28. October 2009 00:20
Montrose Christian 2009-2010 Team Picture: http://tinyurl.com/MontroseTeam
The expectations are super high for our 2009-2010 Montrose Christian boys basketball team after last year’s 22-3 season where we finished #6 in the nation (USA Today) and #1 in the greater Washington, DC area (Washington Post). Our only losses came from the nation’s top two ranked teams (we lost to #1 ranked Findlay Prep and lost twice to #2 ranked Oak Hill). This year’s pre-season polls should have us ranked in the top 10. Not bad given there are over 26,000 high schools eligible for the rankings!
To add to this year’s excitement is the fact we have several new faces in the program; including new coaches and players. We had two assistant coaches leave to pursue other professional opportunities and have since added three new members to our staff – all of which have done a fantastic job this pre-season in getting acclimated to the program.
We are still led by the legendary Coach Stu Vetter who is entering his 34th year as a head coach and is only two wins shy of 800 (798-98); which puts him in a very exclusive class. For a complete history of Coach Vetter, including a team picture from every year since 1975, please visit www.StuVetter.com. Associate head coach Dan Prete (9th year), myself (7th year), and Damien Jenifer (5th year) add veteran experience and stability, while our new assistant coaches Billy Vernon (University of Maryland), Mark Vincent (Bishop Ireton), and Don Shopland (St. John’s Prospect Hall) add a fresh perspective and enthusiasm.
We only return three players that saw considerable playing time last year; senior Terrence Ross (committed to University of Maryland), sophomore Justin Anderson (one of the top 5 sophomores in the nation), and junior Tyler Hubbard (Bowie, MD). We graduated 7 players from last year’s team and had two players transfer; which opened the door for a lot of incoming talent. Senior Josh Hairston (committed to Duke) and sophomore Lebrent Walker (from Queens, NY) will play major roles this season. We also added some international flavor and got four outstanding players in junior Paul Gombwer (Kaduna, Nigeria), junior Nazareth Long (Toronto, Canada), sophomore Michael Carrera (Anzoategui, Venezuela), and freshman Yuki Togashi (Tokyo, Japan). Despite so many newcomers, our guys have developed an outstanding chemistry during their pre-season workouts. In addition to our skill work and strength & conditioning, we constantly reinforce the intangible qualities of communication, toughness, and competitiveness with our players. This is integral with players who haven’t played together before.
While the schedule is not yet finalized or officially “public” (and is subject to change); it is packed with several big time games and events. We have preliminary plans to scrimmage Bishop O’Connell in late November, which will be a great test for our guards, as O’Connell is led by one of the nation’s top point guards, Kendall Marshall (committed to UNC). As far as the regular season, we will be playing Theodore Roosevelt in the Caron Butler Classic (at Coolidge High School) and St. Mary Ryken in the National High School Hoops Festival (at Wise High School) in early December. In mid December we will head to Honolulu, Hawaii to play in the 26th annual Iolani Classic. As always, the field will be packed with stellar programs including Gonzaga (DC), Yates (TX), Neumann Goretti (PA), Columbia (GA), Hamilton (AZ), Kingston (NC), Lutheran (CA), and Tsinghua (China). Last year we lost to Oak Hill in double OT in the Championship game. We have our sights set on getting over the proverbial hump and winning it all this time!
We will have several great local games including our annual battle with Virginia powerhouse TC Williams (at their place) and three games to be played at the University of Maryland. We are in the process of finalizing a late January trip to Orlando to play in the 7th annual Montverde Academy Invitational Basketball Tournament. In addition to the host team (Montverde Academy), it is a loaded field with Findlay Prep and one of Florida’s strongest programs in Arlington Country Day.
One of the highlights of the year will be in mid February when we go up to Trenton New Jersey to play in the prestigious Nike Primetime Shootout at the Sovereign Bank Arena. We will face off against one of the most acclaimed programs and coaches in high school basketball history – St. Anthony’s and Coach Bob Hurley. It will be an honor to play them and promises to be a real dogfight! I just finished reading “The Miracle of St. Anthony.” It was a phenomenal book; I highly recommend it.
