Get your kicks

The runners rounded the final turn and headed into the home stretch of the 800M race at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.  Dave Wottle, whose trademark white golf cap made him easy to find in the pack, was so far back it looked impossible for him to even place.  I was just a kid, watching the race on TV with my dad.  He said, “Don’t count Wottle out, he’s got an amazing kick.”

I snorted, “Yeah right, Dad.  Look at how far behind he is!” 

Jim McKay echoed the warning, “Stand by for the kick of Dave Wottle. If he’s got it, he could make it!”

Then I watched in amazement as the skinny guy in the white cap passed every runner in the final 100M to take the gold medal!  My favorite part  was Wottle’s face after he won… as if he was saying, “Yeah I did it. What did you expect?”

Click here to watch the video (4:47)


I thought to myself, “What the heck is a kick and how do I get one?!”  Was there something about seeing that finish line that made him suddenly come to life? 

Have you ever performed better when the end was in sight?  I’m talking about closing sales deals before the end of the month, delivering a project by the due date, or finishing your article by the publishing deadline.  There’s a rush of adrenaline and a sharpening of focus when the day of reckoning is near. You kick it into high gear, and give it all you’ve got to the finish line.

Wouldn’t it be cool to call on a kick whenever you needed it? Maybe use a few mini-kicks along the way so you’re not stressing so close to the due date?  I’ve started breaking down big goals into sub-goals with immovable deadlines.  It helps me celebrate more often and space out the adrenaline surges. 

The same goes for getting your team to kick.  Set up short-term mile markers with imminent dates to get them focused.  Then cheer them on as they pass each one. 

Don’t let your goals float out there too far.  If you set up a finish line you can see, you may get a “kick” out of it.  It’s your call on wearing the white golf cap.

Explore posts in the same categories: Marketing, Motivation

11 Comments on “Get your kicks”

  1. Larry Baker Says:

    Another great post! Just a note, there’s another great USA 800 meter guy now following in Wottle’s footsteps. Nick Symmonds has a hell of kick too, but no golf cap.

  2. David, I was never a huge track & field fan growing up, but I do clearly remember Dave Wottle and Kip Keno (Kenya) for their famous ‘kicks’ at the end of races. Thanks for another interesting post. Keep ’em coming!

  3. FYI, I guess that I’m logged into wp as my alter ego – Speaking in Pleasanton. That’s the team user name for my Pleasanton Toastmasters blog… Anyway, Great blog! Stephen

  4. Jeff G Says:

    As a 12yr old, watching Dave Wottle inspired me to begin my track career and go on to compete for the next 6 yrs. I never adopted the gold cap but always thought I was in the race at then end and it helped me to come from behind and place in several big events over the years.
    Thanks Dave Wottle and Dave Goad for the trip down memory lane.

  5. Laurie Says:

    Thanks Dave, just the right story at the right time. I am cold calling today and needed just a little kick in the pants to stay with it.

  6. Rich Says:

    If I ever compete again, all my speeches will have “as David Goad said in his blog….” in them.

  7. davidgoad Says:

    Rich you are too funny 🙂
    BTW if anyone wants to follow an interesting and inspirational narrative from a great speaking coach… visit

  8. davidgoad Says:

    Laurie you are not cold calling. You are giving the gift of your time to a few people who really need it today. You just have to sift through all the others to find those gems.

  9. shell Says:

    Very inspiring, especially after almost getting heatstroke today after running 4 miles in 95 degrees. I am all about baby steps so yea mini rewards, lots of them. Works for me!:)

  10. Roland Says:

    Hey, Buddy!

    I have always considered myself a second half player… come from behind… surprise them as they think they’ve got the lead… out of the blue… “…where’d you come from?” I love it.

    One reason that hanging back works is that you “see” what you’re dealing with – it’s all ahead of you. All your focus is on surpassing what you CAN see. When you can’t see your competition, it sometimes creates a question mark in the mind, and doubt can become a distracting factor.

    When I hang back, I observe… I calculate… then I make my move. This isn’t always the best strategy, but it often works for me. This way I know the playing field, I’ve asked the questions, I’ve sensed the flow… then I go.

    …and I DO GET a KICK OUT OF IT… maybe I’ve got one in there somewhere. :o)

    BTW, I loved the last article, “Just Keep Going.” Anyone who missed it should go back for it. Thanks for that one too.


    • davidgoad Says:

      There’s Roland T, drafting behind the lead race car… breathing in his exhaust until the last turn… and then WHOOSH!! He slingshots into the lead and takes the checkered flag!! Good strategy dude 🙂

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