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Joe Battista’s ‘Pragmatic Passion’ Book Stresses Importance Of Coaching Throughout Life

Joe Battista was born to coach.

You probably know Battista’s name because of his career with the club-level Penn State Icers¬†hockey team, but he’s continued coaching in a different way as the vice president of the National Athletic and Professional Success Academy (NAPSA). He’s coached former professional athletes on how to have a “plan B” outside of their sport.

“What the average person doesn’t see is how many of these guys play [pro sports] for only two, three, four years,” Battista said. “They’re never making the big money. Does that mean you shouldn’t play sports? No, but you better have a plan B, which is your education.”

Battista recently released his first book, titled “The Power of Pragmatic Passion: 7 Common Sense Principles for Achieving Personal & Professional Success.” The book’s target audience is high school and college students and their parents and it aims to help them make more informed choices about their futures.

The former hockey head coach said he was inspired to write a book after leaving his post as the Buffalo Sabres’ vice president of hockey and business administration. He started writing the book in 2016 after seeing players without a “plan B” in the event that their hockey careers didn’t pan out.

Although he’s best known for his work for hockey at Penn State, Battista’s book isn’t just about hockey players whose careers didn’t go to plan. He wants to help students of all backgrounds and interests make informed decisions on whether they should go to college and what their careers should be based on their strengths and weaknesses.

The motto of Battista’s book is “Dream big. Keep it real. Get it done!” All three facets of this tagline are crucial to his message. He wants people to dream big as far as their careers are concerned, but he also urges people to stay somewhat grounded and realistic, realizing most career paths aren’t how we envision them.

Battista uses the story of Scott Shirley, the founder of Uplifting Athletes, as a perfect example of external factors changing the course of a career. Shirley pursued his childhood dreams of playing football at Penn State and becoming an engineer, but his father’s passing inspired him to help others by creating a nonprofit organization.

Shirley achieved his original goal of becoming a civil engineer, but outside circumstances motivated him to give up his original dream and gave him a new passion: helping others.

Battista also shares the story of one of the most important people in his life. Jim Kelly was Battista’s academic advisor at Penn State, and he changed Battista’s life by giving him the Jackson Personality Inventory Assessment.

Battista’s three main areas of interest, according to the test, were sales, marketing, and physical education. These three areas couldn’t have been less relevant to his original major of nuclear engineering, but Kelly took the time to sit down and ask him personal questions about his passions and interests.

Instead of telling Battista to be a salesman or gym teacher, Kelly took all three of Battista’s top interests on top of his love of hockey and advised him to get a marketing degree and work in the business realm of sports.

Battista’s first job out of college was with the Pittsburgh Penguins’ sales and marketing department, and he would go on to incorporate the physical education aspect of his personality test by becoming the Icers’ head coach. He later became Penn State’s associate athletic director and the Buffalo Sabres’ vice president of hockey and business administration.

Battista’s career path is right in line with one of the main messages of his book: Dream big, but stay realistic in the process. He shows an outline of his career path that he made in the spring of 1982 in the book.

The top two main goals of his were becoming an NHL head coach or athletic director of an NCAA program. His biggest dreams may not have come true, but Battista did get to be the head coach of Penn State’s hockey team and an associate athletic director during his career.

Battista released the book in conjunction with his new “Pragmatic Passion” company, which aims to help people from all backgrounds find their passion and outline how they can get there. You can purchase the book online.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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