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Little Things Make Big Things Happen

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

“It’s the little things that are vital,” John Wooden once stated; “Little things make big things happen.”

Anderson, a 7th grader at the Academy and our team’s starting center, sat in a swivel chair six feet from me when I read him this quote. I asked him how Wooden’s statement might be true for our team. He thought for a moment, then replied, “Every little pass and shot matters. How our team works together on these little things matters, too.”

“Together” was the key word in Anderson’s response, and he knew that. We agreed; every game is made of many little plays and decisions that affect the whole. And if you were to step back for a wider view, every season is made of many practices and games, played well or poorly, that dictate a team’s results. Or in short, the big things depend first on the little things, but the little things must garner the attention and commitment of every player, not only one or a few.

“Teamwork – it’s something we work on every year, and we’re working on it this year as well,” Anderson asserted. The Academy team has been working on ball-movement on offense, which is predicated on selflessness, a pledge to pass and create opportunities for teammates. And on defense, Academy players have found that it’s difficult to stop their opponents if they’re not all in sync with one another, communicating often.

Selfless, communicative, and hard-working – those are the enduring and essential attributes of the players that form the best teams, but those are not qualities that come naturally. They require persistent, hard work, with the aim they become as they’re traditionally called, good habits, which, it’s worth noting, have a habit of spilling over into all that we do.

“A lot of what we learn in basketball is helpful to remember off the court,” Andrew explained. “When working with others, it’s important to have roles and work together. In everything, it’s important to be organized, to make time for the little things.”


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