John Wooden, from: Practical Modern Basketball

 On Doing Your Best

  • If you truly do your best, and only you will really know, then you are successful and the actual score is immaterial whether it was favorable or unfavorable.  However, when you fail to do your best, you have failed, even though the score might have been to your liking.
  • 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.  However, I want to be able to feel and want my players sincerely to feel that doing the best that you are capable of doing is victory in itself and less that that is defeat.
  • Whatever success I have had or may have could be indirect proportion to my ability not only to instill that idea in my players but also to live up to it myself.  Therefore, I continually stress to my players that all I expect from them at practice and in the games is their maximum effort.
  • I hope that their actions or conduct following the game will not indicate victory or defeat.  Heads should always be high when you have doe your best regardless of the score and there is no reason for being overly jubilant at victory or unduly depressed by defeat.
  • I am rather thoroughly convinced that those who have the self-satisfaction of knowing they have done their best will also be on the most desirable end of the score as much, and perhaps more, than their natural ability might indicate.

–John Wooden