The Wooden's Wisdom Logo

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

Issue 37 - Fight

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 1 Issue 37
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 fight.


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


Fight is a determined effort to do the very best we can do...It's digging in, gritting our teeth, standing our ground.


When we have fight, we are always ready to respond. We are quick but we don't hurry. We make fewer mistakes because we have the level of our intensity under control. A player with fight has a contained fire burning in his or her belly. This emerges as focused passion. Players with fight never lose a game; they just run out of time.


Perhaps I should have chosen a different word. Fight has some negative connotations that I don't want to communicate. In no way is this mortar quality about an opponent. There was a time when I would talk about "being better than the opponent." I don't anymore. Make no mistake; I always want to win, but I never fight with an opponent. My fight is within me - it is the struggle to be the best I can be at whatever I do.


There is no such thing as losing when we've made the effort to do the best we can. If we use our fight and determination to do our best, success will take care of itself.


Under each piece of mortar on the Pyramid, in parentheses, there is some brief application advice or a description of that mortar. In the original Pyramid under “Fight,” Coach wrote: “effort and hustle.” Later, when Coach revised and perfected the Pyramid, he changed the description to read: “determined effort.” Coach’s motivation for the change was clear. He wanted to make certain we understood that just making an effort was not real fight. Fight isn’t about simply expending energy; it’s about determination, which is having a fixed purpose or fixation of will. This clear sense of purpose is a key adjective for the kind of fight Coach believed in. It means that this effort has a “never say never” attitude attached to it.


Fight is one of the pieces of mortar that holds the pyramid block Competitive Greatness in place. When we have fight and competitive greatness, we are not fearful of adversity nor are we deterred when we face it.


A person who has fight is following two great pieces of advice from Coach Wooden:


1) “The person who is afraid to risk failure seldom has to face success,” and
2) “The person who is not afraid of failure seldom has to face it.”


Coach described adversity this way: “Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then."


Fight enables us to rise to the occasion - and that’s a pretty good trait for any character!


Yours in coaching,



Craig Impelman


Twitter: @woodenswisdom



Watch Video

Application Exercise

Favorite Poetry

If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you like to win but think you can't,
It's almost a cinch you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you're lost.
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a fellow's will.
It's all in the state of mind.
If you think you are out classed, you are.
You've got to think high to rise.
You've got to be sure of your-self before
You can ever win the prize.
Life's battles don't always go
to the stronger or faster man.
But sooner or later, the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.

C. W. Longenecker

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: 6,882,970

Hosting & Design