Attention to Detail

Attention to Detail

What does a Hall-of-Fame basketball coach teach his players about attention to detail?

John Wooden, legendary leader of the UCLA Bruins, won more championships than any other coach in history — 10 titles in 12 years. Which steps did he take to ensure his players’ top-level performance?

For one thing, he taught them how to put on their socks.

No kidding.

Each season Coach Wooden showed his players how to prevent sock-wrinkles around the little toe and the heel, and how to lace up their shoes with a double-knot. The idea was to prevent blisters, because in the closing minutes of a close game, the player without blisters performs better. This seemingly insignificant adjustment contributed, in a small way, to an impressive string of National Championships.

Attention to detail, Wooden would say, creates success in basketball, in business and in life. His focus on the fundamentals — running drills and executing plays — gave his team confidence on the court, and made them all but impossible to beat.

For this reason, Wooden never had to resort to pep talks or tirades. He just helped each player excel at the basics, because excelling at the basics wins ball games.


Paul said to the Corinthians, “Hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.” (1Corinthians 11:2) He prefaced this statement with “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”

The basics of spiritual growth are the same for all Christians: For new believers as well as old saints, for high profile ministers as well as those who serve in obscurity. Maintaining a dynamic spiritual life requires the same effort from all, regardless of nationality, or income, or influence, or education.

There are no tricks and no short-cuts to this process. The only way to excel in the Christian life is to do the basics: daily prayer, daily Bible study, daily worship, daily service, and daily fellowship.

These are the fundamentals of the faith, and we never outgrow our need for them.

Spending time alone in prayer, or memorizing a verse, or visiting a lonely person may sometimes seem as exciting as putting on your socks, but when you do it right it opens the door to greatness.

Jesus said, “You have been faithful in a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23)

The Lord is in the details. This week, remember the basics; God will reward you for your faithfulness.

Today’s memo was updated from a previous post.