From John Wooden’s book, “Wooden”…

Preparation Is the Prize

Cervantes wrote, “The journey is better than the inn.” He is right and that is why I derived my greatest satisfaction out of the preparation—the “journey”-day after day, week after week, year after year.

Your journey is the important thing. A score, a trophy, a ribbon is simply the inn.

Thus, there were many, many games that gave me as much pleasure as any of the ten championship games we won, simply because we prepared fully and played near our highest level of ability.

The so-called importance of a particular game didn’t necessarily add to the satisfaction I felt in preparing for the contest. It was the journey I prized above all else.

Thanks to the great Fred Klatsky for sharing this with me.


“The softest pillow is a clear conscience.”

I want to give you a test. It’s called the pillow test.

Tonight, when you put your head on the pillow, see which of the following you say to yourself…

“I’m glad I did.”


“I wish I had.”

See, one of the mental toughness secrets of the greatest athletes in history is this…


Or, as I always say, “It’s better to go all-out and lose than it is to hold back and win. Because when you hold back, you are training yourself to hold back.”

As you go through your day, you will have many decisions to make, and the only thing you should consider is this…

“Am I going to go all-out or am I going to hold back?”

Let me know how you do on the test.

Leave your comments below and thanks for reading.


Yesterday was another great day here in South Florida. We headed to Sawgrass Recreation Center and cruised through the Everglades searching for alligators. I then held a baby gator in my hands (above).

Talk about mental toughness!

After that we headed up to Delray Beach, but not before stopping at Match Point Tennis shop to say hello to master stringer, Chris Kennedy.

In Delray, we had one of the most amazing dinners at Cabana, Cuban restaurant. We then headed to DaDa for a private screening of the documentary, Delray Beach ITC 2010. It was great meeting the producer, Matt Prickett and seeing Marlena Hall and John Butler. Even Chris Evert’s sister was there!

Yesterday was a great day and today I will be meeting with Richard Ashby, National Coach for USTA Player Development in Boca, located at the Evert Academy.

As I sit here in Starbucks, I can’t help but think about John Wooden and how he re-defined success and helped create the person and coach I am. Do yourself a favor and watch the video below.


Greetings from Florida, Day 3. I am having a great time and my talk yesterday in Key Largo was very well received. I sold many books and connected with some great Florida coaches.

Sarah and I then had a great lunch at the Conch House, which was featured on the Food Network.

Today we are in Dania Beach/Hollywood.

As I blog here at Starbucks, I can’t stop thinking about the late, great Coach John Wooden.

Much of my coaching and life philosophy came from John Wooden. And much of John Wooden’s coaching and life philosophy came from his father.

His father used to say:

“You should never try to be better than someone else.

Always learn from others.

Never cease trying to be the best that you can be – that’s under your control.”

Here are some other great quotes from Wooden…

“Never mention winning – you can lose when you outscore somebody in a game and you can win when you are outscored.”

“Give your best effort and your results will be what they should. The score of a game is a by-product and not the end itself.”

“The journey (practice) is better than the end (game). The game is to see if they did a decent job (in practice) during the week.”

Success is…“Peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you are capable.”

“Character is what you are, your reputation is what you are perceived to be.”

“We hope that things will turn out the way we want them to, but we don’t do the things that are necessary to make those things become reality.”

Wooden’s 3 Rules (From his father):

Never be late

Never use profanity

Never criticize a teammate

“Never mistake activity for achievement.”

“He just used sports as a means to teach us how to apply ourselves to any situation.” -KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR


In the 1930s, a poem stuck with Wooden that helped shape his philosophy. Watch the vlog below to see me recite the poem.


The greatest basketball coach in history passed away last night. He was also one of my inspirations. Here’s his definition of success…

Success is…

“Peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you are capable.” -JOHN WOODEN