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Running Head: Leadership: John Wooden Style

Leadership: John Wooden Style

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Abstract: this paper is on “Coach John Wooden”. The paper gives a descriptive biography of the coach. It furthermore explains John Wooden’s coaching style and his motivation to his player. The paper explains how Wooden recounts the lessons of his youth and how they shaped his moral fiber and were essential foundations for his coaching style. It also analyzes how Coach Wooden outlines his pyramid for success, something all motivators of men should study and shares some of the wonderful philosophies with which he guides his life and his players.

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Introduction: John Wooden is an American basketball player and coach, who coached teams to more National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball championships than any coach in history. He was the first person elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player (1961) and a coach (1972). Born in Martinsville, Indiana, Wooden was educated at Purdue University. As a starting guard he led the Purdue basketball team to a national collegiate championship in 1932. After graduating in 1932, he played professional basketball in Indianapolis, Indiana, and coached high school basketball. He subsequently coached at Indiana State Teacher's College (now Indiana State University) from 1946 to 1948, guiding the team to a 47-14 win-loss record.

Wooden served as head basketball coach at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) from 1948 to 1975. During his last 12 years as a coach, he led UCLA to ten NCAA championship titles (1964, 1965, 1967-1973, 1975), a record number. Wooden's remarkable teams at UCLA also set several other NCAA records, including most consecutive victories (88, 1971-1974), most consecutive national championship titles (7, 1967-1973), and most consecutive national NCAA basketball tournament victories (38, 1967-1974). His career NCAA win-loss record of 664 wins and 162 losses ranks among the best in college basketball history. The Wooden Award, a collegiate player of the year award named in his honor, is given annually. Wooden's autobiography, They Call Me Coach, was published in 1972. (Masin, Herman L (2001)

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Analysis: Wooden, was the most successful coach in the history, owner of many unrivaled and unapproachable records, he coached the legendary UCLA basketball teams to 10 national championships between 1963 and 1975. His accomplishments on the court alone make him a fascinating person. But Coach Wooden is so much more a philosopher and creator of the Pyramid of Success. According to Coach John Wooden a coach's primary role is to help athletes realize their potential. In order to reach their potential, athletes must sustain a high level of motivation over many years of practice and competition. Though, motivation is very intricate, and it has confronted coaches at all stages and in all sports. Motivation is thought to encompass personality factors, collective variables, and/or cognitions that are assumed to come into play when a person undertakes a task at which he or she is evaluated, enters into competition with others, or attempts to attain some standard of excellence". In addition, motivation is often separated into at least three main types: intrinsic, extrinsic, and motivation. Intrinsic motivation is described as engaging in an activity purely for the pleasure and satisfaction derived from doing the activity. (John Wooden and Steve Jamison (2005)

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Wooden coined his own definition of success. By the standards of the Basketball Hall of Fame, his own success is unique. He is the only person in history to be enshrined there twice, once as a player for Purdue University, and again for his performance as coach of the Bruins of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In Coach Wooden's last twelve years as coach, UCLA won ten National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships. In the 27 years he led the Bruins, they never had a losing season. Their record of 88 consecutive winning games will probably never be surpassed. (TAVIS SMILEY (2004)

Among Wooden's players at UCLA were two titans of the game: six-foot-ten Bill Walton, and seven-foot-plus Lew Alcindor, who later became one of the great stars of the NBA under his Muslim name, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Despite the presence on his squad of such towering superstars, Coach Wooden always credited his team's success to the spirit of selfless teamwork he inculcated in all his players. "Always think of passing the ball before shooting it," he told them. Despite the unparalleled success of his teams in the NCAA tournament, Wooden says his greatest satisfaction has come from seeing his players go on to be productive members of society off the court. (TAVIS SMILEY (2004)

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The basis of good leadership is honorable character and selfless service to your organization. People want to be guided by those they respect and who have a clear sense of direction. To gain respect, they must be ethical. A sense of direction is achieved by conveying a strong vision of the future. John Wooden’s father gave him a card when he graduated from elementary school. On it, his father wrote “his own personal Seven Point Creed” - practical advice that Wooden remembered all his life. (Hochman, Stan (2002) It is:

1.) Be True to Yourself
2.) Make each day your masterpiece.
3.) Help Others
4.) Drink deeply from good books, including the Good Book.
5.) Make Friendship a fine art.
6.) Build a shelter against a rainy day.
7.) Pray for guidance, and give thanks for your blessings every day.
Wooden explains. “When Dad handed me the little 3X5 card he said, ‘Johnny try and follow this advice and you’ll do fine.’ (Masin, Herman L (2001)

 Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent. Leaders carry out this process by applying their leadership attributes, such as beliefs, values, ethics, character, knowledge, and skills.  Leadership differs in that it makes the followers want to achieve high goals, rather than simply bossing people around. According to John Wooden, team success is dependent on the individual success of each team member. Conversely, each team member’s success is dependent on the success of the whole. Presents Wooden’s definition of individual success as the “peace of mind which is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming”. John Wooden devoted his life’s work to explaining how to coach people to achieve that peace of mind, that success. His methods produced winning teams for decades. His formula for coaching provides a classic model for today’s business leader by showing how to build a winning business team, one that will endure through the continual uncertainty of today’s business environment. (STEVE INSKEEP (2007)

Wooden’s Motivation and coaching style: John Wooden was a motivation to his players over the years. His aptitude, his players, his reliance all played a role in their achievement, and victory to him was measured more by his young men than by any trophy case. Extrinsic motivation leads to engagement in an activity as a means to an end or for some external reward. Motivation occurs when individuals experience feelings of incompetence and lack of control; they no longer have a reason to participate. Although there is a tremendous amount of research on motivation in sport and on the coaching process, research on how successful coaches define and address motivation is limited. It is obvious that motivation is an essential aspect of athletic performance, but what does motivation mean to successful coaches, and what strategies do they use to motivate their athletes? The context in which Coach Wooden's work provides insight into why he expected athletes to enter the program highly self-motivated, and therefore do not view motivation as a primary role of the coach. John Wooden, who won 10 national championships in a span of 12 years as coach of the UCLA men's basketball team, was observed over a series of practices in the mid-1970s. It was found that Wooden used very little praise as motivation during practices. (STEVE INSKEEP (2007)

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Wooden's negligible use of praise is particularly instructive when you consider the motivational level of his students. There may be no more highly motivated groups trying to learn something than these young athletes for whom success can mean fame and fortune, plus more immediate social benefits. Under such conditions of maximum incentive, praise becomes virtually unnecessary. Coach Wooden made a statement and said, 'If you have peaks, you are going to have valleys.' The peaks come about if you really are putting so much emphasis on one game, you can bet on the fact that the next game is not going to be a very positive situation, so we try to keep a steady preparation level. (STEVE INSKEEP (2007)

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Since retiring from coaching, Wooden has spoken often at corporate, military, and sports meetings, expounding on his theories to maximize personal and team accomplishments, which he calls the "Pyramid of Success." He has been in great demand as a motivational speaker, but he rarely addresses audiences of big-money donors, or where the admission price is too high. "I’m not comfortable with that," he says. "Not everyone can give that kind of money and those who give smaller amounts are just as important." According to Coach Wooden giving maximum effort is a simple strategy athletes can use to demonstrate their level of motivation to their coaches. Wooden often use to modify his coaching strategies largely based on the level of motivation shown by his athletes, particularly in practice situations. Wooden won his first championship in 1964 with an undersized, full-court-pressing team. A year later Pauley Pavilion opened on campus, and the coach had made sure the university had built him no fancy Dan arena but a classroom in which the bleachers could be rolled back and he could recreate the atmosphere of the one-room schoolhouse in which he grew up. (Neville Johnson (2003)

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Wooden taught by using the "whole-part" method, breaking the game down to its elements "just like parsing a sentence," he would say, sounding like the English teacher he had indeed once been. He applied the four basic laws of learning: explanation, demonstration, correction and repetition. And he developed a pedagogy resting on the notion that basketball is a game of threes: forward, center, guard; shoot, drive, pass; ball, you, man; conditioning, skill, teamwork. As a coach who shunned recruiting, put relatively little stock in the scouting of opponents and refused to equate success with winning, Wooden figured to have become a great failure rather than college sports' preeminent winner of all time. An article of faith among coaches holds that one must be intolerant of mistakes, but here, too, Wooden was contrarians. He considered errors to be precious opportunities for teaching preferably in practice, of course. And the games were exams. "Wooden isn't the game coach everybody thinks he is," said Jack Hirsch, who played on that first title team. "He doesn't have to be. He's so good during the week; he sits back, relaxes and has fun watching the game. The pyramid below represents Wooden’s Success plan:

"Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming." (John Wooden and Steve Jamison (2005)

