|Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 5
|Craig Impelman Speaking | Championship Coaches | Champion's Leadership Library Login
MOTIVATING THE TEAM
How did John Wooden, whose basketball teams won seven consecutive national championships, get his team motivated for the big game?
In the book Wooden on Leadership, former UCLA player Lynn Shackelford described his experience in 1967 when he and three other first year varsity players sat in the locker room waiting to play in their first national championship game.
Coach Wooden walked up to the chalk board and began to diagram something, maybe a new play or defensive tactic. But it wasn't. Coach was diagramming where we should stand during the national anthem.
He then spoke about our conduct following the game. The day before, players on another team had gotten rowdy, and he cautioned us about behaving badly. He never mentioned anything about the opponent we were going to play for the national championship.
The pregame talk Coach gave before a National Championship Game was the same as any other game:
I've done my job, now it's time for you to do yours. I don't want to know by the expression on your face after the game which team scored more points. Now let's go.
Coach described developing the ideal level of motivation this way:
The ideal level of motivation for the playoffs or any game is the result of a consistent program leading up to that point. You can't suddenly develop that for one game; it has to be something that is consistent in your practice.
The secret of this master motivator was that there was no fight or a pep talk. Coach described how he did it as follows:
When the players were involved in practice or in a game, what was important was that they made the effort to do the best of which they were capable of doing. Then they would be near their level of competency. You can't do anything about another person's level of competency, but you can your own. So much of it becomes mental.
What can you do to help yourself and your team to be consistent in making their best effort?
Yours in Coaching,
What Does a Father Say to His Son Before His First Game
This is your first game Son. I hope you win. I hope you win for your sake, not mine . . . . Because winning is nice. It’s a good feeling – like the world is yours. But it passes, this feeling, and what lasts is what you have learned.
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