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Discussion Guide: McFarland USA


Movie Synopsis

In an inspiring true story, a coach in a predominately Latino high school takes an unlikely band of runners and, through the power of family relationships, their commitment to each other and an incredible work ethic, transforms them into champions.






Discussion Questions

  1. McFarland USA begins with Jim chastising his football team for a bad first half. One of his player’s mouths off to which Jim chucks a cleat at him and injures him. How should Jim have behaved differently? What’s a better way to motivate a poorly performing team during halftime?
  2. Why do you think Jim is so interested in starting a cross-country team? Are his intentions only with the athletes in mind?
  3. Why does Jim choose to work in the field with the boys? What does it teach him?
  4. What advantages do the McFarland boys have when running, despite their many disadvantages?
  5. Consider Jim’s journey as a coach throughout the film and name 3 ways in which he changes.
  6. What role does teamwork play in McFarland’s success?

Our partner, Positive Coaching Alliance, provides a collection of movie discussion guides, which aim to help you make the most out of movie viewing with your team or child. Movies provide many of "teachable moments" parents can share with their young athletes helping them be successful, contributing members of society.

Sports in this article

Track & Field