Leader: John Wooden

Topics: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, John Wooden Pages: 2 (486 words) Published: November 23, 2011
John Wooden was a leader who influenced others through his teachings, emphasizing not only winning, but also the principles of integrity and character. Wooden was a basketball player, but most well known as a coach, winning an unprecedented 10 NCAA championships and one of the greatest winning records of all time. He coached players who became some of the greatest basketball players of our time, including Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Bill Walton. Wooden achieved his impressive winning record in large part due to his style of teaching. He was a great role model and inspirational leader that truly engrained principles in his players that lasted a lifetime. He preferred to emphasize practice and hard work rather than exploit natural talent. He believed in doing what you are driven to do regardless of financial gain or notoriety. He believed that everything else, including accolades naturally follows. One of my favorite stories about Wooden’s coaching methods relates to a recruiting preseason situation where a player had immense natural ability, but UCLA denied the player a scholarship on the recommendation of Wooden who identified a character flaw in the player during the recruiting process. This demonstrated how Wooden held strong to his principles and how he looked into other aspects of a player beyond playing ability. I think Wooden was so successful because he looked at the sum total of the players as a single force as opposed to a combined number of forces. He believed you could improve anyone through teaching, but there had to be an innate foundation of good character to be able to build on, which became a formula in making his teams. Growing up, I went to UCLA basketball games, and although I never saw Wooden coach, I learned his story early on. I have tried to emulate many of his qualities in running my own business, in my personal life, and especially in choosing members for teams. Even knowing Wooden’s story, I have made several mistakes that he...
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