Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Be a Teacher


Teaching is the very essence of coaching and leadership. At any level, it is essential to be able to teach athletes certain skills and strategies. Some of the best elite sport coaches are master teachers. John Wooden is a great example. His basis or foundation for his success is his ability to teach. Wooden’s pedagogical approach is thoroughly analyzed in the book, “You Haven’t Taught Until They Have Learned: John Wooden’s Teaching Principles and Practices.”

Another aspect of teaching is being a role model. Elite coaches have much influence in their athletes’ lives considering they are together for a substantial amount of time. Great elite sport leaders such as John Wooden found it of the utmost importance to serve the community as a respected role model. Although we are not implying Wooden’s approach is the right choice for everybody, he was voted Coach of the Century and is a very credible example in this area. Many prominent leaders (Mike Krzyzewski, Bill Walsh, Joe Torre, Mike Babcock, etc…) share this philosophy regarding coaching being about teaching.

As mentioned above, John Wooden is a great example of a coach taking a pedagogical approach to leadership. For Wooden, the basketball court was a classroom. It was important to come to know each player’s unique strengths and areas of weakness. In his words, “They are all different … There is no formula … You can’t work with them exactly the same way. You’ve got to study and analyze each individual and find out what makes them tick (You Haven’t Taught Until They Have Learned, p. 1).” The same can be said about many other prominent sport leaders such as Urban Meyer, Mike Keenan, or Geno Auriemma. Teaching and instruction is an integral aspect of leadership.


1.) Explanation / Demonstration

2.) Imitation / Correction

3.) Repetition


Swen Nater and Ronald Gallimore (2010).You haven’t taught until they have learned: John Wooden’s teaching       principles and practices. Morgantown, WV: Fitness International Technology.