160 John Wooden Quotes that are inspiring

One of the most respected coaches in sports history, Wooden is also remembered for his short and simple inspirational messages to players on how to be successful in life and basketball. Whether it’s sports, business, personal success, or leadership in an organization, we can all benefit from Wooden’s wise words. We’ve compiled a list of the best wooden quotes about basketball, leadership, life, success, and living.

We have compiled John wooden quotes including john wooden quotes on Leadership, Sucess, teamwork, etc. And quotes as good coach that will motivate.

Short Biography of John Wooden

John Robert Wooden, nicknamed “The Wizard of Westwood”, is an American basketball player and head coach of the University of California, Los Angeles. Wooden has had an extremely successful playing and coaching career, winning a total of 11 national titles as head coach, including a record seven in a row, and was named National Manager of the Year six times. In addition, he was the first player to be named an All-American Basketball Player three times and the first person to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player and manager.

John Wooden was considered one of the wisest and best coaches in college basketball history. John Wooden was the basketball manager at UCLA, winning 10 championships in 12 years. Wooden was that, in his opinion, the good off-court character is just as important as a good basketball game.

He was the head coach of UCLA and won the NCAA National Championship 10 times in 12 years, including 7 consecutive championships. During his 12 years as head coach at UCLA, he won 12 NCAA National Basketball Championships, including seven in a row. He became the first basketball player to be named to the National Player of the Year three times, earning him a seat in the Players and Coaches Hall of Fame (again for the first time).

Wooden was also the first person ever to be recognized as a Basketball Hall of Famer by both player and manager. The late John R. Wooden was a basketball player and coach who was considered one of the best. Wooden later graduated in English and decided to get married and get a job as an English teacher and coach school teams.

John Wooden Quotes

“Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.”


“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”


“Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.”

“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”

failure is not fatal but failu
“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”


“You can’t make good decisions that are going to be meaningful, productive, when you lose control, and you have to maintain mental control, emotional control and to be able to perform physically up to your own particular level of competency; you have to keep your emotions under control.”

“Young people need models, not critics.”

“Parenting is the most important profession in the world.”

John Wooden quotes on Leadership


“The true leader isn’t really looking for leadership. He’s trying to set an example and be in the proper way to get the most productive results and don’t realize it. When the followers get something done, if the leader has been what he should, they’ll feel like they did it, not him. That’s the way it should be.”

“In my opinion, being an effective leader requires being an effective listener. The most productive leaders are usually those who are consistently willing to listen and learn.”

“What a leader learns after you’ve learned it all counts most of all.”


“Not everyone is equipped to be a leader, but in a sense, everyone is a leader to someone, even though you’re not equipped. I think parents are a leader to youngsters, teacher are leaders, coaches are leaders, businessmen are leaders.”

“A leader’s most powerful ally is his or her own example.”

John Wooden quotes on Leadership
“A leader’s most powerful ally is his or her own example.”

“Leadership is the ability to get individuals to work together for the common good and the best possible results while at the same time letting them know they did it themselves.”

“Many leaders don’t listen, and it is one of the greatest methods we have of learning. You need to listen to those under your supervision and to those who are above you.”

“An effective leader develops the ability to correctly identify the pertinent detail or details – incidentals in a market, industry or sport that might create an incremental advantage.”

“An effective leader allows exceptions to the rule for exceptional results or when circumstance demands.”

“I believe one of the requirements of good leadership is the ability to listen – really listen – to those in your organization. An effective leader is very good at listening, and it’s difficult to listen when you are talking.”

“The leader has to command the respect of all those under his supervision – and he must be open to those under his supervision. Effective leadership means having a lot of people working toward a common goal. And when you have that with no one caring who gets the credit, you’re going to accomplish a lot. If you have those just wanting the credit for themselves, you’re not going to get as much accomplished.”


“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”


“The important things to me are your faith, your family and your friends. If you have that, you have everything.”


“Knowledge is not enough to get desired results. You must have the more elusive ability to teach and to motivate. This defines a leader; if you can’t teach and you can’t motivate, you can’t lead.”

“Never lie; never cheat; never steal. Don’t whine; don’t complain; don’t make excuses.”

“Don’t whine, complain, or make excuses.”

leadership quotes
“Don’t whine, complain, or make excuses.”

“Give me 100 percent. You can’t make up for a poor effort today by giving 110 percent tomorrow. You don’t have 110 percent. You only have 100 percent, and that’s what I want from you right now.”

“Remember this, the choices you make in life, make you.”

john wooden quotes on character
“Remember this, the choices you make in life, make you.”

“I am not as good as I ought to be. I am not as good as I want to be. I am not as good as I’m going to be. But I am thankful that I am better than I used to be.”

“If I were ever prosecuted for my religion, I truly hope there would be enough evidence to convict me.”

“If you stay intent and your ability warrants it, you will eventually reach the top of the mountain.”

“If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.”

“The most important thing in the world is family and love.”

“Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.”

“We are many, but are we much?”

“Respect every opponent, but fear none.”

“Happiness begins where selfishness ends.”

John Wooden Quotes on Teamwork

“The better conditioned team will probably win in the long run.”

“Teamwork is not a preference, it is a requirement.”

“Loyalty is very important when things get a little tough, as they often do when the challenge is great. Loyalty is a powerful force in producing one’s individual best and more so in producing a team’s best.”

“The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.”

“Team spirit means you are willing to sacrifice personal considerations for the welfare of all. That defines a team player.”

“A player who makes a team great is better than a great player.”

john wooden quotes about teamwork
“A player who makes a team great is better than a great player.”

“A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, that’s teamwork.”

“Make sure that team members know they are working with you, not for you.”

“The team is the star, never an individual player.”

“You’d like to see your team reasonably happy, but that’s not your job. Gain their respect and get them to accept their roles”

“When you choose to become part of a team, you cease to exist as an individual.”

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

“It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.”

“It’s not so important who starts the game but who finishes it.”

“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”

“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”

“Never mistake activity for achievement.”

“I never met a person from whom I did not learn something.”

“Make a decision! Failure to act is often the biggest failure of all.”

“If you do enough small things right, big things can happen”

“Apply yourself everyday to just becoming a little bit better.”

john wooden quotes success
“Apply yourself everyday to just becoming a little bit better.”

“Listen if you want to be heard”

“There is nothing stronger than gentleness.”

“Although there is no progress without change, not all change is progress.”

“Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating…too often fathers neglect it because they get so caught up in making a living they forget to make a life.”

“Never try to be better than someone else. Learn from others, and try to be the best you can be. Success is the by-product of that preparation.”

“Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.”

“Never try to be better than somebody else. But most importantly, never cease trying to be the best you can be.”

“Respect a man, and he will do all the more.”

“You must be interested in finding the best way, not in having your own way.”

“Surround yourself with people strong enough to change your mind.”

“Reputation is what others perceive you as being, and their opinion may be right or wrong. Character, however, is what you really are, and nobody truly knows that but you. But you are what matters most.”

“Good things take time, as they should. We shouldn’t expect good things to happen overnight. Actually, getting something too easily or too soon can cheapen the outcome.”

“Everything we know, we learned from someone else!”

“You can always do more than you think you can.”

“Make each day your masterpiece. Life is now. Life is not later on.”

“The coach is first of all a teacher.”

“Big things are accomplished only through the perfection of minor details.”

john wooden quotes about success
“Big things are accomplished only through the perfection of minor details.”

“Flexibility is the key to stability.”

“It’s not how big you are, it’s how big you play”

“IF you are not making mistakes, then you are not doing anything….”

“Promise yourself you will talk health, happiness, and prosperity as often as possible. Promise to think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best in yourself and others. Promise to forget the mistakes of the past and press on to greater achievements in the future.”

“When opportunity comes it is too late to prepare.”

“You may be better than the rest, but you are not a success until you have made the effort to become the best you can be.”

“Don’t think that you can make up for it by working twice as hard tomorrow. If you have it within your power to work twice as hard, why aren’t you doing it now?”

“Make each day a masterpiece. Don’t think your best days are out there somewhere. Why not today? Why can’t today be a great day? It can if you believe it will.”

“First be the best and then be first”

“The true athlete should have character, not be a character”

“Be at your best when your best is needed.”

“We can agree to disagree, but we don’t need to be disagreeable.”

“Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life.”

“Just do the best you can. No one can do more than that.”

a good coach quotes
“Just do the best you can. No one can do more than that.”

“Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.”

“I think the teaching profession contributes more to the future of our society than any other single profession.”

“Earn the right to be proud and confident.”

“I think you have to be what you are. Don’t try to be somebody else. You have to be yourself at all times.”

“The two hardest things to handle in life are failure and success.”

“Well, your greatest joy definitely comes from doing something for another, especially when it was done with no thought of something in return.”

“I’d rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent.”

“All of life is peaks and valleys. Don’t let the peaks get too high and the valleys too low.”

“If there’s anything you could point out where I was a little different, it was the fact that I never mentioned winning.”

“Players with fight never lose a game, they just run out of time”

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”

“Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.”

“You are not a failure until you start blaming others for your mistakes”

“Doing the best you are capable of doing is victory in itself, and less than that is defeat.”

