They Call Me Coach Info

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4.45

1686 Ratings

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Reviews for They Call Me Coach:

5

Nov 18, 2012

A truly inspirational book by a truly inspirational man. Coach Wooden coached 17 seasons at Indiana and UCLA before winning a championship - and then he won 10 out of the next 12! He is one of the greatest coaches ever, and Reading his book gives some great insights into his philosophy.

My only criticism of the book is that I think he spent too much time comparing his players, and answering questions like "who was your greatest player". I guess he got those questions a lot, but it didn't add A truly inspirational book by a truly inspirational man. Coach Wooden coached 17 seasons at Indiana and UCLA before winning a championship - and then he won 10 out of the next 12! He is one of the greatest coaches ever, and Reading his book gives some great insights into his philosophy.

My only criticism of the book is that I think he spent too much time comparing his players, and answering questions like "who was your greatest player". I guess he got those questions a lot, but it didn't add much for me.

One of his top values was conditioning. He thought games were often or largely out of his control as a coach, but what was in his control was how conditioned his team was, and he made a point to have the best conditioned team out there. In fact, he often refused to call timeouts in key situations, banking on his teams conditioning down the stretch. As he said, "ninety percent of the time the game will be decided in the last 5 minutes", and of course the better conditioned team will make less mistakes in that time.

If any one premise typifies my teams in all the years I've coached, it is this concept. Often as a player, I'd tell myself, "I may play someone better than I am, but I'll never run against one who is going to be in better condition" And I never played against a man in my life I felt was in better shape, and Lambert often cited me as an example of top conditioning."

Another key aspect of Wooden's philosophy was that he believed the little things, the details, really mattered. Two examples of this: First one was that one of the first things he taught new players was how to properly put their socks and shoes on. It turns out, you can easily do it wrong, which leads to blisters - but kind of amazing to think of him teaching Kareem or Bill Walton how to put their socks on! The second was he really believed in strict discipline and cleanliness - for instance he believed in the team cleaning up a locker room before leaving. These little details would "establish a spirit of togetherness and consideration that help unite the team into a solid unit."

Wooden believed in focus, and "playing your game":

“In game play it was always my philosophy that patience would win out. By that, I meant patience to follow our game plan. If we believed in it, we would wear the opposition down and would eventually get to them. If we broke away from our style, however, and played their style, we would be in trouble. And if we let our emotions, rather than our reason, command the game we would not function effectively.”

Interestingly, Wooden didn't believe in "charging teams up on an emotional level", as many coaches do. In fact, I bet most people that that giving inspirational, charged up speeches is one of the key attributes of a great coach. So this was interesting - and helpful in a lot of ways - people respond more to confidence and having a plan.

One tactically smart thing Wooden did right before he started winning championships, was to change his practices from having 5 starters vs 5 second team, to 7 or 8 first teamers vs the rest. The first team during practice was literally a rotation between those 7 or 8. This got the key bench players used to playing with the first team, and made a world of a difference.

But I think my favorite takeaway from the book, was Wooden's philosophy on what to ask of his players. He didn't ask them to win. He asked them to strive to have a "perfect practice", or a "perfect game". In other words, to play to the very best they can in the given moment. While that may sound obvious, keeping his teams focused on that instead of winning likely made the difference. It's all too easy to start focusing on winning or losing or things that aren't in the moment.

“When I was teaching basketball, I urged my players to try their hardest to improve on that very day, to make that practice a masterpiece.

Too often we get distracted by what is outside our control. You can’t do anything about yesterday. The door to the past has been shut and the key thrown away. You can do nothing about tomorrow. It is yet to come. However, tomorrow is in large part determined by what you do today. So make today a masterpiece. You have control over that.

