26. January 2009 05:22
This blog piggy backs on my post from last week about “evaluations” and having you and your coach evaluate whether or not you can play at the next level. From junior high to high school, high school to college, and then college to the pros, real players want to climb the proverbial ladder and prove they have what it takes to excel at the highest level possible. Players all over the world work on their strength, quickness, agility, hops, and overall conditioning level as well as hone their ball handling and shooting with hopes of playing at a prestigious high school or attaining a coveted college scholarship or professional contract. And the competition to play at each of those levels is fierce and gets exponentially more difficult the higher you go.
As a former player as well as a professional basketball specific strength & conditioning coach, I have been around the game, at every level, for most of my life. I have had hundreds of lengthy conversations with the best high school, college, and professional coaches, scouts, and evaluators in the nation. While we usually discuss a variety of topics, the conversation, in some shape or form, usually comes back to what it takes for a player to elevate to the next level. Can he play D-I? Is he a mid major player? Can he handle the ACC? Where will he go in this year’s NBA draft? Can he play in the league? Overseas?
When talking about a specific player, after we offer our thoughts on the formal checklist described in last week’s blog, they all say the same thing: to get to the next level, you have to do the little things. If you are a gifted athlete with some serious bounce, it is certainly possible you can have a stellar high school career without developing your off hand or working on your mid range game. You simply overpower your opponents and take the ball to the cup with authority and have no problem averaging 25 a game. I have seen several All-American caliber players have glaring weaknesses like these in their game. But those weaknesses hold them back at the next level. Even if you are lucky enough to earn a scholarship to play at Duke or Georgetown, do you think Coach K or JT III is going to play you if you can’t go left? Or hit an open 17 footer? Hell no. And if you somehow manage to go through college without improving these deficiencies, you can forget about playing pro and making the big bucks. This reiterates the importance of evaluating your weaknesses and improving them!
And when I talk about doing the little things, I don’t mean just skills and physical attributes. Competent coaches, scouts, and evaluators look at much more when deciding if you can play at the next level. I had the pleasure of going to a big time college game a year ago with a good friend of mine who is an NBA scout for the Chicago Bulls. This gentleman has coached basketball at every level (high school – NBA) and has a brilliant basketball mind. He is integral in helping the Bulls decide which players they should draft. The homework he does on a potential draftee, like last year’s #1 pick Derrick Rose, is astounding. We met for this Big East conference game because he had a several players he needed to watch and evaluate as possible draft picks. We got to the arena two hours before tip-off. Why? So he could watch how the players he was scouting prepared for the game. He wanted to see if they were focused, what they did in order to get ready to play, and if they stretched and warmed up properly. During the game he watched for their overall attitude, their body language, and how they interacted with their coach and teammates. And he was watching college All-Americans! This goes to show that someone is alwayswatching.
Two weeks ago I had the pleasure to drive to Charlotte to watch my alma mater (Elon University) play at Davidson and the nation’s leading scorer, Stephen Curry. I have known Stephen for several years and have had the honor and pleasure of working with him at the Nike Summer Skills Academies. He represents everything that is right with college basketball. While I enjoyed watching the game as a whole, I put most of my focus on Curry and watched him no matter where he was on the court… with the ball, without the ball and even when he was on the bench! You know what I saw? When he had the ball he was always a threat. He was a threat to score and a threat to pass. He kept his head up and saw the entire court, he has great court vision. He played under control, never frantic, even when he was double and triple teamed. He didn’t try to be flashy; he was very efficient with everything he did. He wasn’t at all worried about looking “cool.” When he didn’t have the ball, he was still a serious threat. He set perfectly placed screens to get his teammates open and he moved without the ball as well as any college player in recent memory. His cuts were sharp and his footwork was flawless. Most of Curry’s shots were made before he got the ball, because his footwork and shot preparation were incredible. He set his feet and his hands before he got the ball. He ended up with 39, but could have easily had 50 if he wasn’t such an unselfish player. But my favorite part of Steph’s game is the fact he is a remarkable teammate and a distinguished leader. While he certainly plays with intensity and passion, he doesn’t let emotion negatively affect his game. Whether he hits a pro-range 3 pointer or makes a bad pass, his face doesn’t change. He never gets rattled. Steph doesn’t come out of the game very often, but when he does he is just as supportive as his teammates are for him. He is “into the game” even from the sideline. Stephen Curry will be able to play at the next level because of the focus and effort he puts on even the smallest details.
