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The First Life Coach

There's a lot of buzz in today's world about coaches, including life and career coaches. Coach John Wooden was truly the first of them all. He left this world on June 4, 2010, just four months shy of his 100th birthday. He was a winning coach of 10 NCAA basketball championships and played basketball for Purdue in college.

He could motivate without selling or proselytizing. He inspired by example. He lived every word he said. He knew that "work was love made visible." He was an Olympian every day and set the highest standards possible for both star athletes and for anyone else who wanted to, as Wooden advised, "make each day their masterpiece." He was a brilliant coach; a truly good man; a Christian teacher; and would have made a Zen master proud.

He also deserves mentioning because his life and his work stand in such stark contrast to much of what we see in the sports world today. In fact, Wooden is the antithesis to most of what that world has come to represent, as it has increasingly become a business empire. Wooden reminds us of what both the sports world can return to being and what we can make of our own lives with some key sports values: Practice, honesty, hard work, and short, teachable snatches of wisdom we can remember, learn from and rely on in hard times.

Below are some of Wooden's more well-known quotes from Brainyquote. For more information, see the official Coach Wooden Website.

If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?

If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes.

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

It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.

Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It's courage that counts.

Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.

You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.

The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.

And one of my favorites:
Never mistake activity for achievement.


BarbeeAnne said…
Thanks...I'm going to send the quotes to Evan. He will appreciate them. Hope life is treating you the short haircut.
B Todd said…
Having grown up in the Los Angeles area in the 60s I'm quite familiar with the "Wizard of Westwood". It is unfortunate that fewer and fewer people these days know of him or how he taught. So many of his ex-players would talk about how he taught them not only basketball but about life.

I use him as an example with my music students for the importance of paying attention to the details, to the little things. One of the first things he would teach new players was how to put on their socks. If a player didn't smooth out the sock around the little toe, a fold appears there that, with all the running involved, would irritate the skin and lead to a blister which would take the player out of the game. Small things can make a huge difference.

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