Tag Archives: work ethic

There Are No Secrets to Success

9 Nov

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 your plan, every day.

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

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

Getting Athletes to Perform at Their Best

29 Jun

-678325aa59aad8ba[1]Twelve years ago — after a 20-year career in the pharmaceutical industry — I began pursuit of a dream.  My dream was fueled by my four children, all capable student-athletes.  I wanted to help them train for their sports, improve their performance, and reduce their risk of injury; teach them the value of working toward a goal; and help them develop a competitive edge.  I expanded my reach to their friends and teammates; interacted and learned from other trainers, coaches, and administrators; and got to work providing evidence-based Strength and Conditioning for anyone interested, willing, and committed to improving their athletic performance.  That was the beginning of what has now become my passion; working with athletes in pursuit of stronger, faster, and better.  That was the birth of Athletic Performance Training Center (APTC).

As we expand and grow, the APTC dream continues to grow.  We work (and have worked) with thousands of athletes – scholastic athletes (as young as age 5), collegiate athletes, and professional athletes.  We are fortunate to have the opportunity to work with so many dedicated clients.

Over the past 12+ years, APTC has helped prepare athletes for the “next level” whether that is high school, college, or the pros.  We have been called upon to prepare athletes for college and professional pro days and combines.  If you are an aspiring athlete, and looking to go to the next level, here is some advice  — stuff that I’ve learned over the past dozen years in the industry.  There’s more to athletic performance than you think.

It’s More Than Just Hard Work

It’s important to work hard, but you’ve also got to work smart.  Most athletes believe if they work hard — in the weight room and on the court or field — they can be successful.  Unfortunately, this antiquated way of thinking is probably not going to get athletes to the top of their game.  Working hard in the weight room won’t get you far if your plan — including exercise selection, intensity, sets, reps, rest intervals, etc. — is not aligned with your goal.  Likewise, you can practice your ball-handling and shooting in the gym all day; but if you’re practicing with flawed form, mechanics, and technique, your improvement will be limited, at best.  And, of course, in addition to physical training, factors like nutrition, rest, and mental preparation will have a considerable effect on your performance.  This is where a knowledgeable strength and/or skills coach can be an asset by providing quality guidance and direction.

It’s More Than Just Off-Season Training

Training is not a “sometime” thing; it is an “all the time” thing — it’s year-round.  You need to train during the off-season, pre-season, and in-season (with appropriate intensity, frequency, volume, and rest along the way); and it’s important to have a periodized, progressive plan to address each stage of training.  This can become somewhat complicated when athletes play multiple sports throughout the year (and claim not to have the time), but a knowledgeable trainer can develop an effective plan to address each cycle to ensure optimal performance.  If athletes are not training, they are not improving.  And if they are not improving, they are compromising their potential.  During the season, it’s important to incorporate one or two lifting sessions per week to maintain the gains they made in the off-season.  In-season training helps athletes enhance recovery from their sport practices and games; protects against getting “worn down” over the course of the season; and helps keep muscles and joints strong to reduce the risk of injury.

It’s More Than Just the Bench Press and Biceps Curl

Don’t get me wrong, the bench press is a great upper body exercise, but your training shouldn’t revolve around your chest and arms.  Strength and power — for any sport — emanate from the core, specifically the lower core.  The hips, quadriceps, and posterior chain — lower-back, glutes, and hamstrings —  are crucial to your performance.  If you are strong throughout your core, you have the potential to be a strong, fast, and powerful athlete.  If you are not strong throughout this area, there’s nothing you can do to compensate for it.  Weakness in the muscles of your core and posterior chain also puts you at a greater risk for injury.  Squats, deadlifts, glute-ham raises, and Romanian deadlifts are excellent exercises for the core and posterior chain musculature.

Warmup is More Than Just Stretching

Prior to every strength and/or speed training session, make sure you warmup properly.  That means more than just a quick lap around the track or a few quick stretches.  The best, knowledgeable athletes, trainers, and coaches know that performing a dynamic (movement-based) warmup — before training, practices, or games — is the way to go.  Dynamic warmup involves movements that reflect and support the demands and movement patterns of your workout or sport-specific activity.  It increases temperature of and blood flow to working muscles; improves mobility and range-of-motion; and decreases the chance of injury.  Static stretching is an outdated mode of warmup that has been found to reduce strength and power production in the short-term; relax and elongate working muscles (thus not preparing them for force production); and it does not reduce the incidence of injury, nor does it help minimize post-workout soreness.  If you absolutely insist on static stretching, do it after practice and training.

