Tag Archives: attitude

You Can Do Better

6 Sep

If you think you can do better, then do better. Don’t compete with anyone; just yourself.” – Bob Fosse

You can do better.  You can, I can, we all can.

I’m reminded of this every day, at my Strength & Conditioning facility, working with athletes and active individuals.

But it’s not limited to Strength training.  As a matter of fact, it’s WAY BIGGER than Strength & Conditioning.

Personally, professionally, athletically… you can do better.  But first you have to be honest with yourself – is this the best you can do?

Then you have to want to do better.  Even if it’s just one small change… one small improvement.

You can do better in your daily interaction with family and friends.

You can do better in your daily correspondence with colleagues and coworkers.

You can do better in your daily collaboration with teammates and coaches.

You can do better in the weight room, at the gym, on the field, or wherever you prepare or practice.

You can improve your attitude and level of effort, every day.

You can be more patient, more tolerant, and less judgmental.

You can extend more kindness and hospitality – and express more gratitude – to everyone around you.

You can be a better example, and a better role model, to others.

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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Don’t Take Yourself Out of the Game

21 Apr

As an athlete, consistency is important.  Consistency of effort, preparation, and practice leads to consistency of performance.  But, despite our best efforts, athletes at every level experience performance slumps.  There will be  some games when your shots are just not falling.  How will you deal with it?

There are some things that are under your control every time you take the court.  Attitude is one of them and, perhaps, the most important.  You decide if and how you let a missed shot or turnover affect your next possession, or the rest of your game.  Although it may be easier said then done, a positive mental approach (and, sometimes, a short memory) is critical to athletic performance success.

Effort is another area that shouldn’t be impacted by your level of play.  Keep hustling.  Continue to “play hard, play smart, and play together” (Dean Smith, former University of North Carolina men’s basketball coach).  Don’t allow a missed shot or bad pass to be an excuse to give anything less than 100% when you’re on the court.  Focus on the aspects of your play that aren’t susceptible to slumps, like defense, boxing out, and rebounding.

Don’t allow a performance slump to take away your aggressiveness, confidence, or energy.  You’ve worked hard to get to this point.  Keep believing in yourself and maintain a high intensity level.  Draw on positive past experience to fuel your thoughts.  Keep working hard, stay positive, and good things will happen.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

The Relationship Between Preparation and Performance

17 Feb

589031400-300x200I am blessed with the opportunity to work with hundreds of athletes, teams, and organizations, ranging from young boys and girls to elite professional athletes.

Obviously, the work I do with athletes is primarily performance training – Strength & Conditioning, Speed & Agility, etc.  Other areas of performance training, such as sport-specific skill development (e.g., basketball ball-handling and shooting), are equally important.

In addition to training these athletes, I try to get out and watch them (as many as I can) compete.  Watching them play provides me with invaluable insight into two key areas:

  • The impact our training has on their performance, and
  • Areas of improvement where we can enhance/modify our training to further improve performance

But there’s also something else I’ve learned from watching these athletes in a competitive setting: The attitude, effort, and work ethic they bring to our training sessions is directly reflected in their performance.

Recently, I had the opportunity watch several, high-level club volleyball teams play, all of whom participate in our organizational team training.  These opportunities are rare, since most of these teams travel considerable distances to compete – regionally and nationally, and don’t participate in many local tournaments.

As far as I’m concerned, there were no surprises, regarding the level of their performance.  The teams that routinely bring a high level of effort and work ethic – and a positive attitude – to our training sessions played well, even against top competition.  The teams that bring a less-than-desirable attitude and effort to our training sessions did not fare as well.

Work ethic is not a “sometimes” thing.  You can’t work hard some of the time and say you have a strong work ethic.  It would be like studying only some of the time, but claiming to have good study habits.  It simply doesn’t work that way.

You can’t go through the motions and half-a** your way through your performance training sessions and expect a high level of success when it’s game time.  My observation of hundreds of athletes and teams, over time, has corroborated that.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s no guarantee of success, even for those athletes who do consistently demonstrate a high level of effort and strong work ethic.  But I sure like the odds, and so should you.

STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Accept Your Role (but keep working)

15 Jul

San Antonio SpursWhat’s your role on your team?

Are you a starter, or do you come off the bench?

Do you play lots of minutes, or just a few?

Now the important question, especially if your role is not aligned with your aspirations:  How do you handle it?

How is your attitude and body language?  What are you projecting to your teammates and coaches?

Your role on your team — and your contribution — may not be exactly what you’ve envisioned, but it’s important to accept your role.

That doesn’t mean you have to be happy about it or satisfied with it; nor does it mean you should resign yourself to believing there’s nothing you can do to change it.

It does mean, however, that you must do your best to avoid negativity — negative thoughts, words, and actions — that can disrupt and erode team chemistry.

That being said, if you have loftier goals than your current situation enables, don’t be complacent — keep working toward your dream.

Work hard at practice and push the teammate(s) playing in front of you.  Your efforts at practice can help make the whole team better, in addition to improving you.

Away from practice, continue to work hard — on your own — strengthening your individual skills.

Not everyone can (or will) be their team’s star player or MVP, but you do have the ability to be better tomorrow than you are today.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

There Are No Secrets to Success

18 May

top-success-quotes_12020-5[1]Don’t look for secrets when studying the best. Look at the basics. Look at what they do every day. Success often lies there.” – Buzz Williams

What we often see, when observing excellence in athletic performance (or any other endeavor), is just the result — the “tip of the iceberg.”  What we don’t see are the days, months, and years of hard work, dedication, commitment, and sacrifice that contributed to the success.

Success is the result of consistency.  It lies in the mundane, not the magical.

Success requires getting the basics right.  It’s foundation is sound and solid.

Success is built on not only action, but attitude.  It is fed by passion, enthusiasm, and desire.

The path to success is not devoid of obstacles; but the realization that each setback is a learning opportunity that brings us one step closer to success.

Success is planning your work, and working you plan, every day.

There are no secrets.  Be your best and strive to improve you, TODAY.  Then do it again tomorrow.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Don’t Let Perfect Get in the Way of Progress

4 May

perfect-progress[1]Don’t worry about being perfect today.  Instead, focus on being better than yesterday — strive to be your best, in terms of attitude and effort.

Don’t compare yourself with others, don’t aspire to be better than anyone else, and don’t stress over challenges, mistakes, and setbacks.

Learn from mistakes, be persistent, and simply do what you can do to make today better than yesterday.

While it’s admirable to aim for perfection, you’ve got to be realistic and reasonable.

As Vince Lombardi said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”

Strive for perfection, settle for excellence, and — above all — keep moving forward and getting better.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Characteristics of Mentally Tough Athletes

25 Feb

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.

Thanks to my friend, Laurel Heilman of STUDENTathleteWorld, for sharing this information.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Tough Coach? No Problem!

13 Feb

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.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Always Keep Swinging

3 Dec

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?

The 4 “A”s of Success for Student-Athletes

3 Sep

student-athlete[1]First of all, thanks to Athlete Motivation for sharing this, on Twitter.  I’d like to take their tweet and expand on it.

We work with hundreds of athletes at our facility — from scholastic, collegiate, and professional levels.  By far, our highest concentration comes to us from the high school and college ranks.

To a one, the most successful student-athletes with whom we work live and breathe the “4 ‘A’s of Success.”  They are capable, responsible students who work hard — both on and off the court/field — to be the best athletes they can be.  They understand that their ultimate success in school and sports is actually developed away from the classroom and gym or field.  Their practice habits and willingness to prepare are “a cut above” the average student-athlete.

  1. Academics.  Hit the books and make your studies a priority.  I don’t care how talented an athlete you are, academics are the conduit to your future.
  2. Athletics.  Work to develop your sport-specific skills to the best of your ability.  Improve your strength, speed, agility, and overall athleticism.  Dedicate yourself to become a student of the game.  Commit yourself to contribute to the success of your team however you can.
  3. Attitude.  I could go on and on about the impact of positive thinking.  Believe in you.  Approach each day as a new opportunity to improve yourself and be successful.  Be happy and smile… a lot.
  4. Achievement.  There’s nothing better than a sense of accomplishment.  Goal setting and action planning are important components of the achievement process.  Ultimately, action is probably the most important element — you’ve got to work your plan.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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