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Issue 213 - Proper Preparation requires Attention to Detail

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 5 Issue 213
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



Coach Wooden limited his scouting of opponents to a basic understanding of the strategy they might employ. Preparation?
Coach commented on this perspective:
One of my players, a very interesting person, some of you I’m sure have heard of Bill Walton, once said we had to send a manager, when we were dressing for a game, to get a program to find out who we were playing, because I never mentioned the opposition, which is a little different.
He never handed his players a scouting report on the other team.
Coach said: I wanted the emphasis placed on the improvement of ourselves.
It was his preparation for practice that translated to practices that created poise, confidence and self-control for the team. In his book with Steve Jamison, The Essential Wooden, Coach commented on practice:
Everything had a purpose; everything was done efficiently and quickly. The whole practice was synchronized; each hour offered up 60 minutes.
We didn't achieve conditioning by doing laps or running up and down stairs or doing push-ups. We did it through the efficient and intense execution of individual fundamental drills. A shooting drill was a conditioning drill the way I ran it. There was no standing around and just watching or resting in between. The players were always working and running and moving.
I would spend almost as much time planning a practice as conducting it. Everything was listed on three-by-five cards down to the very last detail. In my later years at UCLA I would spend two hours every morning with my assistants organizing that day's practice session (even though the practice itself might be less than two hours long). I kept a record of every practice session in a loose-leaf notebook for future reference.
When I planned a day's practice, I looked back to see what we'd done on the corresponding day the previous year and the year before that. By doing that, I could track the practice routines of every single player for every single practice session he participated in while I was coaching him.
By reviewing and analyzing everything, we were able to get the very most out of our practice time.
It all began with attention to, and perfection of, details. Details. Details. Develop a love for details. They usually accompany success.

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman
Twitter: @woodenswisdom




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In every field of human endeavor, he that is first must perpetually live in the white light of publicity. Whether the leadership be vested in a man or in a manufactured product, emulation and envy are ever at work. In art, in literature, in music, in industry, the reward and the punishment are always the same. The reward is widespread recognition; the punishment, fierce denial and detraction. When a man’s work becomes a standard for the whole world, it also becomes a target for the shafts of the envious few. If his work be mediocre, he will be left severely alone – if he achieves a masterpiece, it will set a million tongues a-wagging. Jealousy does not protrude its forked tongue at the artist who produces a commonplace painting. Whatsoever you write, or paint, or play, or sing, or build, no one will strive to surpass or to slander you unless your work be stamped with the seal of genius. Long, long after a great work or a good work has been done, those who are disappointed or envious, continue to cry out that it cannot be done. Spiteful little voices in the domain of art were raised against our own Whistler as a mount back, long after the big world had acclaimed him its greatest artistic genius. Multitudes flocked to Bayreuth to worship at the musical shrine of Wagner, while the little group of those whom he had dethroned and displaced argued angrily that he was no musician at all. The little world continued to protest that Fulton could never build a steamboat, while the big world flocked to the river banks to see his boat steam by.


Cadillac Motor Car Division 1915 






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