Speed is More Than Just Running

Speed is a skill, and speed development starts in the weight room.  Speed requires strength and power training.  The stronger and more powerful you are throughout your core and lower extremities, the more force you can generate against the ground, which translates to speed, agility, and vertical jump ability.  Additionally, technique is a vital component of speed.  When speed training, athletes need to perform exercises and drills with perfect form and mechanics.  Head position, arm action, leg drive, stride frequency, and stride length are all factors that influence running speed.  Without an understanding of the right way to approach speed and agility training, it will be difficult to achieve your potential as an athlete.

It’s More Than Just You

Finally, if you are committed to being the best you can be, you won’t be able to do it without some help.  In addition to the support of your family and friends, you should look to find competent, qualified individuals with experience and expertise in the areas of strength and conditioning, and sport-specific skill development.  It’s important to have a plan, and equally important for your plan to be aligned with your goals.  There’s a big difference between activity and productivity; all movement is not progress.

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

The 3 H’s for Athletes

17 Jun

hire_an_athelete-header-1024x588[1]

There are lots of qualities and characteristics that are important elements of athletic performance and achievement.  Ability, skill, and talent are — obviously — what every athlete aspires to develop.

But there are also intangible — effort-related — attributes that can improve any athlete’s performance.  Every team needs these athletes.  Persistent kids who work hard to get the most out of their talents and abilities.

Here are three of those attributes that will make any athlete hard to beat.

The 3 H’s for Athletes:

  1. Hard Work.  Get in the weight room.  Improve your strength, speed, agility, and athleticism.  Practice your sport-specific skills.  Improve your ball-handling, hitting, skating, foot skills, or whatever your sport requires.  Have a plan and work smart.
  2. Heart.  Believe in yourself.  Play with aggressiveness, confidence, and energy.  Hard work begets confidence.  Be confident, but not cocky.  Be positive, and have a “can-do” attitude.  Expect to succeed every time you’re on the field or court.
  3. Hustle.  It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re the most talented player on the field or court.  Never allow yourself to be out-worked.  Whatever your 100% looks like, give it.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Don’t Settle for Average

24 Oct

Average.  Mediocre.  Usual.  Middling.  Run-of-the-mill.  Ordinary.  Common.

No, thank you.

It’s easy to fall into the “path of least resistance” trap.  Sometimes, it seems like that’s what everyone around us does.  It may feel safer to fit in than to stand out.

When we don’t meet our own (or others’) expectations, we tend to try to justify the result to ourselves.  We settle.

Nobody’s perfect — at least not at everything they do, all the time.  Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we fall short… we fail.  But if you strive for perfection and fall short, you can still achieve excellence.  You can still be great.

The key lies in our mental approach and work ethic.  Our willingness to pursue greatness.

Work toward your personal best in your daily endeavors, whether that be as an athlete, student, employee, or otherwise.  Try to improve upon the things that are important to you, every day.  Keep your focus internal and don’t worry about competing with others.  Strive to be better today than you were yesterday, and the rest will eventually fall in place.

Believe in you.  You’re better than average.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Focus on the Process, not the Outcome

16 Oct

I recently read an interesting article about the Boston Red Sox organizational philosophy.  Hitting Coach (and former big-leaguer), Chili Davis, stressed the importance of his hitters’ approach for each and every at bat.

“What we try to do is have a good approach at the plate.  We are process-oriented. As long as you go up there with a good game plan and execute that plan the best you can, we’re good.”

I really like that because, when you think about it, that philosophy applies well to just about everything.

It’s not that outcomes – goals and results – are not important because, of course, they are.  But goal achievement is rarely possible without consistent and diligent attention to the process.

No one improves their strength without putting in the appropriate work, over time, in the weight room.

Success – excellence – in sports is the result of days, weeks, months, and years of practice and preparation.

Good grades in school are a product of attendance, homework, and studying.

Rewards – promotions and raises – at work are a by-product of long-term effort.

Coach John Wooden was a big proponent of focusing on the process, and not the outcome.  Coach Wooden didn’t focus on winning.  He focused on the character of his team, key fundamentals, daily improvement, effort, potential, and selfless teamwork.  As a result he won… a lot.

Take care of the process – practice, prepare, and work hard – and the results will inevitably follow.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Think Like an Athlete

9 Oct

Being an athlete is about more than just strengthspeedagility, and athleticism (although the development of those characteristics is certainly important).  It even goes beyond the genetics and “natural” ability with which you have been blessed.

Being an athlete is also about how you think; how you practice; how you talk (especially self-talk); how you act; and how you dream.

Being an athlete is about setting challenging goals — and working hard toward the achievement of those goals, every day.

Being an athlete is about realizing your long-term objectives and having the discipline to stick to your plan.

Being an athlete means being aware that there will be obstacles along the way, and having the mental toughness to overcome adversity.

Being an athlete involves visualizing yourself succeeding, and positive, encouraging self-talk, along the way.

Being an athlete requires a commitment to constantly improve upon your performance.

Being an athlete means focusing on improving you, and not comparing yourself with others — being better today than you were yesterday.