This rule is even more important in life than basketball. You have to apply yourself each day to become a little better. By applying yourself to the task of becoming a little better each and every day over a period of time, you will become a lot better. Only then will you will be able to approach being the best you can be. It begins by trying to make each day count and knowing you can never make up for a lost day.”


ps. I also loved how he had a secret signal with his wife before every game. ...more
4

Jul 22, 2011

John Wooden is the winningest coach in NCAA history, and a legend in the world of basketball. I spotted his autobiography on a friend's bookshelf and asked to borrow it. She also insisted that I take The Zookeeper's Wife . Suffice it to say that I thought this book was the better of the two.

There were three big things that I was left with at the end of the book:

One of the things that really struck me about this book was the way in which he described his former players. He speaks of them with John Wooden is the winningest coach in NCAA history, and a legend in the world of basketball. I spotted his autobiography on a friend's bookshelf and asked to borrow it. She also insisted that I take The Zookeeper's Wife . Suffice it to say that I thought this book was the better of the two.

There were three big things that I was left with at the end of the book:

One of the things that really struck me about this book was the way in which he described his former players. He speaks of them with genuine affection and care, and years after they've struck out on their own, you can tell that he still thinks about them and loves them. Wooden wasn't shy about using the word "love" in regard to his players.

Another thing that stuck out to me was his devotion to his wife. He absolutely doted on her, and the way he talked about her was beautiful to see. Nellie Wooden passed away in 1985, but Wooden remained faithful to her memory for the rest of his life. That's a rare love.

The last thing about Wooden that really made an impression on me was his love for God. He talks about his beliefs with not only conviction and passion, but with much love and affection for his Lord as well. He doesn't make any apologies for his faith, and he also doesn't try to make it the focus of the book. But it's as much a part of the book as it was a part of him.

My only criticism of the book was that it seemed a little disorganized at times. It was written with Jack Tobin, who writes for Sports Illustrated, so I was a little surprised that Tobin didn't rein in his subject a little.

But as far as sports books go, this is a great one, and a must-read for all fans of basketball, sportsmanship, and heroes. ...more
4

Jan 23, 2008

John Wooden is recognized as one of the greatest basketball coaches in the history of the game. He won an amazing 10 NCAA National Championships. A truly great leader.
5

Mar 28, 2014

There is only one word to describe this book - inspirational. They Call Me Coach is the story of John Wooden, the best NCAA Basketball coach of all time, winning 10 national championship with UCLA, including 7 in a row. The book tells most of his life, from his first coaching job to his last national championship. It also emphasizes John Wooden's principles of hard work and practice over winning, and not only focusing on getting to the top but staying at the top. They Call Me Coach also shows a There is only one word to describe this book - inspirational. They Call Me Coach is the story of John Wooden, the best NCAA Basketball coach of all time, winning 10 national championship with UCLA, including 7 in a row. The book tells most of his life, from his first coaching job to his last national championship. It also emphasizes John Wooden's principles of hard work and practice over winning, and not only focusing on getting to the top but staying at the top. They Call Me Coach also shows a full, two-page picture of John Wooden's famous Pyramid of Success. Overall this book is amazing and really inspirational for any upcoming athlete or coach and I'd recommend it to anyone. ...more
4

Nov 29, 2017

Interestingly, this book was recommended via a parenting podcast. Not that it had a ton of parenting advice, but it's a very interesting book to read about basketball and how this talented and smart coach developed his boys into fine men and basketball players. He basically didn't tolerate any crap. We could use more like him nowadays!!
4

Jul 11, 2010

[I finished this book two days before [author:John Wooden] departed, and I just couldn't bring myself then to write this review until now, almost two months later.]

They Call Me Coach is a book about life and basketball, written by the Hall of Fame player and coach John Wooden. The book covers his playing years and (mostly) the coaching career, especially with the UCLA Bruins. The strict yet kind life philosophy of John Wooden is impressed in almost every line, and served him well in completing [I finished this book two days before [author:John Wooden] departed, and I just couldn't bring myself then to write this review until now, almost two months later.]

