I recently read a story in which Wooden describes how he devoted each off season to becoming an expert in a particular area of basketball. He would choose an area and then do a thorough literature search for everything on the topic. That alone is pretty good advice for any coach. But Wooden being Wooden, he took it one step further.
“If someone has something that’s been very good, let’s say free throw shooting, I’d try to talk to that individual and get further information as to his ideas… If someone has done real well in a specific area, why? I want to know why?”
And so he went out and did the work. When Wooden was working, in order to research anything, he had to physically go to the library, find the journals on shelves and make his own notes. To contact other coaches, he had to write letters and wait weeks for a reply. In 2012, we can do all of those things without leaving our couches and TV sets. If there was ever a excuse for not taking to time to continually learn, there is definitely no excuse now. As Pat Riley apparently once said, “If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse”. And if you aren’t continually learning, you can’t be getting better.