Tag Archives: effort

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?

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

17 Jun

xdont-compare-yourself-to-other-people.jpg.pagespeed.ic.rpllvOvyb0[2]The principle is competing against yourself. It’s about self-improvement, about being better than you were the day before.” – Steve Young

From time to time, we all have a tendency to compare ourselves to others.  Perhaps it’s human nature and, therefore, inevitable.  And while learning from others is certainly an important part of critical decision making, it can be damaging if it is used to reinforce an unrealistic or negative self-image.  It is much more productive to focus your comparison inward, trying to improve upon your own past (or current) level of effort and performance.

Comparing yourself to others is like shooting at a moving target.  There will always be someone who does something(s) better than you and, conversely, there will always be something(s) you can do better than others.  Everyone is different, and you can’t be afraid to be you.  The key is to realistically assess your current level of performance and get to work on improving that (see The One-Percent Rule).

What is your current grade point average?  How about your free throw shooting percentage?  Or maybe your bench press 1 rep max?  The point is, it doesn’t matter what it is, or if it relates to school, sports, work, or life.  Whatever it is, set a goal, create an action plan, and get to work on improving it today.  Don’t spend a lot of time trying to be better than others; spend more time trying to create a better you.  Compare yourself to you.  Improve you.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Don’t Confuse Motion and Progress

11 Apr

tumblr_m1bwfq9uOV1qi2f8bo1_500[1]“Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.” – Alfred A. Montapert

“Don’t mistake activity for achievement.” – John Wooden

Some players — and coaches — are enamored with “hustle” — bodies flying all over the court or field with reckless abandon.  To some, it looks like a lot of effort is being expended.  Unfortunately, as I observe scholastic sports, much of this activity lacks purpose… there’s no rhyme or reason to it.  Some of it is nothing more than a lot of frenetic energy that, ultimately, doesn’t accomplish much.

Whether you’re practicing, playing, or training… have a goal.  Understand what it is you want (need) to accomplish and what is required of you to achieve the desired result.  Think situationally about the “why,” “what,” and “how.”  Your practice, game-play, and training should be purposeful.

For example, when you practice ball-handling and shooting, don’t just randomly dribble and throw the ball at the basket.  Work on your “off” hand, and practice moves that help you create your own shot (hesitation, step-back, etc.).

When you take batting practice, don’t just swing the bat to make contact.  Practice bunting, hitting behind the runner, hitting to the opposite field, and hitting the ball in the air (sac fly).

When you train, don’t just do random exercises.  Perform exercises and drills that are aligned with your goals, and reflect the demands and movement patterns of your sport(s) — whether they be strength, speed, power, agility, etc.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Strive for Perfection, Settle for Excellence

11 Dec

jordan-shoot-mr-basketball-basquete-blog-brasil[1]Hall of Fame NFL Coach (and Cleveland area native), Don Shula, is credited with the quote, “Strive for perfection, settle for excellence.”  Ironically, it was Shula’s 1972 Miami Dolphins that, to this day, lay claim to the NFL’s only “perfect” (unbeaten championship) season.

Brian Littrell said, “Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

Michael Jordan famously asserted that, although he didn’t make every shot he took, he intended to — his goal was to make every shot — even though his career field goal percentage was just below 50%.

Perfection — at least in the long-term — is unattainable.  You may get 100% of the points on a particular test or quiz, but it’s unlikely you’ll do it for an entire grading period.  Similarly, you may have a game in which you make 100% of your free throws or have no turnovers, but it’s next to impossible to maintain that pace for an entire season.

The point is this: AIM HIGH!  If you set your goals at the highest level and fall short, you’ll still be performing at a high level.  Your work, practice, and preparation should be done with an eye on perfection, regardless of the venue — personal, professional, academic, or athletic.  There’s no shame in not being perfect, but don’t settle for mediocrity.  Keep working toward that perfect score, assignment, or game.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

It’s Not Going to Happen Overnight

19 Oct

Man on top of mountain.We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

As the ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, reminds us, excellence is not a static event, it’s a process.

There’s no such thing as an “overnight” success.

When we see excellence, what we are actually seeing is just the “tip of the iceberg.”  We rarely, if ever, see the commitment, dedication, time, and effort that invariably contributes to the end result.

Excellence requires hours, days, and even months and years of practice and purposeful repetition.  No one achieves greatness without a significant investment over time.