They Call Me Coach is a book about life and basketball, written by the Hall of Fame player and coach John Wooden. The book covers his playing years and (mostly) the coaching career, especially with the UCLA Bruins. The strict yet kind life philosophy of John Wooden is impressed in almost every line, and served him well in completing thirty years on the bench, creating a ten-championships/four undefeated seasons legacy at UCLA, and coaching Lewis Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Bill Walton. The book also describes his Pyramid of Success, Wooden's philosophical take on how to be successful. Overall, a nice book by a good man. ...more
5

Jan 10, 2014

"They Call Me Coach" by John Wooden is about a hall of fame coach and player that talks about his life and the teams he coached. In this book John explains why he wanted to create a special bond with his players and how he saw them as his sons. John also explains how he taught the game of basketball and how his ideas were the first of its kind. He takes you through some of his most important games and what he was thinking at that time.
I thought that this book was a great piece of writing that "They Call Me Coach" by John Wooden is about a hall of fame coach and player that talks about his life and the teams he coached. In this book John explains why he wanted to create a special bond with his players and how he saw them as his sons. John also explains how he taught the game of basketball and how his ideas were the first of its kind. He takes you through some of his most important games and what he was thinking at that time.
I thought that this book was a great piece of writing that inspires people to work hard no matter what. The writing is powerful because of the words and connections that John uses. The strengths of this book are that John writes what he is thinking not someone else trying to explain what he is thinking. The weaknesses of this book are that he doesn't talk about him playing basketball rather than coaching that much. I would recommend this book to a classmate if the like basketball and if they want to be inspired. If this book was part of a series I would read the next book. ...more
5

Apr 13, 2018

This book taught me sooooo much. One main theme is that hard work really pays off in the long run. Another theme is that teamwork is key and that you have to keep your eye on the prize (in this case the NCAA championship)
4

Jan 08, 2019

In typical Wooden fashion, this book is chock full of good stuff. Not only from a coach or employer looking to gain insight but from a personal vantage as well. If we all approached everything we do with the Wooden principles, the world could be a much better place.
4

Sep 03, 2015

After reading They Call Me Coach, I realized what an inspiring, good man John Wooden was. Being a teen from the 21st century I was never actually able to experience the hype around Wooden. I have heard about him, but fully understood why he was so great. In my opinion, I thought this was very informative and really entertaining. One thing I personally did not like was that there was some content in the book that was unnecessary, and found myself kind of just skimming over it because it was not After reading They Call Me Coach, I realized what an inspiring, good man John Wooden was. Being a teen from the 21st century I was never actually able to experience the hype around Wooden. I have heard about him, but fully understood why he was so great. In my opinion, I thought this was very informative and really entertaining. One thing I personally did not like was that there was some content in the book that was unnecessary, and found myself kind of just skimming over it because it was not that interesting. Like when they describe Wooden’s high school coaching career and his job as a high school athletic director. Despite that I enjoyed reading this because of the insightful philosophy of John Wooden.
The book starts from Wooden’s days as a high school basketball player all the way to his days after coaching at UCLA. Wooden is considered one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time. He led the Bruins to 10 NCAA titles in 12 years. In his book, Wooden explains his philosophy not only about basketball, but also of life. He was a coach who demanded the absolute best out of every player. John Wooden is the true definition of a role model.
Overall this book was very insightful and entertaining. If you are an athlete, coach, or fan of sports you should definitely read this book. ...more
3

Jun 23, 2014

John Wooden is a hall of famer basketball player and a hall of famer basketball coach. The first person who has achieved both recognitions (only Bill Sharman and Lenny Wilkens had this honor too). That alone is worth the read of his autobiography.

He reads: my objective in writing it [this book] was not so much to recite a history of my coaching career but to emphasize to readers the teaching role all coaches play in working with young people.

So it's more than a book about basketball, it's a John Wooden is a hall of famer basketball player and a hall of famer basketball coach. The first person who has achieved both recognitions (only Bill Sharman and Lenny Wilkens had this honor too). That alone is worth the read of his autobiography.

He reads: “ my objective in writing it [this book] was not so much to recite a history of my coaching career but to emphasize to readers the teaching role all coaches play in working with young people”.