“How hard you work at correcting your faults reveals your character.”

“It takes time to create excellence. If it could be done quickly, more people would do it.”

“If we fail to adapt, we fail to move forward.”

“Perform at your best when your best is required. Your best is required each day.”

“The individual who is mistake-free is also probably sitting around doing nothing. And that is a very big mistake.”

“We must be challenged to improve, and adversity is the challenger.”

“Perfection is impossibility but striving for perfection is not. Do the best you can. That is what counts.”

“When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur.”

“As long as you try your best, you are never a failure. That is, unless you blame others.”

“There is no substitute for work. Worthwhile results come from hard work and careful planning.”

“We can give without loving, but we can’t love without giving. In fact, love is nothing unless we give it to someone.”

“The more concerned we become over the things we can’t control, the less we will do with the things we can control”

“Confidence comes from being prepared.”

coach wooden quotes
“Confidence comes from being prepared.”

“Be quick without hurrying.”

“Don’t permit fear of failure to prevent effort. We are all imperfect and will fail on occasions, but fear of failure is the greatest failure of all.”

“Decisions are more apt to be accepted when you’ve listened to suggestions first. I wanted them to see the reason behind what I asked of them, not to do things just because I said so.”

“Discipline of others isn’t punishment. You discipline to help, to improve, to correct, to prevent, not to punish, humiliate, or retaliate.”

“Some of my greatest pleasures have come from finding ways to overcome obstacles.”

john wooden quotes on success
“Some of my greatest pleasures have come from finding ways to overcome obstacles.”

“Good players can take coaching; great players can take coaching and learn.”

“I do not want players who do not have a keen desire to win and do not play hard and aggressively to accomplish that objective.”

John Wooden Success Quotes

“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.”

“Remember, results aren’t the criteria for success it’s the effort made for achievement that is most important.”

“Success travels in the company of very hard work. There is no trick, no easy way.”

“Success is peace of mind in knowing you did your best.”

inspiring quotes
“Success is peace of mind in knowing you did your best.”

“The man who is afraid to risk failure seldom has to face success.”

“When you see a successful individual, a champion, you can be very sure that you are looking at an individual who pays great attention to the perfection of minor details.”

“I do not judge success based on championships; rather, I judge it on how close we came to realizing our potential”

“The most important key to achieving great success is to decide upon your goal and launch, get started, take action, move.”

“I would spend almost as much time planning a practice as conducting it. Everything was planned out each day”

“Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.”

“Goals achieved with little effort are seldom worthwhile or lasting.”

Best quotes
“Goals achieved with little effort are seldom worthwhile or lasting.”

“Material possessions, winning scores, and great reputations are meaningless in the eyes of the Lord, because He knows what we really are and that is all that matters.”

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”

“Our land is everything to us…. I will tell you one of the things we remember on our land. We remember that our grandfathers paid for it – with their lives.”

“There is a choice you have to make in everything you do. So keep in mind that in the end, the choice you make, makes you.”

“You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.”

“The uphill climb is slow,but the downhill road is fast.”

john wooden quotes
“The uphill climb is slow,but the downhill road is fast.”

“Whatever you’re doing, you must have patience.”

“The time to prepare isn’t after you have been given the opportunity. It’s long before that opportunity arises. Once the opportunity arrives, it’s too late to prepare.”

“You should never try to be better than someone else, you should always be learning from others. But you should never cease trying to be the best you could be because that’s under your control and the other isn’t.”

“Good values are like a magnet they attract good people.”

“Condition comes from hard work during practice and proper mental and moral conduct between practices.”

“Promise to think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best from yourself and others.”

“Real happiness comes from the things that can not be taken away from you.”

“Acquire peace of mind by making the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”

“Strive to accomplish the very best you are capable of. Nothing less than your best effort will suffice.”

“Don’t beat yourself. That’s the worst kind of defeat you’ll ever suffer.”

“Happiness begins when selfishness ends.”

john wooden quote success
“Happiness begins when selfishness ends.”

“Hustle makes up for many a mistake.”

“Promise yourself to make all your friends know there is something in them that is special and that you value.”

“Promise yourself that you will talk health, happiness, and prosperity as often as possible.”

“Build shelter against a rainy day.”

“Promise to wear a cheerful appearance at all times and give every person you meet a smile.”

“Rest when you need to, but never quit.”

“Whether you know it or not, whether you like it or not, the habits you are developing now will be with you for the rest of your life.”

“The greatest failure of all is the failure to act when action is needed”

“You must have respect, which is a part of love, for those under your supervision. Then they will do what you ask and more.”

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