🚨 ------ My guest today is , the head soccer coach at the University of Florida. She’s also the co-founder of , which unites the top minds in sports. In 25 years at Florida, she has led UF to a NCAA Championship, two NCAA College Cup...
My guest today is Becky Burleigh, the head soccer coach at the University of Florida. She’s also the co-founder of What Drives Winning, which unites the top minds in sports. In 25 years at Florida, she has led UF to a NCAA Championship, two NCAA College Cup appearances, 14 Southeastern Conference titles and 22 NCAA Championships berths. She has 507 total wins, putting her third all-time in Division-1 soccer.
In this episode, we discuss what it was like to get the UF soccer program started in 1995 and winning a national title a few years later with stars like Abby Wombach. We talk about how she focuses on not just developing the player but developing the athlete as a person. Then we dive into how meeting Brett Ledbetter led her to team up with him and start What Drives Winning. There aren’t many coaches who are better to listen to from if you want to learn about how to help your players become better people.
(1:35) - Why she started DJ’ing
(3:30) - Early years growing up in Tarpon Springs, FL
(6:00) - Starting the UF soccer program at the age of 26
(10:10) - Importance of having her parents support in her career
(11:14) - When she decided to have a personal Board of Directors
(13:10) - Winning a national title in the third year at UF
(14:45) - Coaching Abby Wombach
(16:10) - Striving to win another national title
(17:17) - Focusing on personal development as much as player development
(19:30) - Meeting Brett Ledbetter and then launching What Drives Winning
(23:52) - What she’s learned from former UF & current Chicago Bulls head coach, Billy Donovan
(25:30) - What she’s learned from Cal Berkley head coach, Jack Clark
(26:00) - The future of What Drives Winning
(27:40) - Her typical schedule and balancing coaching and What Drives Winning
(29:58) - Evolving as a coach over time
(31:15) - The three team values: courage, team-first, and growth
(34:15) - What she would tell herself if she could go back to her first day coaching at Florida
(34:40) - Focusing on personal growth
(35:45) - What she’s learned from Dr. Jim Loehr
(37:00) - Lessons for other coaches based on her starting and finishing a season in 2020 amid COVID
(40:15) - Favorite moment(s) of her career: alumni weekends
(41:20) - End of episode questions
1. What’s 1 book every coach should read?
The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal by Jim Loehr
2. Who is one person you’d want to hear as a guest on this podcast?
3. What’s one area you’re looking to improve in over the next year?
4. What’s popular advice you hear people say that you think is wrong?
Coaching is easy
5. What advice do you have for young coaches who are listening to this?
“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
6. What’s the darkest moment you experienced professionally and how did you overcome it?
When one of her players took her own life after graduating from UF.
“Here at the University of Florida, it’s always got to be in the conversation, right? I mean, people don’t come to Florida to not compete for national championships. So, I think every year the goal is the same if you’re an athlete at Florida, pretty much in every sport. I think the bigger question is just like, what are we doing and how are we developing in terms of that path to get there?”
“And that quote is, “Who are you becoming as a result of the chase?” And I think that’s a really important question because we’re all going to strive really hard for our goals. But in the end, sometimes we’re going to hit them and sometimes we’re not, but who we are becoming is a constant.
“I feel like everybody has to run their own race when it comes to your career and what you’re doing. And as soon as you start to look at something someone else has, then what you’re doing becomes diminished.”