Friday, February 20, 2015


“There may be people that
have more talent than you,
but there is no excuse for anyone to
work harder than you do.”

 -Derek Jeter



At sunrise, ask yourself, “How will I be a champion today?”
(This speaks to your Intentions)
At sunset, ask yourself, “Was I a champion today?”
(This speaks to your Accountability)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


I found the following in an article on that ran the weekend before the Super Bowl. It is well-written by Ilan Mochari and you can read it in it's entirety here.  The primary concept is that Russell Wilson, like so many other successful people, do so through intentionality and taking care of details on a daily basis.  As Mochari's article states at the beginning: "Trainer Jonathan Brooks says Russell Wilson treats everyday is if it was his game day."

1. He practices the art of getting out of his comfort zone.  "I was amazed by how quickly he adapts to the different environments that he's put into," says Brooks

Though Wilson's powers of acclimation impressed Brooks, the trainer points out that adapting to new environments is a skill Wilson works on actively.

For example, anyone who has watched Wilson play knows he is quite comfortable using his speed to create operational space and improve throwing angles. Therefore, heading into last off-season, Wilson wanted to train for in-game moments when he could not use his foot speed to create angles and openings. In other words, he aimed to improve in situations where his mobility was limited or unavailable as a bailout mechanism. 

So with Brooks and the EXOS team, Wilson conducted vision drills emphasizing hand-eye coordination and quick decision making. The idea was for Wilson to use his mind, rather than his legs, to make the correct decision under pressure.

For instance, Brooks would run a drill in which he had multiple balls of multiple colors thrown toward Wilson. While the balls were in the air, Brooks would shout out a particular color. It was the balls of this shouted-out color that Wilson had to catch. At varying intervals, Brooks shouted out different colors, forcing Wilson to hear-see-move at a moment's notice.

"The goal is to work on that vision that you need to have on the field," explains Brooks. "It's about his continuing to open his vision and identify patterns and schemes, and progressing with his anticipation and reaction skills."

2. He challenges himself and others to be at their best, even though it is technically off-season training. "He prepped for every day as if it was his game day," says Brooks. "His approach was a lot different from what I've seen, based on his self-motivation and his leading others." 

As an example, Brooks says Wilson would constantly build up his EXOS cohorts (Tate, Ward, and the other pros training with them) so "they'd go up to his level." Early on in the sessions, Wilson led by example. He was the first one in the weight room each morning and the first one back from water breaks.

Later on, once rapports and personalities were established, Wilson, like any leader with people skills, used more vocal encouragement with those whom he felt it would motivate. "He would speak with guys individually before a session started, and he would encourage them," says Brooks. 

Interestingly, Wilson's encouragements are reminiscent of a practice habit that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has shared.

According to Bruce Feldman's superb book The QB: The Making of Modern Quarterbacks, in 2013 Rodgers was watching Purdue quarterback David Blough during a drill. "Well, what do you think I need to work on the most?" Blough asked him. Rodgers replied:

You're staring down your target. You're throwing one-on-ones, so, of course, you're gonna stare down your receiver, but challenge yourself. You've got all the arm talent in the world. You know you're throwing to this guy, but why not stare down the middle of the field and know what timing he's going to be on, and then, on your last step, look over at him and deliver the ball. Find a way to challenge yourself even if it's on a little routine drill or routes-on-air (against no defenders).

Aside from the chief takeaway of Rodgers's advice--challenge yourself--note the manner in which he delivers it: He compliments Blough and says he grasps why Blough had not been challenging himself previously. In other words, he teaches without reprimanding or preaching.

3. He remains mindful that it is still the off-season, and that intense training must not lead to burnout. "He also works hard in the recovery state of things," explains Brooks.

That is, on recovery days, Wilson would not slack off. He would diligently show up for massage treatments and therapy sessions. "He'd still treat it as a normal training day," says Brooks. 

As a trainer, Brooks knows one of his primary goals--and ongoing challenges--is upping intensity without upping the risk for injury. A key component to it, for Wilson and the rest of Brooks's athletes, is taking time away from the sport before the season officially begins.

Another component is sleep: between seven and nine hours a night, making sure to consume no food in the two or three hours before turning in. 

It's in categories like these--daily habits ensuring rest and reducing burnout--that the parallels between training athletes and training executives are most apparent.

For example, many entrepreneurs need to be reminded about the importance of time off. Left to their own devices, they'll work long days and burn out, even though countless studies suggest they'll be more effective if they sleep long hours and take regular vacations. 

The key, as always, is to know the difference between working harder and working smarter. Of course, mastering that difference is one reason why entrepreneurs often work with coaches too. It's something to keep in mind as you're watching Wilson on Sunday night. Whether the Seahawks win or lose, you know this much: Come the off-season, Wilson will be at it again. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


I had the honor of knowing Garrett Temple at a young age because of my relationship with his family.  You knew that no matter what Garrett decided to do in life that he was going to be successful -- he had the right attitude and mindset.  His father Collis Temple was the first African-American to play at LSU and Garrett's older brother, Collis III, was an outstanding student-athlete as well.

The following is an excerpt of an article written by Jorge Castillo for the Washington Post (you can read it in it's entirety here).  It speaks of Garrett's desire to play and compete but his maturity in understand that a professional not only accepts the role he or she has but masters it.  His ability to step in and start early in the season speaks to his being ready when his opportunity came.  I'm a big Garrett Temple fan -- here's why:

Garrett Temple understands his role on the Washington Wizards. He was re-signed over the summer to provide depth at both guard positions as a defensive specialist but, most importantly, to bring a professional presence in the locker room. Temple has fulfilled those duties. He has played sparingly over the last two months but has maintained a positive attitude. He is often the first player applauding his teammates and constantly provides words of encourage. He plays the role to perfection.

But Temple believes he can be more than just a morale booster. He thinks he can contribute on the floor and points to the 13 games he started at the beginning of the season as evidence. He supplied further proof in the Wizards 106-98 loss to the Phoenix Suns Wednesday, captaining an all-reserve unit that trimmed Washington’s deficit from 17 to four points in less than five minutes to start the fourth quarter.

“I know I can play in this league,” Temple, 28, said. “Hopefully I showed that I deserve to play. I’ll get my chance but like I said, I’m going to be a great team player. Whenever I get a chance to play, I’ll go out there and give it my best and that’s basically it.”

“I want to play. I always want to play,” Temple said. “In the NBA you have to have some kind of confidence to be here and I know I can play in this league and I know I can help this team. But at the end of the day, it’s a team sport and we have a lot of guys that have that same mentality.”

Temple was a mainstay on the floor at the beginning of the season. With Bradley Beal sidelined due to a fractured left wrist, Temple started the Wizards’ first 13 games and reached double figures in four of Washington’s five games before his offensive production tapered off. Since then, he has had to adjust to impacting his team through other avenues.

"Me and Drew Gooden talked about this a few weeks ago; you can always affect the game,” Temple said. “If you’re not playing you can affect [a game] by how you act on the bench. If you’re smiling, you’re up being positive, that affects the game. If not, if you have a frown on your face, if you’re looking upset, you want to get into the game and you’re pouting, that’s going to be a negative effect on the game. So whatever I do, I’m going to affect the game in a positive way however I can."