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Issue 76 - Don't Mistake Activity for Achievement

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 2 Issue 76
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



This is one of Coach Wooden's most famous quotes and has been applied to improve individual and team performance in both basketball and the workplace.

Coach Wooden’s most insightful model to discuss his achievement not activity idea is the methodology he used to prepare, execute and improve his practices.
Coach took the idea of don't mistake activity for achievement to another level. He was not satisfied with simply having achievement within each activity but rather sought to maximize achievement within each activity without stifling initiative.
The four components Coach Wooden utilized in achieving this goal were proper planning and execution of the plan, relentless attention to detail, maximizing the use of time and post practice analysis for improvement.
In his book Practical Modern Basketball Coach Wooden described the importance of proper execution of his daily plan:
A daily practice plan should be prepared and followed. If you fail to follow the program on one thing, it may affect others.
If you planned poorly, make the corrections for the following day, but never alter your program on a specific day once practice has started.
Running overtime can be distasteful for both you and your players and should be avoided.
Coach Wooden's pre-practice ritual is a good example of his attention to detail:
The coach should be on the floor early to make certain that everything is in readiness for practice. I like to have a checklist for the managers to go by but the coach must make sure.
Some of the points on the checklist are to see that the floor is clean;  to see that the desired number of balls are available and that they are clean and properly inflated; make sure the scrimmage shirts are on hand and that extra shoelaces and other emergency equipment items are near at hand; have statistical charts ready for use; and make sure that towels, tape and everything else that might be necessary to ensure a smooth practice are available.
Anticipate from past experience and be prepared.
Coach explains how to maximize use of time in each drill, not simply settle for some achievement, as follows:
Even though a particular drill may be emphasizing one specific fundamental, other fundamentals in use should not be overlooked.
For example: Sometimes players get careless about their passing during shooting drills, which may lead to breaking down one fundamental while building another.
When Coach Wooden ran a rebounding drill his players were also improving their passing, cutting, timing and movement without the ball. The players accomplished maximum achievement, not just achievement.
The final element of maximizing achievement is constant improvement through post practice analysis. In Practical Modern Basketball Coach explained his process:
The coach should make a careful analysis of each practice while it is still fresh in his mind, in order that he may plan intelligently for the next day.
I like to sit down with my assistants immediately after practice, and briefly analyze and discuss the practice of that day. I make notes at that time to serve as reference to help me the next morning when I plan practice for that day.
It is easy to see why failure to prepare is preparing to fail and don't mistake activity for achievement get along so well.
What are the activities of your team that don't yield the most productive results possible?
Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman
Twitter: @woodenswisdom



Watch Video

Application Exercise

Favorite Poetry


The Greatest Accomplishment


Through stone or concrete
The tulip grows.
Blazes more brilliant than a firework
In a sky of glass and brick;
Never discouraged by 'too.'
Never wary of being
Too red, too vibrant, too itself.

Where towering glass stems grow,
Overshadowing its beauty,
Where feet threaten to trample,
The tulip is not wary of being
Too small, too delicate, too itself.

The red tulip
Does not blend with its grey environment.
It sways, it swoons
With the wind, the cars, the people
But it is never wary of being
Too fluid, too graceful, too itself.

It does not wilt
Does not expire
Because it is alone;
Because something else is wanted.
The tulip in the crack in the sidewalk
Thrives because it is the only one.
Gabriella Lee








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