, of the school experience; one that contributes to student success.

I propose, and ask you to consider, coaching as a must-have ingredient of a school’s formula for success. I suggest that without coaching on multiple levels, e.g., leadership, instruction, decision-making, a school’s chances of success decrease significantly. Indeed, I suggest that high quality coaching is that essential ingredient that cannot, and should not be excluded from our schools’ formula. Based on the experiences of Jordan Spieth, I believe we all need this type of support to be successful, especially our school leaders, our teachers and our students.


Coming Soon...

Who is Jordan Spieth and Why Should We Care?

Part II: Is coaching an essential ingredient to school success?



McCormick, C. and Yocom, G. (2015) My Shot: Cameron McCormick on the trick to teaching Jordan Spieth and someone like you. Golf Digest. Retrieved from

Moya, Bernardo. (2015) Success is a team sport, interview with author Simon Sinek. The Best of Your Magazine. Retrieved from

Michielsen, Erik (2009) Simon Sinek: The Fundamentals of Mentoring Relationships. Daily Motion, Capture Your Flag. Retrieved from

Prisbell, E. (2015) How the only coach he's had built Jordan Spieth into a champion. USA Today Sports. Retrieved from

Rosenberg, Michael. (2015) Jordan Spieth has a Champion’s Character on and off the Course. Retrieved from

Team Spieth. (2016) About Jordan Spieth. Retrieved from.


Kelly Valmore is a Senior Staff Developer for the Program Evaluation and School

Improvement Services Division at Measurement Incorporated.

Please learn more about our program evaluation and professional development services on this website.

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