I was watching John Wooden YouTube video, and there were so many good pointers on coaching and success.
Here were some take-home points, with my own commentary for good measure!
So to wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year (Year of the Horse), here are my 7 tips:
- Never Stop Learning!
This was probably the most valuable lesson I learned in my meeting with legendary coach John Smith. Coaches are teachers, and teachers make mistakes sometimes. You have to try new things. Experiment. See what works for one athlete, which may not work for another. Even after producing several world class athletes, John admits he is still learning.
- Surround Yourself with Those Who Can Help You.
Remember your support staff! That includes your massage therapist and physiotherapist. Even your Team Manager who enters the athletes into the track meets. And of course, let us not forget our sponsors!
- Feed Your Friendlies
Get to know your teammates.. It’s track team, remember? At the very first basketball practice of the season, UCLA coach John Wooden would have all the athletes stand up in front of everyone and tell the entire team their story: where they are from, what their father did for a living, how many brother and sisters they had, etc. So the next time you passed a basketball to your teammate, you can say you know him!
- Dream Big Dreams, Do Big Things!
I’ve often said, if you’re going to dream, dream big! Having a big dream and not achieving it is not a crime. Having a modest dream and making it is.
- Recharge Your Batteries
The 4 Rs are very important in the off season. You want the athletes coming back fresh and hungry in the fall. 48 weeks of hard training is a long way to go.
- Go the Extra Mile
This is classic old fashioned wisdom: Run 101 meters in a 100m race, run 401 meters in a 400m race. Run an extra mile in a marathon! Well, maybe not, but you get the point.
- Finish What You Start (or Just Get Started!)
In the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Tanzanian runner John Stephen Ahkwari was the last runner in the marathon. He finished about an hour and a half after the winner, practically carrying his leg, as it was so bloodied and bandaged.
Film Director Bud Greenspan asked him, “Why did you keep going?” He said, “You don’t understand. My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start a race, they sent me to finish it.”