Last night I finished reading "Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court." It was written by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and gave incredible insight to Coach Wooden that I have not read or heard. As an assistant at LSU under Dale Brown, we were blessed to have access to Coach Wooden and his wisdom. He would occasionally visit us in Baton Rouge and annually Coach Brown would fly to Englewood to visit with Coach and pick his brain. It also meant that I was given the opportunity to spend a day with Coach -- something I will never forget.
Kareem talks about his relationship with Coach Wooden and the lessons he learned. There are some incredibly deep and personal stories about their relationship making this one of my favorite books about Coach. If you are a Coach Wooden fan -- and as Coach Don Meyer would say, "We should all study Wooden" -- then this a must read.
Below is a short excerpt that talks about the process-oriented teaching of Coach Wooden:
Coach Wooden's most important lesson was that we should never focus on the outcome but on the activity itself. "Don't think about winning the game," he'd say. "Just do everything possible to prepare. As long as you know you have done everything possible and you have given your best self on the court, that is your reward. The scoreboard is meaningless." This philosophy, which became the basis for his time as an English teacher and coach, was inspired by an anonymously written poem he read in college:
Before God's footstool to confess
A poor soul knelt and bowed his head
"I failed," he wailed, The Master said,
"Thou did thy best, that is success."