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Issue 264 - Ten Helpful Hints

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 6 Issue 264
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



From time to time Coach Wooden gave his teams various handouts. The following in italics is a handout entitled Ten Helpful Hints. I have added some thoughts in block letters after each point.
  1. Be quick without hurrying.

    This is arguably the phrase Coach Wooden used most frequently during basketball practice. This is a great phrase to use for self coaching in everyday life when you are completing a task and are feeling external pressure to hurry up. Andy Hill, one of Coach Wooden’s former players, wrote a fantastic book with Coach entitled Be Quick But Don’t Hurry.
  2. Show me what you can do, don't tell me.

    I had a great mentor who gave me the same instruction with a different phrase. Whenever I told him one of my grand plans he would smile and say: You got the talking part done. To this day when I come up with an idea I use that phrase on myself to get into action.
  3. It is the little details that make things work.

    Pat Williams wrote a book entitled Coach Wooden’s Greatest Secret. The entire book is about the importance of attention to detail. It gives examples not only from Coach Wooden, but also from numerous other successful people and their tremendous dedication to the details.
  4. The harder you work the more luck you will have.

    Coach Wooden spent two hours planning each two hour practice. The resulting perfect practices created the perfect outcome in many close games.
  5. Respect every opponent, but fear none.

    Coach Wooden did not mention the opposing team to his players during practice the week before the game. This approach contributed to a consistent energy level in practice that did not over or underestimate an upcoming opponent. In sales don’t prejudge a prospect by their appearance. Treat everybody great!
  6. Hustle makes up for many a mistake.

    As Bill Russell said: The ability to hustle is a talent.
  7. Valid self-analysis means improvement.

    The most important person you coach is yourself.
  8. Be more interested in character than in reputation.

    Let’s teach our young people to not get upset about comments on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t let the opinion of others determine your attitude. Don’t let anybody steal your smile.
  9. There is no substitute for hard work and careful planning.

    Don’t start your day until you plan your day. Don’t start your workout until you plan your workout. Otherwise, you may have activity without achievement.
  10. Is it hard for you to keep quiet when you don’t have anything to say?

    Great communication is clear, concise and compelling.

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman
Twitter: @woodenswisdom




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Application Exercise



What have we done today?

We shall do much in the years to come,
but what have we done today?
We shall give our gold in a princely sum,
but what did we give today?
We shall lift the heart and dry the tear,
We shall plant a hope in the place of fear,
We shall speak the words of love and cheer
but what did we speak today?

We shall be so kind in the afterwhile,
but what have we been today?
We shall bring each lonely life a smile,
but what have we brought today?
We shall give to truth a grander birth,
And to steadfast faith a deeper worth,
We shall feed the hungering souls of earth,
but whom have we fed today?

We shall reap such joys in the by and by,
but what have we sown today?
We shall build us mansions in the sky,
but what have we built today?
'Tis sweet in idle dreams to bask,
but here and now do we do our task?
Yes, this is the thing our souls must ask,
"What have we done today?"

Nixon Waterman






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