Coach John Wooden and the real definition of success…

As a PE teacher, rugby coach & player I am always on the look out for little pearls of wisdom that can have a positive effect on myself and students.  About 1 year ago I discovered Coach John Wooden & his ‘Pyramid of Sucess’. He was the UCLA basketball coach in the 1960s & 70s who are still the most successful basketball team in the history of the game.  His simple yet profound thoughts and outlook on life are worth investigating and sharing with any young person to help them realise what true success is.

For more information have a look at his website & his ‘Pyramid of Success’.

To give you a taste, here’s his definition of success:

‘Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you are capable’

On his website, you can click on each section of the pyramid for more information.

Finally, check out his TED talk here which gives you an idea of what type of person he was:

I highly recommend any teacher, coach or parent to take a few minutes to discover the work of the legendary Coach Wooden.



2 Responses to Coach John Wooden and the real definition of success…

  1. Dave Gale says:

    Nice little pyramid and I like some of the key words in there, especially Enthusiam, Industriousness and Self-control.

    Just a little curious that by his definition, if I go for a job interview and do my best but don’t get the job, as long as I feel peace of mind, then I’ve been successful. I wonder how many students would agree with this?

    • I just think it links nicely with Carol Dweck’s growth mindset research & is a great message to convey to anyone, regardless of age. His definition, in my opinion, means that as long as you are striving to improve & learn everyday then that is success in itself. Consequently, if you do purposefully strive to improve every day then you increase your chances of achieving great things over time. That’s my take on it anyway..

      I explicitly use all the terms with the school rugby team I coach, especially the 3 you have mentioned above. They are all displayed on the changing room walls. The last things they see before they go out to train / play a match are 2 posters with ‘Was I better today than yeaterday?’ on & ‘Competitive Greatness – performing at your best when your best is required – your best is required every day’. I should get these up in my form room & PE classrooms for lessons also.

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