John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success

Click here for a printable copy of John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success.

Go to the Pyramid of Success section of his website and click on each of the pyramid bricks to read a description of each of the 15 success values.

How can I be a better coach?

Answer: Consider adopting some of the suggestions John Wooden, famous and well-loved American Basketball coach, gives in this TED video:

Some of Wooden’s gems:

Definition of success:

“Peace of mind attained only through the self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you’re capable.”

Reputation versus character:

“Your reputation is what you’re perceived to be; your character is what you really are.”

Quoting someone’s short poem on being a good model of  what you ask from others:

No written word, no spoken plea
Can teach our youth what they should be,
Nor all the books on all the shelves;
It’s what the teachers are themselves.

Quoting a poem by teacher Glennice Harmon:

They Ask Me Why I Teach.

They ask me why I teach
And I reply, “Where could I find such splendid company?”
There sits a statesman,
Strong, unbiased, wise,
Another later Webster
A doctor sites beside him,
Whose quick, steady hand
May mend a bone or stem the lifeblood’s flow.
A builder–
Upward rises the arch of that church he builds wherein
That minister may speak the word of God,
And lead a stumbling soul to touch the Christ.

And all about
A gathering of teachers,
farmers, merchants,
Who work and vote and build
And plan and pray into a great tomorrow.
And, I may say,
“I may not see the church,
Or hear the word,
Or eat the food their hands will grow.”
And yet — I may.
And later I may say,
“I knew him once, and he was weak or strong,
Or bold or gay.I knew him once,
But then he was a boy.”

They ask my why I teach and I reply,
“Where could I find such splendid company?”

His four coaching rules:

  1. Don’t be late.
  2. Be neat and clean.
  3. Not one word of profanity.
  4. Never criticize a team-mate.

Good advice from his Dad:

“Don’t whine; don’t complain; don’t make excuses.

A poem he quoted by George Moriarty, a former major baseball umpire:

The Road Ahead or the Road Behind

Sometimes I think the fates must grin as we denounce them and insist,
The only reason we can’t win is the fates themselves have missed.
Yet, there lives on the ancient claim – we win or lose within ourselves,
The shining trophies on our shelves can never win tomorrow’s game.

you and I know deeper down there’s always a chance to win the crown,
But when we fail to give our best, we simply haven’t met the test
Of giving all and saving none until the game is really won.
Of showing what is meant by grit, of playing through when others quit,

Of playing through not letting up, it’s bearing down that wins the cup.
Of dreaming there’s a goal ahead, of hoping when our dreams are dead,

Of praying when our hopes have fled.  Yet, losing, not afraid to fall,

If bravely we have given all, for who can ask more of a man
than giving all within his span. Giving all  it seems to me, is not so far from – Victory.
And so the fates are seldom wrong, no matter how they twist and wind,

It’s you and I who make our fates, we open up or close the gates,
On the Road Ahead or the Road Behind.