So it's more than a book about basketball, it's a book about life, philosophy of work and team management. Although its main part is devoted to his more successful years in UCLA, when he won 10 times in 12 years the NCAA tournament, how he was able of reach such achievements even after losing great players like Alcindor (now Kareem) or Walton.

I miss he talks more about his years as a player, for he devotes the first pages to his youth but there isn't next to nothing about that and I find it very interesting and a crucial time to his development as both a person and what later he would be as a coach.

It also includes his Pyramid of Success, a picture that summarizes the road to success through in five floors which includes cooperation, self-control, confidence, competitive or poise. He always repeats through the pages for a successful player the tree more important points are condition, skills and team spirit. Besides, he defines success as “peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming”.

Wooden offers us a view of his life after retirement, when he teaches on campus, and many opinions about basketball in those years. He seems to be like many others old men, any past was better, his time was purer and what came after is lack of fundamentals, he doesn't like basketball evolution nor some of new rules. Human condition, I guess. ...more
3

Feb 28, 2017

Decent book by a decent man - somewhat dated, and repetitious, but interesting looks at his championship teams and philosophy on coaching success make it a worthwhile read.
4

Nov 29, 2012

John Wooden is known as the best college basketball coach who has ever coached in history. He won 10 NCAA national championships while coaching at UCLA. No college basketball coach has ever come close to winning that many championships. He coached from 1948 to 1975 at UCLA winning a total of 665 games during that time. Before he came to UCLA, they had a terrible basketball program, but Wooden's coaching turned them into a national powerhouse. In They Call Me Coach by John Wooden, coach Wooden John Wooden is known as the best college basketball coach who has ever coached in history. He won 10 NCAA national championships while coaching at UCLA. No college basketball coach has ever come close to winning that many championships. He coached from 1948 to 1975 at UCLA winning a total of 665 games during that time. Before he came to UCLA, they had a terrible basketball program, but Wooden's coaching turned them into a national powerhouse. In They Call Me Coach by John Wooden, coach Wooden talks about his success and many of his great memories. He shares his "Pyramid of Success" that works for basketball teams, but also for life. It contains lots of life lessons such as having self control and confidence. Wooden uses the book to teach us the "Pyramid of Success."
Coach Wooden doesn't define success as winning or being famous. He began working on his definition of success in high school because one of his teachers gave them an assignment to define success. In his late 20's Wooden coached and taught at South Bend Central high school and became really concerned with what success actually is. After several years he came up with his definition of success and created a pyramid too. "Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming." His definition is right because you have to know that you did the very best you can do in order to have peace.
It doesn't just take one easy step to have success. Wooden's "pyramid of success" give many key things that are necessary to do to reach success. A person must have enthusiasm, industriousness, alertness, intentness, and skill to start reaching to the true meaning of success. At the top of the pyramid is competitive greatness, poise and confidence. By competitive greatness Wooden means when your best is needed, a person must be at their best when faced with big challenges.
Enthusiasm is an important first level block because "your heart must be in your work." If a person's heart is not in their work then he/she won't be able to give their best effort. Enthusiasm not only applies to basketball, it is also needed in school to be successful in class. Another first level block, industriousness, is also very important. According to Wooden, "There is no substitute for work. Worthwhile things come from hard work and careful planning." Again this applies to a lot more than just basketball. If you don't work hard in high school then you can't go to college.
One of the things I realized about the pyramid is that you have to accomplish the lower level blocks to reach to the higher ones. For instance, skill is in the third level. Skill is defined as "A knowledge of and the ability to properly execute the fundamentals." Without enthusiasm and industriousness, you can't develop skill. It takes hard work and a big heart to develop your skills in basketball and life.
I recommend this book to everyone because John Wooden's "Pyramid of Success" not only applies to sports, but also applies to every area in your life. Wooden does a good job of teaching what success means. Although it changed his basketball program it also changed his players in life too.

