“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.”—John Wooden
John Wooden won ten national championships in twelve years. I’d say that gives him the right to define what success witin a team construct looks like! Wooden (or J-Dub as my team called him) recognized that success isn’t only in the X’s and O’s. Here are a few ways that you can use his Pyramid of Success with your team.
3 different ways to use the Pyramid of Success with your team
As I talked about in this article, I’ve used the Pyramid with my teams as a builder of team chemistry. It helps to get everyone on the same page as to what is and is not acceptable behavior for our team. We sit down over the course of our season and go through the blocks and they get to see exactly what it will take for our team to be successful. Many of the blocks relate to their off-the-court lives, showing them why friendship, loyalty, and cooperation are key ingredients to any successful team.
Most team goals come down to be great in competition. However your team chooses to phrase your goals, it comes down to winning when it counts…or competitive greatness. The beauty of the Pyramid is that Wooden knew in order to be competitively great, a lot of work has to be put in by everyone on the team. We can’t just stroll in casually on the first day of practice talking about we want to win conference. There must be an intense focus on many other things (the other blocks of the Pyramid) before you can achieve competitive greatness. It’s a great carrot to hang out in front of the team and hopefully it will spur them on to do the work that is required to accomplish their goals.
The Pyramid is a great coaching tool as well. Whether you’ve got teammates who aren’t getting along with one another as well as they should, or leaders who aren’t leading, or players dogging it in practice…it’s all addressed by the Pyramid. It goes back to the quotation at the top of this post. The coach can always ask their players if they’ve got peace of mind that they’ve done everything within their power to be their very best. If the player can answer yes, then that’s the end of the conversation, but if they hesitate…
For players, all they can do is all they can do and no coach could ask them to do more. The Pyramid of Success is a great measure for each individual on your team to make sure they’ve maxed out their potential. Imagine how good your team would be if everyone gave their very best effort in every practice and game! Wooden’s Pyramid of Success can help you guide them along their way.