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New Year, New and Improved You

30 Dec

No matter how good you are, everyone has room for improvement.  How will you improve yourself in 2020?  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 2019.  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 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!

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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

This Holiday Season…

17 Dec

10559911_10202096199965891_1793992248399861668_n[1]I recently saw this Holiday “To-Do” List 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.

Prepare Like You Intend to Perform

15 Nov

This post was originally published on November 15, 2013.

A few days ago, I published a blog post titled, You’ve Got to Practice at Game Speed.  Today, I’d like to address practice and preparation from a different angle — specifically, the athlete’s focus and intensity level.

I must admit, once again, my thoughts and observations are based on having watched my daughter’s — and our high school girls varsity basketball team’s — scrimmages.  And my comments don’t just apply to our team.  To some extent, I saw this in each and every one of the five teams that participated in the scrimmage.

Some of the pre-game warm-up activity was just awful.  I’m not referring to the drills, themselves, but rather the effort with which the drills were performed.  Many of the players’ focus and intensity level was variable, at best.  Some of them didn’t even look like they took it seriously — half-hearted passing, shooting, and overall execution.  Moving through the drills at half-speed.  Laughing, joking, and fooling around.  Do you really believe there’s no carry-over into the game?  I’m not suggesting that the student-athlete experience shouldn’t be enjoyable.  But once you lace them up and step on the court, it’s time to focus your attention and effort on the task at hand.

Representing your high school on the basketball court is a privilege… not an entitlement!  Same goes for any other sport at any other level.  Show that you respect the game, your teammates, your coaches — and yourself — by taking your decision and commitment to play a little more seriously.

The same principle applies to school, work… and life.  How do you study for your upcoming exam?  How do you prepare for your business presentation?  Are you setting yourself up for success, or sabotaging your own efforts?

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Are You a “ME” Player or a “WE” Player?

1 Oct
San Antonio Spurs -- The Epitome of Unselfish, Team Play

San Antonio Spurs — The Epitome of Unselfish, Team Play

No one is bigger than the team. If you can’t do things our way, you’re not getting time here, and we don’t care who you are.” – Gregg Popovich

Basketball season — my favorite sport season — will soon be upon us.  I train lots of basketball players, and enjoy supporting them by watching them play, so I anticipate having the opportunity to watch a lot of basketball.

Invariably, there will be some good and bad individual and team play; some cohesive teamwork and some selfish, “me-first” individual play.

So, I guess the question becomes, what type of player are you?  Do you play for you or do you play for your team?  Do you play for the name on the front of your jersey, or the name on the back of your jersey?

It’s frustrating for everyone to watch players who put “getting mine” before “getting ours;” players who, instead of playing within the system, play at the expense of the system.  It’s equally frustrating to watch the coach who allows and, in effect, encourages such behavior.

I’ve always told my kids and players this:  When you spend more time, on every possession, looking for your team’s best shot, instead of spending so much time trying to find a way to get off your own shot, you will be a better player and we will be a better team.

See the floor.  Pass the ball.  Move without the ball.  Get your teammates involved.  The longer you spend with the ball in your hands, looking for your own shot, the more sluggish your team’s offense becomes.  Trust me, the ball will come back to you.  On any given possession, your shot will be your team’s best scoring opportunity.  And, when it is, do your thing.

Don’t get me wrong, winning is great and — on the surface — it can even conceal some teamwork issues.  But I think I’d rather lose with a cohesive, unselfish team than win with a “me-first” player (or players) who thinks they are bigger than the team.

Teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to produce uncommon results.” – Unknown

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Don’t Let the Scale Define You

23 Sep

weight-loss[1]While I realize (statistics indicate) the average American can stand to lose a few pounds, the scale doesn’t always tell the entire story.

Your body weight is not a reflection of your worth.  It’s more productive to focus on eating clean (and not overeating), exercising, improving strength and mobility, increasing energy, and NOT a number on a scale.

There’s not necessarily a definitive relationship between body weight and overall health.  A person can have a healthy body weight, yet eat (qualitatively) poorly and be relatively physically inactive.

I don’t do a lot with scales and body weight at our facility.  I would rather concentrate on how people feel, function, and perform.  Keep in mind muscle takes up less space but weighs more than fat.

“Healthy” is not limited to any particular shape, size, or weight.  At least some of that is determined by genetics, anyway.

Part of the problem is our referent.  We try to compare ourselves with others  — unfairly and unrealistically —  instead of aspiring toward self-improvement: being better today than we were yesterday.

We all want to look and feel good, but the fads and gimmicks we chase to get there are not the answer.  In simple terms, eat cleaner, eat less, be more active, and exercise more.

An examination of ounces and pounds shouldn’t start your day any more than it should end it.  Don’t let the scale deflate your efforts if you know you’re on the right track with your nutrition and exercise plans.

