Thursday, January 26, 2017


Few things are more important that having confidence and belief in yourself and your abilities.  Of course what is sometimes overlooked is all the preparation and hard work that must come before -- otherwise you are dealing with false bravado.  

In his book "Go For The Magic," Pat Williams told a great story about hitting great and Hall of Famer Stan Musial.

During Musial's playing days with the St. Louis Cardinals, one of his teammates entered the clubhouse whistling and obviously in a great mood.  As he walked past Musial he said, "I feel like I'm getting two hits today.  Every feel like that Stan?"

In which Musial replied with a smile, "Every day!"

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


"Some people want everything to be perfect before they're willing to commit themselves to anything.  But commitment always precedes achievement.  I am told that in the Kentucky Derby, the winning horse effectively runs out of oxygen after the first half mile, and he goes the rest of the way on heart.  That's why all great athletes recognize it's importance.  NBA legend Michael Jordan explains that 'heart is what separates the good from the great.'  If you want to make a difference...look in your heart to see if you're really committed. 

From "The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader" by John Maxwell

Saturday, November 5, 2016


Remember that big shot Ray Allen hit for Miami to force a game 7 and eventually lead them to a championship?  What it you were told he'd practice that shot numerous times?  That great ones prepare for everything.

Spoelstra, of course, had heard stories about Allen. People called him "Everyday Ray" for a reason.

He was obsessive and then some about his basketball routines. He'd come to the gym early and often, repeating the same motions, the same routes over and over.

"Like a wide receiver," Spoelstra says.

But even still, Spoelstra couldn't believe what he saw during that first workout in September 2012, the week before Labor Day.

Spoelstra laughs about it now. Allen was laying on his back under the basket. When a Heat assistant coach blew the whistle, Allen would get up off his back, backpedal to the corner as if being chased, and somehow precisely place his feet in the slot between the 3-point arc and the out-of-bounds line with only inches to spare. All in one motion. All without looking down.
After all that, Allen would catch a pass and rise up for a 3-pointer.

"Pat [Riley] and I invented so many dumb drills over the years, but that," Spoelstra recalls, "that ... was a new one on us."

After watching the then-37-year-old do it dozens of times, Spoelstra stopped him.

"What on earth are you trying to accomplish here?"

Allen replied matter-of-factly.

"Offensive rebound, say I get knocked down after a layup and need to jump out for the corner 3," Allen told him. "Gotta get in the habit. You never know."

Allen performed that drill religiously for the ensuing weeks. And nine months after that September workout, Allen made perhaps the most famous clutch 3-pointer in NBA Finals history to force a Game 7.

Offensive rebound. Backpedal out to the corner 3. In one motion, without looking down. Bang.

Friday, October 14, 2016


Rudy Ruettiger
, upon whose life the movie Rudy was based, observed, "If you really, really believe in your dream, you'll get there.  But you have to have passion and total commitment to make it happen.  When you have passion and commitment, you don't need a complex plan.  Your plan is your life is your dream."

Friday, July 1, 2016


The following comes from "Coaching The Mental Game" by H. A. Dorfman:

"The measure of a man's real character is what 
he would do if he knew he would never be found out."
-Thomas McCauley

What I say it, "You identify yourself by what you do when no one is watching.  The supervised athlete may be the hardest worker, the most selfless and responsible competitor.  But how he practices when no one sees him, how he interacts with teammates when the coach is not within listening distance -- that's when he defines himself.

Theodore Roosevelt extended the definition to self-awareness and independent self-evaluation, saying, "I don't care very much about what I think of what I do.  That is character!"

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


The more you look into it -- the more you study the best...the more you come to the realization and the #1 ingredient to success is hard work. Thanks to Coach Brooklyn Kohlheim for sharing this on her twitter page.

Friday, June 17, 2016


At sunrise, ask yourself, "How will I be a champion today?" (Intentions)
At sunset, ask yourself, "Was I a champion today?" (Accountability)

Thursday, June 16, 2016


We constantly preach to our players about being an "NBA Player" -- meaning "Next Best Action."  The best players don't dwell in the past.  They are on to the next play.  If they are thinking about the last play -- a missed shot, a turnover, a poor play be a teammate, a bad call by an official -- then they are not give 100% of their mental capacity to the most important play of the game -- the next one.  After all, as Sue Gunter would constantly tell her teams, "The next possession is the only one we have control of."

By now I am hopefully that you've all heard of The Players Tribune.  If not it needs to be a must read for you.  It is articles that are written completely by athletes.  Not coaches. Not writers.  It gives you an amazing perspective and insight into what some of the best are thinking in so many different situations.

One of the more recent entries came from Cal Ripken, Jr. in an article titled "The Best Play I Ever Made."  One of the take aways from the article was when Cal had failure on the field, an error or poor at bat, he always seemed to follow it up with success -- a good defensive play or a hit.  This is the Next Best Action attitude.  This is a look into Cal's mentality: 

"More often than not, whenever I made an error, I’d get a hit in my next at bat. If I struck out a few times, I’d be more likely to make a nice play in the field. Whatever I was struggling with, I tried to excel in another area to balance it out. I always viewed baseball as a constant internal battle within myself. You have to keep your emotions low when pressure is high, but play with passion when pressure was low. It’s not about focusing on perfection so much as on consistency."

