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How to Win

Total Investment

We’ve called in an expert. Trying to coach our middle school basketball team as best we can, we got an instructional video starring John Wooden.

Wooden, legendary coach at UCLA, did not disappoint. Before mentioning even one word about dribbling or shooting, Wooden defined success. He said that to him, success means being able to hold your head high and know that you did your very best to prepare.

This involves more than may first appear. Wooden is not talking about huffing and puffing at practice; he’s talking about total investment. Only one person knows if you have truly done your best, and that person is you.

Only you know if you have given all in practice. Only you know how you live BETWEEN practices, so that you can show up and do your best in the gym. Your life between practices really reflects the level of your investment.

Florida just played — and lost — a title game against Alabama days after junior defensive end Carlos Dunlap was found slumped in a car that was idling at an intersection.

On the eve of Super Bowl XXIII in 1989, Cincinnati running back Stanley Wilson was found in his bathroom, apparently under the influence of drugs. The Bengals wound up losing a close game to the San Francisco 49ers.

These players failed the test of total investment. As Vince Lombardi said, “Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing.”

Before you ask your players about the level of their investment, take a look at yours. Do you take the time to write an effective practice blueprint? Do you keep yourself as fit as possible so you can bring lots of energy to the gym?

This is all part of total investment — Coach Wooden’s definition of success.


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