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Real Life Sports Coaches Are Taking Notes From Ted Lasso

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

A lot of us made it through the worst of COVID isolation by spending time with a guy named Ted Lasso.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "TED LASSO")

JASON SUDEIKIS: (As Ted Lasso) I know that AFC Richmond, like any team I've ever coached, is going to go out there and give you everything they got for all four quarters. What was that?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) Two halves.

SUDEIKIS: (As Ted Lasso) Oh, right. Sorry. Halves, yeah.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

He is the fictional college football coach played by actor Jason Sudeikis, who gets hired to lead a struggling professional soccer team in England. Now, Ted Lasso might not be real. He might not be an expert on the finer points of soccer. But many real-life coaches are taking note of the relationships he builds with his players.

KELLY KRATZ: Ted Lasso - he's kind of coming in with this, hey, we're a family. And I want to get to know you. Not everybody is the same. And not everybody responds the same.

CHANG: That's Kelly Kratz, who coaches lacrosse and is a member of the Positive Coaching Alliance. And like many athletes growing up, Kratz says she had coaches who were really hard on the team.

KRATZ: A lot of coaches have always said, you know, this is my program. This is how I'm going to run it. If you don't like it, you know, go somewhere else. And I think we've just found that it doesn't work. And if anybody thinks back to our own experience, there's probably coaches that you've worked a lot harder for because they have gotten to know you and they've gotten to respect you and they know sort of what makes you tick.

KELLY: And it's not just coaches. Search leadership and Ted Lasso on Twitter and you will find tweet after tweets from management gurus praising the TV coach's leadership chops.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "TED LASSO")

HANNAH WADDINGHAM: (As Rebecca Welton) Do you believe in ghosts, Ted?

SUDEIKIS: (As Ted Lasso) I do. But more importantly, I think they need to believe in themselves.

CHANG: That kind of attitude, supportive and uplifting, leads to better relationships and more fun, says Kelly Kratz. And it's part of the reason she and so many others love the show so much.

KRATZ: Some people think that positivity is great for youth soccer players or, you know, little guys on the swim team. But when you see coaches like Steve Kerr and Dusty Baker and the highest level coaches saying, no, positivity actually works and showing the players that, you know, you're there to help them grow, you're not just there to make sure that they win championships.

KELLY: For Coach Lasso, it's about the journey as much as the destination.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "TED LASSO")

SUDEIKIS: (As Ted Lasso) Hey, but taking on a challenge is a lot like riding a horse, isn't it? If you're comfortable while you're doing it, probably doing it wrong.

CHANG: Season 2 of Ted Lasso premieres on Apple TV+ on Friday, and I cannot wait. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.