From Underdog to Winner
In Pursuit of 100% Performance
by John A. Pfitsch, M. A. and Barbara T. Waite, Ph. D.
Foreword by Bob Rotella, Ph. D.
Coach John Pfitsch, an iconic figure for Grinnell College, is probably best known for his entertaining stories based on 50+ years coaching, teaching, and directing athletics. Pfitsch Tales: 50 Years of Grinnell College Athletics encapsulates these stories. From Underdog to Winner tells a story behind the stories. Those closest to Coach Pfitsch knew his deepest desire was to coach scholar-athletes to be “winners” on and off the field. But as Coach Pfitsch soon found out, scholar-athletes at Grinnell College were, in many ways, underdogs in almost every athletic arena. Maybe because he was an underdog himself and willing to study and experiment with new ideas, Coach Pfitsch was a perfect match for the scholar-athletes at Grinnell College. His dedication to using the powerful phenomenon of sport as teacher, a phenomenon he felt grateful to be a part of, brought about innovative thinking, problem solving, and surprising success. “Not so fast,” says Barbara Waite, Ph. D. She wonders what research has to say about these ideas. Through creative reenactment of conversation between Coach Pfitsch and Dr. Waite, From Underdog to Winner presents their formula for achieving what they dare to call: 100% performance.