Coach John Wooden: The 4 Things a Man Must Learn to Do

UPDATED: February 4, 2020
PUBLISHED: September 14, 2016
coachjohnwooden thingsamanmustlearntodo

“When you talk to John Wooden, you wouldn’t even know you were talking to a basketball coach,” says SUCCESS Ambassador and best-selling author John C. Maxwell. “It was the principles of life that people wanted to hear from him.”

Related: Framework of Success

In this short clip, Maxwell discusses Wooden’s leadership lessons that were passed down to his former players, such as sportscaster Bill Walton and actor Beau Bridges.

University of Memphis basketball coach Tubby Smith also discusses Wooden’s life lessons, including a poem by Henry Van Dyke passed down from Wooden’s father, Joshua Wooden.

Related: Timeless Lessons From John Wooden, the Greatest Coach of All Time

“Wooden always carried this creed on a card that his father gave him,” Smith says. “It read, ‘The four things a man must learn to do if he would make his record true.’”

  1. To think without confusion clearly
  2. To love his fellow-men sincerely
  3. To act from honest motives purely
  4. To trust in God and heaven securely

In his nearly 40 years as a coach and teacher, Wooden believed his greatest responsibility was to turn his players into mature and honorable young men, who were well prepared for life beyond basketball. He felt the students’ success should not only be measured by grades and wins alone, but also by heart and character. Wooden accomplished this with his teachings based in personal development.


Turn the impossible into your reality with the Framework of Success, a free video course with three timeless lessons from Coach Wooden.