It’s kind of hard to talk about Coach Wooden simply, because he was a complex man. But he taught in a very simple way. He just used sports as a means to teach us how to apply ourselves to any situation, Abdul-Jabbar said in a statement released through UCLA.
This is what is missed with coaching now, especially with sports performance. Complicated is trendy. When I talk to two very smart project managers from a large software company from time they talk about being pragmatic, to the point that they crave it. When I hear that it reminds me of Paul Graham’s great book, Hackers and Painters. Graham writes-
It seems strange to have to emphasize simplicity. You’d think simple would be the default. Ornate is more work. But something seems to come over people when they try to be creative. Beginning writers adopt a pompous tone that doesn’t sound anything like the way they speak. Designers trying to be artistic resort to swooshes and curlicues. Painters discover that they’re expressionists. It’s all evasion. Underneath the long words or the expressive brush strokes, there is not much going on, and that’s frightening. When you’re forced to be simple, you’re forced to face the real problem. When you can’t deliver ornament, you have to deliver substance.
Coach Wooden…you had Substance.