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It’s Courage That Counts

It’s Courage That Counts

“Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.” Coach Wooden used this famous quote, most often attributed to Winston Churchill, as the epigraph to introduce Chapter 17 of his book They Call Me Coach. In that chapter, he discusses his years...
Why Pride Is a Better Motivator Than Fear

Why Pride Is a Better Motivator Than Fear

Pride is a better motivator than fear. In his book Wooden with Steve Jamison, Coach expanded on this idea: Pride is a better motivator than fear. I never wanted to teach through fear, punishment or intimidation. Fear may work in the short term to get people to do...
The Importance of Good Role Models

The Importance of Good Role Models

Young people need good models more than they need critics. This was a cornerstone of Coach Wooden’s approach to coaching and teaching. In his book Wisdom of Wooden, Coach explained the idea: In the 1940s, I wrote this reminder to myself of the responsibilities I...
The Time to Prepare Is Before an Opportunity Arises

The Time to Prepare Is Before an Opportunity Arises

I will get ready and then, perhaps, my chance will come. Coach Wooden learned this idea from Abraham Lincoln, who said, “I will study and get ready, and perhaps my chance will come.” In his book Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court...
Why You Shouldn’t Worry About the ‘What Ifs’

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About the ‘What Ifs’

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.” –Muhammad Ali The message is clear: Don’t worry about all the “what if” things that might happen. Concentrate on what you’re doing right now. For Coach Wooden, the focus was on the practice at hand, not the possible outcome...
The Joy of Giving Without Expectation

The Joy of Giving Without Expectation

“Be more concerned with what you can do for others than what others can do for you. You’ll be surprised at the results.” –Coach John Wooden This quote of Coach Wooden’s reveals the attitude he used to approach every day of his life, reflected in this story: Tony...
How to Deal With Adversity in a Positive Way

How to Deal With Adversity in a Positive Way

“Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.” This favorite quote of Coach Wooden’s has been attributed to Samuel Johnson, a famous English author of the 18th century. The wonderful phrase...
Knowledge + Preparation + Attention to Detail = Skill

Knowledge + Preparation + Attention to Detail = Skill

Preparation and attention to detail that is not preceded by knowledge results in activity without achievement, not skill. As Coach liked to say, if you’re a great teacher and don’t have any knowledge, what are you going to teach? Knowledge is based on personal...
Effective Leadership Starts With Effective Listening

Effective Leadership Starts With Effective Listening

You must listen to others if you want others to listen to you. This idea reflects the way that Coach Wooden chose to interact with other people. He was an extraordinary listener, in part because he knew each time he listened he would learn something. A wise old owl...
The Best Way to Destroy an Enemy

The Best Way to Destroy an Enemy

The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend. This was a key idea of Abraham Lincoln’s that Coach Wooden mentioned often. In his book A Game Plan for Life with Don Yeager, Coach describes the president’s impact on him: At the end of the Civil War,...