And it’s not just about sports.  The same applies for school, work, relationships, and life.

My Mom used to preach patience to my siblings and me, telling us, “If it’s worth having, it’s worth waiting for.”  I would add “working” to the “waiting,” in that quote, since you can’t just wait for it to happen, you’ve also got to work to make it happen (but, I’m sure my Mom knew that, too).

Frequently, I have parents who bring their sons and/or daughters to my facility — during their sport season — having come to the realization that junior needs to get stronger, faster, and more powerful in order to earn playing time or be competitive in his or her respective sport.  And, with my help, they want their child to accomplish it… now.

I think some of them truly believe (or hope) that strength, speed, and power development works like a microwave oven: Put the food in the oven, press a button, wait a moment or two, and… voila!  It’s ready — finished product.

Self-improvement is a process, as is self-development.

You’ve got to put in the time.  And the effort.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

How Will You Know If You Never Try?

23 Sep

Man on top of mountain.If you never try, you’ll never know what you are capable of.” – John Barrow

I asked you these questions a few months ago:

  • What to you want to do?
  • Where do you want to go?
  • Who do you want to be?

How will you do it, see it, or be it, if you don’t try?

In order to accomplish anything, you’ve got to expect success.

You’ve got to work hardwork smart, and believe in yourself.

But the most important step is TRYING.

Try and succeed.  Try and fail.  Try again.  Just don’t let lack of effort be the reason you don’t succeed.

NO regrets — NO “could’ve,” NO “should’ve,” NO “would’ve.”

Most people fail not because they lack ability, intelligence, or opportunity, but they fail because they don’t give it all they’ve got.” – Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Invest your time, effort, and energy — chase your dream.  Extreme dedication almost always leads to success.

Don’t let worry, wonder, or doubt cloud your vision of success.

Don’t hold anything back.  Give it your best effort.  Whatever that looks like — on any given day — give it.

You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.

Give it a shot.

Take a chance

Push yourself.

Challenge yourself.

Step outside your comfort zone.

You’ll never know if you don’t try.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Don’t Let Lack of Effort Be the Reason You Don’t Succeed

22 Jun
Make It Happen

Make It Happen

What’s your dream?  What to you want to do?  Where do you want to go?  Who do you want to be?

Now the really important question:  What are you willing to do to accomplish/achieve your goal?

First of all, in order to be successful, you’ve got to expect success.

You’ve got to work hard, work smart, and believe in yourself.

Try and succeed.  Try and fail.  Try again.  Just don’t let lack of effort be the reason you don’t succeed.

NO regrets — NO “could’ve,” NO “should’ve,” NO “would’ve.”

Most people fail not because they lack ability, intelligence, or opportunity, but they fail because they don’t give it all they’ve got.” – Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Invest your time, effort, and energy — chase your dream.  Extreme dedication almost always leads to success.

Don’t let worry, wonder, or doubt cloud your vision of success.

Don’t hold anything back.  Give it your best effort.  Whatever that looks like — on any given day — give it.

You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Don’t Be “A” Anything; Be “THE” Something

10 Jun

jordan-shot-ehlo[1]My Mom used to tell us, “If you’re going to do it, do it well and do it right; do it to the best of your ability.”

Her point was this:  It’s all about your effort and intentions.  Are you working to be the best you can be?  Is your goal to be the best you can be?  Or are you just going through the motions?

No one is at the “top of their game” every day, but that doesn’t mean they go out there trying to be less than the best.  Some days the shots fall, and some days they don’t.  Michael Jordan didn’t make every shot that left his hands, but I guarantee that was his intention.

Don’t settle for being “just another” anything.  Work hard (and smart) to distinguish yourself as “the” something.

If you’re an athlete, don’t settle for being “a” point guard on your basketball team; put in the work necessary to be “the” point guard on your team.

If you’re a coach (teacher, trainer, etc.), don’t just go through the motions; work hard to be the best teacher, motivator, and developer of people of which you are capable.

If you’re a student, don’t aspire to be “just another” member of your graduating class; push yourself to excel in a class or area about which you are passionate.

If you’re a business professional, don’t be satisfied being “a” salesperson, manager, or director; commit yourself to being “the” salesperson, manager, or director.

Find your passion.  Chase your dream.  Make it happen.

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?

%d bloggers like this: