Academic Master


Wooden’s Leadership Game Plan for Success

The book I have selected for review is “Leadership Game Plan for Success” written by renowned American coach John Wooden which presents a luxurious opportunity to get a leadership coaching course under the guidance of the 20th century’s best coach who never neglects any detail. He is a well-honored basketball coach of America, the son of a poor farmer, a principled man, and is the best among all the basketball coaches of all time as he leads with principles no matter how difficult the surrounding is. According to John, as he summarizes the aim of sport, a person without set principles and ethics in his life is a dead soul because body, mind, spirit, soul, and career are nothing without each other. They require a sort of balance that represents them as one unit as a foundation for happiness and prosperity around. He, furthermore, sheds light on the importance of ethics outside the court of basketball as he declares that basketball is not the essence of life but the “behavior” is. So, he emphasizes the core principle of sport that “your game must be a reflection of your behavior outside the basketball court as well” as behavior and ethics matter more than awards and trophies in the game. The core principles of ethics, positive behavior, and sportsmanship discussed in the book enable John to earn the status of the “greatest ever” in basketball history. Thus, this coaching book is recommended to all sport-oriented people who believe in John’s principle of “show commitment, play and desire for the best with eagerness, and the outcome would be best at the end” to push players to believe in all-around integrity and goodness.

12 Lessons in Leadership for Success

Here are curated 12 important lessons in leadership suggested by the Basketball Legend, John Wooden in the book that should be considered by the leader for winning the race.

Good Values Attract Good People

According to John, leadership creates belief in the leader and his/her mission among the members of the team for winning the race. He values the presence of each member of the team and emphasizes that everyone should be treated with dignity and equality. Selection of the team members who recognize and value shared attitudes, beliefs, and standards is the key rule as good values are the magnet to attract good people (Wooden, 2009).

Use “Love” in Sport- The Most Powerful Four-Letter Word

“Love”, a four-letter word that rules the world is also vital in the game as it is necessary for the extended family to keep people united, valued, and loved. John Wooden builds this principle on Coach Stagg’s advice that “love has more significance than ‘like’” and everyone should be treated with the love and dignity they deserve and earn (Wooden, 2009).

The leader is a Teacher

Wooden shares his philosophy of basketball that every team member he has worked with has the potential for personal greatness. He thinks that victory is secondary and what is significant in the court is the role of the leader that how he “teaches” his team the strategies and tactics to earn the victory.

Emotion is an Enemy of a Leader

John shares his viewpoint that emotionalism is an enemy for a leader that leads a team having the potential but ultimately he meets destructive outcomes as emotions make a leader and his team vulnerable. Contrary to that, consistency is what marks the high performance and personal greatness of a leader.

A Prospective Team Scores a Basket

John Wooden clears that leader is nothing without his team as the star performer of a team is the team itself. Out of his life-long experience in various basketball courts, he curates some of the essential things necessary for a player, and our team’s effective contacts and collaboration for disseminating information and ideas.

Little Things Make Mighty Things Happen

It is a famous saying that “little things make big things happen in the universe” and removing the little details can result in sloppiness (Wooden, 2009). Wooden states that success starts from the ground up therefore a leader should teach small but good habits and strategies to his team members for winning the game.

Every Day is a Masterpiece

Wooden says a universal truth as he mentions his lesson 7 for leaders to achieve the success that every single day is a masterpiece that if treated with great respect yet carelessly brings good outcomes. To accomplish the greatness of a day, a leader must observe personal punctuality to teach the rest of the members of his team the respect and significance of time.

Praise is Important to Improve, Rectify, and Change

Wooden highlights that every team member has the prospective potential to accomplish the task under the supervision of a dedicated leader that aims to supersede “we” into “me” to help his team members achieve the desired outcomes of the task (Wooden, 2009). Therefore, praise is an important factor on the part of the leader for every individual to give team members the range for improvement and significant change.

Greatness Should be Available to Everyone

John Wooden points out that a leader’s greatness should be available to every member of the team equally and that can only be achieved through maintaining balance. Balance is everything in life whether it is a basketball sport or no basketball area (Wooden, 2009). This thought really shapes the new era of athleticism as every sport has a unique set of strategies and principles with it but “balance” is the common yet significant thing that helps people achieve a place where they can leave a distinct mark on the planet.

Seek Significant Change

A leader must listen to each member of his team to seek significant change through healthy ideas and opinions. Wooden suggests that the team should observe a robust exchange of opinions that are not disrespectful and disruptive if a leader wants to win the race.

Never Look at the Scoreboard

John Wooden presents his refreshing rule that a leader must keep an eye on today’s efforts, not on tomorrow’s results. In other words, he says that a leader must break the habit of looking at the scoreboard so that a potential team can focus on running on the ground or court rather than winning.

Adversity is an Asset for Leadership

Every individual who has landed on this planet has to face adversity in some parts of his life and a leader of any sport is no exception to this rule. However, a prospective leader can change the adverse situations into stronger opportunities to recognize a lucky chance that wore the disguise of bad luck.


Concluding the discussion building on Wooden’s coaching book on leadership game plan, I have inferred that a good leader not just runs for the productivity but is an athlete in the game with good heart and intentions. I love the way Wooden embarks on the individual contribution and role of each player in the game when he says “every member of the team has the potential for personal greatness” to boost a leader’s as well as his/her members’ morale and sportsmanship for the collective success in the field. This book is worth the time of a reader and a quick read for those who are seeking for a market specialist’s viewpoints on the leadership. I have found this book impressive not just because of Wooden’s philosophy of leadership and his memorable motto “a leader must help his/her team to achieve personal greatness in and out of the game court” but also because of him as a successful, well-mannered, and dedicated person outside of the basketball court. Highly recommended for the young athletes!

Works Cited

Wooden, John, and Steve Jamison. Coach Wooden’s leadership game plan for success: 12 lessons for extraordinary performance and personal excellence. McGraw Hill Professional, 2009.



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