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5 Ways to be More Confident

16 Jan

confidence[1]I saw this recently on social media, and thought it was worth sharing.

Believe in you.

Be your best. Do your best. Give your best.

Work hard, stay positive, and good things will happen.

Your thoughts?

WE BUILD STRONGER ATHLETES!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

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Your Goals Won’t Achieve Themselves

9 Jan

Man on top of mountain.Question 1: What do you want to do? Who do you want to be? Where do you want to go?

Question 2: What are you doing to make that happen?

You can’t wait and wish for something to happen.  If it’s important to you — something you really want — you’ve got to make it happen.

Don’t wait for inspiration or motivation, just get moving and take a step in the direction of your desired goal.  It may seem counter-intuitive, but action precedes motivation.

Sometimes, getting started (and staying on course) may seem a little scary, but you’ll be surprised by how much the fear and apprehension subside once you get going.  Once you take action — even the smallest step — toward your goal, you will feel empowered, energized, and motivated.

  • Focus on your dreams and goals, and don’t allow yourself to be discouraged or distracted by short-term adversity and obstacles.
  • Stay determined, even when things aren’t going as planned.
  • Take calculated risks; understand that goal achievement will require change, in some way.
  • Engage in positive self-talk, and surround yourself with positive and encouraging people.
  • Be accountable for your daily actions.

Perhaps your goal requires some assistance along the way.  There are lots of willing and qualified people who can get you started and provide guidance on your journey.  No matter what your goal, identify and acquire the resources you need — equipment, education, assistance, or apparel — to achieve it.

Your thoughts?

WE BUILD STRONGER ATHLETES!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

Happy New Year! (it’s resolution time)

2 Jan

Happy New Year, and welcome to the first few days of 2023. Although I’m not a big proponent of annual resolutions, this time of year certainly lends itself to that process for lots of people. If you’re one of them, here are some considerations in your quest for self-improvement:

  • Upgrade your pantry and fridge. Replace the high-sugar, refined, processed, and fried foods and snacks with healthier options like nuts, fruits, and veggies.
  • Schedule your workout. You’re more likely to commit to a regular workout if you schedule it as part of your day/week as you would any other appointment or obligation.
  • Train with a buddy to keep you motivated and accountable. Research shows that you’re more likely to stay on task if you workout with a partner, especially if he or she is more fit than you.
  • Try new foods.  Experiment with new recipes and try to avoid stuff that comes out of a bag, package, or box.
  • Get your sleep.  You’ll feel and perform better when you are well-rested. Aim for 7-8 hours of shuteye per night.
  • Try a new activity.  If your current routine is getting stale, move on. Finding an activity you enjoy increases the likelihood that you’ll make it a priority.
  • Take a break.  Set aside time in your daily calendar for two 15-minute breaks — one in the morning and another in the afternoon. Go for a walk, listen to music, or grab a healthy snack to improve productivity.
  • Get more color in your diet. Try to include at least three colorful fruits and vegetables on your plate at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Colorful meals are packed with antioxidants and nutrients to help fight illness and decrease inflammation.

Best wishes for a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2023.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Your thoughts?

WE BUILD STRONGER ATHLETES!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

New Year, New and Improved You

26 Dec

No matter how good you are, everyone has room for improvement. How will you improve yourself in 2023? Here are a few thoughts:

Do Something

Challenge yourself to develop a new skill. Start a new project. If it’s making you better — taking you in a positive direction — continue and improve what you did in 2022. Commit yourself to self-improvement in some area. If you’re not satisfied with a certain area of your life, do something about it. Then, keep doing it… every day. The cumulative impact will be considerable.

Get Moving

Inactivity is the enemy of productivity. Get started. Take action. Move. Nothing will change until you get going. Beginning a new endeavor can seem daunting, but Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu reminds us, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

The best and brightest individuals in every field were once beginners. No one starts as an expert. The greatest accomplishments all have the same common denominator: At some point, someone was willing to take the first step toward greatness, even if they didn’t realize it at the time. American Author Zig Ziglar said, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.

Be Confident

Believe in yourself. You have positive attributes. You have strengths and skills. Use positive self-talk as a motivator. Surround yourself with people who are positive and encouraging. Learn to view setbacks as nothing more than learning experiences — steps on the path to success. “Believe you can and youre halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Risk New Things

You know the “definition” of insanity: “Doing the same things over and over, and expecting different results.” Take a chance. Be open-minded and adventurous. Step out of your comfort zone. Go out on a limb — that’s where the fruit is. Change can be scary, but it is a necessary component of progress. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” – Ben Franklin

Stick With It

Creating a better you won’t necessarily be easy. Some days will be better than others. There will probably be some obstacles and growing pains along the way. Be consistent and be persistent. Follow your plan and do something to move forward, every day, especially on the “low-motivation” days. Don’t give up, don’t give in.

