The Pyramid of Success: Coach Wooden

  1. Coach John Wooden: Bio here
  2. # 1 ranked coach of ALL TIME in ANY SPORT (ESPN)  First sentence starts:  “There can be NO OTHER CHOICE….”
  3. INCREDIBLE 9 minute speech from Kareem Abdul Jabbar on Coach Wooden.  Basketball is barely mentioned.   MUST WATCH!!

“A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player.”


“The true athlete should have character, not be a character.”


“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”


“Happiness begins when selfishness ends.”


“Do not let what you can not do interfere with what you can do.”


“It’s amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the  credit.”


“Players may make mistakes but do not fail until they begin to blame.”


“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.


“I will get ready and then, perhaps, my chance will come.”


“The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.”


“When we are out of sympathy with the young, then our work in this world is over.”


“Young people need models, not critics.”


“Discipline yourself so others don’t have to.”


“Athletics do not build character. They reveal it.”


“Never mistake activity for achievement.”


“You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.”


“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”


“Ability may get you to the top but it takes character to keep you there.”


“If you think you are through learning, you are through.”


“Success is never final, failure is never fatal.  It’s courage that counts.”


“You can not live a perfect day without doing something for someone who can not repay you.”


“I have repeated time and again that never, under any circumstance, is our goal to make a player a star.  The Lord makes stars.  What we can do is help a player make his squad in junior high or high school that he might not otherwise have made.  We may help someone become a starter on his team who might not be able to do it on his own.”


“Be polite at all times. Never criticize, nag or provoke a team mate. Be a team player always. Never be selfish, jealous, envious or egotistical. Earn the right to be proud and confident. Never expect favors. Do not alibi or make excuses. Never lose faith or patience. Courtesy and politeness are a small price to pay for the goodwill and affection of others. Acquire peace of mind by becoming the best you are capable of becoming.”


“No written word, no spoken plea can teach our youth what they should be.

Nor all the books on all the shelves, it’s who the teachers are themselves.”