John Wooden on Teaching

by Conor on May 18, 2009

I have never really “heard” John Wooden.  I’ve seen him on TV at games give a quick sound bite.  I’ve read a book about him and a book by him.  I admire him greatly.  But I’ve never really heard him talk long enough that I felt like I truly understood him.

Well, this speech his gives to the group “TED” is truly fantastic.  It shows how John Wooden is a very knowledgable person and a good human being. 

There are many lessons to be learned from John Wooden.  My favorite point from this video is how he says he never really mentioned “winning”.  His idea is that you can lose when you outscore somebody in a game and that you can win while being outscored. 

“When a game is over and you see somebody that didn’t see the game, I hope that they cannot tell by your actions whether you outscored the opponent or they outscored you.”

He is making the point that winning is about doing the making the effort to do the best you can.  If you do, the results will be what they should be and you should be more proud of giving your best effort than winning.

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Clarence Gaines May 19, 2009 at 11:43 am

Big fan of John Wooden. Teach his definition of success to every athlete that I coach: “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable”. One of the overlooked areas of youth sports is the psychological side. I have made a point of teaching older athletes (U12 and up)that I coach John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success philosophy. With younger athletes, I give them a thought of the week. Here are a couple of links to great articles by Coach Ron Jackson on the subject of winning that I got from a great youth athletic site (



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