George Block: “Humility and the Common Cause”


In early September, I asked WSCA President and ex-ASCA President George Block to have dinner with our ASCA Staff and give a non-staff view the value of the American Swimming Coaches Association. George, as is usual, was brilliant and inspiring. Hereafter, I have taken George’s notes and attempted to reproduce them as a written piece. Any brilliance belongs to George, any mistakes, to me.

A Common Cause…

The ASCA Coach refuses to be satisfied with the status quo. ASCA feeds that dissatisfaction, and gives the coach the tools to act. ASCA Coaches lead the way for other coaches to follow. ASCA helps them to find their way and BECOME LEADERS of our profession.

Leadership can be Lonely:

  • ASCA creates connection, to ASCA Staff, to the Board, to materials and information, and most especially, to other like-minded coaches.
  • ASCA creates connection to a common Vision, networking, training, resources, and each other.
  • ASCA promises to BE THERE. It provides proven strategies and innovations that will work for you as they have for others. Creating change takes tools. ASCA is there, with those tools for each coach who chooses to use them.


ASCA Coaches take risks, make sacrifices and do whatever it takes to do WHAT MATTERS, and transform both children and families though the exposure to high quality coaching. ASCA serves those coaches who take those risks.

One of the Pathways:

A Mentor tells you to join ASCA.

  • You get newsletters and magazines to wet your appetite to learn.
  • You go to a local clinic and find others who want to learn.
  • You go to the World Clinic, for inspiration, aspiration and education.
  • You learn to contribute to help others grow as coaches and people.
  • You commit to contribution.
  • You lead. Locally, nationally, internationally.


Humility makes the Great, even Greater.

Humility is COMMON SENSE. None of us is an expert on everything. What we don’t know and can’t do, far exceeds what we can do, and do know.

Humility is Magnetic! We are each more attracted to those who are great AND HUMBLE, than to those who know it and insist on “showing it.”

Humility is Fertile. The proud person learns less and more slowly and poorly than the humble person. Humble people seek/accept criticism in order to get better. Accurate criticism is the fast track to improvement.

Humility is Persuasive. (Aristotle – Logos, Pathos, Ethos.) Ethos is the character of the persuader. Humble people become the trusted leaders, because the most believable person is the person who has YOUR (not his) best interests at heart.

Humility is Inspiring! (Jim Collins in Good to Great talked about professional Will and Personal Humility) When great leaders are aloof or unapproachable, you may admire them, but you won’t want to Be them.

In EVERY speech given by EVERY member of the ASCA Hall of Fame, the quality of humility is front and center, obvious. They each recall what they owe to their professional mentors, professional fathers/mothers and to each and every person they worked with, coached or taught. HUMILITY is the common cause and common touchstone of those who don’t “know it all.” And THEY are the ones who wind up in the Hall of Fame.

Thank You George Block for an accurate and inspired and inspiring picture of who ASCA is as a community of coaches. Wise words to lead us forward…

All the Best, JL

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