Flexibility and John McEnroe

Dick Gould

What did flexibility mean to Stanford tennis?

Flexibility is an incredibly important trait for a leader in any field. It might be required in dealing with an individual or even by adjusting a company's own business plan. Nimbleness can be required. Never are things always the same, and while keeping within one's own personal parameters, the ability to adjust can lead to success or failure.

I have always felt that being flexible--being willing and able to adapt when the situation warranted--is a personal strength of mine and very important to our success as a team. I firmly believe that everyone is different, and to get the best out of my teams, players could not always be treated the same.

This requires a different variety of management skills and a tolerance for fluidity because challenges, situations, and personnel are consistently changing.

"Dick’s ability to work with a wide range of player personalities, often difficult ones, while keeping an ever-present positive outlook was absolutely unique," writes Mark Conroe, class of 1980.

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Dick Gould is now Director of Tennis at Stanford University, where as men's coach, he led his beloved Cardinals to an amazing 17 national team titles and 10 players to the NCAA singles title. In addition, he has coached 9 Stanford players who subsequently attained world top 15 in singles rankings and 14 who have reached the world's top 10 in doubles (including 7 who have been ranked # 1 in the world in doubles). Although known for his college team records, Gould is also one of the game's foremost students, authors, and teachers, establishing both the Stanford Tennis School and the fabulously successful Nike Junior Tennis Camps at Stanford. A minor accomplishment was giving John Yandell his first tennis teaching job in California in 1979. Tennisplayer is proud to be presenting both his classical and advanced teaching systems on our site, starting with this analysis of learning from the greats.

Leading with Character: 10 Minutes a Day to a Brilliant Legacy

A collective memoir of 166 world champions, CEOs, leaders, and other professionals, all of whom played on Stanford’s men’s tennis dynasty under legendary coach Dick Gould, owner of seventeen NCAA men’s tennis titles. Compiled and authored by Gould with former player and author Tim Troupe Noonan, Anatomy addresses issues of leadership, team building, sustaining success over time, and many other topics of interest to anyone in a position of leadership.

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