To finish off the season, we expect to travel down south for our yearly showdown with Oak Hill. Although not 100% finalized, this game should take place in early March. If all goes as planned, we will be invited back to play in the 2nd annual ESPN/RISE National Invitational Tournament. Last year’s event was an amazing experience.
I will make sure to announce when the schedule is finalized (which will include all games) and will post regular updates throughout the season via this blog, Twitter, and Facebook. I will provide a season long, behind the scenes look inside the Montrose Christian program.
If you attend any of our games, please make sure you come say hello. The next two week’s blog posts will be dedicated to starting the high school season and will include a checklist of questions and reminders to help make sure your season is a success. Those posts will be a must read for all high school coaches and players; so make sure you check back!
As always, if I can ever help you or your program, please email me at Alan@StrongerTeam.com. For daily motivational quotes and hoops tidbits, please follow me at www.Twitter.com/AlanStein and for the Exercise of the Week please subscribe to www.YouTube.com/StrongerTeamDotCom.
Train hard, train smart.
21. October 2009 05:40
This fall marks my 10th year in the strength & conditioning industry. After ten a
mazing years, I am thrilled to say my passion for basketball performance training burns stronger than ever. I absolutely love what I do for a living and am so thankful to be able to make a living doing it. I cherish the relationships I have built with countless players, coaches, and fellow trainers along the way. I can’t wait to see what the next ten years has in store!
To pay homage to David Letterman and ESPN SportsCenter, below is a list of my Top 10 moments from the past ten years.
#10 “Raymond Felton at the NBPA Top 100 Camp”
See the picture: http://tinyurl.com/RaymondFelton
In June of 2005, Raymond Felton (Charlotte Bobcats) stopped by the NBPA Top 100 camp to talk to the campers. He had just led the University of North Carolina to the National Championship and had declared for the NBA draft. Prior to speaking to the campers he stood off to the side and casually watched the guards go through a one on one drill (OJ Mayo, Wayne Ellington, and Jerryd Bayless were in the group). Raymond was wearing jeans, a fitted hat, an oversized white t-shirt, untied Adidas shell tops, and a huge platinum medallion. He watched as player after player scored effortlessly; with no one showing any pride in playing defense. After about 10 minutes, he stepped in and said “Is anyone here gonna play some D? Do any of you guys have any heart? If you want to play at the next level you have to play D. You have to compete. It ain’t just about scoring fellas.” He then handed me his medallion (not because I am special, I just happened to be standing next to him!) and walked onto the court. Without even lacing up his shoes or tightening up his belt, he grabbed the ball and gave a hard chest pass to the next offensive player in line. “Which one of you mutha (expletive) think they can score on me?” He then proceeded to D up on every single player in line. Not one guy scored. Half of them didn’t even get a shot off. It was an amazing display of competitiveness. Keep in mind this took place before the draft. If he got hurt it could have cost him millions of dollars, or even worse, ended his career. But he didn’t care. Raymond Felton is true to the game.
#9 “Speaking in Las Vegas at the largest basketball clinic in world”
See the picture: http://tinyurl.com/VegasClinic
I have been so thankful to speak at Ed Janka’s Nike Championship Basketball Clinics for the past four years. His annual spring clinic in Las Vegas lays claim to being the “largest basketball clinic in the world” with several thousand coaches in attendance. In the spring of 2007, I got a chance to speak in Las Vegas and it was quite a thrill. The workout was very well-received. I got an intense rush from speaking in front of 3,000 coaches and seeing myself live on the jumbo-tron screen! I have such a respect for high school basketball coaches; it always gives me great satisfaction to be able to help teach them about proper training.
