Coach Wooden’s 10 Team Tips


Coach John Wooden , who cemented his legacy on the sidelines of the UCLA Men’s Basketball program, is widely recognized as one of the greatest coaches of all time.  I am currently rereading his book The Essential Wooden: A Lifetime of Lessons on Leaders and Leadership, and came across this list of tips that he reinforced with his staff and his players.  These tips have bearing to everyone who competes at any level, as well as for us in our daily lives as players, coaches, and parents.

  1. Be thinking at all times
  2. If you do your best, never lose your temper, and never be out-fought or out hustled, you’ll have nothing to worry about.
  3. Without faith and courage, you are lost.
  4. Have respect for, without fear of, every opponent, and confidence without cockiness in regard to yourself.
  5. Never be a spectator. Be in the fight at all times.
  6. Unselfish team play and team spirit are two of the foremost essentials for our success.
  7. We have tough battles ahead. Enjoy the thrill of being in a hard fight.
  8. Never stoop to playing dirty – Play hard and don’t complain.
  9. Be sure you acknowledge and give credit to a teammate who hits you with a scoring pass or for any fine play he may make.
  10. Be a competitor. When the going gets tough, really get going.

Coach Wooden provides a lot more detail on each of these and expands them into his Success Pyramid that he developed and taught, primarily through example, to his players throughout his career. I will spend more time on each of these points in future posts, but hopefully this introduction gives you a good overview of what I believe to be possibly the finest coaching philosophy ever documented.  If you work to implement these ten tips into your practices, games, and lives you will be well on your way to success.

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