...more
5

Mar 07, 2012

Imagine playing sports in college. Your team is considered the best in the country. After 10 years, you have won 10 national championships. That would be considered one of the greatest accomplishments to you right? This is the exact thing that UCLA coach did coaching basketball. He is considered to be the greatest basketball coach that ever lived. He coached multiple high school teams as well and led them to multiple championships. He was so successful, yet his style was so simple.
Coach Wooden's Imagine playing sports in college. Your team is considered the best in the country. After 10 years, you have won 10 national championships. That would be considered one of the greatest accomplishments to you right? This is the exact thing that UCLA coach did coaching basketball. He is considered to be the greatest basketball coach that ever lived. He coached multiple high school teams as well and led them to multiple championships. He was so successful, yet his style was so simple.
Coach Wooden's biggest concern was the fundamentals. He spent every practice working on the little things that would make a team great. As an athlete, I understand this. I play lacrosse which is pretty similar to basketball. There are lots of little things that you have to do to be a good team. Coach Wooden's philosophy was repetition. He would spend all practice working and working on things that they had worked on the day before. Sometimes in one week, they would spend each practice doing the same drills in the same order. Coach Wooden says and I quote, "The way players learn is from repetition. They have to be able to react in an instant and repetition builds that skill."
When they say that coach focused on the little things, they meant it literally. There is a story in the book about socks. Coach talks about how to properly put on your socks. He taught that if you don't wear socks, or you don't put them on right you would get blisters and not be able to play. You have to be paying attention to the little things at all times. Coach also had a lesson on the players shoes. If they were just too big, when the players would cut, their toes would jam into the edge of the shoe and ruin their toes. He made sure personally that everyones shoes were the exactly the right size. Not too big or too small. Coach was always concerned for his players and about the little details. He also made sure that the players uniforms were the exact right size. He always wanted his players to look and feel good about their appearance. If the uniform was just a little big or small, he would send it back and have it resized.
Coach Wooden always talked good about all of his players and coaches. Even the players that were not the best, or didn't have the best attitude, he talked good about. He shares a story about one man by the name of Keith Erickson. He was always pushing coaches buttons and to see how far his patience would go. He may have been tough in practice, but that made him tough in games. Coach would put Erickson on a really tough opponent. he says that this is when Erickson was at his best. He would turn his focus on. He would not let his man get the better of him. Although that Erickson was a "pill" in practice, coach Wooden would always find the good things in people and focus talking about the good things.
Coach would always find the good in people, but people only could find good things to talk about coach Wooden. Every person that has ever played for him always gave good words about coach Wooden. I think that is my favorite part about this book. Coach Wooden was not only the most successful basketball coach of all time, but he was also the nicest coach out there. You always here about these coaches or players that are great at the sport they play, but they are real hotheads. They are cocky and think that they are better at everyone else. Perhaps thats why Woodens' players responded so well to him. He treated them in the right way. He never lost his temper. I look to be like this great coach one day in aspects of playing a game, but maybe one day coaching. ...more
5

Jul 07, 2018

Excellent look into the mind of one, if not the greatest coach in basketball. His methods not only apply on the court but in life. Naturally it's the "Pyramid of Success" that is the lead.
3

May 18, 2017

Book is a slow read, but interesting for basketball enthusiasts. A good leadership manual, if you want an explanation of John Woodens pyramid. Book is a slow read, but interesting for basketball enthusiasts. A good leadership manual, if you want an explanation of John Wooden’s pyramid. ...more
4

Mar 02, 2019

I remember there was a lot of God in this book... but it was still a good read I remember there was a lot of “God” in this book... but it was still a good read ...more
3

Jun 06, 2018

I really wanted to like this book more. Maybe college basketball fans would like it more than I did. I enjoyed the first part of the book, but toward the end I lost interest. Disappointing, as I expected a better read.
4