Here’s a great read from Huffington Post titled, 8 Ways to Think Like an Athlete.  The article does a nice job of expanding upon some of the thoughts discussed above.  If you are — or aspire to be — an athlete, it’s a “must-read.”  And it doesn’t just apply to athletics.  The same principles can be applied to school, work, and life.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Embrace the Journey

8 Mar

e00010819“The journey is the reward.” – Steve Jobs

We all have goals.  Long-term goals, short-term goals – things we aspire to accomplish or achieve.

Some of the things to which we look forward are “milestones” – like turning 21 – and don’t require much preparation.  It’s just a matter of time.

Most of our goals, though, require some planning, preparation, and effort.  There’s a process – a journey – involved in the eventual achievement of these goals.

And, although achievement may be the pinnacle of the process, the journey is the enriching, character-building part.

In sports, it’s not winning a championship that makes you better; it’s all the time you devoted to daily practice and preparation as a player and teammate.

In school, it’s not the high grade on your test or report card that makes you better; it’s all the time you spent doing homework and studying – learning – along the way.

At work, it’s not the promotion – or the raise – that makes you better; it’s all the work you put into your job – your daily commitment to excellence as an employee, entrepreneur, supervisor, or co-worker.

If life, it’s not where you get that makes you better; it’s what you did to arrive at that point.

Accomplishment is great, but the self-improvement that occurs along the way is the real prize.

Embrace the journey.  Enjoy the ride.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller

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?

30 Life Lessons Learned in Business

15 Feb

gilbert-horiz-fistraised-apjpg-c2e1714f648d1934[1]Recently, my son shared with me a book in which Dan Gilbert (Quicken Loans founder and chairman, Cleveland Cavaliers majority owner) listed 30 Things I Learned in 30 Years of Business.  It’s worth sharing.

  1. When you love what you do, there is no such thing as “work.”
  2. Nothing clarifies like clarity.
  3. If you believe tomorrow will be even more exciting than today, you have discovered what passion really means.
  4. Some people WILL NEVER get it.  Get them out of your team, club, house, life, etc., and both of you will be happier.
  5. There is always a way to turn a problem into an opportunity.  Find it.
  6. Thinking (going deep) about problems, challenges, new ways of doing things and creativity is one of THE hardest things you will ever do.  It also will bring you the finest results.
  7. I never learned anything by talking.
  8. You can’t prioritize until you have visibility.
  9. Appreciate everything.
  10. Nothing great and long-lasting is built overnight, but you MUST take the first step NOW.
  11. Any ounce of energy you spend regretting mistakes you made in the past is taking away energy you need to do things right in the present.
  12. Be curious.
  13. Try to please everyone all of the time, and you will end up pleasing no one most of the time.
  14. Think big, huge, large, enormous, immense, jumbo, walloping, gigantic, king sized mammoth, massive, thundering.  You have to think anyway… so why not?
  15. The little things DO matter.  Especially to people.
  16. People who are constantly negative, pessimistic and cynical are not spewing their venom toward you or your ideas.  They are talking about themselves.  Never forget that.
  17. Working longer hours does not automatically make you more successful.  Working smarter does.
  18. There is no better joy than helping people around you go to levels higher than they ever thought they could.
  19. It’s not so frickin’ funny when it’s you, is it?
  20. Winning on the hard stuff does not make the easy stuff easy.
  21. The more you give, the more you get.  It’s as simple as that.
  22. Spreadsheets are for measuring things, but just because you cannot measure something, doesn’t mean it is not valuable.  Some of the most valuable things in the world cannot be measured.
  23. Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.  (Thanks, Albert E.!)
  24. The price of knowing is often way too high.
  25. The one who tells you there is food on your face is your friend.
  26. Building anything great is messy.
  27. Don’t get distracted by people who want you to review the receipts for the paint brushes.  Your job is to paint.
  28. “Sent” is NOT “received.”
  29. The packaging of communication is just as important as the information itself.
  30. Love your team members.  Love your clients and customers.  Just do those two things and your business will be successful.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Do the Work

4 Nov

alex%20gordon[1]The people who work hard and work smart are usually the ones who are most successful.

There’s really no way to cheat the system.  You either do the work and reap the benefits, or you take shortcuts and hope for the best.

Although the path to success may look different for any two people, once thing is certain:  You’ve got to put in the time and do the work.

Believe in you.  Believe that you can.

Get started and keep going — keep working toward your goal.

Embrace the challenge.  Chase your dream.

Practice, practice, practice until you can’t miss.  Then practice some more.

Be disciplined, enthusiastic, and passionate about your work.

Your success already exists in potential.  Work to find it.

Commit yourself to action, and don’t stop.

The time is going to pass regardless of how you spend it, so make it productive.

Begin now.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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