Then, Be Ready for Big Surprises

You’re as good as you think you are, and as good as you want to be.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Your thoughts?

WE BUILD STRONGER ATHLETES!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

A Visit from St. Nicholas (The Night Before Christmas)

23 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

This Holiday Season…

12 Dec

10559911_10202096199965891_1793992248399861668_n[1]I saw this Holiday “To-Do” List, years ago, on a social media site, and thought it was worth sharing.  Enjoy.

  • Don’t just buy presents… BE present.
  • Don’t just wrap gifts… wrap someone in a HUG.
  • Don’t just send gifts… send PEACE.
  • Don’t just shop for food… DONATE food.
  • Don’t just make cookies… make LOVE.
  • Don’t just see the lights… BE the light.

Brighten someone’s holiday this year.  Make someone’s day.  Be the reason someone smiles.

Your thoughts?

WE BUILD STRONGER ATHLETES!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

Characteristics of Mentally Tough Athletes

5 Dec

kevin-love[1]There are lots of different ways to describe and define mental toughness.  It can be described as the ability, willingness, and discipline to perform effectively and productively, regardless of the situation or circumstances.

Mental toughness involves positive thinking, focus, concentration, persistence, perseverance, and a strong belief in self.  It is the ability to ignore distractions, focus on what is important, and block out what is not.

Mental toughness is working through adversity, overcoming obstacles, and refusing to give up or give in.

And, although the focus of this blog post primarily relates to athletes, mental toughness does not apply only to athletes.  Since we all face obstacles and adversity, mental toughness can be an asset to students, business professionals, teachers, coaches, parents, and any other situation or life experience.

Here’s a list of 10 Characteristics of a Mentally Tough Player, excerpted from the article, Developing Mental Toughness:

  1. Doesn’t let one bad play lead into another. Short memory.
  2. Is able to take constructive criticism from a coach or teammate with the right attitude.
  3. Is still able to be a good leader even when they aren’t personally playing well.
  4. Is able to run offense and execute the correct play even when they are physically tired.
  5. Still shoots the basketball with great form and technique when they are physically fatigued.
  6. Doesn’t check out of a game that they are losing, and looks like there is no chance to win.
  7. Doesn’t complain about something being too difficult, but finds a way to get through it.
  8. Stays patient and is able to run offense even when being pressured by the defense.
  9. Stays in control of emotions and doesn’t let the size of the stage negatively effect them.
  10. Doesn’t put in the bare minimum during conditioning, but looks to try and win every sprint.

Your thoughts?

WE BUILD STRONGER ATHLETES!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

Avoid Late-Season Burnout

7 Nov

Hitting+the+Wall[1]What do you do when you “hit the wall?”  I’m referring to the wall that suddenly appears at the end of your season, just before the playoffs begin.

If you’ve hit that wall before, then you’re aware of the mental and physical fatigue, performance decline, stress, frustration, and self-doubt that an athlete can experience.

The pre-season and regular-season — practicing, training, and competing — can take a heavy toll on an athlete.  Some athletes deal with it better than others, and are able to avoid feeling “overloaded.”

But even the best athletes can begin to feel like their bodies are shutting down, and they’re too physically and mentally “spent” to push past it.  Here are a few tips to help athletes better manage late-season fatigue:

  • Allow more time for recovery, and make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
  • Stay well hydrated throughout the day — before, during, and after activity.
  • Fuel your body appropriately.  Make sure the frequency, timing, quality, and quantity of your meals and snacks complement your activity level.
  • Reduce the frequency, volume, and/or intensity of your activity, especially the stuff you do outside the gym. (strength training, etc.)
  • Focus on technical, sport-specific skills (ball-handling, shooting, etc.), and cut back on high-intensity conditioning activity.
  • Practice strategically, and be efficient.  Don’t just go through the motions — make every repetition count.  Quality trumps quantity.
  • Talk with your coach about how you’re feeling.

Your thoughts?

WE BUILD STRONGER ATHLETES!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

Tough Coach? No Problem!

31 Oct

Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Matta talks with guard Craft in the second half against the Wichita State Shockers during their West Regional NCAA men's basketball game in Los AngelesIt’s important to be a coachable athlete.  As a player you want to flourish under your coach, not flounder.

