Motivated Monday: A lesson from the playbook of John Wooden

It’s Monday, so of course, that means it’s “time to be the best!”. Todays Motivated Monday comes from coach John Wooden. John Wooden knew a ton about success. He coached 10 NCAA Championship basketball teams with 7 of his 10 wins being consecutive. And more impressively, he built created a powerhouse UCLA Bruins basketball program from the ground up.

“It isn’t what you do, but how you do it.” – John Wooden

Part of what made Wooden so effective was his exacting instruction. No detail was too minute. For example, he would always begin the first day of practice by having all of his players take off their shoes and socks. He would then tell them EXACTLY how he wanted them to put the socks back on. A waste of time? Maybe so, but far less of a waste of time than having players miss practice because of blisters caused by crumpled socks.

He took the same approach to every fundamental skill associated with the game, as well as many mannerisms/tasks that might seem, at first glance, to be irrelevant, but that always proved to have some sort of effect on the players performance (both physical and psychological).

John Wooden expected more out of himself than he expected out of his players. While he was systematic and disciplined, he was also committed and passionate. He cared deeply about the individuals on his team. Demanding that they live up to his high expectations was his way of helping his players to be as successful as possible.

This Monday, whatever you do, be the best. Follow the tenants of John Wooden’s coaching philosophy – no matter what it is that you’re doing – pay attention to the fundamental details and devote caring to your actions. That could mean taking the time to floss your teeth or finding an action that you could do to become better at your job. Remember, “it isn’t what you do, but how you do it.”


 “The Official Site of Coach John Wooden | Sponsored By McDonald’s.” The Official Site of Coach John Wooden | Sponsored by McDonalds | Powered by UnCommon Thinking. Web. 12 Feb. 2012. <>.
Staff, “John Wooden’s Greatest Quotes – ESPN.” ESPN: The Worldwide Leader In Sports. Web. 12 Feb. 2012. <>.
Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>