117 John Wooden Quotes on Leadership and Teamwork

John Robert Wooden was known as the “Wizard of Westwood”. He left an indelible mark on the world of basketball and leadership.

As a player and coach, John Wooden achieved unrivaled accolades including 10 NCAA championships as UCLA’s head coach and becoming the first person to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach.

He set a record with 88 consecutive wins which is a proof to his effective leadership and teamwork principles.

John Wooden

As a 5’10” guard, Wooden was the first player to be named basketball All-American three times, demonstrating his skill and tenacity.

He was not just a sports figure, but a mentor, revered for his short, inspirational messages that were not limited to basketball, but applicable to life, business and organizational leadership.

Related: Manny Diaz Quotes from the American Football Coach and Bum Phillips Quotes from the American Football Coach

His teachings, such as the “Pyramid of Success”, reflect his wisdom and continue to inspire.

His legacy remains, touching multiple facets of life and transcending the boundaries of sports.

I have compiled the popular quotes by John Wooden.

Motivational & Inspirational John Wooden Quotes

1. “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” ~ (John Wooden).


2. “Success is peace of mind in knowing you did your best.” ~ (John Wooden).

3. “Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.” ~ (John Wooden).

4. “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.” ~ (John Wooden).

5. “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.” ~ (John Wooden).

6. “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.” ~ (John Wooden).

7. “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” ~ (John Wooden).

8. “Be quick, but don’t hurry.” ~ (John Wooden).

9. “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?” ~ (John Wooden).

10. “Discipline yourself and others won’t need to.” ~ (John Wooden).

11. “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” ~ (John Wooden).

12. “Make every day your masterpiece. ” ~ (John Wooden).

13. “Things turn out best for those who make the best of how things turn out.” ~ (John Wooden).

14. “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.” ~ (John Wooden).

15. “You are not a failure until you start blaming others for your mistakes.” ~ (John Wooden).

16. “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” ~ (John Wooden).

17. “Be true to yourself. Make each day your masterpiece. Help others. Drink deeply from good books. Make friendship a fine art. Build a shelter against a rainy day. Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.” ~ (John Wooden).

18. “Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” ~ (John Wooden).


19. “Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life.” ~ (John Wooden).

20. “Success travels in the company of very hard work. There is no trick, no easy way.” ~ (John Wooden).

21. “It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.” ~ (John Wooden).

22. “Confidence comes from being prepared.” ~ (John Wooden).

23. “Never make excuses. Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them.” ~ (John Wooden).

24. “If you lose self-control everything will fall.” ~ (John Wooden).

25. “Don’t mistake activity with achievement.” ~ (John Wooden).

26. “Listen if you want to be heard.” ~ (John Wooden).

27. “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” ~ (John Wooden).

28. “You can always do more than you think you can.” ~ (John Wooden).

29. “Champions never complain, they are too busy getting better.” ~ (John Wooden).

30. “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” ~ (John Wooden).

31. “Champions are brilliant at the basics.” ~ (John Wooden).


32. “Flexibility is the key to stability.” ~ (John Wooden).

33. “Make each day your masterpiece. Life is now. Life is not later on.” ~ (John Wooden).

34. “Happiness begins where selfishness ends.” ~ (John Wooden).

35. “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.” ~ (John Wooden).

36. “You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.” ~ (John Wooden).

37. “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.” ~ (John Wooden).

38. “Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating.” ~ (John Wooden).

39. “The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” ~ (John Wooden).

40. “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” ~ (John Wooden).

41. “You can’t live a perfect day until you do something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” ~ (John Wooden).

42. “You are no better than anyone else and no one is better than you.” ~ (John Wooden).

43. “Five years from now, you’re the same person except for the people you’ve met and the books you’ve read.” ~ (John Wooden).

44. “Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” ~ (John Wooden).


45. “Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.” ~ (John Wooden).

46. “There is nothing stronger than gentleness.” ~ (John Wooden).

47. “Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.” ~ (John Wooden).

Top John Wooden Quotes

48. “A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.” ~ (John Wooden).

49. “Young people need models, not critics.” ~ (John Wooden).

50. “If we fail to adapt, we fail to move forward.” ~ (John Wooden).

51. “The eight laws of learning are explanation, demonstration, imitation, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition.” ~ (John Wooden).

52. “Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.” ~ (John Wooden).

53. “Team spirit means you are willing to sacrifice personal considerations for the welfare of all. That defines a team player.” ~ (John Wooden).

54. “If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.” ~ (John Wooden).

55. “Never lie; never cheat; never steal. Don’t whine; don’t complain; don’t make excuses.” ~ (John Wooden).

56. “Tell the truth. That way you don’t have to remember a story.” ~ (John Wooden).

57. “Be observing constantly. Stay open-minded. Be eager to learn and improve.” ~ (John Wooden).

58. “If you stay intent and your ability warrants it, you will eventually reach the top of the mountain.” ~ (John Wooden).

59. “All of life is peaks and valleys. Don’t let the peaks get too high and the valleys too low.” ~ (John Wooden).

60. “Without proper self-evaluation, failure is inevitable.” ~ (John Wooden).

61. “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.” ~ (John Wooden).


62. “Don’t whine, complain, or make excuses.” ~ (John Wooden).

