John Wooden Quotes

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John Wooden Quotes

John Wooden was an American basketball player and coach.

John Wooden, The legendary UCLA men’s basketball coach and six-time national coach of the year won 10 NCAA championships in 12 years—including an unprecedented seven in a row. He preached simplicity, patience and character building, and his pyramid of success has been used in board rooms and locker rooms alike.

As one of the only people inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player and a coach, Wooden’s motivation and mentorship lives on as a testament to his greatness.

He inspired former players, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton, but his motivational words reached beyond the stands, too, influencing the lives of many more.

 John Wooden was regarded as one of the wisest and best college coaches in the history of college basketball.

John Wooden was arguably known as much for his motivational words and wisdom off the court as he was for his ability to win championships on it.

Timeless and memorable lessons from the legendary coach

John Wooden Quotes

 “Make each day your masterpiece.”

 

“Never lie, never cheat, never steal.”

 

“Nothing will work unless you do.”

 

“Young people need models, not critics.”

John Wooden

“Never mistake activity for achievement.” 

 

“Today is the only day. Yesterday’s gone.”

 

“Never cease trying to be the best you can be.”

 

“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”

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“Young people need models, not critics.”

 

“I am just a common man who is true to his beliefs.”

 

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

 

“The best competition I have is against myself, to become better.”

 

 “The most important thing in the world is family and love.” 

Woodenisms

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

 

 “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

 

“Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.”

 

 “The best competition I have is against myself to become better. 

 

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”

 

 “Success is never final, failure is never fatal, and it’s courage that counts.”

 

“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.”

 

 “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

 

“The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.”

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”

 

“I had three rules for my players: No profanity. Don’t criticize a teammate. Never be late.”

 

“Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.”

“I don’t think I was a fine game coach. I’m trying to be honest. I think I was a good practice coach.”

 

 “You can lose when you outscore somebody in a game. And you can win when you’re outscored.” 

 

“What you are as a person is far more important than what you are as a basketball player.”

 

 “You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.” 

 

“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”

 

 “Just try to be the best you can be; never cease trying to be the best you can be. That’s in your power.” 

“Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

 

“My eyesight is not nearly as good. My hearing is probably going away. My memory is slipping too. But I’m still around.” 

 

“I think you have to be what you are. Don’t try to be somebody else. You have to be yourself at all times.”

 

“Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.” 

 

“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”

 

 “I think the teaching profession contributes more to the future of our society than any other single profession.” 

 

“Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.”

 

“Well, your greatest joy definitely comes from doing something for another, especially when it was done with no thought of something in return.” 

 

“Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”

 

 “There are many things that are essential to arriving at true peace of mind, and one of the most important is faith, which cannot be acquired without prayer.” 

 

“Material possessions, winning scores, and great reputations are meaningless in the eyes of the Lord, because He knows what we really are and that is all that matters.”

 

 “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” 

“Friendship is two-sided. It isn’t a friend just because someone’s doing something nice for you. That’s a nice person. There’s friendship when you do for each other. It’s like marriage – it’s two-sided.”

 

“There’s as much crookedness as you want to find. There was something Abraham Lincoln said – he’d rather trust and be disappointed than distrust and be miserable all the time. Maybe I trusted too much.” 

 

“Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendships a fine art, drink deeply from good books—especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day.”

 

 “In the end, it’s about the teaching, and what I always loved about coaching was the practices. Not the games, not the tournaments, not the alumni stuff. But teaching the players during practice was what coaching was all about to me.” 

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