#8 “Working the Jamaica Star Search Camp for the first time”
See the picture: http://tinyurl.com/JamaicaCamp
As I have mentioned in previous blogs, in the summer of 2008 I volunteered to work a basketball camp for underprivileged kids in Jamaica. It was a life changing experience and one I will never forget. I had never seen such poverty in all of my life. There were kids in camp who played with no shoes; in a gym with no air conditioning. Yet they were unbelievably thankful for the opportunity to just be in the camp. Their energy and enthusiasm was palpable and contagious. I returned home with a new sense of appreciation for how blessed I was. I have pledged to return every year.
#7 “Chat with Kobe”
See the picture: http://tinyurl.com/KobeAndAlan
In the summer of 2007, I had the opportunity to work the first ever Kobe Bryant Nike Skills Academy at Mater Dei High School in Orange County, CA. The campers included the top 20 high school shooting guards in the country (Jrue Holiday, DeMar DeRozan, Tyreke Evans, and Willie Warren) as well as the top 10 college shooting guards (Wayne Ellington, Gerald Henderson, James Harden, and Stephen Curry). Kobe arrived early one afternoon and I got a chance to talk with him for about 15 minutes about his off season training and his approach to his own development. It was such an honor to talk to someone of his caliber; someone who is truly dedicated to being the best player he can be. As we parted ways he said, “Thanks for being here Coach.” He is a true class act.
#6 “Trip to France with Nike USA Team”
See the picture: http://tinyurl.com/FranceTeam
In the summer of 2005, I got an unbelievable opportunity to travel to France with a Nike USA U-19 team to play a series of games against other countries. This was my first overseas basketball experience and it was phenomenal. The roster included current NBA players Thad Young, Brook and Robin Lopez, Javaris Crittenton, Chase Budinger, and Nick Calathes (who just signed a contract in Greece). It also included current college players Nic Wise (Arizona) and Jeff Allen (Virginia Tech). What made it really special was having two of my good friends, Jeff Rogers (Nike) and David Adkins (former assistant at Montrose, current assistant with the University of Maryland’s women’s program) on the trip as well. Being submerged in a foreign culture was a valuable learning experience.
#5 “Audition for Montrose”
This season will mark my 7th year as the head strength & conditioning coach for the Montrose Christian basketball program. When I moved back to the DC area in 1999, I made it my goal to work with the area’s top high school basketball program, which in my opinion, was Montrose Christian. For nearly three years I sent letters and left voice messages for Coach Stu Vetter; all of which went unreturned and unanswered. Then finally in the spring of 2003 I caught a break. I called the Montrose Basketball office, and to my surprise, got to speak with Coach Vetter’s lead assistant, David Adkins (who has since become a close friend). I introduced myself and told him how bad I wanted to be a part of their program. Always one to meet new people and learn new things, DA invited me over to his office to talk shop. Since he was responsible for the Montrose off season conditioning program, he was very interested in hearing how I might be of service. He told me he would bring Linas Kleiza (former NBA player for the Denver Nuggets, currently under contract with Olympiakos in Greece) over to my gym to workout. He said, “If Linas likes your workout… you’re in. If he doesn’t, I never knew you.” So in all reality this was my “audition” to accomplish my goal and be a part of the Montrose program. I took Linas through an hour long workout and blasted him pretty hard. I felt like it went well, but got very little feedback from him or Coach Adkins. They left and told me they would be in touch. As I was later told, when Linas got in the car, he told Coach Adkins “That was the best workout I have ever had… when can I do it again?” The rest is history!
