I am fascinated by a story former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden shares in his book Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections. At the first squad meeting before the beginning of each season, Coach Wooden would take the time to personally show his players how to properly put on their socks.
“Carefully roll the socks down to the toes, ball of the foot, arch and around the heel, then pull the sock up snug so there will be no wrinkles of any kind.”
After they finished with one foot, Wooden would have the players move on to the next foot with the same meticulousness and carefulness. Once the players had finished putting their socks on, Coach Wooden would have them carefully inspect their feet to make sure there were no wrinkles, folds or creases present. It may seem more like a scene from Full Metal Jacket. After all at first glance, it does sound excessive. But, Coach Wooden had his reasons.
“Wrinkles, folds and creases can cause blisters. Blisters interfere with performance during practice and games. Since there was a way to reduce blisters, something the player and I could control, it was our responsibility to do it. Otherwise we would not be doing everything possible to prepare the best way.”
John Wooden emphasized that winning wasn’t their objective. Rather their goal each and every season was to perform to the best of their abilities. And in order to do so, he wanted his players to know that details create success. Wooden was a humble, introspective man who led his players on and off the court. His lessons are applicable to anyone looking to better themselves or their business. Here are some of my favorites.