63. “Today is the only day. Yesterday is gone.” ~ (John Wooden).

64. “Apply yourself everyday to just becoming a little bit better.” ~ (John Wooden).

65. “It takes time to create excellence. If it could be done quickly, more people would do it.” ~ (John Wooden).

Famous John Wooden Quotes

66. “Adaptability is being able to adjust to any situation at any given time.” ~ (John Wooden).

67. “Kindness makes for much better teamwork.” ~ (John Wooden).

68. “Perform at your best when your best is required. Your best is required each day.” ~ (John Wooden).

69. “Never try to be better than somebody else. But most importantly, never cease trying to be the best you can be.” ~ (John Wooden).

70. “Respect a man, and he will do all the more.” ~ (John Wooden).

71. “You haven’t taught until they’ve learned.” ~ (John Wooden).

72. “Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.” ~ (John Wooden).

73. “There is no substitute for work. Worthwhile results come from hard work and careful planning.” ~ (John Wooden).

74. “Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.” ~ (John Wooden).

75. “Stay the course. When thwarted, try again; harder; smarter. Persevere relentlessly.” ~ (John Wooden).

76. “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.” ~ (John Wooden).

77. “Great leaders are always out front with a banner, instead of behind with a whip.” ~ (John Wooden).

78. “There are no big things, only a logical accumulation of little things done at a very high standard of performance.” ~ (John Wooden).

79. “Respect every opponent, but fear none.” ~ (John Wooden).

80. “Practice self-discipline and keep emotions under control. Good judgment and common sense are essential.” ~ (John Wooden).

Short John Wooden Quotes

81. “Big things are accomplished only through the perfection of minor details.” ~ (John Wooden).

82. “Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings everyday.” ~ (John Wooden).

83. “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.” ~ (John Wooden).

84. “Having the courage to make decisions and take action. Never be afraid to fail. You have nothing to fear if you have prepared to the best of your ability.” ~ (John Wooden).

85. “Never lie, never cheat, never steal.” ~ (John Wooden).

86. “You have to apply yourself each day to becoming a little better. By becoming a little better each and every day, over a period of time, you will become a lot better.” ~ (John Wooden).

87. “There is no great fun, satisfaction, or joy derived from doing something that’s easy.” ~ (John Wooden).

88. “When it’s over and you look in the mirror, did you do the best you were capable of? If yes, you will probably be ok with the outcome.” ~ (John Wooden).

89. “The team that makes the most mistakes usually wins, because doers make mistakes.” ~ (John Wooden).

90. “Fairness is giving all people the treatment they earn and deserve. It doesn’t mean treating everyone alike.” ~ (John Wooden).

91. “Ability is a poor man’s wealth.” ~ (John Wooden).

92. “Details create success.” ~ (John Wooden).

93. “It’s too late for preparation when opportunity strikes.” ~ (John Wooden).

94. “If you get too engrossed and involved and concerned in regard to things over which you have no control, it will adversely affect the things over which you have control.” ~ (John Wooden).

95. “Your reputation is what you’re perceived to be, Your character is what you really are.” ~ (John Wooden).

96. “Make sure that team members know they are working with you, not for you.” ~ (John Wooden).

97. “It’s not so important who starts the game but who finishes it.” ~ (John Wooden).

Best John Wooden Quotes

98. “If you do enough small things right, big things can happen.” ~ (John Wooden).

99. “The importance of repetition until automaticity cannot be overstated. Repetition is the key to learning.” ~ (John Wooden).

100. “Strive to accomplish the very best you are capable of. Nothing less than your best effort will suffice.” ~ (John Wooden).

101. “Why can’t we have patience and expect good things to take time?” ~ (John Wooden).

102. “Players with fight never lose a game, they just run out of time.” ~ (John Wooden).

103. “You will never outperform your inner circle.” ~ (John Wooden).

104. “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.” ~ (John Wooden).

105. “We will begin by learning how to tie our shoes.” ~ (John Wooden).

106. “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.” ~ (John Wooden).

107. “We can agree to disagree, but we don’t need to be disagreeable.” ~ (John Wooden).

108. “When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur.” ~ (John Wooden).

109. “The best way to improve your team is to improve yourself.” ~ (John Wooden).

110. “It’s not how big you are, it’s how big you play.” ~ (John Wooden).

111. “A strong leader accepts blame and gives the credit. A weak leader gives blame and accepts the credit.” ~ (John Wooden).

112. “Adversity often produces an unexpected opportunity. Look for it ! Appreciate and utilize it! This is difficult to do if you’re feeling sorry for yourself because you’re faced with adversity.” ~ (John Wooden).

113. “There is no substitute for hard work. If you’re looking for the easy way, if you’re looking for the trick, you might get by for a while, but you will not be developing the talents that lie within you. There is simply no substitute for work.” ~ (John Wooden).

114. “Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.” ~ (John Wooden).

115. “I’m not afraid to die.” ~ (John Wooden).

116. “The more concerned we become over the things we can’t control, the less we will do with the things we can control.” ~ (John Wooden).

117. “Discipline of others isn’t punishment. You discipline to help, to improve, to correct, to prevent, not to punish, humiliate, or retaliate.” ~ (John Wooden).

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar