The Wooden's Wisdom Logo

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

Issue 77 - You Discipline Those Under Your Supervision to Correct, to Help, to Improve - Not to Punish

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 2 Issue 77
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



Click here for Coach Wooden Video Clip (1:23). Coach is asked: "How did you manage strong willed players?'

This quote of Coach Wooden's was the foundation of his approach to discipline. Coach expanded on the idea this way:

Discipline must be done with reason to be effective. If we lose reason in our discipline, it will not be effective.
You cannot antagonize and be a positive influence and you will antagonize when you discipline through emotion.
Remember that discipline is not to punish but it’s to correct, to improve, to prevent, to help, so we must maintain our self-control at all times.
I think denial of privileges is probably one of the best forms of discipline.
In his book A Game Plan for Life: The Power of Mentoring with Don Yeager, Coach Wooden recounts how one of his mentors, his grade school coach Earl Warriner, disciplined him.
When I was thirteen, Coach Warriner stepped in with a lesson that would change my life.
I had forgotten my uniform and did not want to run the mile or so back to our farm to retrieve it before that afternoon’s basketball game.
When it became clear that I would not be allowed to play without the uniform, I talked a teammate into going home to fetch it for me. After all, I was the star, right?
With that attitude, it's no wonder that the game started without me in it.
When I tried to reason with Coach, pleading with him to let me play because it was clear we were out matched with our new starting lineup he told me very simply, “Johnny, there are some things more important than winning.”
At the start of the second half, Coach let me in the game.
Coach showed me that while there was a lesson to be learned, it is equally important to make the punishment fit the crime, and not be so focused on your toughness that you lose sight of the bigger issue and the person you're supposed to be teaching.
In Marv Dunphy‘s PHD Dissertation John Robert Wooden: The Coaching Process, Coach Wooden describes how he used a similar process in disciplining his own players:
On one occasion I had to discipline two of my best players. They were eight minutes late for a pre-game meal, with no excuse at all.
So that night, I just told them they wouldn't play for at least the first eight minutes. As it turned out, they didn't play at all in the first half.
At the start of the second half I put them in the game; forget the first half. Don't hold a grudge.
In their discipline, Coach Warriner and Coach Wooden did not attack the character or intention of the player by calling him irresponsible or saying he acted selfishly and didn't care about the team.
They simply dealt with the behavior with self control, denied a privilege and moved on by not mentioning the incident again. There was no antagonizing.
The result: Lesson Learned.
Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman
Twitter: @woodenswisdom



Watch Video

Application Exercise

Favorite Poetry


When I deeply go in search,
find disciplined the universe.
Well ordered by natural laws,
governed, dynamic, without flaws.
All the plants, molecules,
elements, atoms, go by rules.
Divinely disciplined, so safe,
go on without deforming shape.
Undisciplined a life, we live,
disorder is all we give.
Fights, tensions, quarrels, hate,
sick at heart, ill fated fate.
Law and order if we bring,
to life and be disciplined,
safe, smooth, the life will run,
deeds will be perfectly done.


 Dr.Mosam Sinha



Spirit needs discipline to ensure
that the mind may draw, may feed
upon itself and not, immature,
waste it’s potential. Indeed,
premature expression
scythes through empty air
to harvest its own suppression,
leaving none to care.
Egocentricity, its own sinecure,
voids its own vacuum, to nowhere must lead.


Jonathan Robin









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: 6,787,621

Hosting & Design