May 01, 2019

John Wooden was a great coach and a good man. He didnt motivate the way other coaches did (Bear Bryant, Lombardi). Wooden had remarkable success and did it with discipline and simplicity. Im a big Wooden fan, even if he was a little moralistic. John Wooden was a great coach and a good man. He didn’t motivate the way other coaches did (Bear Bryant, Lombardi). Wooden had remarkable success and did it with discipline and simplicity. I’m a big Wooden fan, even if he was a little moralistic. ...more
4

Sep 24, 2018

It was great to hear coach Wooden's reflections on his early life and coaching career. A lot of it was repetitive towards the end. I cared about his nuggets of wisdom more than his personal opinions about his teams, but ended up getting more of the latter. Still very interesting, I'd recommend it to any coach or teacher who seeks to be inspired to lead in a consistent, ethical way.
4

Jan 20, 2020

A simple read with great nuggets of leadership wisdom and plenty of memories of Woodens great games / players. I read it mostly for the leadership lessons, and came away with some new ideas concerning the importance of working as a team, and the importance of working with people as unique individuals. A simple read with great nuggets of leadership wisdom and plenty of memories of Wooden’s great games / players. I read it mostly for the leadership lessons, and came away with some new ideas concerning the importance of working as a team, and the importance of working with people as unique individuals. ...more
3

Feb 05, 2018

Lots to learn from the man in this book. Wisdom and experience pour from the pages as well as the memory and attention to detail that so many story tellers from older generations seem to have. Reading it is like talking with an elderly gentleman. Personally I hope when I'm that experienced I can recall with a story tellers eye for detail many memories like Wooden has in this book. He was definitely a man among men.
4

Aug 03, 2017

Coach Wooden was kind of a stick in the mud, but he is maybe the most impartial sports-book participant/author I've ever read. His tone is clinical, not nostalgic or self-promotional, and that's a credit to his objectives - he's not trying to romanticise those great UCLA teams. He wants to explain how his coaching philosophies got him to where he finished. UCLA basketball is almost an afterthought.
5

Jan 07, 2020

Great book! What an inspirational person both in basketball and life. Its easy to comprehend even if you dont follow the sport. Its impressive what John Wooden was able to accomplish at UCLA, this book helps you understand how he did it. This is a great guide for someone looking for guidance on how to be successful at whatever they chose to pursue in life. I wish more people knew about coach Wooden and his Pyramid or Success. One of my favourite quotes from the book:

A man may make mistakes, but Great book! What an inspirational person both in basketball and life. It’s easy to comprehend even if you don’t follow the sport. It’s impressive what John Wooden was able to accomplish at UCLA, this book helps you understand how he did it. This is a great guide for someone looking for guidance on how to be successful at whatever they chose to pursue in life. I wish more people knew about coach Wooden and his Pyramid or Success. One of my favourite quotes from the book:

A man may make mistakes, but he isn’t a failure until he starts blaming someone. ...more
5

Oct 26, 2018

Arguably one of the greatest coaches of all-time, John Wooden's autobiography has given me a LOT of good, practical ideas about coaching. He won 10 NCAA Championships at UCLA in the 1960-70's, but his emphasis on character development and teaching life lessons contributed to his overall influence on the world as much as anything.

This book is a must read for all basketball coaches who are humble enough to want to learn from others--in this case, maybe the best who ever did it! It talks about how Arguably one of the greatest coaches of all-time, John Wooden's autobiography has given me a LOT of good, practical ideas about coaching. He won 10 NCAA Championships at UCLA in the 1960-70's, but his emphasis on character development and teaching life lessons contributed to his overall influence on the world as much as anything.

This book is a must read for all basketball coaches who are humble enough to want to learn from others--in this case, maybe the best who ever did it! It talks about how he handled problems, how he viewed players, his philosophy as a coach, how different teams did throughout his career [obviously from his perspective], etc.

Since I'm basically in the preseason with my Varsity team, I found myself taking notes and messaging my guys about various topics in order to try and get us to the next level. I trust it will help us this year, and I'm very thankful to be influenced, although from afar, this 'Wizard of Westwood!' ...more

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