#4 “KD’s draft night”
See the picture: http://tinyurl.com/KDandAlan
I met Kevin Durant out in Portland in 2004 at the Les Schwab Invitational. I was introduced to him and his family by Jeff Rogers (my good friend at Nike). Kevin was a junior at Oak Hill at the time but still a native of the DC area. After a great conversation I convinced him and his family that KD should work with me the following off season. They were guarded and hesitant, but said they would consider it. I stayed persistent and kept in touch and finally got my shot later that spring (2005). Similar to my audition for Montrose, I had an audition with KD. I was told I could work him out one Saturday at the old Run N’ Shoot in Suitland, MD. If we clicked, we were good to go. If we didn’t, I was out. We hit it off right away and KD was sold on how badly he needed to be on a progressive strength training program (he weighed 180 pounds at the time). We worked out religiously for several weeks and then KD made the decision to transfer to Montrose for his senior year. Let’s fast forward through an All American season at Montrose and a College Player of the Year season at Texas, to the 2007 NBA draft. It was astounding to watch KD be selected as the 2nd overall pick and go on stage and shake David Stern’s hand. I was so happy for him and his family and so proud to see his hard work pay off. He deserved it. Despite being one of the NBA’s brightest rising stars, KD has remained grounded and humble and continues to have a tremendous work ethic and unparalleled love for the game. While I don’t work with KD anymore, I am very thankful to call him a lifelong friend.
#3 “Oak Hill vs. Montrose”
See the picture: http://tinyurl.com/OakHillvsMontrose
I have told this story countless times at camps and clinics, but it still gives me goose bumps every time I think about it. In early March 2006, I sat on the bench in coat and tie at Coolidge high school in Washington DC and bared witness to one of the greatest high school basketball games ever played. Montrose Christian, led by Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder) and Greivis Vasquez (University of Maryland), collided with the nation’s #1 ranked team, Oak Hill (40-0, had a 56 game win streak), who was led by Michael Beasley (Miami Heat) and Tywon Lawson (Denver Nuggets). In front of a standing room only crowd of several thousand people, Montrose fought back from being down 16 in the middle of the third quarter to hit a shot at the buzzer to steal the victory. It was simply amazing.
#2 “Meeting Coach K”
I have long been an admirer of Coach K and his relentless commitment to excellence. I have read all of his books several times over and apply many of his philosophies on teamwork, accountability, etc. to my own work and life. At the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, SC in December of 2006, I finally got a chance to meet him in person. It was surreal. The following day I sent him a letter thanking him for his time, and more importantly, thanking him for all of his contributions to the game of basketball. To my surprise, several weeks later, I received a hand written note from him! The face of college basketball, a Hall of Fame coach, and one of the busiest men on the planet took the time to send me a hand written note saying he enjoyed our conversation as well and wished me success in the future. I was awestruck. From then on I made a solemn pledge to myself to always return calls, emails, and letters – no exceptions. I figured if Coach K can find the time to hand write me a letter, I sure as hell can do the same thing when people contact me. I am pleased to say I have had a few conversations with Coach K since that initial meeting and it has been an honor every time.
#1 “Meeting MJ”
See the picture: http://tinyurl.com/JordanClassic
In the spring of 2005, I got the opportunity to work my first Jordan Brand All American Classic up in New York. Being one of the millions of kids who grew up idolizing Michael “Air” Jordan; being a part of his event was super special and a dream come true. On the night of the game, he walked into a secured room to talk to the players and coaches. I was about 2 feet away from him when he entered and my heart literally skipped a beat. He had an aura about him that was hard to describe. After his pep talk he shook each of our hands and thanked us being a part of his event. To go from idolizing someone to shaking their hand was very bizarre!
Well, that’s it. Those are the moments and experiences that made my Top 10. And while those stuck out for obvious reasons, I am just as thankful for the thousands and thousands of other amazing experiences I have had on my journey. It has been an awesome ride so far!
Next week I will post my annual Montrose preview and give some insight to our roster and schedule. We have a lot of new faces on this year’s team and several big time games; so please check back. Then the following two week’s posts will be dedicated to starting the season on the right foot; a must read for all high school coaches and players.
Please note the two Virginia clinics I had scheduled for this coming weekend (Hampton Roads and Richmond) have been postponed. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Please stay tuned to www.StrongerTeam.com or email me at Alan@StrongerTeam.com for updates.
For daily motivational quotes please follow me at www.Twitter.com/AlanStein and for the Exercise of the Week please subscribe to www.YouTube.com/StrongerTeamDotCom.
Work hard. Have fun.
