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The Little Things Are The Big Things

A Lesson From Legendary Coach John Wooden


John Wooden is one of the best coaches of all-time.

As the head basketball coach of UCLA, he won 10 NCAA national championships in a 12-year period, including a record seven in a row.

No other team has won more than three in a row in Division 1 college basketball.

But he didn’t accomplish that success by being obsessed with the score.

Actually, it was the opposite.

Wooden always preached preparation first. If the team prepared and played to their full potential, then the score wouldn’t matter.

“Peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you’re capable.”


Despite his massive success, Wooden was hyper-focused on the small details. Here’s an example:

On the first practice of every season, Wooden spent the majority of time teaching his players an important lesson: how to put on their socks.

Picture Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton, two of the greatest basketball players of all-time, going through this instruction.

They thought he was crazy.

So why did he do it?

Because wrinkles in a sock can lead to blisters. Blisters can lead to injury. Injury can lead to time off. Time off can lead to losses for the team.

Wooden focused on every single detail that he (and the team) could control and let the other variables (opponent, score, etc.) play themselves out.

The little things are the big things.

What are some of the small details you can pay more attention to?

“You’ll find that success and the attention to details, the smallest details, often go hand in hand.”


Originally published at medium.com

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