Last month, we started our deep dive into the most winning coach in sports history, Coach John Wooden. Coach Wooden led the UCLA Bruins basketball team to 10 National Championships in 12 years, and at one point, had an 88-game winning streak. His record is likely to remain intact for many, many years to come.
Coach Wooden created his own definition of success along with the Pyramid of Success. He wanted to create a definition of success that had nothing to do with how a person compared to others. His definition is solely focused on doing your best and preparing yourself 100% of the time.
Coach Wooden’s definition of success is, “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”
This month, we are going to focus on the next 5 qualities on the Pyramid of Success.
Number 6: Self-Control
“Control of your organization begins with control of yourself. Be disciplined.”
Coach Wooden wanted his players to develop the habits of champions. That meant having the self-control to eat the right foods, drink plenty of water, abstain from alcohol and other drugs. By doing this, they could be at their best in practice and in the games.
Coach knew that good habits are hard to form but easy to live with, while bad habits are easy to form but hard to live with.
Self-control also meant not over celebrating when something good happens in the game, and not getting overly upset or emotional if they lost. He knew that if his players did their very best, they could and should feel proud of themselves for being 100% prepared for the game.
Number 7: Intentness
“Stay the course. When thwarted try again; harder; smarter. Persevere relentlessly.”
Coach Wooden knew that life is full of challenges and obstacles. He stressed being intentional about preparing themselves mentally and physically for the upcoming games and their upcoming tests and papers in the classroom. He was a stickler that his players do well with their academics. He viewed himself as a teacher, not just a basketball coach.
He also stressed the importance of having a relentless mindset. He encouraged his players to train hard and play smartly. He encouraged them to never give up regardless of the circumstances.
Number 8: Alertness
“Constantly be aware and observing. Always seek to improve yourself and the team.”
Coach Wooden stressed how important it is to be aware of everything going on around them, and to focus on what he can learn from a situation or another person. He reminded his players to not have tunnel vision and get wrapped up in their egos, but instead, to be ready, willing, and able to pay attention to their surroundings and learn everything they can.
Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying that he never met a person that he did not learn something from. Be aware, be alert, absorb valuable information, and apply it at the appropriate times!
Number 9: Initiative
“Make a decision! Failure to act is often the biggest failure of all.”
Coach knew that the worst thing you could do when confronted with a challenging situation or task is to procrastinate and do nothing.
He wanted his players to make a decision and follow through on that decision. When his players asked what if they made the wrong decision, he said you can always change your mind and go the other way.
In fact, if you decide quickly and discover that you made the wrong call, you can switch your direction and start doing the new approach. In almost every case, you will still be further ahead from the person that did nothing – did not make a decision and act. They are still there thinking about what he/she should do.
Number 10: Condition
“Ability may get you to the top, but character keeps you there – mental, moral, and physical.”
Coach Wooden was a stickler for getting his players in peak physical condition. He said that they should never lose a game because the opposing team was in better shape than they were. You can’t control how good another team is, but you can control your level of stamina and conditioning overall.
He also demanded that his players be conditioned and disciplined to act the right ways off the court, as well as on the court. That meant always being respectful, kind, and doing the right thing.
Character education and development were as important to Coach Wooden as was playing basketball at the highest level. He felt his players were representing the school, their families, and God all the time, and they needed to act that way.
Attitude, behavior, and character development was talked about and stressed every day in the Bruins locker-room.
Next month, we will focus on the final 5 qualities in Coach Wooden’s legendary Pyramid of Success!