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Issue 35 - Resourcefulness

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 1 Issue 35
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login


On the left side of the Pyramid of Success, below faith, there are four additional pieces of mortar: ambition, adaptability, resourcefulness and fight. These are qualities that encompass the resolve, ingenuity and resilience of the human spirit. This week we will discuss resourcefulness.


In his book Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success, with Jay Carty, Coach Wooden defined resourcefulness and its importance in the following manner:


Resourcefulness is using our wits, proper judgment and common sense to solve problems and meet challenges. It is using initiative in difficult situations and involves inventing, creating, imagining, synthesizing, evaluating, classifying, observing and analyzing solutions to overcome the trials that life throws at us. Resourcefulness is dreaming up ways to meet our goals.


Coach emphasized resourcefulness as an important personal trait for any coach in his book Practical Modern Basketball: "Each individual and each team present a different and separate problem; mentally, morally, physically, socially, and spiritually. Use the proper approach for each."


All of us can find employment in the Excuses Department or Solutions Department. It is resourcefulness that allows us to maintain a position in the Solutions Department. Dwight Morrow put it this way: “There are no hopeless situations, there are only hopeless men.”


When Coach played basketball at Purdue University, there were no athletic scholarships. Coach had to meet the demands of being an outstanding student and the practice time required to be a three-time All-American and ultimately the college player of the year. He also needed to make money. Coach tapped into his resourcefulness by walking the aisle of the train going to the Purdue - Chicago football games and selling sandwiches, candy bars and fruit. He also made lapel pins and sold them as well. During his last two years at Purdue he had basketball programs printed and hired people to sell them at his home games. Coach stated: "Today they would call that an entrepreneurial spirit. I just call it resourcefulness."


The “Solutions Department” is always open or as Coach liked to say: “A good place to find a helping hand is at the end of your arm.”


Coach lived in a fraternity house while attending college. He initially attempted studying in the evenings but had a lot of difficulty because there was so much movement and people wanting to chat and socialize. His resourceful solution was to go to bed early in the evening and wake up at 3 AM to attend to his studies. He was then able to accomplish in two or three hours what previously took four or five.


Coach did not view resourcefulness as finding a trick or a shortcut. He would remind us: “If you keep too busy learning the tricks of the trade, you may never learn the trade.”


Resourcefulness is rather the ability to act effectively or imaginatively, especially in difficult situations, and as Coach defines it, using “proper judgment.”


Yours in coaching,



Craig Impelman


Twitter: @woodenswisdom



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Application Exercise

Favorite Poetry

When you think of the man
you seldom think
of the knowledge he has of books;

You seldom think of the
clothes he wears, his habits,
his faults, his looks;

You seldom think of the
car he drives, or the bonds
his gold has bought;

When you think of a man
you mostly think
of some kindness
he has brought;

You judge him not by
the block of stocks
nor his power of
name and pen;

You judge a man
by the place he's made
in the hearts
of his fellow men.
You judge a man
by what he's done;
by the way he's faced the strife,

And not by the amount
of the bank account
he's managed to get in life.

You think of the friend
he's been to man,
and the good that he has done;

You judge the sort of man
he is by the friends
that he has won.

From “TheAthlantian”

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