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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Thoughts from John Wooden


Coach John Wooden stands as a model for maturity, sobriety, compassion, and dignity. He spoke with equal pride about players who became businessmen, lawyers, or doctors as those who became professional ballplayers. 

His book Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court with Steve Jamison belongs in every professional's library. He shares so much wisdom. Like other coaches, he provides WHY along with WHAT and HOW. 

Discussing ATTENTION TO DETAIL he explains why he reviewed proper technique for putting on socks, to prevent blisters resulting in missed time. He also explains that each player was fitted for shoes not asked for shoe size. Because players grow so fast, parents are accustomed to buying oversized sneakers which allowed feet to migrate, also predisposing to blisters. He discussed haircut policy, that long hair could obscure vision and also cause excess perspiration, getting on players' hands. And he reviewed why he maintained a no mustache policy...because he didn't want to become a mustache monitor. 

You want more evidence for his thoughts on detail? In his classic Practical Modern Basketball, he spent three pages on the role of managers. 

He shared the wisdom of Coach Amos Alonzo Stagg, that he would judge his coaching results in twenty years, by the kind of men that his players became. 

When asked why his teams were so successful, he commented that he loved everything about practice. He truly believed, "make every day your masterpiece." 

He explained his Pyramid of Success in depth, especially the cornerstones of ENTHUSIASM and INDUSTRIOUSNESS. Coming to work isn't enough. What really matters is the engagement that we bring to our work. 

He knew that we are all flawed, remarking "how hard you work at correcting your faults reveals your character." 

He loved poetry and the messages conveyed. He believed that we are all role models (including Charles Barkley) and included this brief poem:

More often than we e'er suspect,
The lives of others we do affect. 

He lived Cervantes' message, "the journey is better than the inn." In fact, he distilled it to "the journey is my inn." 

How would I summarize John Wooden's philosophy in one sentence? "Become your best." 


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