Conclusion: Wooden is without question one of the most respected and honored sports coaches in our nations history. But it wasn't winning games that drove him; it was ensuring that, regardless of the final score, his players always put forth their utmost effort and performed to the best of their abilities. "Wooden" and "leadership" are synonymous. On and off various basketball courts, first as a player and then as a coach, John Wooden demonstrated talents, skills, and qualities of character seldom found in a single person. He led others by example but also by the force of his convictions. he was a strict disciplinarian with non-negotiable values who had zero-tolerance of attitude and behavior he perceived to be selfish, rude, unsportsmanlike, or indolent. He invariably accepted his team's defeat with grace but was saddened - sometimes so angered he exclaimed "Goodness gracious sakes!" -- by anything less than a best-effort, not only by his assistant coaches and players but also (especially) by himself. It should be added that, according to those who know him best (including coaches of opponents' teams), he has always been an exceptionally thoughtful, caring, and decent person. (Neville Johnson (2003)

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Wooden believed that a good coach knows that each of the players on their team is an individual and that each has special values when it comes to motivation and support. The method that a coach uses to motivate and inspire one individual may not work for anyone else on the team. Good coaches moreover look for the small things that individuals can improve. He was no doubt one of the greatest collegiate basketball coaches in history. Wooden kept diaries on each of his players. He kept track of the small improvements he felt they could make and then, at the end of practice, he would share these thoughts with each player. Wooden’s unique insight and his unprecedented achievements a .806 winning percentage, 19 conference championships, 10 national championships, seven straight national titles and four unbeaten seasons have stood the test of time. A good coach works daily to improve the small things that help the team perform at its best. (Hochman, Stan (2002)

Victorious, or effectual, coaches are extremely driven, thoughtful, and widen a coaching style that is consistent with their unique personality. In essence, reflecting on who you are (personality) and your perceived role as a coach (role frame) leads to the development of a genuine coaching style that takes advantage of your unique personal strengths. He always treated players and officials with respect, never with the Bobby Knight-style fury and bombast. Even when he was angry, Wooden has always said "darn" instead of "damn." In his entire career as player and coach, he received two technical fouls and he still maintains that one of them was called by mistake, when someone behind him yelled a profanity, and the referee thought it was Wooden. "Wooden had a saying for that phenomenon, as he did for most things in life. In this case the quote is from Cervantes: "The journey's better than the end." Somehow Wooden's impossibly corny, middle-American way of imparting these larger truths actually got through to the rebellious baby boomers in his charge. Perhaps Wooden had taken conventional wisdom and stripped it down so starkly that it struck players like Bill Walton and Lew Alcindor and Keith Wilkes as revolutionary in some refreshing way. Wooden was a wizard not a saint. Uneasy with the world beyond his gym, he let a renegade booster sink fingers into the UCLA program and compromise its integrity. But those corrupting influences never broke the seal of the capsule that encased Bruin basketball for those hours each week that Wooden spent alone with his players. Although he made possible the cult of the coach, which only a decade later began turning many of the dandified men who work the sidelines into millionaires, Wooden was making only $32,500 a year when he retired in 1975. Any reservations about his decision to quit evaporated when an alumnus came up to him after his final game, in which UCLA defeated Kentucky for none other than the NCAA title. (Hochman, Stan (2002)

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Wooden, preparation is pivotal and every detail matters. Despite his almost obsessive focus on getting the little things right, Wooden believes in balance and consistency. One of the most important things is the ability to listen—listen to others. As he emphasizes that one can learn from his her students like they learn from you. You must analyze all those who are under your supervision. You must remember to make all those under your supervision feel that you are working together toward a common goal. Never make anyone feel that they are working for you. You have to listen to others because that is where we learn, from listening to others. It doesn’t mean solely by our ears: We can do it by our eyes and in other ways. You must listen to others. (Neville Johnson (2003)

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Resources

Neville Johnson (2003) the John Wooden Pyramid of Success: The Authorized Biography, Philosophy and Ultimate Guide to Life, Leadership, Friendship and Love of the Greatest Coach in the History of Sports.

STEVE INSKEEP (2007) John Wooden on College Basketball's Lost Beauty Morning Edition (NPR); Mar 30.

Hochman, Stan (2002) John Wooden's book accentuates people skills in new book.(Knight Ridder Newspapers) Knight
Ridder/Tribune News Service; Feb 11.

John Wooden and Steve Jamison (2005) Wooden on Leadership; Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies.

TAVIS SMILEY (2004) Interview: Coach John Wooden talks about his career, the state of basketball today and his new book, "Coach Wooden One-On-One" Tavis Smiley (NPR); Mar 22.

asin, Herman L (2001) John Wooden The Wizard of Westwood.(Interview) Coach and Athletic Director; Apr 1.

 
 


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