13. October 2009 05:31
Jim Valvano, the former legendary coach at NC State once said, “Every morning when you get out of bed you only have two choices. You have the choice to work hard or you have the choice to not work hard. It is totally up to you.” The most powerful part of that statement is that not working hard is actually a choice. And he is 100% right. Whether you are a coach or a player, you have complete control over the effort you put forth every workout, every practice, and every game. The most successful coaches and players consistently make the choice to work hard. Do you?
Coach Valvano was right; every single aspect of our lives actually does come down to choices. Some choices are easy and less significant, like what to eat for breakfast, and others are more complex, like where to attend college. But they are choices nonetheless. Don’t ever take for granted how fortunate you are to have the power to choose.
I had a player tell me one time, with a big smile as if he disproved this theory, “I didn’t choose for it to rain today.” “Of course not,” I said, “but you have the choice in how you let it affect you.” Obviously you don’t control everything in this world, but you do control how you react and how you respond. You don’t control it when you go up for a jump shot and land on another player’s foot and sprain your ankle, when the ref makes a bad call or when your teammate turns the ball over during a critical point in the game. But you certainly control your response to each of those situations. And that response is your choice and speaks volumes about what type of person you are. When you sprain your ankle, do you pout about it and wallow in self pity? Or do you follow the trainer’s orders to re-hab it, continue to be a good teammate from the sideline during practices and games, and find others ways to contribute? When the ref makes a bad call, do you mouth off or get mad? Or do you put it behind you and move on to the next play? When your teammate turns the ball over, do you yell at them and use negative body language? Or do you pat them on the back and make up for the turnover by playing extra hard on defense?
Every one of us is a product of the choices we make on a daily basis. Wherever we are in life, we are there as a result of the choices we have made. If you are happy and successful, it is because of your choices. If you are unhappy and miserable, it is also because of your choices. Stop pointing the finger.
One of my favorite quotes of all time is:
“If you keep doing what you’ve been doing; you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting. If you don’t like what you’ve been getting; quit doing what you’ve been doing!”
That is a powerful statement and every word of it is true.
What kind of choices are you making now that the season is about start?
Players, are you choosing to get plenty of sleep at night? Are you choosing to eat breakfast every day? Are you choosing to stay after the workout and get up additional shots? Are you choosing to work out and play as hard as you can, every day? Are you choosingto be a good teammate, both on and off the court? Are you choosing to be coachable?
Coaches, are you choosing to provide innovative and creative drills in your pre-season workouts? Are you choosing to reinforce the importance of leadership, toughness, communication, and competitiveness? Are you choosing to meet with your players, one on one, to discuss their role on the team? Are you choosing to evaluate your players (and staff) and formulate a game plan and philosophy for this year? Are you choosing to review last year’s practice plans?
These are all choices. Your answer to these questions and the choices you make will dictate the type of season you will have as well as the type of player/coach you will be.
Here is a quick overview of the next several week’s blogs:
Later this week I will post the final “Montrose-ism.” It is my favorite… a poem called “One Possession.” It is a tad corny, but definitely something you should share with your team.
Next week I will recap my Top 10 experiences from the last 10 years. It is hard to believe I have been doing this professionally for the last decade! I have been so fortunate to meet some amazing people and experience some amazing things in that time; I look forward to sharing my ten favorite.
The following week I will preview this year’s Montrose team and give some insight to our personnel as well as our 2009-2010 schedule. The first two weeks in November I will post tips for starting the season! All the while I will be posting motivational talks from clinics and exercises of the week at www.YouTube.com/StrongerTeamDotCom.
As always, if I can help you or your program in any way, don’t hesitate to email me at Alan@StrongerTeam.com.
Train hard. Train smart.
7. October 2009 04:44
I spend a good deal of my time in the fall traveling the country to speak at various coaching clinics; both state association and Nike Championship Basketball clinics. I get to meet a ton of passionate coaches who obviously understand the importance of their own professional development (duh, that’s why they are at the clinic!).
