Tag Archives: performance

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?

Quit Obsessing Over How You Look

4 Jan

real-women-do-pull-ups1Decades ago, fitness was defined by how you looked.  Today, smart guys and gals know that fitness is more about how you perform.

Not only is single-digit body fat uncommon, extreme leanness and muscularity is an unrealistic goal and – more importantly – unnecessary for athleticism.

According to Men’s Health, a recent NCAA analysis found that the average body fat percentage for running backs at the NFL Combine from 2006 to 2013 was nearly 12 percent.

Pay less attention to the mirror and scale, and focus on performance instead – how you feel and function.  Set a goal for yourself.

Can you do a pullup?  If not, get to work on accomplishing your first one – and then your first five.  If you’ve never run a 5K, sign up for a local event – then set a time goal for your next one.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

19 Dec

rayallen_display_image[1]When faced with a goal-oriented task — such as finishing a race, making a free throw, or laying down a bunt — where should you direct your focus?

There are basically two ways to approach this question:

  1. Focus on your technique, form, and or mechanics; or
  2. Focus on the finish, or desired outcome.

Recent research indicates that the answer is… the latter.  You’re more likely to achieve success if you focus on the finish rather than on your performance.  Focusing on each step of the process only slows you down, since your brain can’t react as quickly as your muscles can, according to the study author.

Sport-specific skill(s) practice is important.  You’ve got to perfect your technique when learning any new skill.  As the saying goes, “Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong.”  Once you have command of your technique, re-direct your focus on your goal or desired outcome — crossing the finish line, sinking the free throw, or getting that bunt down.

Get 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?

Great Players Have Short Memories

22 Apr

phoenix[1]Failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.” – Mia Hamm

No one is successful 100% of the time.  No one.  Sometimes… we fail.

In sports, it may be a missed shot or turnover; a fumble or dropped pass; or a strikeout or error.

In school, it could be a poor (or subpar) assignment grade or quiz/test score.

At work, perhaps it’s a missed deadline or ineffective presentation.

In life, sometimes we just don’t handle the art of “human communication and interaction” with our loved ones, friends, and neighbors as well as we could have, or as well as we would have liked.

It’s not the mistake that defines you.  What matters most is how you handle it; how you proceed; what you do next.

One of the keys to success:  Don’t let the past determine your future.  Trust in your ability.  Let go of the past and move on.  Believe in you.

If a baseball player strikes out and continues to dwell on it, chances are he will make an error in the field or struggle in his next at-bat as well.

When a golfer is still upset about a bad shot or a missed putt, he or she will rarely be in the right mindset to make a good swing on the next shot.

Great baseball players are great because they don’t let a strikeout or an error dictate their performance for the rest of a game, or into the following game.

Great basketball players are great because they refuse to allow a missed free throw or turnover adversely impact their future performance.

Great football players are great because they have the ability — and the will — to recover from fumbles and interceptions and confidently carry and pass the football again immediately.

Obviously, purposeful practice, preparation, and repetition play a significant role in the success of any athlete (student, employee, etc.) who achieves greatness.  “Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong.” – Unknown

Great players have short memories.

What to do with a mistake: recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it.” – Dean Smith

Please see related post, Your Failures are Behind You — Move on

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

The Most Important Game Is Your Next Game

21 Jul

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?

Don’t Take Yourself Out of the Game

16 Dec

Stephen Curry, Nenad KrsticAs 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?

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

18 Sep

rayallen_display_image[1]When faced with a goal-oriented task — such as finishing a race, making a free throw, or laying down a bunt — where should you direct your focus?

There are basically two ways to approach this question:

  1. Focus on your technique, form, and or mechanics; or
  2. Focus on the finish, or desired outcome.

Recent research indicates that the answer is… the latter.  You’re more likely to achieve success if you focus on the finish rather than on your performance.  Focusing on each step of the process only slows you down, since your brain can’t react as quickly as your muscles can, according to the study author.

Sport-specific skill(s) practice is important.  You’ve got to perfect your technique when learning any new skill.  As the saying goes, “Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong.”  Once you have command of your technique, re-direct your focus on your goal or desired outcome — crossing the finish line, sinking the free throw, or getting that bunt down.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

6 May

xdont-compare-yourself-to-other-people.jpg.pagespeed.ic.rpllvOvyb0[2]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.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

%d bloggers like this: