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Issue 161 - You Cannot Antagonize and Influence at the Same Time

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 4 Issue 161
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



Coach Wooden often referred to this favorite idea of his with regard to being effective when providing discipline. Effective discipline has two elements: it does not antagonize and it does influence.
Coach expanded on this idea in his book My Personal Best, with Steve Jamison:
I was comfortable being a disciplinarian, but did not want to be an ogre. Therefore, when discipline was required, I tried to dole it out in a manner that was firm but fair, with no emotionalism or anger attached.
Anger prevents proper thinking and makes you vulnerable. It never got personal, because the purpose of criticism or discipline is not to punish, embarrass or ridicule, but to correct and improve.
It is very difficult to antagonize and teach at the same time. For this reason, I avoided criticizing a player or the team at the end of practice, because the effect lingers and is magnified.
The ability to influence when disciplining requires that you understand the personalities of the people you supervise. In Coach’s book, Coach Wooden's Leadership Game Plan for Success, with Steve Jamison, former Assistant Coach Gary Cunningham described Coach Wooden in that regard:
He was a strong disciplinarian, but he demanded discipline in a very controlled way. “Goodness gracious sakes” was real angry for him. He was a master at analyzing personalities. Player A might just need an explanation. Player B might need some push. He knew what everybody needed to learn his lessons, and he supplied it.
In the same book, former player Keith Erickson gave an example of this:
UCLA’s Gail Goodrich and Walt Hazzard were the greatest combination of guards in the history of college basketball; the best twosome ever, in my opinion. But they were totally different guys.
With Gail, Coach would come up and sort of cajole him, put his arm around him and low-key it—offer a quiet suggestion, a little compliment. Then he’d give him a pat on the back and walk away. He knew that Gail wouldn’t react to sharp criticism; it would hurt his play.
Coach knew a stronger approach worked with Walt. There were no mincing words. He’d say very firmly, “Walt, if you do that again, you’re out of here.” And if Walt did it again, he’d hear Coach say, “O.K., that’s it. Take a shower.”
Discipline becomes less effective when you speak with anger and/or question the character or intent of the person you are disciplining.
Once we eliminate the possibility of antagonizing, the next challenge is how to influence.

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman
Twitter: @woodenswisdom




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Application Exercise

Favorite Poetry


The Things That Are More Excellent


As we wax older on this earth,
Till many a toy that charmed us seems
Emptied of beauty, stripped of worth,
And mean as dust and dead as dreams,--
For gauds that perished, shows that passed,
Some recompense the Fates have sent:
Thrice lovelier shine the things that last,
The things that are more excellent.

Tired of the Senate's barren brawl,
An hour with silence we prefer,
Where statelier rise the woods than all
Yon towers of talk at Westminster.
Let this man prate and that man plot,
On fame or place or title bent:
The votes of veering crowds are not
The things that are more excellent.

Shall we perturb and vex our soul
For "wrongs" which no true freedom mar,
Which no man's upright walk control,
And from no guiltless deed debar?
What odds though tonguesters heal, or leave
Unhealed, the grievance they invent?
To things, not phantoms, let us cleave--
The things that are more excellent.

Nought nobler is, than to be free:
The stars of heaven are free because
In amplitude of liberty
Their joy is to obey the laws.
From servitude to freedom's name
Free thou thy mind in bondage pent;
Depose the fetich, and proclaim
The things that are more excellent.

And in appropriate dust be hurled
That dull, punctilious god, whom they
That call their tiny clan the world,
Serve and obsequiously obey:
Who con their ritual of routine,
With minds to one dead likeness blent,
And never ev'n in dreams have seen
The things that are more excellent.

William Watson 






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