"Coach" at Purdue Coach John Wooden Coach on the sidelines at UCLA game
Wooden Way Leadership

A Business Management Seminar Based on the Leadership Principles of the "Coach of the Century"


Seminar Description

Who Should Attend

The Coach's Approach

In 1948, Coach Wooden uprooted his family from Indiana to coach the basketball team at the University of California at Los Angeles - site unseen. As the story is told, John honored this commitment despite receiving what he deemed to be a more desirable offer from the University of Minnesota; however that school's offer did not arrive by the agreed-upon deadline (supposedly due to a snowstorm). By that time, Coach had given his word.

Upon arrival at UCLA, Coach slowly began instilling the fundamental changes that would serve the program well for the next twenty-seven years.  A meticulous planner and proponent of self-discipline, no detail was too small for his initial teaching intervention.

On day one of practice, blister-avoidance dictated that his players received a personal tutorial on how to properly put on one's socks and sneakers. From here, "advice" was rendered about personal grooming and appearance - for as "representatives of the University of California at Los Angeles, the Coach wanted "clean-cut" looks. His "students" were also given "suggestions" about the importance of punctuality, the ability to concentrate upon the task at-hand, the need for proper conditioning, and the acceptance of personal responsibility - which included locker room tidiness. Above all, at no time were grades or class attendance to slip.

Once in the gym, the Coach's detailed planning unfolded. For two hours each day, the players hustled to the Coach's choreography so noted on his "3x5" cards, with each minute's activity geared toward achievement. Drills were run stressing increased tempo and fitness. Skills were developed and sharpened until confidence emerged. Contingencies were rehearsed until flaws were minimized or eliminated. Plays were repeated under game conditions to increase poise and effectiveness. Teamwork was emphasized at individual cost.

At every turn and with every dribble, the Coach stood with his watchful eye. With an internal focus, his goal was to put the best prepared, most fundamentally sound team on the court, game after game.

Obviously, no one did it better.