Coach Flatow’s message: How he uses messages of grit and self-regulation to motivate cross country runners


Maggie McCormick

For just under a decade, cross country coach Kirk Flatow has motivated distance runners at Monta Vista to realize their athletic potential as well as their academic, social and personal potentials. Flatow explained that he was inspired by American psychologist Angela Duckworth and her academic papers on the concept of grit.

Duckworth’s first book, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance”, invited all who were interested in her message to read her book. According to the book, grit is a character trait that displays one’s courage and resolve.

Flatow wrote to her about his application of her work and was able to meet Duckworth in Pennsylvania in spring 2017, where he participated unexpectedly in a video conference with other professors and shared with them the impact of teaching grit and self regulation at MVHS. While sharing what he has learned from Duckworth with his athletes, he hopes to help more kids improve their work ethic and attitude both in and out of school.


Additional reporting by Aanchal Garg & Sunjin Chang