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Challenge Yourself

19 Mar

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” – Unknown

What will you do differently today?  What’s your plan of action?  Will you purposefully try to improve upon yesterday, or just go through the motions?  What will you do to make you better?

Do something differently today or, chances are, it will be the same as yesterday.

Wake up 5 minutes earlier than usual.  Extend your day.

Add a few pounds to your usual weight, for each exercise you perform.

Do an additional repetition, for each set.

Reduce your rest interval, between sets, by a few seconds.

Try a new exercise or drill.

Run one more sprint at the end of your workout.

Do one more repetition of your agility drill.

Do another minute on the treadmill or elliptical.

Shoot one more layup. Or free-throw. Or jump shot.

Do one more set of ball-handling drills with your “off” hand.

Read something that will help you take a step toward your goal(s).

Consult with someone who has experience and expertise in an area in which you want to improve.

Go online and find an informational article, blog, or webinar.

Learn something new today.

And, when you wake up tomorrow, do it all again.

Carpe Diem!


Your thoughts?


Chase Your Dream

15 Jan

What’s your dream?

Dream BIG.

Aim high.

Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits.


Push yourself.

Make it happen.

Improve you.

Strive to be the best version of you.

Believe in you.

Carpe Diem.


Your thoughts?

Continue Learning, Continue Improving

2 Jan

“Drink deeply from good books…” – John Wooden

Recently,  I attended the Ohio State Strength Clinic, sponsored by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).  As you might expect, there were several educational and informational presentations delivered by some of the pioneers and leaders in the field of strength and conditioning. I learned a lot.

One of the presentations, Things They Don’t Teach You in School: What You Really Need to Know as a Strength Coach, included a slide about continuous learning that resonated with me.  I especially like it because it applies to everyone, regardless of the field in which one works, studies, etc.

Here are some of the key points:

  • Develop a deep and broad curiosity.  Strive to understand the “hows” and “whys,” and you’ll come away with a much greater sense of understanding.
  • Schedule time.  Don’t wait until you have time.  You need to make time for reading, studying, observing, and learning.
  • Study unrelated fields.  There are lots of parallels among and between school, sports, work, and life.  Be open-minded and you can apply some of those lessons to your situation.
  • Listen.  You can learn a lot more by listening than you can by talking.
  • Find a career coach, mentor, buddy.  Avoid the “I already know enough” trap.  Put aside your ego and learn from others with experience and expertise in your field.
  • Read, read, and read.  Enough said.
  • Put yourself in situations that force you to learn.  Enroll is a class, register for a webinar, or sign up for a workshop.  Commit to it and get it on your calendar.

“Knowledge is power,” according to Sir Francis Bacon.  Continuous learning leads to continuous improvement.


Your thoughts?

A Visit from St. Nicholas

24 Dec

‘Twas the night before Christmas

When all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with  care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their  beds,

While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.

And Mamma in her kerchief and I in my cap

Had just settled down for a long winter‘s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave a luster of midday to objects below.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick;

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came.

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by  name:

“Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen!

On Comet! On Cupid! On Donder and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall!

Now, dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane  fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the  sky,

So up to the housetop the coursers they flew

With a sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas,  too.

And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his  foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his  pack.

His eyes how they twinkled! His dimples how  merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a  cherry.

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard on his chin was as white as the  snow.

The stump of his pipe he held tight in his  teeth,

And the smoke, it encircled his head like a  wreath.

He had a broad face and a little round belly

That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of  jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of  myself.

A wink of the eye and a twist of his head

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his  work,

And filled all the stockings, then turned with a  jerk.

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a  whistle,

And away they all flew, like a down of a  thistle.

But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of  sight,

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good  night.”

— Clement Clarke Moore, December 1823

The “Next Big Thing” is Today

18 Dec

This morning, some of my basketball buddies and I were lamenting about the fact that another year has passed, and that 2017 was a “blur.”  You know… the “time flies” conversation.  We all have kids in various stages of school (and beyond) and, somewhere along the way, one of the guys remarked about how we all sometimes wish our lives away by yearning for the “next big thing.”  I’ve been thinking about that conversation all day.

Let me explain the “next big thing.”  When people address it, they often preface it by saying, “I can’t wait for (or to)…”  For a young child, it may be starting school.  For a teenager, it may be turning 16 and getting a driver’s license.  It may be turning 18 and becoming an “adult.”  It could be graduating from high school and heading off to college.  Or, perhaps, turning 21 and reaching (legal) drinking age.  Eventually, it may be graduating from college,  landing a “real” job, and joining the work force.  Toss in few more of life’s milestones like moving out of the home in which one grew up, getting married, starting a family, and retirement.

Even as parents, we look forward with eager anticipation to our children walking, talking, starting school, getting involved in sports and other activities, and lots of the same “accomplishments” mentioned above.

As an old (and hopefully wise) guy who has experienced most of the aforementioned milestones, here’s my advice: Don’t spend too much time wishing for the “next big thing” because the “next big thing” is today.  Everything that lies ahead will get here, whether you want it to or not.  And, believe me, it’s going to get here quickly.  Invest in today and make it as good and as much as it can be — for yourself and the people around you.  If you do that, you’ll find that most of the “tomorrows” will take care of themselves.

I’m not discouraging anyone from keeping an eye on tomorrow, and planning and preparing, accordingly… just not at the expense of today.