With Montrose Christian being such a renowned program, we are fortunate enough to have major college coaches coming through to recruit all of the time. When they ask me about a player, do you think they ask me what he bench presses or how high is vertical is? Never. They ask if he works hard, if he is on time, if he pushes his teammates to get better, and if he listens to directions. That’s the stuff they really want to know. They want to know about the little things.
I recently read an article in Basketball Times about Coach Bob McKillop of Davidson, who is without question, one of the top coaches in college basketball. He reiterated my sentiments 100%:
“When I am recruiting a young man to play at Davidson, I look at what he does when he comes out of the game. Does he walk to the bench or run? Does he mope or high five his teammates? When he is in the game, does he want to take big shots? Does he dive on the floor for loose balls? How is his body language when being coached? Is he an eye roller? Is he a shoulder shrugger?”
Long story short, if you want to get to the next level, whether that is college or the NBA, you need to do the little things. Doing the little things add up to a big deal! And remember, someone is alwayswatching.
If you would like to contact me about this blog, my training and/or camps and clinics, please email me at Alan@StrongerTeam.com. I will respond as quickly as possible!
Train hard. Train smart.
21. January 2009 05:23
Sorry for the delay in posting, I try to post on the Monday of each week. But things have been super busy the last few days; I traveled to and from Dayton, Ohio as Montrose played in the Flyin’ To The Hoop Classic, I celebrated a birthday (can’t believe I am 33) and watched our 44th President get inaugurated.
It is now the third week of January. How many of you have continued to stick with the New Year’s resolutions you so confidently set for yourself less than month ago? If you are being honest with yourself, you probably haven’t. Whether your goal was to lose weight, quit smoking, or spend more time with your family, statistics show most folks begin to fade and fall off course after three weeks.
I am always fascinated by the initial enthusiasm and optimism people have towards New Year’s resolutions. What is so magical about them? What is it about the promise of a New Year that makes folks believe they will actually break their bad habits and improve themselves?
I rarely make New Year’s resolutions. And it’s not because I don’t have areas in my life I need to improve, I most certainly do. It’s because I make “New Year’s” resolutions all of the time! I make them daily, weekly, and monthly. If I have something in my life I need to fix or improve, I try to address it immediately. I don’t wait around for January 1st. And the reason I can make these self improvement goals, or resolutions, as often as I do is because I am constantly evaluating my performance, my career, my relationships, and my life. While I can take time to bask briefly in a job well done and give myself a pat on the back when appropriate, I strive daily to never get content, complacent, or satisfied with where I am in life. I constantly set and update both short and long term goals and am focused on evaluating my performance in achieving them. But it is an ongoing process. One of the major keys to real happiness is growth. People, regardless of age or vocation, are usually happiest when they are growing, learning, and improving. I know I am. But that is tough to do without constant self evaluation.
It has been my experience that a lot of basketball players (and coaches for that matter) don’t put much emphasis on their individual development during the season. Most players feel the best time to work on their game is in the off season. That’s what the off season is for, right? Why? Who made that rule? Your goal as a player should be to get better every day, 365 days a year. Why should it matter if you are in-season or out of season? The name of the game is continuous development. Don’t you want to be a better player in March than you were in November? I recognize and admit during the season your primary focus should be on your team, your team’s goals, and being a good teammate… but why can’t you improve individually at the same time? They aren’t separate entities.
What is the first step to improving as a player? It is indentifying your weaknesses. Before you can truly improve, you have to establish what needs improvement. This can only be done through evaluation. You need to evaluate yourself and you need to have your coach evaluate you, because for the most part, those are the only two evaluations that really matter. If you are lucky you will have a coach who cares enough to be honest with you and tell you what you need to hear, not what youwant to hear. Many young players today try to avoid the truth, so they encircle themselves with yes men and with entourages who constantly tell them how impressive they are. That is why so many talented players have major flaws in their game, because either no one is honest enough to tell them what they need to improve on or they are too hard headed to listen. I have seen numerous All American caliber players who have a very weak off hand, poor shooting form, and have no clue how to play help defense. These weaknesses, if never addressed, get exploited when they go to the next level. Young people are often so ego driven they try to avoid hearing about, referring too, or acknowledging their weaknesses. Why? You should want to know your weaknesses. How else will you get better? I have heard Tiger Woods spends hours and hours with this personal golf coach watching film on himself… hoping and praying he finds a weakness in his swing, because it means he can still get better and still has room to grow.
