The Little Things Matter

Aside from being the senior vice president of the Orlando Magic basketball team and a sought-after motivational speaker, Pat Williams has written more than 100 books. Many years ago, when he was working on a book about John Wooden, Williams interviewed scores of the coach’s former players.

A story shared by many of these players was about a long-standing tradition of the coach. At the start of each season, Wooden spent an hour instructing his players on the proper way to wear their socks and shoes. From the snug fit of the heel of the sock to the lacing of their shoes, the coach covered every detail with great importance.

When Williams asked the coach about why he devoted this kind of time and attention to such a seemingly insignificant subject, Wooden replied, “The little things matter.”

He went on to explain how one wrinkle in a sock could contribute to a blister on a toe or foot. One blister could have a huge impact on the outcome of a game—or a season.

“I started teaching about shoes and socks early in my career,” Wooden said. “I saw that it really did cut down on blisters during the season. That little detail gave us an edge.”

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