A Book Review of “Wooden”

Posted: March 11, 2011 in Book Review, Coaching Philosophy, Psychology

One of the greatest coaches of all time, John Wooden, passed away this past year and it was great to see the number of people who came forward to honor him.  The impact this man had on the lives of players, coaches, and the public was very evident in the numerous memorials they played in the days following his passing.

The first year I started coaching I was introduced to John Wooden by a mentor of mine.  Since that first book I read I’ve fallen in love with the philosophy and wisdom that he shared with us.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have the opportunity to sit down with a legendary coach like John Wooden and pick his brain, and this is the value of reading.  We get to know the inner thoughts and mentality of great men and women throughout history.

The nuggets of wisdom found in this book are incredible, and timeless.  Even though Coach Wooden was a basketball coach there is so much that we can take away from him and apply to our profession.  This book was such an easy read too.  It’s set up with several short chapters covering the entire life lessons that he collected along the way.  It can be used as a resource or an opportunity to get to know the inner workings of a great leader.  It would take too much time for me to cover all of the great things in this book, but I definitely thought it would be worth while to mentione some key things that I’ve lived to adapt to my own life.

Probably best known for his Pyramid of Success John Wooden’s whole concept was built on preparation.  When asked what he missed most about coaching it was never the 10 NCAA National Championships, or the 88 consecutive wins, but Coach Wooden was regularly quoted saying he missed the practices and the players.  The preparation, the journey, is what he missed most, not the outcome of that preparation.  If his team did their best to prepare for the opponent that week they were focusing on the factors that they could control.  No one can control outside factors like the other team, officials, or the environment at the arena.  His teams put their energy focusing on the parts of the game they could control; their preparation, attention to detail, and their intensity.

This is a philosophy I’ve tried to teach my teams and instill into them.  Players who have confidence in their preparation play the game with less stress and enjoy the competition.  A great principle to take away from this great coach.

I encourage everyone to read this book, it’s a great resource for any coach, or person who wants to succeed at life.  Would love to hear things you’ve applied in your coaching philosophy that you’ve learned from John Wooden.

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