Wooden on Character

“You don’t make your character in a crisis, you exhibit it.”
—Oren Arnold

John Wooden was the basketball coach at UCLA for twenty-seven years. He never had a losing season. Wooden’s teams won seven consecutive national championships, and UCLA posted an eighty-eight-game winning streak that spanned four seasons. Surprisingly, he never talked to his players about winning.

Wooden’s formula for success was to emphasize constant improvement and performance. He avoided getting his teams “up,” because he knew that would eventually bring a valley. Instead, he was never satisfied with past performances; they could always be improved. Improvement meant rigorous preparation toward new goals. “I believe that failure to prepare is preparing to fail,” Wooden told his players.

But the coach never prepared his teams to play a particular opponent; he prepared his teams to play anyone, at any time. Wooden preached that success was not outscoring the opponent, it was being able to hold your chin up after the game and know that you have given your best effort. Of course, if you have done your best, the score will usually be to your liking, when you are deserving. Wooden was more concerned about his players’ character than ability.

A person with good character will respond to adversity by learning and overcoming. Wooden believed that good players will be honest, consistent, and work together as a team, and if those players also have ability, they will become true champions.

How’s your character showing?  Michael

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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