Like many coaches out there, I have the utmost respect for the late Coach John Wooden. He was an absolute class act and really epitomized what true coaching should be. What impressed me the most about Coach Wooden, even more than the 10 NCAA Championships and countless other accolades, was his ability to use his words to inspire and motivate his players to become phenomenal college athletes and his teams to achieve greatness! He had a special gift as a teacher to use his words in a way that would touch the minds of his players that made them want to be better than their best!
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Coach Wooden:
- “Never mistake activity for achievement.”
- “Make each day your masterpiece.”
- “Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.”
- “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”
- “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
All words have power to them. Whatever you think, hear or speak has influence on what you do. Positive Words = Positive Results! Your words also have the ability to shape your destiny. Words are one of the most powerful forces in our lives. They allow us to take thought expression and share information and use it to communicate with other people. As a coach, your words have the ability to shape the future of the players that you work with. You can use those words to either build your players up or break your players down.
One of the things that I hate most is seeing a coach who yells a lot and really doesn’t say much at all. You’ve seen him — the guy who’s on the sideline that looks like he’s stressed out from a hectic day at work and looks like he was thrown on the court at the last second. His face is red and hair is all over his head and he’s shouting at the top of his lungs but not really saying anything. If you want to develop players who will run through a brick wall for you, then stay away from being that guy! I’m not here to tell anyone that their coaching style is better than others, but I do know what the majority of young athletes respond to, and a lot of times it’s not that!
There’s always going to be a time for intense correction and instruction, but at the same time you’ve got to remember to teach. Great coaches possess an uncanny ability to communicate effectively. If you use your words to lift your players up, you’ll be surprised how much more they listen and respond to you if you’re not yelling at them all the time. Most high school coaches see players grow from a young boy or girl to a young man or woman. If you’re that coach, you see tremendous amount of development that takes place from the time they start in your camps to the time you see them sign their Letter of Intent to college.
We as coaches have the responsibility to develop our players to become the absolute best that they can be. A lot of that development simply comes down to what we say which ultimately affects what they believe in themselves and where they go in life. Remember to speak positive, teach and give them solutions that will bring better outcomes and they have no choice but to perform at higher levels!