Wisdom from Coach Wooden: “A coach is someone who can give correction without creating resentment.”


Well, this is “coaches day” on our blog.  Bob Morris told this terrific story of Bear Bryant.  Here’s a little John Wooden, who just celebrated his 99th birthday..

ChampionsFirst, a few reminders about John Wooden’s record:
• 10 national championships (a record)
• seven in a row (a record)
• 88 consecutive victories (a record)
• 38 straight tournament playoff wins (a record)
• four perfect seasons (a record) with only one losing year – his first  –in 41 years of coaching

Recently, Mike Penner wrote this article for the Los Angeles Times: On his 99th birthday, 99 things about John Wooden (To commemorate the legendary coach’s birthday, here are some facts and figures about his life).

You’ll want to read all 99 things about Coach Wooden.  Here are a few gems:
12. Wooden is noted for his philosophical quotes about life and sportsmanship, such as: “Failure is not fatal but failure to change might be.”
14. During one 46-game stretch, he made 134 consecutive free throws.
27. Wooden turned down an offer to coach the Lakers from owner Jack Kent Cooke that may have been 10 times what UCLA was paying him.
28. The record Wooden is the most proud of? His Bruins teams won 19 conference championships.
31. Another quote from Wooden: “The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.”
41. Another quote from Wooden: “Young people need models, not critics.”
51. Another quote from Wooden: “Talent is God given; be humble. Fame is man given; be thankful. Conceit is self given; be careful.”
82. Another quote from Wooden: “A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.”

Here’s a little more, from his book, Wooden on Leadership,

(from the foreword):
Here is the answer:  Coach Wooden taught good habits.  That’s it – that’s the answer.
Move past the equation, delve deeper, and the text of his good habits curriculum becomes the inculcation of values, knowledge, team spirit, discipline, consistency, standards, ideals, balance, character, details, hard work, love, self-control, loyalty, diligence, and more, including how to put on your socks in the most effective manner.

And — from Coach Wooden himself:

What am I?  Just a teacher – a member of one of the great professions in the world.

Have a definite practice plan – and follow it.

Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success is a true classic.  And everything about his life:  his marriage, his faith, his humility, his unending pursuit of excellence, stands as true genuine leadership.

click on image to enlarge

When I presented my synopsis of Wooden on Leadership, one of our regulars sent me an e-mail.  He had heard Wooden speak, and described his credibility, his quiet strength – and then he said “Coach Wooden is the real deal.”  Yes, he is.

John Wooden conducts a clinic and speaks to Special Olympians in December, 2008.  (Los Angeles Times)
John Wooden conducts a clinic and speaks to Special Olympians in December, 2008. (Los Angeles Times)

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To purchase my synopsis of Wooden on Leadership, with audio + handout, go to our companion web site 15minutebusinessbooks.com.

2 thoughts on “Wisdom from Coach Wooden: “A coach is someone who can give correction without creating resentment.”

  1. I knew about the socks ritual, but did not remember what started it. Thanks.

    Here’s another quote from the book, which supports your second point:
    “In all my years of coaching I rarely, if ever, even uttered the word win, talked about “beating” an opponent, or exhorted a team to be number one, including those picked by experts to win national championships. Instead, my words and actions always reflected Joshua Hugh Wooden’s early advice – ‘Never cease trying to be the best you can become.’”

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