Tag Archives: effort

The Most Important Game Is Your Next Game

18 Jun

How did you play in your last game?  Did you play as well as you wanted?  Did you play as well as you expected?  Did you play as well as you are capable?

Maybe you played with aggressiveness, or maybe you weren’t aggressive enough.

Maybe you played with confidence, or maybe it was lacking.

Maybe you brought energy, or maybe it just wasn’t there.

Well, here’s the deal:  There’s nothing you can do to change your effort or your performance now.  The game is over.

The key is to analyze and understand your performance — what happened and why it happened — and use that analysis and understanding to gain a competitive advantage… to improve upon your last game.

If you played a great game, work on further improving and reinforcing the things you did well.

If you played a not-so-great game, don’t dwell on it — it’s over.  But make sure you learn from it, and do your best to apply what you learned to your next game.

Because now the only game that matters is your next game.  It’s the most important one, because it’s the next game you can impact.  You can’t play any of the games after the next game until you play the next one.  Do your best to make it what you want it to be.  Make it happen.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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Book Recommendation: Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

21 May

If you have not yet heard of – or read – the book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth, I highly recommend it.

Grit is a must-read book for anyone striving to succeed – parents, students, educators, athletes, and businesspeople.  Ms. Duckworth shows readers that the “secret” to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.”

In the first part of the book (the first five chapters), Ms. Duckworth discusses what grit is and why it matters.

The second part of the book (chapters six through nine) reveals how to grow grit from the inside out – how we can develop grit.

The third, and final, part of the book (the last four chapters) focuses on how to grow grit from the outside in – how we can help (parent, coach, and teach) others to develop grit.

My favorite part of the book (and it’s all terrific) is chapter 3, which is titled, “Effort Counts Twice.”  In this chapter, the author discusses the relationship between talent and achievement, and why any effort we make ultimately counts twice toward our goal.

talent x effort = skill

skill x effort = achievement

It’s unlikely that talent, alone, can help people achieve success.  However, when we apply effort to talent, it can become skill.  Likewise, when effort is applied to skill, it can result in achievement – success.  I love this!

Also among Grit‘s valuable insights are:

  • How grit can be learned, regardless of IQ or circumstances
  • How lifelong interest is triggered
  • How much of optimal practice is suffering and how much is ecstasy
  • Which is better for our children – a warm embrace or high standards
  • The magic of the Hard Thing Rule

Grit is a book about what goes through our heads when we fall down, and how that – not talent or luck – makes all the difference.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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?

It’s Not Going to Happen Overnight

31 May

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?

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?

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