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What Fairness Is and Isn’t

What Fairness Is and Isn’t

“Fairness is giving all people the treatment they earn and deserve. It doesn’t mean treating everyone alike.” –John Wooden This statement was a cornerstone of Coach Wooden’s leadership style. The idea was made clear in Coach’s annual preseason letter to the team. The...
Be Slow to Criticize and Quick to Commend

Be Slow to Criticize and Quick to Commend

“Be slow to criticize and quick to commend.” –John Wooden This bit of advice from Coach Wooden is reflective of his own coaching style. In 1975, two professors of psychology, Roland Tharp and Ronald Gallimore, attended 15 of Coach Wooden’s practices at UCLA and...
If You Are Through Learning, You Are Through

If You Are Through Learning, You Are Through

“If I am through learning, I am through.” –John Wooden This favorite quote of Coach Wooden’s reflected his dedication to being a lifelong learner. Coach was 98 when Alan Castel, a UCLA assistant professor of psychology, interviewed him about aging. “When asked about...
Make the Best of the Way Things Turn Out

Make the Best of the Way Things Turn Out

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” –John Wooden This quote of Coach Wooden’s is reflected in the lives of countless people with amazing stories. Here are just a few examples: Leonardo Del Vecchio was born to a poor...
Do It Right or Do It Over

Do It Right or Do It Over

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” –John Wooden As I sat down to begin writing this, I decided I would get myself a nice cold glass of pomegranate juice. Having removed the bottle from the refrigerator, I gave it a few good...
Is Your Way the Best Way?

Is Your Way the Best Way?

“Be most interested in finding the best way, not in having your own way.” –John Wooden Coach Wooden believed a person would need a certain way of thinking if they wished to gain the cooperation of others in any endeavor. In his book with Steve Jamison, Wooden on...
It’s What You Learn After You Know It All That Counts

It’s What You Learn After You Know It All That Counts

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” This was a favorite quote of Coach Wooden’s, President Harry S. Truman’s and baseball coach Earl Weaver’s, who used it for the title of his biography. A key character trait you need to be a lifelong learner is...
You Must Prepare to Succeed

You Must Prepare to Succeed

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” –Benjamin Franklin This quote was one of John Wooden’s favorites. He employed it for his teams and in his personal life. In order to keep balance in his life between his job and his family, Coach Wooden was an expert...
The Importance of Self-Discipline

The Importance of Self-Discipline

“Discipline yourself and others won’t need to.” –John Wooden It is a very challenging instruction when we give it to ourselves. Sometimes when a leader lacks self-discipline, there is no one watching. Rather than a reprimand from someone else, a lack of...
The Worst Thing You Can Do for Those You Love

The Worst Thing You Can Do for Those You Love

“The worst thing you can do for those you love is the things they could and should do for themselves.” –Abraham Lincoln In his book A Game Plan for Life with Don Yaeger, Coach provided the following commentary on Lincoln and this key idea: One of the first things that...