I had the honor of sitting down to interview Coach John Wooden. Today at 97 he’s still as awe- inspiring as ever, besides being a bona fide sports legend. My Aha’ Moment I learned is that oftentimes sports performance is about perspiration fueled by inspiration, or simply stated, his 7 Point Creed. His maxims seem simple and subtle, but not when you truly begin practicing them in your life. Obviously, he must be onto to something given his winning record (10 NCAA Men’s Championship titles, 4 perfect seasons, best-selling books, receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bush in 2003), his longevity, and good health.
Q: Coach, how would you manage young team players today given their superstar status? What approach would you take to facilitate team unity both on and off the court; meaning workplace, home, etc.?
A: (Chuckle) Well, you know you’re not the first person to ask me that question, but let me try to answer you. First, you must get the players who are not superstars to understand that they are not superstars. However, the coach must take time with every player to let them know that each and every role is important to a winning team. It is vital to keep every player’s ego in check-not too big or not too little. I taught my players to keep things in perspective because a true athlete should have character not be a character. A team, not a group of individuals, wins games and championships. Most of success in life, both on and off the court, comes from practice or repetition and the rest comes from hard work.
Q: Coach Wooden, can you describe your style of coaching? We’d like to know your secrets to success—on and off the court.
A: I believe there is nothing stronger in this world than gentleness. Now that doesn’t mean if one of my players was slacking off I wouldn’t come down on him, but I’ve found that leading by inspiration and being inspiring always creates positive outcomes. On and off court, I try to follow The 7 Point Creed my father gave me when I was a young boy.
Q: Would you share and list your creed Coach?
A: Absolutely, now in my day we called it prayer (Chuckle). Today, you call it meditation or spirituality. Whatever you choose to label it remember faith in God, and love for your fellow-man are the two most important creeds to live by.
Coach Wooden’s 7 Point Creed
1. Be true to yourself.
2. Help others every day.
3. Make each day a masterpiece because tomorrow’s success depends on what you do
4. Drink deeply from good books with the Bible being the #1 book. Books are powerful,
because they shape your thoughts and actions.
5. Make Friendship a fine art form. Friendship should be give and take not give or take.
6. Build a shelter for a rainy day with your family, friends, and finances.
7. Pray for guidance every day, and give thanks for your blessings every day.
Q: That’s beautiful and truly inspiring Coach, which is why you’re the called “The Wizard
of Westwood”! Do you practice this creed every day?
A: (Smile) No, but I have tried…
You can find more inspirational maxims by Coach John Wooden by visiting his website at www.coachjohnwooden.com, or order one of his “good” books, including his current best-seller, Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections or his most recent children’s book, INCH and MILES: The Journey to Success.
INCH and MILES is now being used in the Hornet’s and Hawke’s inner city children’s reading programs. Basketball legend, sportscaster, and former UCLA hoop star, Bill Walton bought 200 copies to give as gifts.