One of the most integral parts of self evaluating is to take ownership. But this is also one of the hardest parts. It is human nature to point the finger, make excuses, and find a scapegoat for any weakness. And taking ownership is especially difficult in times of adversity. As either a coach or player, after a loss, do you ask yourself whatyou could have done better? What about after a sub-par season? Specifically what didn’t go well? Why not? What could you have done differently? I know those are not easy questions to ask yourself, especially when you are down in the dumps. But it needs to be done. How many times have you heard the “floor was too slippery” or the “rims were too hard” or “the refs were horrible?” Bottom line; they are just excuses. Once you get those out of your system, you need to evaluate your actual performance and get to the root of what went well and what didn’t.
If you really want to be a player, you should try this. Make a chart on a piece of paper and rate yourself on the following characteristics: ball handling, shooting form, shooting performance, rebounding, defense, basketball IQ, leadership, being a teammate, work ethic, athletic ability (strength, quickness, and explosiveness), and physical stature (height, weight, reach, and wingspan). NOTE: with the exception of weight, there is nothing you can do to increase your height, reach, or wingspan. These traits are 100% uncontrollable and were pre-determined at birth. And while you should never focus on things you can’t control, these traits do factor into being a strength or weakness on the court. That’s just reality. Even though a physical trait should not dictate your overall ability (“don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do”), it can dictate how and what you focus on. If you are a 5’5” high school senior, it is understandable if rebounding and post defense are weaknesses. That just means, generally speaking, your ball handling, shooting, and passing need to be extremely impressive so they overshadow your height deficiencies.
You can rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 or on an A, B, C, D, F scale. Now, this isn’t going on the internet or in the newspaper. This is truly a self evaluation, not for anyone else’s eyes, so don’t try to fool yourself. You get nothing out of giving yourself some bogus high scores. And this evaluation is what you believe; it isn’t what your parents tell you, your girlfriend tells you, or what some scouting service wrote about you. Once you are done, you should schedule a time with your coach and ask him to fill out the exact same evaluation on your behalf using the same criteria and scale. If they care about you and your progress they will do so honestly and enthusiastically.
How do the results compare? For the most part, any score you and your coach agree on is probably pretty accurate. If both you and your coach believe your ball handling is an “8”, then it probably is. But what if you think it is an “8” and he thinks it is a “3”? Is it possible you think an aspect if your game is better than it actually is? Regardless, you should average out both scores and have a final rating for each of the categories. Then you should put them in descending order, meaning your highest scores (strengths) are at the top and your bottom scores (weaknesses) are at the bottom. This will help you prioritize what you need to work on. Keep in mind I said prioritize. That doesn’t mean you ignore the aspects at the top of the list, as you surely can still improve in those areas too. Heck, your top trait may still only be a “7.” An evaluation like this will also help you determine your ability to play at the next level. If you are a high school player this will determine whether you can play in college and at what level. If you are a college player this will determine whether you can play professionally, and if so, in the NBA or overseas.
This evaluation exercise can also be done by coaches who want to evaluate themselves and their staff. After all, how can a coach expect his players to constantly grow and develop if he doesn’t? A coach can evaluate himself and then have his assistants and/or players evaluate him as well. Possible areas of interest are practice plans, game strategies, scouting reports, pre-game routine, motivational techniques, teaching concepts, relationships with players, having fun, etc. How do you rate? How do your assistants and players rate you?
If, as a coach, you adopt this evaluation concept with your players, you should implement a 15 minute segment into practice called “individual development.” You can do this once a week throughout the season. Put 15 minutes on the clock at either the beginning or end of practice and let the kids work on whatever they feel they need to work on (preferably something towards the bottom of their own list). Coaches can offer suggestions for drills (“hey coach, what is a good ball handling drill for me to do?) and rebound or pass. I guarantee this will be a very popular and productive segment of your practices.
Although I am constantly evaluating myself, I acknowledge I need to do a better job of asking others to evaluate me and solicit more formal feedback on my individual training sessions, my team training sessions, my clinics, motivational talks, and my writing. I usually ask for feedback, but usually only get some surface comments. I try to evaluate every session (whether it is a team workout or a presentation at a clinic) as soon as I am finished so everything is still fresh in my mind. I scribble notes on what worked well, what didn’t, and what ways I can improve. I constantly update and revise my “to do” list and my short and long term goals. I aim to do this on a daily basis. I find the more in touch I am with my goals, the higher my rate of accomplishing them. Many years ago I read a powerful quote, and it embodies my entire philosophy on individual development and daily evaluations; “Every night before you go to bed ask yourself this question: I just traded 24 hours of my life for what I got today. Am I happy with the trade?”If you almost always answer “yes”, then you are on the right track!
If you have any questions or comments about this blog, or my services in general, please email me atAlan@StrongerTeam.com. I will do my best to respond as promptly as possible.
Train hard. Train smart.
Alan Stein, CCS, CSCS
13. January 2009 05:24
The Montrose Basketball
Strength & Conditioning Program
This post was originally written for www.VUHoops.com
In my 6th year as the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for legendary Coach Stu Vetter at Montrose Christian, my job description is still to reduce the occurrence of injury, get our players as strong as possible, and get them in remarkable basketball shape. I do this by conducting workouts on a year round basis, including individual and team workouts. I sit in coat and tie on the bench at every game, take the team through pre-game warm-ups, provide workouts and workout info to both future and former Montrose players, and work passionately to develop an enriching relationship with every player in our program. I also establish relationships with most of the nation’s top college coaches, assistant coaches and strength coaches and provide feedback on our player’s work ethic, attitude, and physical attributes.
Over the course of the last few years I have been extremely fortunate to get to know Villanova basketball head coach Jay Wright, assistant Patrick Chambers, and strength & conditioning coach Lon Record. I have the utmost respect and adulation for all three of these men and am very pleased that two of our outstanding seniors, Mouphtaou Yarou and Isaiah Armwood will be joining the Wildcats next season. Mouph and Isaiah are not only two of the nation’s best high school basketball players, but two outstanding young men as well.
I have known Isaiah since his freshman year and have really enjoyed seeing him develop from a spindly teenager to one of the Big East’s top incoming freshman. Isaiah is 6’8” and has gained over 30 lbs since his freshman year at Montrose. He has an unparalleled work ethic in the weight room and on the court and has shown tremendous leadership this season, which has played a major role in our current rankings of 6th in the nation by USA Today and 10th in ESPN.
I got an opportunity to meet Mouph and take him through a workout at the beginning of this past summer, prior to him deciding to come to Montrose. We were introduced through a mutual friend. I was immediately impressed with his exceptional footwork, powerful frame, and surprisingly enough… his magnetic smile. Like Isaiah, Mouph has the potential to earn quality time his freshman year. Mouph has the tools to end up being one of the most accomplished players in Big East history. I know that is a very bold statement, but I sincerely believe it.
In addition to the aforementioned goals of reducing the occurrence of injury, getting our players as strong as possible, and getting them in remarkable basketball shape, I have several other focal points for players like Mouph and Isaiah:
1) Teach them how to work hard in the weight room. I am so fortunate to work with very motivated players at Montrose. Nearly every player we have has the goal of playing in college, so our kids want to get better. As a whole, we have kids with great work ethics. However, working hard in the weight room is different than working hard on the court and is new for most of our players. I teach them to overcome severe muscular discomfort and fight through muscular fatigue, how to control their bodies in space (balance, etc.), and of course proper lifting, cutting, and running technique. Most of our players are fortunate enough to go on to college to play, so it is also my job to best prepare them for their future strength & conditioning coach. I want to make sure I have laid the proper ground work so their future strength coach is not starting from scratch and having to teach the most basic concepts. Lon Record at Villanova is one of the best in the business and Lon and I talk regularly about Mouph and Isaiah’s status and progress. The best compliment I can receive is for a college level strength coach to inherit one of my Montrose players and say, “someone taught this kid how to work hard!”