Focus on today.  Invest in today.  Make it great.  As soon as today becomes yesterday, it’s gone… lost to you forever.

Carpe Diem!


Your thoughts?

Happy Thanksgiving (Hit the Gym Friday)

22 Nov

Best wishes to you and yours for a safe, relaxing, and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday from Athletic Performance Training Center!

No matter who you are or what your situation is, we all have much for which to be thankful.  Sometimes, life (and the speed at which it moves) has the tendency to obscure that.

Regardless of how or what you celebrate, I hope you are able to reflect on your blessings this holiday season.


Your thoughts?

Don’t Settle for Average

24 Oct

Average.  Mediocre.  Usual.  Middling.  Run-of-the-mill.  Ordinary.  Common.

No, thank you.

It’s easy to fall into the “path of least resistance” trap.  Sometimes, it seems like that’s what everyone around us does.  It may feel safer to fit in than to stand out.

When we don’t meet our own (or others’) expectations, we tend to try to justify the result to ourselves.  We settle.

Nobody’s perfect — at least not at everything they do, all the time.  Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we fall short… we fail.  But if you strive for perfection and fall short, you can still achieve excellence.  You can still be great.

The key lies in our mental approach and work ethic.  Our willingness to pursue greatness.

Work toward your personal best in your daily endeavors, whether that be as an athlete, student, employee, or otherwise.  Try to improve upon the things that are important to you, every day.  Keep your focus internal and don’t worry about competing with others.  Strive to be better today than you were yesterday, and the rest will eventually fall in place.

Believe in you.  You’re better than average.


Your thoughts?

Focus on the Process, not the Outcome

16 Oct

I recently read an interesting article about the Boston Red Sox organizational philosophy.  Hitting Coach (and former big-leaguer), Chili Davis, stressed the importance of his hitters’ approach for each and every at bat.

“What we try to do is have a good approach at the plate.  We are process-oriented. As long as you go up there with a good game plan and execute that plan the best you can, we’re good.”

I really like that because, when you think about it, that philosophy applies well to just about everything.

It’s not that outcomes – goals and results – are not important because, of course, they are.  But goal achievement is rarely possible without consistent and diligent attention to the process.

No one improves their strength without putting in the appropriate work, over time, in the weight room.

Success – excellence – in sports is the result of days, weeks, months, and years of practice and preparation.

Good grades in school are a product of attendance, homework, and studying.

Rewards – promotions and raises – at work are a by-product of long-term effort.

Coach John Wooden was a big proponent of focusing on the process, and not the outcome.  Coach Wooden didn’t focus on winning.  He focused on the character of his team, key fundamentals, daily improvement, effort, potential, and selfless teamwork.  As a result he won… a lot.

Take care of the process – practice, prepare, and work hard – and the results will inevitably follow.


Your thoughts?

Think Like an Athlete

9 Oct

Being an athlete is about more than just strengthspeedagility, and athleticism (although the development of those characteristics is certainly important).  It even goes beyond the genetics and “natural” ability with which you have been blessed.

Being an athlete is also about how you think; how you practice; how you talk (especially self-talk); how you act; and how you dream.

Being an athlete is about setting challenging goals — and working hard toward the achievement of those goals, every day.

Being an athlete is about realizing your long-term objectives and having the discipline to stick to your plan.

Being an athlete means being aware that there will be obstacles along the way, and having the mental toughness to overcome adversity.

Being an athlete involves visualizing yourself succeeding, and positive, encouraging self-talk, along the way.

Being an athlete requires a commitment to constantly improve upon your performance.

Being an athlete means focusing on improving you, and not comparing yourself with others — being better today than you were yesterday.

Here’s a great read from Huffington Post titled, 8 Ways to Think Like an Athlete.  The article does a nice job of expanding upon some of the thoughts discussed above.  If you are — or aspire to be — an athlete, it’s a “must-read.”  And it doesn’t just apply to athletics.  The same principles can be applied to school, work, and life.


Your thoughts?

Get Some Sleep, Improve Performance

22 Sep

I came across an interesting article in Sports Illustrated magazine, discussing the relationship between sleep and performance, and the importance of maintaining an appropriate sleep schedule, especially for athletes.

Our country, as a whole, suffers from a “staggering amount of sleep deficiency,” according to Dr. Charles Czeisler, director of the division of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School.  And athletes are especially affected, due to their exhaustive schedule of workouts, practices, and games.

According to Dr. Czeisler, the impact of inadequate sleep includes:

  • Slower reaction time
  • Decreased precision
  • Poor balance and coordination
  • Missed signals in your visual field
  • Increased irritability
  • Greater propensity to getting sick
  • More inflammation; slower healing from injuries
  • Duller memory
  • Burnout, exhaustion, and depression

The doctor, who has worked as a consultant to the NBA (as well as NASA and the Secret Service), says athletes should sleep at least 8.2 to 8.4 hours per day.  Here are some of his sleep tips:

  • Establish a routine.  Go to bed and wake up at about the same time every day.
  • Unplug at night.  Get rid of distractions in the bedroom — especially electronics.
  • Aim for 9 hours.  Athletes may need even more sleep than the average person.
  • Nap in the afternoon.  If you sleep only five to six hours per night, an afternoon snooze can help (it works for LeBron and Kobe).
  • Don’t overextend yourself.  You can’t compensate for lost sleep by one long night of sleep.


Your thoughts?

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