Pyramid of Success

Click the link below to download the doc 'Pyramid of Success for Umpires -2- Enthusiasm

Click the link below to download the doc 'Pyramid of Success for Umpires -1- Industriousness'

Then And Now - by Larry Gallagher

Coach John Wooden's Pyramid of Success

I would like to introduce you to Coach John Wooden's Pyramid of Success. I believe that for all players, coaches, administrators and officials to be successful we need to develop qualities that will lead us to success. For those that don't remember or never heard of John Wooden, he is a legendary basketball coach who spent the majority of his career at UCLA. His teams won more national championships than anyone before or since. Wooden turned 99 years old this year. That in itself speaks of someone who has not only lived, but lived well. His greatest achievement is in the players that he coached (or "taught" according to John himself).

Wooden coached at the high school level and at Indiana State University early in his career. He was going to accept a coaching job at the University of Minnesota, but when a snowstorm knocked out the telephone lines between his home and Minneapolis, he did not receive the call from Minnesota at 6:00pm as promised. When UCLA (his second choice) called at about 6:15 that evening, he took the job in California and the rest is history.

I would like to put you all in touch with a great website: I hope you all peruse what he and others have posted. In my humble opinion, the greatest part of the website is something Coach Wooden put together and has refined over the years - the Pyramid of Success. Wooden has tried to teach using the pyramid throughout his entire career. He does not really consider himself a coach, but rather a teacher. (He even wrote a book entitled, "They Call Me Coach.")

The Pyramid of Success, like all pyramids, starts with a strong base and continues to rise to the peak - where Wooden places success as the crowning achievement. He mentions along the way that the wins are not the goal, but just byproducts of success. He said the first 15 years at UCLA when his teams didn't win a national championship were no less successful than the next years when they won so many NCAA titles. He says that he didn't teach or coach any differently, except that he learned and expanded his knowledge about how to coach during those first 15 years, which helped produce more wins in the years that followed.

The base of the pyramid begins in the lower left with the word Industriousness which, according to Coach Wooden, is simply defined as working hard. "There is no substitute for work. None. Worthwhile things come from real work."

The right side of the pyramid's base has the word Enthusiasm. Coach Wooden says, "You must love what you do. Your heart must be in it. Without enthusiasm, you cannot work up to your fullest ability and potential; you're just going through the motions. And just going through the motions won't bring you to the level of competitive greatness we seek whether in basketball, business, or life."

Friendship, Loyalty and Cooperation are the remaining three part of the pyramid's foundation. I will let you go to the website to discover what Wooden says about them. We now have five key concepts to build the pyramid from its foundation to its peak.

The second level includes the following terms to understand: Self-Control, Alertness, Initiative and Intentness. I will discuss just two of them here.

Self-control is defined by Coach Wooden simply by reversing the words and saying control of self. He says it is essential for discipline and controlling emotions. A player, coach or official cannot perform effectively if their emotions are not under their own control. Careless mistakes often occur when uncontrolled emotions are rampant. Bad judgments occur whenever we allow our emotions to affect our behavior.

Intentness can be described using synonyms such as perseverance, determination, persistence or tenacity. Wooden says intentness is "the ability to resist temptation and stay the course, to concentrate on your objective with determination and resolve. Impatience is wanting too much too soon. Intentness doesn't involve wanting something. It involves doing something often for a very long time."

The third level of the pyramid includes Condition, Skill and Team Spirit. Let's look at all three of these. To Coach Wooden, condition includes physical, mental and moral. All three must be present before they can affect you in a positive way. I will leave it at that and hope you read more of his assessment.

Skill is knowing what to do and being able to execute it quickly and properly. Wooden mentions in his thoughts on skill that experience is important, but he also says that if the experienced player, attorney or ditch digger doesn't have skill with the experience, it really doesn't matter. The result will always be bad play, bad law or no ditches being dug.

Team Spirit is on the center level of the pyramid for a very good reason. Without team spirit, almost all will be lost and success cannot be achieved. It is what pulls everything together from above and below on the pyramid. Coach Wooden says he initially defined team spirit as "a willingness to sacrifice personal interest or glory for the welfare of all." But he goes on to say that the word "willingness" in his definition bothered him; it was "not quite right." I'll let you look at the website to read more of what he has to say.

Level four of the pyramid gives us the terms Poise and Confidence. Coach defines poise as "being true to oneself, not getting rattled, thrown off, unbalanced regardless of the circumstances or situation." Again, check the website for more details on this term. Confidence is defined by Wooden as "self-belief: the knowledge that your preparation is complete, that you have done all things possible to ready yourself and your organization for the competition whatever form it comes in."

This brings us to the peak of the pyramid, Competitive Greatness, which Coach describes as "A real love for the hard battle, knowing it offers the opportunity to be at your best when your best is required."

So there you have John Wooden's Pyramid of Success. Success is defined by Coach as "peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction knowing you made the effort to become the best that you are capable of becoming."

Now I suggest that all of you, as a player, coach, administrator or official, put forth the effort this season to become a successful person first and then a successful coach, player, administrator or official.

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