2) Teach them some basic nutrition guidelines. Most of our players eat like normal high school students; skip breakfast, eat a crummy lunch, snack on candy and soda, and maybe eat a decent dinner after study hall, weights and practice. That is no way for an elite level athlete to fuel their body. It is my goal to get our players to understand how important it is to stay hydrated and eat properly and change some of those poor eating habits. I have input in our pre-game meals as well as get Coach Vetter to provide our famous “peanut butter and jelly and chocolate milk” buffet after all weight workouts! Post workout nutrients are key!
3) Get them to gain muscular bodyweight. As a general rule of thumb, 9 out of 10 high school basketball players need to gain weight. Occasionally we have a player who needs to lose weight (body fat), but for the most part players need to add some size to compete at our level and then certainly at the college level. This is done through year round weight workouts and getting them to eat, eat, and eat. Once they are done eating then we usually have them eat a little more! Isaiah’s weight gain for 30 pounds in 3 years is pretty typical in our program, although certainly everyone is different. Two of our younger players, freshman Justin Anderson and sophomore T. Jordan Omogbehin have gained 20 and 50 lbs respectively since setting foot at Montrose (note “Big” Jordan is 7’1” with as big of a frame as I have ever seen). If these results seem to good to be true, keep in mind most of our players have never done any weight training prior to coming to Montrose, have never been encouraged to eat so much, and are at an age where their bodies are physically maturing.
As far as my overall philosophy, I understand basketball is a combination of strength, power, conditioning, flexibility, and skill proficiency. These traits are vital to the success of every player at every level and are characteristics that can be improved through proper training. It is important players participate in a truly comprehensive, year round training program in order to maximize their athletic ability. In order for a player to reach their true potential on the basketball court, they must be in great shape. More specifically, they need to be in great basketball shape. A basketball player is not an Olympic lifter, track athlete, or bodybuilder, so they need not train that way.
A properly implemented training program can improve a player’s overall performance by getting them to run faster, jump higher, and box out stronger! The game of basketball consists of short, high intensity bursts of energy that include sprinting, back pedaling, defensive sliding, and jumping. Therefore, the conditioning workouts should reflect these movement patterns. It is important that a player can compete at a high level of intensity for the entire game. The difference between good player and a great player is that great players don’t get tired and are still explosive late in the game!
When it is all said and done, let’s not forget the most important aspect, their fundamentals and ability to play the game, because after all, it doesn’t matter how strong or in shape a player is… if they can’t shoot, pass, rebound or defend… they can’t play!
If you have any questions or comments about this blog, or my services in general, please email me at Alan@StrongerTeam.com. I will do my best to respond as promptly as possible.
Train hard. Train smart.
Alan Stein, CCS, CSCS
12. January 2009 05:26
I am sure many of you are wondering why I am writing a blog about building solid relationships, as that certainly seems like a topic more suited for Dr. Phil or Oprah, not a basketball strength & conditioning coach. Oh contraire! While I will certainly elaborate my thoughts, I truly believe that everything in life comes down to relationships. Everything. To be successful in any walk of life, from basketball to business, you have to know how to build and maintain solid relationships. As author Jeffrey Gitomer said, “Quality relationships lead to success, wealth, and fulfillment.” On some level, isn’t that what we all want out of life? I know I do. Sometimes I think basketball players and coaches take this for granted and forget how important it is to have a sound relationship with each other, both on and off the court. My goal with my weekly blog is to cover as many topics as possible that deal with success, and in my opinion, nothing is more important than developing relationships.
While there are numerous relationships that directly effect and impact basketball players and coaches, I will focus more specifically on their relationship with each other. The player to coach (and coach to player) relationship is fundamental for ultimate success on the court. There are several components to any quality relationship, but the characteristics I am going to focus on between coaches and players are respect, trust, communication, and compromise.
Let me preface by saying one of the main reasons I do what I do for a living is because of the relationships I get to have with those I work with. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the game of basketball and have a deep passion for strength and conditioning. But when it is all said and done I cherish and value the relationships most. I am so thankful and fortunate to have been able to really get to know hundreds of players and coaches in the last 10 years and have had some amazing, memorable, and life changing experiences and relationships. And I welcome and look forward to many more to come!
