John Wooden: A Coach’s Best Friend

From Wooden, by Steve Jamison

I used the bench to teach. When future two-time All-American Walter Hazzard first came to us at UCLA, he had a tendency to get a little fancy. He didn’t continue being fancy because he liked to play. Early on we may have lost a couple of games because I sat him on the bench for being too fancy. I tell coaches at coaching clinics, “The greatest ally you have to get things working well and players performing as a team is the bench. Don’t be afraid to use it, whether for a star player of anyone else. In fact, the overall effect can be better when you bench a star. The other players see it and play harder because of it.” Even if there is  a price to paid, don’t be afraid to use appropriate discipline. It may hurt in the short term, but it will pay dividends in the future.

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