How hard do you work on your craft? Whether you are a player, a coach, or a trainer… how much time and effort do you put into your own development and improvement? An honest answer to this question will ultimately dictate your overall success. It’s really not a mystery; the more energy you put into honing your specific skill sets the better you will be and the more success you will attain.
Are you constantly in search of new information? Do you expose yourself to a variety of resources? Do you approach new learning experiences with an open mind? Again, your answer to these questions will speak volumes about your potential success.
With the exception of the small percentage of folks who are involved in basketball for mere recreation; I assume everyone else’s goal is to become the absolute best player, coach, or trainer they can be and to maximize their potential. That is most certainly my goal as a basketball strength & conditioning coach.
I have always taken my professional development very seriously and spend an inordinate amount of time, energy, and money to ensure constant improvement. And I tend to gravitate towards players, coaches and trainers who have the same approach.
For my specific situation, there are 5 key areas and skill sets I must continuously develop to thrive in the private training industry:
- Training methodologies & philosophies (exercises & drills, equipment, etc.)
- Coaching techniques (ways to motivate players, better communication, etc.)
- Relationship building (building rapport with players, networking, social media, etc.)
- Running a business (customer service, branding, marketing, etc.)
- Public speaking & writing (speaking at clinics, writing a blog, etc.)
For players and coaches, it is slightly different. Aside from academics (which is obviously most important), a high school and college player needs to focus on the specific skill sets of their fundamentals, applying those fundamentals to the game, and being a good teammate. Coaches need to be able to teach the game, motivate players, create a winning culture, and implement the X’s and O’s. Please note I am well aware the roles and responsibilities of both players and coaches far exceed the cursory list I just compiled. In fact, I suggest you write down your own list of skill set categories that you want to develop to be successful.
I make sure to spend an appropriate amount of time working on each of these specific skill sets because they each play a role in my overall success. Players and coaches need to do the same. Don’t just focus on shooting drills and ball handling drills… there is so much more to becoming a well rounded player or coach.
Many of you know this past January I set the goal of reading 50 books in 2009. That is just one example of my commitment to my development. I read books on success, leadership, motivation, mental training, biographies, as well as strength & conditioning resources; so reading actually helps me in every skill set I am trying to improve!
I just finished Pistol Pete’s biography (which was fascinating and for the record was the 43rd book I have read this year). I will be starting up The Miracle of St. Anthony next (which documents a season with one of the most storied high school programs of all time). Montrose will actually be playing St. Anthony’s this February up in New Jersey at the Prime Time Shootout. It will be a memorable game as two of the nation’s top coaches (Bob Hurley Sr. and Stu Vetter) and most heralded programs collide!
In addition to reading a variety of different books I subscribe to several e-newsletters; all of which have a wealth of info to share. Brian McCormick, Ganon Baker, Kevin Eastman, Steven Chandler, and Jeffrey Gitomer are a few I follow very regularly. Doing this gives me weekly injections of professional development.
My goal, whether I am reading a book, watching a DVD, or attending a clinic is to pick up one new thing. Maybe one new coaching cue. Or one new drill or concept. If I can get one new tidbit from a resource I consider it well worth the time and/or money spent. More times than not I end up picking up several new “nuggets”… but one is always the goal.
I then try to take what I learn, a new drill or new concept, and tweak it to make it “mine” and make it fit my specific needs. I try to add a new spin to make it unique. However, I readily admit and give proper credit to whomever I got it from. With that said, I love when coaches borrow my drills; that’s what I want. I am flattered when a coach uses a drill from one of my DVD’s or coaching clinics. And I really love it when they put their own twist on it and share it with me because then I learn something new too!
Quick side note: I want to reiterate that 95% of the quotes I post on Twitter and Facebook are not my own quotes; they are a compilation of thousands and thousands of quotes I have collected over the years. I choose not to post the original author because 75% of the time I don’t even know the original author and with the 140 character limitation there is rarely enough room.