Like most coaches, I enjoy watching the players I work with progress through high school and go off to college. I get so much satisfaction seeing someone I worked with enjoy the fruits of success, whether on the court or off it. I value these relationships and work hard at maintaining them. I go to a high school or college game almost every night of the week to support the kids I train, talk with their families, and see all of their hard work pay off. I also make sure to catch as many games on TV as I can and stay in close touch with my former players who are in college or in the pros. Between text messages, emails, and Facebook, I do my absolute best to stay involved with majority of the players I have worked with. I don’t want anything from them but to stay in touch and be there if they need anything. I am very appreciative of how many former clients, players and coaches reciprocate and check in with me to do the same. That is my definition of job satisfaction.
Player to Coach Relationship
How many times have you heard a player use their coach as a scapegoat for why they aren’t successful? “I would play more but the coach doesn’t like me” or “My coach is an idiot, I am a shooting guard and he is making me run the point.” These are just excuses. As a player, whether in high school, college, or the NBA, your coach is your “boss.” He is or she is the CEO of your team and program. And as the old saying goes, “the boss signs the paychecks.” That means the coach is in charge, period. The sooner you acknowledge that the better. With that said, as a player, if you truly want to maximize your ability and development, increase your playing time, and increase your chance to play at the next level, it is in your best interest to have a superb relationship with your coach. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything they do, but you have to do your part to contribute to the relationship. Do you ask your coach if you can stay after practice so you can get up more shots? Do you thank him if he says yes? If you aren’t playing a lot, do you ask your coach what you need to work on to get more minutes? Do you show your coach the same respect you show your parents or the principle of your school? Do you listen with your eyes and your ears when the coach is speaking at practice or team meetings? Have you earned your coach’s trust and respect? Do you know much about your coach outside of basketball? Does he/she have any kids? What do they like to do aside from basketball? If you are currently a basketball player, at any level, and feel there is some strain in your relationship with your head coach, I challenge you to take the first step in mending things. Trust me; it will go a long way and ultimately, will help you in the end. And if you feel as though your coach is unapproachable, or you are really in the dog house, is there an assistant coach you can speak with to help mediate things? If you currently have a great relationship with your coach, congratulations, make sure you thank them and let them know how much you appreciate them.
Coach to Player Relationship
Most coaches have noble intentions. I have never met a basketball coach, at any level, who does it solely for the money. They coach because they love basketball and enjoy working with young people. But times have changed with today’s technology, even in the 15 years since I was in high school. While many coaches have sincere intentions, I know plenty that don’t make the effort necessary to really understand the youth of today. I think a coach’s primary job description should be to be an exemplary role model and provide an atmosphere for the student athlete to take full advantage of their basketball potential. A coach should be a teacher of the game. A coach should be a motivator. A coach should be a mentor. And while it is not the coach’s job to be “friends” with his players, I do think coaches should make every attempt to show his players he cares about them as people; not just as basketball players. As a coach, whether at a small high school or a major university, you should get to know your players, know what is going on in their life, find out what makes them tick, and do your best to stay up with the times. How well do you know your players’ families or girlfriends? Do you know how to text message or what Facebook even is? Do you know what kind of music your players listen to? Do you know whattheir goals and dreams are? And while I will reiterate, it is not the coach’s job to be friends with his players nor try to emulate them in how they dress or speak, but a coach should make every attempt to be likeable and show that he cares. Kids will always play harder for someone they like as well as someone they know cares about them. If you get on your kids really hard when they don’t play well, do you balance that out with encouragement and praise when they do? It has been my experience that kids crave discipline as long as it comes from someone they care about. It is important for a coach to understand, especially when dealing with today’s kids, that respect and trust have to be earned, they aren’t automatic like they were 15 years ago. A player is not going to respect you just because you are the coach; you have to earntheir respect through the way you carry yourself and the way you treat them. Even though it might not be your taste, respect the way the way they walk, talk, and dress. And if you truly want your players to work hard for you every day, then you need to work just as hard for them. Put effort into your practice plans, scouting reports, and team functions. Come in early and stay late. The more you do for your players, the more they will do for you.