Even if weight loss is part of your plan (and it’s okay if it is), detach the number on the scale from how you feel about you.  Be fair to yourself, eat well, stay active, and stay on track.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Always Keep Swinging

2 Sep

44power[1]My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.” – Hank Aaron

No one performs at the peak of his or her ability level, all the time.  You’re going to have good games and bad games.  And, sometimes, the bad games can seem to persist, and you may find yourself in somewhat of a slump (conversely, sometimes the good games will persist, too, and you’ll enjoy your “hot” streak).

The root of your slump may be mechanical, physical, psychological, or emotional.  In all likelihood, you may not even be aware of the cause of your slump, just the end (performance) result.

Attitude is everything.  More than anything else, your approach to improving your performance — when in a slump — will be most important in determining the outcome.

You may not hit the ball every time you swing the bat, but one thing is certain: you’ll never hit it if you don’t swing.  Same goes for shooting a basketball.  You’ve got to shoot if you want to score.

This same principle applies to school, work, and life.  “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” – Benjamin Franklin

Have a goal and be realistic.  Understand your strengths and areas for improvement.  Develop an action plan that is aligned with your goal, and take small steps toward your goal, every day.

Believe in yourself, don’t get discouraged, and don’t quit.  Seek help and inspiration from someone with experience and expertise in the area in which you want to improve.

Try and succeed… try and fail.  Try again.  Keep trying.  You’ll never win if you never try.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

16 Characteristics for Success

5 Aug

San Antonio SpursOnce again, this is borrowed from a poster I found hanging on the wall of a high school weight room where I work with an area swimming and diving team.  Another gem.

ALWAYS Compete!

Do EVERYTHING to the best of YOUR ability!

Practice is EVERYTHING — How we practice defines who we are.

Always protect the TEAM

No Whining, No Complaining, No Excuses!

If you’re 5 minutes early, YOU’RE LATE!

16 CHARACTERISTICS FOR SUCCESS:

  1. Make a commitment
  2. Be unselfish
  3. Create unity — come together as never before
  4. Improve every day as a player, person, and student
  5. Be tough
  6. Be self-disciplined — do it right, don’t accept less
  7. Give your best effort in everything you do
  8. Be enthusiastic
  9. Eliminate mistakes — don’t beat yourself
  10. Never give up
  11. Don’t accept losing
  12. Permit no self-limitations — expect more of yourself
  13. Expect to win
  14. Be consistent
  15. Develop leadership
  16. Be responsible

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

5 Levels of Player Commitment

29 Jul

201401042048749303103-p5[1]I found this, recently, hanging on the wall of a high school weight room where I work with an area swimming and diving team.  Good stuff.

WHAT LEVEL ARE YOU?

Five Levels of Player Commitment

  1. Compelled:  Team goals are of the utmost importance. Players feel a true sense of mission and purpose.  They enjoy extra work and team accomplishments.
  2. Committed:  Team goals are of high importance and a player is willing to do whatever is necessary.  Puts in extra time and effort to win.
  3. Compliant:  Team goals are important.  Player will do whatever is asked to achieve goal.  Will do no more, no less than what is asked.
  4. Reluctant:  Player is hesitant, or afraid to commit to team goals.  Will cut corners when they can get away with it.
  5. Resistant:  Player has not bought into the team goal, usually because he has his own agenda.  The player is selfish.

Which of these describes you?

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Remembering Dad

9 Jul

fatherson[2]This week marks what would have been my Dad’s 84th birthday and, sadly, 26 years since he passed away.  I also lost my Mom, eleven years ago this month.

My Dad never got to see most of his nine grandchildren, including 3 of my four.  But, for a short time, he sure did love and dote on the grandkids he was able to see.  I often think about — and talk with my kids about — how much I imagine he would have enjoyed watching them grow up.

In his younger days, my Dad was a pretty fair athlete, having been an all-state caliber high school basketball player and minor league caliber baseball player (athleticism that obviously skipped a generation).  Given my kids’ involvement in sports, I imagine him taking great pleasure and pride in watching them progress as athletes.

My Dad loved sports, and would watch almost any sporting event.  But what I remember most about him was his knowledge of sports.  He was a real student of the game, and had an encyclopedic knowledge and memory of the history of the game, regardless of the sport.

My Dad had a unique sense of humor, and always enjoyed a good prank or practical joke.  When he wanted to, he could be very engaging and entertaining.

My Dad wasn’t very good with names, which is why he referred to just about everyone as “pal,” “buddy,” “babe,” or “honey.”

My Dad loved to do the daily crossword in the local newspaper.  I can remember him sitting in our living room — pen in hand — almost every day after work, when he had finished dinner, working on that puzzle.

My Dad was also pretty good at imparting life’s lessons.  He had a way of communicating his point that was candid and sometimes a little harsh.  But he always got his point across, loud and clear.

I’m sure I could ramble on for a good while about all the memories I have of my Dad.  Mostly I guess I’m just thinking about him and missing him this week…

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