At some point, you may find yourself playing for a “tough” coach.  Adjectives like demanding, hard-to-please, challenging, and exacting may come to mind.  Hopefully, fair is also a word that describes the coach.

Perhaps you haven’t had much experience playing for this type of coach.  How will you make it work?

Much of the time, it’s a question of attitude.  Additionally, communication and collaboration are very important components in building and maintaining a positive, productive player-coach relationship.

Every player has something to offer, and it’s up to you and your coach to define and develop your role and perform it to the best of your ability.

Sure, it’s a challenge.  But, with a “can-do” attitude and by following a few tips, you might find that making it work is not as hard as you think.

Check Your Attitude

Listen to what your coach has to say, and respect his or her experience and expertise.  Be willing to try new approaches and strategies.  Don’t brood about (what you perceive as) your coach not valuing your contribution.  No one wants to play with an athlete who is dismissive of suggestions or assignments.

Be Positive

There’s a lot you can learn from your coach, if you are open and receptive to learning.  Ask questions and strive to continue learning.  Your willingness and enthusiasm to embrace new ways of doing things will be appreciated.  Recognize that both you and the coach are building a relationship that allows each of you to be successful on the court or field of play.  Absorb the energy and enthusiasm your coach brings to the team.

Build Relationships With Teammates

Connecting with teammates, both on and off the court, can help you foster your relationship with your coach.  Stay appropriately engaged with teammates on common social networks with positive posts.  Forward relevant articles to your coach with a note, letting him or her know that you found it helpful or useful.

Improve Communication

Chances are, you under-communicate with your coach.  Get comfortable approaching and talking with him or her.  And remember, it should be you talking with your coach and not your parent(s).  Topics like playing time and comparisons with teammates are — and should be — off-limits.  Focus, instead, on your own self-development as a player.  Ask questions like, “In what specific areas can I work to improve in order to better contribute to the success of our team.”  Most coaches will make more of an effort to help you once they know you are willing to help yourself.

Don’t Snipe

Avoid making negative comments about your coach to your teammates, friends, etc., and keep the negative stuff OFF social media.  All that will accomplish is to cast you in a negative light, make things awkward for those around you,  and adversely affect your team chemistry.  What happens at practice should stay at practice, unless it involves something that has the potential to hurt you or others.

Your thoughts?

WE BUILD STRONGER ATHLETES!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

When the Going Gets Tough…

26 Sep

the_fox_and_the_grapes_by_alexmax-d4ys8zz[1]You’re going to encounter some adversity.  You’re going to experience some hardship.  Maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow, but it’s inevitable.

Recently, I’ve had some challenging (and enlightening) discussions with a few student-athletes that reminded me of Aesop’s “The Fox and the Grapes” fable:

     One afternoon a fox was walking through the forest and spotted a bunch of grapes hanging from over a lofty branch.

     “Just the thing to quench my thirst,” quoth he.

     Taking a few steps back, the fox jumped and just missed the hanging grapes. Again the fox took a few paces back and tried to reach them but still failed.

     Finally, giving up, the fox turned up his nose and said, “They’re probably sour anyway,” and proceeded to walk away.

The moral of the story: It’s easy to despise what you cannot have.

When faced with adversity in their sport of choice, there are some kids (and, perhaps, parents) who apparently feel that it’s better/easier to give up than continue working to improve.  I hear comments used to justify quitting, like, “There are more important things in life than sports,” and “It’s not like I’m going to be a professional athlete.”

Of course there are more important things in life than sports — and very few of us will become professional athletes, but that doesn’t mean sports aren’t important.  Using that argument, you can rationalize any shortcoming.

You can make a case that there are also more important things in life than school — studying, doing homework, getting good grades, ACT scores, etc.

I suppose there’s also more to life than working — learning a craft, managing some aspect of a business, earning money, etc.

At any given time, you can add just about anything to to the “there’s more to life” list: faith, friends, family, and any other obligation/responsibility — or choice — you care to name.

I find it ironic that you rarely hear these types of comments from people who are committed to succeeding.  Certainly, they also know that whatever they’re doing is not necessarily the defining aspect of their lives.

What these folks have learned is that success is not only about the end result.  True success is also about the process.  It’s about learning and practicing and working through adversity.

What do you do when the going gets tough? Do you rationalize failure or do you strengthen your resolve and work harder?

Your thoughts?

WE BUILD STRONGER ATHLETES!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

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