Metaphors and analogies are a powerful way to convey meaning to the audience. I wanted to share with you an article about a metaphor that a famous basketball coach used to convey how important practice is, and how important your 100% effort is, and how important one’s responsibility to his team is. Here’s the article written by Don Yaeger:
The Greatest Coach of All Time (as selected by his peers) celebrates his 99th birthday today! Former UCLA Basketball Coach John Wooden would be the first to tell you that “he” didn’t win 10 national championships, the young men he “taught” are responsible for those banners.
His teaching methods were often unconventional… but always effective.
Perfect example: The first day of practice at UCLA was always a day full of anticipation and excitement as the new recruits awaited the arrival of Coach Wooden, known affectionately as the Wizard of Westwood. As they waited, each wondered what secrets of the game, what strategies for winning would spring forth from the famous coach on Day One.
“Please take off your shoes and socks,” Coach announced to the team, seating himself upon a locker room bench. “I’m going to show you the proper way to put them back on.” The new players looked at one another in disbelief – had the old man lost him mind? What on earth did this have to do with basketball? Not wanting to question their leader, they all complied and waited for what would come next.
“Now, when you pull on your sock,” he said showing them through example, “I want you to make sure that there are no wrinkles or gaps,” as he put his own socks on. “Make sure your heel is full seated in the heel of the sock; run your hand over the toes and make sure to smooth out any bumpy areas.” Then he showed each player how to properly lace his shoes and tie them snugly so that there was no room for the shoe to rub or the sock to bunch up.
As Coach Wooden got up to leave the locker room for the gym, the players behind him were silent, still wondering what their coach could possibly be doing by starting out the season talking about shoes and socks. Here they were, the best schoolboy players in America, and this legend had just spent 30 minutes teaching them about shoes and socks.
Just then, Coach Wooden would turn around and, with a glint in his eye, say ‘That’s your first lesson. You see, if there are wrinkles in your socks or your shoes aren’t tied properly, you will develop blisters. With blisters, you’ll miss practice. If you miss practice, you don’t play. And if you don’t play, we cannot win.
“If you want to win Championships, you must take care of the smallest of details.”
Coach then walked away, his first practice complete.