I highly recommend you approach all learning opportunities with an open mind; but make sure you stick strong to your convictions. Listen to all angles and all sides; but think for yourself. Just because a successful player or coach does something a certain way doesn’t mean that is the only way or that is how you should automatically do it. Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone works great for him; doesn’t mean it will work great for you. Don’t be the coach who goes to a weekend clinic and comes back Monday with an entirely new philosophy! But subtle changes and improvements are vital for success. Your program and your philosophy should always be a work in progress. You are never there. You must evolve. The only thing constant is change. It is all about professional development.
Make sure you put your ego aside too. Your ultimate goal is to be the best player, coach, or trainer you can be. So if someone out there knows a better way to do something… listen and learn. I know for myself, in the past few years I have altered the way I teach a defensive slide and how a player should plant and cut to change direction… because I learned better ways.
In regards to keeping an open mind, don’t be biased on who you learn from either. You can learn something from any valid source. I have learned a great deal from guys who are almost three times my age (Hubie Brown, Tates Locke) as well as guys who are closer to half my age (Drew Hanlen from Pure Sweat Basketball). You know who gave me the most useful “stuff” at a two day clinic this summer? Andrea Hudy, the outstanding strength & conditioning coach for men’s and women’s basketball at Kansas. Because of her innovative thinking, I immediately made plans to add an adjustable pull up bar (goes from 7 to 11 feet) to use for jumping pull-ups as soon as her presentation was over! That exercise is now a staple in my program.
And you can learn things from the most obscure sources too. Hip hop music actually helps me improve several important skill sets (building rapport with today’s youth and public speaking). Despite being a 33 year old suburban white guy, I listen to hip hop because brilliant artists like Lil Wayne, Jay Z, Eminem, Tupac, and Biggie have an amazing control of the English language and portray unbelievable imagery in their words (granted the images they portray aren’t always appropriate or positive; but that’s not the point). They are master linguists and have amazing speaking rhythms. Listening to hip hop makes me a better public speaker. It also keeps me in touch with today’s youth and helps me form better relationships with my players.
Do you want to be the best player you can be? Then you need to spend time watching players who are ahead of you. But instead of watching as a fan, watch for the small things. When you watch guys like LeBron or Kobe; watch how they get open. Watch them move without the ball. Watch them on help side defense. Watching for that stuff, as opposed to drooling over dunks and long 3 balls, will make you a better player.
To maximize your professional development, you need to constantly evaluate your specific skill sets. This will allow you to prioritize what you need to work on. This can be done after every workout, practice, game, or in my case… after speaking at a clinic or posting a new blog. I have had readers graciously bring to my attention a few typos I made in recent blog posts. I am totally cool with that! I welcome feedback and welcome constructive comments on how to improve. I want to put out the best product possible, so I appreciate when someone points out an error. Just recently I had a doctor email me and point out an incorrect statement I made in my Vertical Jump Con Artists blog. I had made a statement that was factually incorrect regarding fiber types. He politely set the record straight, which I very much appreciated. I am now wiser.
I am a realist. I know how busy everyone is. I am well aware the number one excuse people make for not working on their craft and professional development is lack of time. Let me tell you, you will never find time for professional development. You have to make time for it! And it doesn’t have to be huge amounts of time either; strive for quality over quantity. Set aside 15 minutes a day to read one chapter in a book. Instead of watching Seinfeld re-runs; watch a training DVD. Print out e-newsletters and read them Sunday morning instead of the newspaper. Listen to audiobooks on your commute to school or work. You can make time if it is important to you! And what is more important (aside from health and family) than being the best you can be?
I will be conducting workouts and speaking at clinics in Florida, South Carolina, Missouri, Virginia, Minnesota, and Iowa in the next several weeks… so please email if you want some more information on those specific events… as I would be honored to help you with your own professional development.
As always, for daily coaching points, motivational quotes, and videos of the “exercise of the week”, please follow me (and subscribe) to:
Train hard. Train smart.
PS: If you are interested in the e-newsletters I subscribe to; check them out for yourself!