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Deliberate Practice

Teaching Values

Legendary coach John Wooden just turned 98 years old, and The Sporting News took that particular occasion to interview him. The resulting Q&A should inspire and help anyone who is pursuing success.

One story in particular reminds anyone who coaches – and anyone who is being coached – about the real lessons of practice.

Wooden recalls the case of Andy Hill, one of his players at UCLA. Like so many of Wooden’s players, Hill won a national championship or two. But that wasn’t enough for Hill. He wanted to play more, and he blamed Wooden for all that time spent on the bench.

Hill stopped talking to Wooden, a silence that continued for a quarter of a century. Hill went on to great success. Finally, during a round of golf, a thought struck him. All of his success was a result of values he had learned while playing basketball at UCLA!

He called his former coach on the phone, and the two reunited. They even produced a book together, called “Be Quick – But Don’t Hurry! Finding Success in the Teachings of a Lifetime.”

After years and years, Hill realized that Wooden had taught more than just basketball. He had taught a way to live. In his “Pyramid of Success” Wooden made the qualities of industriousness, friendship, loyalty, cooperation and enthusiasm the blocks on which all success rested.

The best coaches are the ones who incorporate values into their practices. Just ask Andy Hill.


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