The Inner Circle
Nothing is more important than the relationship you have with your inner circle, or as it was referred to in the movie Meet the Parents, “the circle of trust.” Whether you are a freshman in high school or a 55 year old college coach, everyone of us should have a small group of family and friends we utilize to make life’s most important decisions. I know I do. My parents, my fiancé, and a small handful of close friends (all of which I have known for years) make up my inner circle. These are the most important relationships in my life. These are the people I trust to offer their opinions and advice when I need them. These are people who know me as well as I know myself. Do you have an inner circle? Who is in it? Does your inner circle only have people you trust? Would you trust them with your car? With your girlfriend? With yourlife? Could you call them if you were stuck somewhere at 2am? Are they people that have always been there for you or someone new on the scene? Are they people that will love you and support you even if you don’t “make it” or if they disagree with your decision? Do these folks tell you what you need to hear or what you want to hear? It is especially important for young people (high school and college age in particular) to create and maintain this inner circle. In regards to elite level basketball players, deciding which college to play for or which agent to sign with are two monumental decisions to make. Who will you listen too when making these decisions? Will the folks in your inner circle lean to the best situation for you or for them? I am fortunate enough to work with and get to know the nation’s top high school players every year at a variety of events, camps, and academies and I see first hand which players have a tight circle and which ones are easily distracted by hanger on-ers and phony entourages. From there it is pretty easy to determine who will be successful in the long haul and who will be gone with the wind.
Some of the thoughts and concepts in the blog were derived after reading Jeffrey Gitomer’s “Little Black Book of Connections.” This was hands down one of the best books I have read on the subject of networking and relationship building. I highly recommend any of Mr. Gitomer’s books, and I have several. Whether you are a player, a coach, or a trainer, his philosophy will help you achieve higher success. You can buy his books at all major book stores or visit www.gitomer.com.
If you have any questions or comments about this blog, or my services in general, please email me atAlan@StrongerTeam.com. I will do my best to respond as promptly as possible.
Train hard. Train smart.
Alan Stein, CCS, CSCS
5. January 2009 05:28
Happy New Year to everyone! I sincerely hope each of you had a wonderful holiday.
I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to get some much needed rest over the past few weeks and completely recharge my mental and physical battery. I am 100% prepared to make 2009 a great year!
A good portion of my focus will be dedicated to my blog posts. The goal of my blog is simple; to inspire, to motivate, to influence and to help anyone who is passionate about basketball (and training).
While I chose to take the last few weeks off from conducting formal workouts and actually training clients, I made sure I was as productive as possible. In addition to watching a ton of basketball from high school to the NBA (mostly live) and taking notes on movement patterns, work to rest ratios, and scheming up new drills and exercises to use this coming off season, I spent at least an hour a day reading several very valuable books. I choose to read books from a variety of topics and authors, but all of which have an underlying theme of what it takes to be successful. I have always been fascinated by people who are extraordinarily successful in their field or industry and I try to learn as much about them, their habits, and characteristics as possible, believing in some way it will rub off on me! And then of course it is my goal to pass what I learn on to those I work with.
As always, I take pages and pages of notes from every book I read and find ways to take the concepts I learn and directly relate them to the game of basketball and to proper training. Remember, success is success. It doesn’t matter if it is on the court, in the weight room, or in an office, the fundamental building blocks are always the same and transcend every facet of life; academics, athletics, business, and social. Whether you are a college player, a high school coach, or a caring parent, I am confident my blog will be of value. If you like what you read, please check back at the beginning of each week as well as share my blog with anyone you think would benefit from it.
In addition to normal updates, tidbits, and quality behind the scenes insight into the practices, workouts and game plans of the nation’s top players, coaches and teams (like Montrose Christian, currently ranked in the Top 10 in the nation), I plan on really sinking my teeth into deeper topics. Here is a quick look at some of the initial concepts I will be addressing for the next 8 weeks:
1. Proper preparation (1/5)
2. Building solid relationships (1/12)
3. Importance of visualization (1/19)
4. Self motivation (1/26)
5. Dreaming big (2/2)
6. What college coaches look for, part II (2/9)
7. How to achieve true balance (2/16)
8. Ways to influence others (2/23)
I very much welcome any thoughts, ideas, or questions you have regarding my weekly blog, especially if you have an applicable topic you want to see covered in the future. Just drop me an email atAlan@StrongerTeam.com and I will do my best to integrate in.
Train hard. Train smart.
Alan Stein, CCS, CSCS