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Fourth Ingredient: Achieving Mastery

The streak was never our goal.

—Bob Ladouceur, coach of the Spartans, the De La Salle High School football team in California

The De La Salle Spartans of Concord, California, seemed to have mastered high school football: the team was undefeated for 151 games—the longest streak in football history at any level, by a long shot. One hundred and fifty-one games! This is human magic producing irrational performance.

De La Salle’s players were not the biggest; the team was not the most well-heeled. They did not outspend or out recruit other towns to achieve this amazing streak. They just followed an extraordinary leader and coach, Bob Ladouceur, who, besides giving the players an unshakable sense of purpose ...

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