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


The following comes from the book "Burn Your Goals" by Joshua Medcalf and Jamie Gilbert and I challenge those student-athletes reading this to take some time and reflect and then ask are you competing or comparing.

A lot of times in many contexts in life much of our inability to scratch our potential or play hard is down to the fact that we are comparing rather than competing.  Competition is great between players on the same team.  Someone beats you and you try hard to improve to play better next time.  The Bible talks about this as iron sharpening iron.

Comparison is different.  Comparison is about worth.  He beat me so he is a better person.  She trains with the national team so she is always going to get the starting spot.  He has closed more deals for the company this year so why should I even bother to try harder?  Comparison usually leads to diminished or inflated worth and takes our focus and energy away from things we can control.

Monday, June 13, 2016


"Your strength as an individual depends on how you respond to both criticism and praise.  If you let either one have any special effect on you, it's going to hurt us...You have little control over what criticism or praise outsiders send your way.  Take it all with a grain of salt.  Let your opponent get all caught up in other people's opinion.  You don't you do it."

Saturday, June 11, 2016


"There is a choice you have to make
In everything you do;
So keep in mind that in the end
The choice you make, makes you."

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


Nolan Ryan is a Hall of Fame pitcher -- and with great reason. While his lifetime winning percentage was .526, Ryan was an eight-time MLB All-Star, and his 5,714 career strikeouts rank first in baseball history by a significant margin.[1] He leads the runner-up, Randy Johnson, by 839 strikeouts. Similarly, Ryan's 2,795 bases on balls lead second-place Steve Carlton by 962—walking over 50% more hitters than any other pitcher in MLB history. Ryan, Pedro Martínez, Randy Johnson, and Sandy Koufax are the only four pitchers inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame who had more strikeouts than innings pitched. Other than Jackie Robinson (whose number was retired by the entire MLB), Ryan is currently the only major league baseball player to have his number retired by at least three different teams: the Angels, Astros, and Rangers. Ryan is the all-time leader in no-hitters with seven, three more than any other pitcher. He is tied with Bob Feller for the most one-hitters, with 12. Ryan also pitched 18 two-hitters. 

What you might know know is that through his first five seasons with the New York Mets his record was only 29-38.  No one in major league baseball had a more talented arm or could throw the ball harder, but talent is never enough if you are interested in being the best.  

Here is how Ryan explained is process of improvement in "Good Leaders Ask Great Questions" by John Maxwell:

"All I knew was to throw as hard as I could for as long I could.  Early in my career in the big leagues, when I would get in trouble I would resort back to that mindset.  Finally, after being unsuccessful with the approach -- I learned that when I was just throwing hard I was throwing wild and walking guys and losing games -- it finally dawned on me.  If I didn't make an adjustment or change, then I was going to be one of those players who was very gifted, but didn't make a lot out of it...A lot of people get here with the God-given ability, the gift that they received.  But to stay here and have a lengthy career takes a commitment to make sacrifices that most won't continually make.  Talent may get your here, but it takes work, real work, to stay here, and it takes development of the mental side of your game to separate yourself on this level."

Monday, May 30, 2016


For those young athletes that get caught up in all the recruiting services and ratings, here is a fascinating stat:

*Not a single starter for either team in Super Bowl XLIX 
was rated a five-star recruit out of high school.

*Taken from "Above The Line" by Urban Meyer

Sunday, May 29, 2016


"There is something that can happen to every athlete, every human being -- it's the instinct to slack off, to give in to the pain, to give less than your best...the instinct to hope to win through luck or your opponents' not doing their best, instead of going to the limit and past your limit, where victory is always to be found.  Defeating those negative instincts that are out to defeat us is the difference between winning and losing, and we face that battle every day of our lives."

Jesse Owens, Olympic Champion

Saturday, May 28, 2016


One of the problems with young athletes today is that when they see the best they believe in large part that they have achieved greatness naturally -- though their talent.  The great ones can at times make it look easy. I spend a lot of times sharing stories of hard work and sacrifices of sports finest with my teams so that they hopefully realize that greatness comes with a price and that it must be earned.

One of the greatest hitters in the history of baseball is Ted Williams.  What made him great was a tremendous desire to be the best.  In the book "The Kid" written by Ben Bradlee, Jr., there was a story of someone who told Ted when he was young that he went to see too many movies and that it might strain his eyes.  Ted stopped going to the movies.

In 1936, Ted signed a minor league contract with San Diego.  Here is story from the book:

Frank Shellenback (William's manager) was impressed early on by Williams's work ethic, drive and determination.  After home games Ted would ask Shellenback for a couple of old baseballs.  When the manager asked what he did with them, Ted said he used them for extra batting practice after dinner at the park near his house. Shellenback found that hard to believe, having seen Ted come in to Lane Field at ten in the morning for extra hitting in addition to the regular workout every day.  As Shellenback told the Boston Herald's Arthur Sampson in 1949, one evening he drove to Williams's neighborhood to investigate and saw the rookie "driving those two battered baseballs off over the field.  Ted was standing close to a rock which served as home plate.  One kid was pitching to I'm.  A half dozen others were shagging drives.  The field was rough and stony.  The baseball I had given him were already showing signs of wear.  The stitching was falling apart.  The covers were rough as sandpaper.  Blood was trickling from Williams's hands as he dripped a chipped bat.  But he kept swinging.  And hitting.  Ted made himself the great baseball players he is today."