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Issue 239 - Instilling Confidence

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 5 Issue 239
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



Eleven month old Jason Lewis pulled himself up on the coffee table, took three steps and fell down. The extended Lewis family, gathered for the holidays, broke into a chorus of boos. Little Jason did not try to walk the rest of the day.
Did this really happen? No, of course not. The Lewis family did what families all over the world do. They broke into a chorus of cheers and applauded loudly. Little Jason did what babies all over the world do. Hearing the cheers, Jason got right back up and took five more steps.
The Lewis family looked on the upside, coached progress and instilled confidence in little Jason.
Don’t wait until month end to tell the sales person how they did. Coach progress during the month.
In his book The Essential Wooden, with Steve Jamison, Coach Wooden talked about instilling confidence:
I used a little psychology to instill confidence. If a player missed a free throw, I would say, “That’s good because it means you're going to hit a higher percentage from here on in. If you miss two, that's great because now your percentage really goes up.”
If somebody missed five in a row, I had him absolutely convinced he'd make the sixth. What I ignored-intentionally-was the fact that if they made five in a row, the percentages indicated they'd miss the sixth. But nobody ever brought that up. I got them to focus on the upside, the positive.
An effective leader looks for the positive perspective and can teach others to do the same. There are usually two sides to every story, an upside and a downside. When appropriate, I wanted our focus to be directed to the upside.
Coach also discussed how he instilled confidence in his assistant coaches:
My general policy in the huddle was to let the assistant coaches or players decide which man would shoot in a crucial situation. Of course, I knew who should take the shot, but I let them figure it out. Only if they figured it out wrong did I overrule.
Among other things, this was a way to show my confidence in their ability to do the job.
Instilling confidence is usually achieved through many small affirmations and acts of inclusion over time. Look for those opportunities to show your team they have your confidence.
This is why I made sure that our assistant coaches were a big part of the leadership and teaching process. They had a great presence during practice, in meetings, during games and especially at timeouts. Overall, I tried to let them do their jobs without constant interference.
A group freed from fear of having to check on everything with the leader has an energy for action that is formidable. It gets things done.
Is there anyone in whom you could instill some confidence?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman
Twitter: @woodenswisdom




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Application Exercise

Favorite Poetry


Some Favorite Thoughts from Coach Wooden’s Library

 Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.”

William Shakespeare

Who has never tasted what is bitter does not know what is sweet.

German Proverb

There is no education like adversity.

Benjamin Disraeli

The measure of a man is the way he bears up under misfortune.


Patience is the best remedy for every trouble.


There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.


For every ailment under the sun, There is a remedy, or there is none, If there be one, try to find it; If there be none, never mind it.

Mother Goose







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