If you read my book Training Camp you know I was influenced deeply by Coach Wooden. In this spirit here are 7 lessons I learned from him.
1. Success Is All About the Little Things
On the first day of practice Coach Wooden didn’t discuss basketball strategy. Believe it or not, he taught his players the proper way to put on their socks and shoes so they didn’t get blisters.
2. Focus on the Process, Not the OutcomeCoach Wooden didn’t focus on winning. He focused on the character of his team, key fundamentals, daily improvement, effort, potential and selfless teamwork. As a result he won…a lot.
3. There’s No Such Thing as an Overnight SuccessWooden was at UCLA 16 years before they won their first national title. Today we live in a world where people expect instant results. If a coach doesn’t win a title in a few years he or she is fired. Wooden is a testament that greatness takes time.
4. Selfless Teamwork is Great TeamworkWooden said, “A player who makes a team great is much more valuable than a great player.”
5. There’s Power in HumilityNorman Vincent Peale said that humble people don’t think less of themselves. They just think of themselves less. Wooden made his life about coaching, leading and developing others and in doing so exhibited true power.
6. Faith MattersIn our politically correct world where people are afraid to mention God, even though it says it on our dollar bill, I find it interesting how in all the media reports about Wooden they talk positively about how his faith guided his life, principles and actions. There is power in faith. More importantly there is enormous power when your faith moves you to love, serve, inspire, coach and make a difference.
7. Your Legacy MattersThe most important thing you will leave behind when you die is your legacy. And the greatest legacy you can leave is your life, your principles and the lives you touch. Wooden didn’t spend his life amassing wealth and trying to make a fortune. He invested in others. And while buildings will fall, jewelry will tarnish and money will get spent, his legacy will live on in those who carry his teachings in their heart.