Alan Knipe

Separating the message from the tone.

Hello and welcome to another Great Coaches newsletter!

Wherever you are and whatever the weather may be doing, we hope that you’re doing well as we move in to November and an exciting year of high-performance sport draws to a close.

As always, we believe that there is no algorithm for leadership. That’s why we interview great sports coaches from around the world, aiming to better understand their successes and gather ideas that can help all of us to lead our families, colleagues, and teams better.

Latest Interview

Three-time winner of the AVCA National Coach of the Year, Alan Knipe knows a thing or two about successful team leadership.

The only person in program history to have played a role in all three of Long Beach State University’s National Championships, Knipe played in the 1991 squad that captured their first National Title before helping to lead LBSU to another two victories as Head Coach of the Long Beach State 49ers men’s volleyball team.

Often recognised for his work cultivating and creating a strong, winning team culture, Alan’s two decades of coaching has even seen him act as the Head Coach of the 2012 United States Olympic men’s volleyball team.

For our latest episode, we sat down with Alan to speak about the experiences and challenges that he has faced during his career, and some of the valuable lessons that he has come to learn, including:

  • The bank account of ‘trust’ and the daily deposits and withdrawals made by his teams

  • The importance of putting the message above the ‘tone’ during in-game communication

  • The difference between a good coach and a great coach, and how great coaches help others to utilise their strengths

  • The value of managing your emotions and looking forward

…and more.

Whether you’re at the start of your leadership journey or - like Alan - have decades of experience under your belt, we’re sure that you’ll find something that truly resonates with you within this interview.

Listen here on… Apple | Spotify  | Google


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Leadership Insights

Danny Kerry became the head coach of Great Britain’s women’s national field hockey team in 2003, eventually leading them to a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics, a 2015 Euro Hockey Championship, and a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

In this clip, Danny explains how he utilises an athlete’s sense of purpose to improve mutual understanding and support within teams.

If you like this, you can find more than 1200 other insight videos on our website, covering a variety of leadership topics such as setting up new team cultures, establishing team values, or helping others with their inner voice.

All of the insights are indexed, searchable, and can be downloaded to share. Some may require a one-time purchase or subscription - check the individual insight’s description for more information.

Leadership Skills

This week, we’re bringing attention to the topic of leadership itself with this lesson episode compiling the thoughts of over 100 Great Coaches from around the world.

Containing a podcast, transcript, and selection of clips of Great Coaches discussing their own leadership insights, this lesson is filled with useful and actionable points, including:

  • The best definition of ‘leadership’, as provided by the Great Coaches themselves

  • The importance of embracing your position as a role model and the responsibilities that entails

  • The different types of leadership styles and how they can evolve over time

Whether you’re a coach, a manager, a CEO or a parent, further developing and honing your leadership skills will improve not only your chances of success, but also those of the people around you.

Want to find more content like this? You can find lessons on a wide range of leadership-related themes and topics on our website:


With the Rugby World Cup Final set to take place this weekend, we wanted to share this great article to help get you in the mood.

"There are a few things that only All Black players get - one is a black book which has all the information you heard about in the meeting," says Kahui. "But it also comes with all these blank pages. You need to make a diary of your time as an All Black."

Learn more about the little black book that every new All Black receives here:


If you are looking to improve your own leadership skills, then you can reach us at

Our team of executive coaches, including The Great Coaches host, Paul Barnett, bring a wealth of experience as International CEOs who have faced the challenge of stepping forward in uncertain moments.

Contact Us

If you have any feedback you can contact us [email protected] or if you would like to speak to us directly feel free to book a spot on our calendar for a zoom meeting using this link: