The Wooden's Wisdom Logo

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

Issue 391 - The Final Test of Teaching is Application (Jay Wright Part Two)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 9 Issue 391
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



Jay Wright guided Villanova Basketball to the National Championship in 2016 and 2018. In Coach Wright's fantastic book, "Attitude", he describes the foundation of Villanova Basketball:
"Attitude" is the most important of our Villanova values, and the very last word we say to one another before taking the court. We believe that a great attitude is a prerequisite for success—and that any success we achieve on the court is less about strategy and technique than it is about a team-first, can-do spirit."
Talking about what your values are is one thing; but "The Final Test of Teaching is Application" (closing the gap between knowing and doing). Coach said this about their "Attitude" approach:
"We work extra hard to ensure that everyone in our program—from the head coach through a freshman student office worker—understands that their contributions are valued. We even have a phrase for it, one of many we invoke often to remind ourselves of the core values that drive us: Everyone's role is different, but their status is the same.'"
The application of what is being taught starts with the example of the teacher. Jay Wright is energetic, positive and humble. So are his teams. As Coach Wooden often said:
"No written word nor spoken plea
Can teach our youth what they should be
Nor all the books on all the shelves
It's what the teachers are themselves."
In addition to the example of the teacher and the repeated use of key phrases or maxims, Coach Wright has consistent group activities (team rituals) that reinforce and create the "Attitude" he wants from the team. In his book he describes the end of their "Night before the game team meeting":
"Capping off the video portion of the meeting is a two- to three-minute compilation of clips, accompanied by music, highlighting the work of the winner of what we call the "Attitude Club." The video consists of plays we track that are not on the standard box score—screen assists, extra passes, defensive deflections. The winner gets to select the music to accompany his piece. It's a feel-good video that fires the group up, and I'm as into it as anyone. The concept is to feature the unselfish hustle efforts by a single player and the entire team that we believe are so essential to success. When the video ends, we applaud and gather in a circle where we chant "1, 2, 3, Attitude!" before breaking for the night."
Coach Wright gets his teams from hearing him talk about "Attitude" to behaving with the proper "Attitude" by setting the proper example, consistent use of key maxims and consistent team activities (rituals).
"You haven't taught until they're doing it."
How do you get your team to do what you're teaching?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




Watch Video

Application Exercise




Let every day be Mother's Day!
Make roses grow along her way
And beauty everywhere.
Oh, never let her eyes be wet
With tears of sorrow or regret,
And never cease to care!
Come, grown up children, and rejoice
That you can hear your mother's voice!

A day for her! For you she gave
Long years of love and service brave;
For you her youth was spent.
There was no weight of hurt or care
Too heavy for her strength to bear;
She followed where you went;
Her courage and her love sublime
You could depend on all the time.

No day or night she set apart
On which to open wide her heart
And welcome you within;
There was no hour you would not be
First in her thought and memory,
Though you were wrong as sin!
Though skies were gray or skies were blue
Not once has she forgotten you.

Let every day be Mother's Day!
With love and roses strew her way,
And smiles of joy and pride!
Come, grown up children, to the knee
Where long ago you used to be
And never turn aside;
Oh, never let her eyes grow wet
With tears, because her babes forget.

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: 6,882,973

Hosting & Design