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Issue 472 - "There is Much Wisdom in History."

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 10 Issue 472
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



Many successful coaches are students of history, not only of their sport, but other sports and topics outside of sports.
John Wooden built the culture of his coaching staffs (no "yes men") from his study of Abraham Lincoln’s method for assembling his presidential cabinet as described in Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book "Team of Rivals". Coach Wooden learned how to run and schedule a precisely timed practice with no wasted motion by studying Notre Dame's five time National Championship Football Coach   Frank Leahy.
In addition to an in depth ten year study of the history of offensive basketball (and experimentation) before deciding on Tex Winter and the "Triangle", Phil Jackson used his acquired knowledge of the "Zen" philosophy to determine the best mental approach and his study of Native American Culture for teambuilding.
Seven-time National Champion Gymnastics coach Valerie Kondos Field used the "Competitive Cauldron" she learned by studying twenty-two-time Women’s Soccer National Championship coach Anson Dorrance who was inspired by basketball coach Dean Smith. Dorrance and Field, not coincidentally like Jackson and Coach Wooden, are voracious readers in many other areas.
The following essay, which I found in Coach Wooden’s files, written by Insurance Magnate Joseph Martin (1865-1929) describes the value of studying history:
"Many people spend a lifetime in getting unprofitable experience which might easily have been obtained by a little study of the experience of others.
If you wanted to build the best possible building, you would make a careful study of the structures others have built, or you would employ a competent architect who could demonstrate his ability to produce the desired results.
In building a successful life you cannot employ an architect to do the building for you. You must construct your own building. That you may be properly fitted for this, do not fail to study the elements that have made for success in others. Originality wisely applied is necessary toward progress, but to blindly blunder forward on what you supposed to be an original course, only to later find that you have been following the well-worn path of others who failed, is the experience of far too many.
If you were going to build an automobile you would make a very careful and systematic study of the good points of all other automobiles, yet how few persons make a careful study of the elements that have made others succeed.
A careful study of the lives of those who have best succeeded will reveal the fact that they had no better material for their building than you have. They simply allowed nothing to interfere with their getting the best results out of the material at hand. They were masters of themselves."
Who do you study?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




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Application Exercise



If This Were All

If this were all of life we'll know,
If this brief space of breath
Were all there is to human toil,
If death were really death,
And never should the soul arise
A finer world to see,
How foolish would our struggles seem,
How grim the earth would be!

If living were the whole of life,
To end in seventy years,
How pitiful its joys would seem!
How idle all its tears!
There'd be no faith to keep us true,
No hope to keep us strong,
And only fools would cherish dreams—
No smile would last for long.

How purposeless the strife would be
If there were nothing more,
If there were not a plan to serve,
An end to struggle for!
No reason for a mortal's birth
Except to have him die—
How silly all the goals would seem
For which men bravely try.

There must be something after death;
Behind the toil of man
There must exist a God divine
Who's working out a plan;
And this brief journey that we know
As life must really be
The gateway to a finer world
That someday we shall see.

Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)






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