The Wooden's Wisdom Logo

Motivate Your Team! Cheer Up A Friend! Inspire Yourself!

Issue 378 - "Key Trait of A Great Coach" (Jack Clark Part Nine)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 9 Issue 378
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



In an interview with Jan Stenker for Unconditionally Strong Jack Clark, who has led the UC Berkley Rugby program to 28 national championships in 33 years discussed one of the key traits of being a Great Coach:
"Strong Technical Knowledge and a Strong Technical Approach"
"In coaching, I think it's important to have really strong technical basis where you're applying science in the right way. You're using notational analysis, you're using video analysis. You're effective at teaching motor learning skill. You follow best practice in all of those things. You're not going to take the team's talent to its potential without a really strong technical approach.
This includes everything from the overall strategies that the team employs to match-day tactics to the preparation of the team. We are neurotic about capturing, sorting and publishing data — at least internally. You can't do anything around here where we're not going to rank it 1 through 65 on this team. That rank might be in your unit, it might be in overall rank, it might be both. But everything gets captured and ranked and internally published. We're always auditing our efforts to assess if we are on the right track. Where can we get better? That's created a real honesty to the team — we're OK talking about what we don't do well.
There's a term in coaching called fence-posting. If you can imagine building a fence, you dig a hole and you put the post in there and you walk about 10 feet and you dig another hole, you walk another 10 feet and dig another hole. That's kind of what you do in coaching. You've got to consistently talk about checkpoints in a collaborative fashion with the team and have the team talk about them. You've got to make the values and the mindsets surrounding them come to life. You've got to make them real and not some slogan on the wall — a very real belief system and value."
The result of posting individual detailed statistical results is that team members know specifically their strengths and weaknesses and where they stand. The checkpoints are real, not a slogan. I have had some businesses that are reluctant to post individual stats because they don't want to offend anybody. When I polled the employees they said they liked everybody's stats being posted because they knew where they stood and could seek out superior performers for advice in an area they were struggling in. They liked this much better than a management speech telling them "You just have to be persistent, hustle and work harder."
In the appendix of Practical Modern Basketball, written by John Wooden, you will find samples of detailed individual statistical results from his practice scrimmages during the 1961-62 season. The statistics are from more than 20 specific areas and most were posted on the player's bulletin board.
If you played for Jack Clark or John Wooden you didn't have to wait for a game or a speech to know how you were doing.
Do your players know where they stand and why? Do you?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




Watch Video

Application Exercise




Why do I grind from morn till night,
And sick or well sit down to write?
Why do I line my brow with sweat,
An extra buck or two to get?
The reason isn't hard to trace,
For us our neighbors set the pace.

The Greens go weekly to a show,
And so, of course, we have to go;
A dollar-fifty per they pay
For seats down in the parquet,
And always they wear evening dress;
We couldn't think of doing less.

The Browns maintain a servant girl,
The one we have was christened Pearl;
At dinner, several kinds of wine
They serve in glass of rare design.
Their dinners are a great success;
And ours, of course, must be no less.

In summer all our neighbors flee
Unto the mountains or the sea;
They spend two months in big hotels
And hobnob with the other swells;
And though it's costly, I confess
That wife of mine shall do no less.

Two doors from us lives Mrs. Grout,
Who owns a lovely runabout,
And though she's very nice, it's plain
She looks on us with some disdain.
Although it's more than I can do,
My wife will shortly have one, too.

I 'd like to take a holiday
And spend a month or two in play;
I'd like to take an ocean trip
And give this awful grind the slip;
But there's no rest for me the while
We let our neighbors set the style.

Edgar Allen Guest (1881-1959)






For more information visit




Enter a list of email addresses, separated by spaces, to send this issue to.

Email a Friend

Return to Issue List

Our Services
Why Wooden's Wisdom
Presentation Team
Wooden's Wisdom Leaders
Leadership Resource Center
Member Login

© Copyright 2024 | # of Times Wooden's Wisdom Issues Opened: 6,893,240

Hosting & Design