Surprising Consequences of Researching John Wooden’s Teaching Practices: The Backstory of the 1976 Study of the Legendary University of California, Los Angeles Basketball Coach

in International Sport Coaching Journal
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During John Wooden’s final coaching season, two psychologists systematically recorded his specific teaching acts during UCLA basketball practices. Results were presented in a 1976 Psychology Today article, which garnered little media or public attention. At the time, Coach Wooden never responded to three requests for comments—twice to prepublication manuscripts and once to the published version. This memoir recounts the backstory of the study and reports some unanticipated and surprising consequences 25 years later. First, Coach Wooden handed out photocopies of the article, and second, a review of research indicated that the 1976 study was one of the earliest systematic studies of coaching.

The author (ronaldg@ucla.edu) is with the University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

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