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Issue 120 - Big Things Are Accomplished Only Through the Perfection of Minor Details

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 3 Issue 120
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



This favorite quote of Coach Wooden defines what Coach thought was the key to peak performance. Pat Williams wrote a book called Coach Wooden's Greatest Secret: The Power of a Lot of Little Things Done Well.
In the book Wooden on Leadership, former Louisville Head Coach and John Wooden Assistant Coach and player Denny Crum, described his mentor this way:
Coach Wooden’s teaching was effective because he was so well organized with his details. Everything was written out on 3 × 5 cards and in notebooks: What was happening from 3:07 to 3:11; what we’d do from 3:11 to 3:17; who was doing what and when.
Nothing was left to chance, every minute was accounted for—every single minute. And he was extremely disciplined in keeping to the schedule. He taught details.
That attention to detail was in everything he did—the way he planned practice, ran practice, evaluated practice and games. It applied to details of travel, equipment and food. Absolutely everything that could affect performance was taken care of.
Here are just a few examples of Coach Wooden's practice details:
  1. Two hours every day (10 AM to 12 noon) to meet with his assistants and plan that day’s two-hour practice. No interruptions to the meeting were allowed, except family emergencies.
  2. Student managers were provided with 3 x 5 cards of the practice plan to ensure that the proper number of basketballs were staged at each basket during practice.
  3. Complete statistics were kept of practice scrimmages and the results, both daily and cumulative, posted on the bulletin board that day before players turned in their equipment.
  4. Before showering, the coaching staff recapped their notes about practice that day, with Coach Wooden writing down the results on his 3 x 5 card.
  5. Before going home, Coach Wooden transferred his notes from his 3 x 5 card to his practice binder notebook.
  6. The three previous years practice notebooks were referred to in planing that day’s practice.
Putting together some key Coach Wooden ideas would provide the following advice:
Worthwhile results come from hard work and careful planning. Remember that failure to prepare is preparing to fail. When you are doing your work, take special care to not mistake activity for achievement. If you feel a little rushed, be quick but don’t hurry. If you are tempted to take a shortcut, ask yourself if you don't have the time to do right when will you have time to do it over?
Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman
Twitter: @woodenswisdom




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Application Exercise

Favorite Poetry




I met a man the other day,
Who thought he knew you well.
"What was the greatest thing coach gave?”
He wanted me to tell.

“Was it the things of which he spoke?
I know that man can talk.”
“Not even close,” was my reply
“He simply walked the walk.”

“What's most important,” he then asked,
“The way to pull the sock?”
“No, not at all.” I answered back.,
“He simply walked the walk.”

“I know the key. He passed it on,
Because he was a jock.”
“You're getting closer, Sir”, I said,
“He simply walked the walk.”

“I have it now!” then said the man,
“He used to be a rock.”
“You're almost there, but here's a clue
He simply walked the walk.”

I said, “For me he has done much,”
Agreeing with his talk.
“But the greatest gift he ever gave-
He simply walked the walk.”

Swen Nater 





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