Contingency Leadership

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John Wooden's philosophy of coaching and life is known as the Pyramid of Success, and it's something that is being used not only in the sports world but also the business world. The pyramid consists of five layers of personal traits and attributes, which build on top of the layer below to build you into a better person. The base level consists of industriousness, friendship, loyalty, cooperation, and enthusiasm. These are the foundations of all that is to come. As a result of these traits, one can achieve their ambitions and become a truly sincere person. The next level consists of self-control, alertness, initiative, and intentness. When committed to these, you will be adaptable to situations that you face, and honesty will become a part of your nature. Next come condition, skill and team spirit / teamwork. These traits bring about reliability and resourcefulness naturally. Nearing the top, the fourth level consists of poise and confidence. From this will come the strength to fight for what you believe in and the integrity to do the right things. At the top is competitive greatness, which is what these building blocks lead to. But the culmination of competitive greatness is faith and patience, the highest virtues that can be reached.

The four laws of learning consist of explanation, demonstration imitation and repetition. Explanation is a statement made to clarify something and make it understandable. As it relates to the four laws of learning or four laws of coaching, explanation is used to help students and/or players get an overall understanding of a concept. After the explanation is describe a coach or teacher will give a demonstration. Demonstration is the second law of learning, and this is used by a teacher or coach gives the audience an example or idea of how a certain skill, tool, or subject relates to a specific subject or sport. After a demonstration is giving, to further enhance the understanding letting the players or students try it on their own is the best way to see if they understand the new material. Imitation is the third law, this a big tool in the learning process it allows them to put what they learned on trial, this also a good time for a teacher or coach to correct them as they start to put the new skill into effect. Repetition is the final step, “practice makes perfect”. Continuous repetition makes the skill or task second nature. The more they work on it the better it becomes.

He learned how to take control of the classroom and the students know who is in charge. As a teacher takes pride in his work and strives for excellence. Wooden learned what to teach and how to teach it. As a teacher he was a consumer of knowledge. He knows the subject material and is always searching for new methods and ideas to use. He shares his knowledge with his students and colleagues. Being a English teacher he would always be looking for ideas to develop himself professionally and personally. It helped come well prepared at all times. Wooden prepares his lessons and materials in advance. He follows a regular routing, is organized and has activities readily available. He is also prepared for lessons that do not go as planned. Wooden learned that a good teacher listens. Listening to his students engage in conversations with one another and encourages his students to engage in conversation with him as well. This builds a relationship and they start to feel comfortable and trust him. He is tuned in when a student is having difficulty understanding subject material or when a student is having personal issues. He understood when to step in and when to back off. Wooden became a great motivator. He motivates his students to learn and to take on projects independently. He has an enthusiasm that is contagious to his students and colleagues. A good teacher is fair. He gave all of his students a chance to succeed in the classroom even when the conditions at home are not favorable for the student. Wooden demanded students to do their best and recognizes those that try.

Based on the contingency model there are a few variables that go into why he was a perfect match for UCLA. Three factors are involved they are; Leader-member relationship, task structure, and position power. John Wooden was a well respected and well loved coach by all his players and staff. He put players in positions to be accountable and successful at the same time. Players like Bill Walton and Kareem Abdul Jabbar talk about how great of a teacher and person he was to them during their time at UCLA. The second factor was based on the fact that Coach Wooden had complete control over his program. Wooden's position power allowed him to mold his players as he saw fit. There was no outside interference or pressure that a lot of college coaches have now to be in a rush to win. He was able to teach players and develop them into good basketball players and people. Wooden background of teaching built his foundation of building fundamentals. His task structure was based on the four laws of learning and he was able to build a very successful program off of it. Coach Wooden found a balance between the needs of the program and the program adapting to his style. There are certain situation such as admission and eligibility and things that involved laws and guidelines of the schools he had to follow. The way he built his program and the legacy he left was based on the program adapting to his style. His style is the blueprint of what all coaches who coach at UCLA try to follow. Coach Wooden would have been successful at any school. If you look at his record at other schools before UCLA it is easy to see that he made the program and the legacy not the other way around. AT the prep level he won 218 wins and only lost 47, at Indian State in two seasons he won 47 games and only lost 14. At every level he has coached he has been successful. His success is based on his Pyramid of Success a philosophy that has carried him to over 800 wins in his 40 year coaching career.

Wooden successor will have big shoes to follow. Eleven national championships six coach of the year awards, over 800 wins and a winning percentage of .823 in his years at UCLA. The John Wooden era at UCLA is unrivaled in terms of national championships; the closest school is Kentucky who won 7 championships over a 50-year period. The next closest coaches are Adolph Rupp who won four; Bob Knight and Mike Krzyzewski both have three titles each. As far as undefeated seasons, Wooden had four and no other coach has more than one. If the new coaches were even able to reach some of those accolades the impact that Wooden has on the game and how his philosophies are used by scholars in or out sport world will never be matched.

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