Basketball Coach - UCLA's Coach John Wooden

Why John Wooden's Teams Won
By Brad Winters

During coach John Wooden's 40-year basketball coaching career, coach Wooden's high school and college teams won over 80 percent of their basketball games. As the men's basketball head coach of the Bruins from UCLA (1948 to 1975), his Bruins claimed ten/10 NCAA basketball national championships during his last 12 years as the head coach, including seven/7 in a row, and at one time won a whopping 88 consecutive games. Coach John Wooden is in the basketball hall of fame as both a player (Wooden was a three-time NCAA basketball All-American at Purdue) and as a head basketball coach (UCLA & Indiana State). Additionally, Sports Illustrated named Wooden Coach of the Twentieth Century. Below are some of the great John Wooden quotes that gives us a hint of the attributes that made this man such a great leader and basketball coach:

He achieved personal victories before he led his team to victory.

[Related: Basketball Coaching Playbook]


John Wooden's Mission Statement - Making the Most of Oneself

Be true to yourself.

Make each day your masterpiece.

Help others.

Drink deeply from good books.

Make friendship a fine art.

Build shelter against a rainy day.

Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings everyday.

* Given to John Wooden by his father, Joshua Wooden

John Wooden's Strategy to Find Happiness...

Promise yourself that you will talk health, happiness, and prosperity as often as possible.

Promise yourself to make all your friends know there is something in them that is special and that you value.

Promise to think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best from yourself and others.

Promise to be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

Promise to forget the mistakes of the past and press on to greater achievements in the future.

Promise to wear a cheerful appearance at all times and give every person you meet a smile.

Promise to give so much time improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

Promise to be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit trouble to press on you.

John Wooden’s Leadership Quotes:

"Good coaching is based purely in leadership... a positive example... and instilling respect in your players."

"Knowledge is not enough to get desired results. You must have the more elusive ability to teach and to motivate. This defines a leader; if you can't teach and you can't motivate, you can't lead."

"You must have respect, which is a part of love, for those under your supervision. Then they will do what you ask and more."

"Motivating through fear may work in the short term to get people to do something, but over the long run I believe personal pride is a much greater motivator. It produces far better results that last for a much longer time."

"Young people need models, not critics."

"Happiness begins where selfishness ends."

"Ability will get you to the top, character will keep you there."

"The team with the most talent usually wins."

John Wooden's Coaching Philosophy

“Team spirit means you are willing to sacrifice personal considerations for the welfare of all. That defines a team player."

"A person must be interested in finding the best way, not in having their own way."

"Teamwork is not a preference, it is a requirement."

"Loyalty is a cohesive force that forges individuals into a team."

"Make sure team members know they are working with you, not for you."

John Wooden's Keys to Winning

Coach John Wooden was one of the most organized men that you will ever meet. He was totally focused on his job and always stayed on track. He believed that planning and preparation and careful attention to the details are the keys to winning.

"In 1948, I began coaching basketball at UCLA. Each hour of practice we worked very hard. Each day we worked very hard. Each week we worked very hard. Each season we worked very hard. Four fourteen years we worked very hard and didn't win a national championship. However, a national championship was won in the fifteenth year. Another in the sixteenth. And eight more in the following ten years."

"Perfection is impossibility but striving for perfection is not. Do the best you can. That is what counts."

"Winning games, titles and championships isn't all it's cracked up to be, but getting there, the journey, is a lot more than it's cracked up to be."

"Make every day your masterpiece."

"If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes."

"Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming."

"Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out."

"As much as I value experience, and I value it greatly, I'd rather have a lot of skill (speed & quickness) and little experience than a lot of experience and little skill."

In conclusion, there has never been a finer man and basketball coach than coach John Wooden. His life, work, and good thinking are what all basketball coaches should study and try to use as a role model... RIP Coach John Wooden; what a blessing!

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