24. November 2009 02:46
“The more thankful you are for what you have; the more you will have to be thankful for.”
Millions of families will come together this week to spend quality time together, eat delicious food and reminisce over good times. I thought it would be fitting to take this time to publicly thank a myriad of people who have had such a positive impact on my life. I cherish each of the amazing relationships, opportunities, and experiences I have had, not only this past year, but over the span of my 10 year career.
First and foremost I want to thank my wonderful wife, Rebecca, for her unconditional love and support. As many of you know, it takes a special person to marry a coach… especially a coach who loves his job as much as I love mine. I (happily) work long hours, travel a lot, and spend an inordinate amount of time working on my craft. Thankfully my wife understands, respects, and appreciates my passion and is behind me 100%.
I also want to thank my two best friends and business partners; Blair O’Donovan and Steve Tikoian. In addition to our long term friendship; these two guys have had a monumental influence on the success of Stronger Team.
Blair has been my right hand man in the field for the past 10 years and has assisted me in countless workouts, clinics, and events (he works the McDonalds All American Game and Jordan Brand Classic with me every year). Blair is absolutely one of the top strength & conditioning coaches in the business. Many of the drills and exercises I use I have gotten from him.
Steve’s impact on the Stronger Team brand is immeasurable. He is the driving creative force behind each of our websites and nearly all of our promotional materials. His technical expertise and business acumen is invaluable.
The next person I want to thank is someone I have never actually met, Mr. Steve Chandler. Although he doesn’t know it, Steve has had a profound impact on me this past year. Last December, before my annual trip to Hawaii with Montrose, I was stocking up on books to read and I randomly picked up a copy of 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and found it extremely insightful and helpful. I dropped Mr. Chandler an email (his email address was listed in the back of the book) to merely say “thanks.” He responded promptly, which is rare these days, and then sent me a generous care package that included a couple more of his books as well as an audio set of The Story of You. His beliefs made a deep impression on me. To date, I have read all of Mr. Chandler’s books and am a proud member of his groundbreaking group, Club Fearless (www.ClubFearless.net). The resources Club Fearless provides have had an overwhelming effect on both my personal and professional life. Many of the concepts and ideas I have shared in previous blogs were inspired by Mr. Chandler’s work. If you are looking for something to make a difference in your life in 2010, I highly recommend joining Club Fearless. I also want to give a special thanks to Mr. Chandler’s assistant, Maurice Bassett for his time, energy, passion, and commitment towards Club Fearless.
While there is no way I could possibly name everyone who has helped me, I do want to recognize several key folks for their loyalty, support, and everything in between:
Thom McDonald of Championship Productions, Chris Hungerford of HoopsKing, Ed Janka of Nike Championship Basketball Clinics, Kevin Foley & Marc Steigerwalt of Position Sports, Steph Wood of Stronger Woman Basketball, Brandon Rafuse of Thunder Selects, Robin Schlosser of Rockville Fitness, Stu Vetter of Montrose Christian, Jeff Rogers of Nike Basketball, Ganon Baker of Ganon Baker Basketball, Drew Hanlen of Pure Sweat Basketball, Jeremy Russotti of 1% Club Basketball, Meredith Geisler of Meredith Communications, Mike Austin of Winning Hoops, Chris Thomas of 100% Hoops, Keith Stevens of Team Takeover, Dave Telep of Scout.com, Tim McCormick of the NBPA, Doug Ewell of Westfield HS, David Bauman of DB Hoops Management, and Jim Tanner of Williams & Connolly.
I want to thank Kevin Eastman, Don Showalter, Dave Schlabaugh, David Adkins, Dan Prete, Alex Chaudhry, Tates Locke, Jay Bilas and Fran Fraschilla for their mentorship and guidance.
I want to give a special thank you to my individual clients and their parents for their commitment to training and development. I commend the sacrifice you make.
Lastly, I want to thank my Facebook friends, Twitter followers, YouTube subscribers, blog readers, and blog syndicators (Matt Allinson of Access Athletes, Patrick Lee of Got Athletes, and Mike Lee of Mike Lee Basketball). I really enjoy our online interaction and value your support and kind words.
I hope each of you has a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday season. If I can ever be of service or help you in any way, please don’t hesitate to email me at Alan@StrongerTeam.com.
Play hard. Have fun.
18. November 2009 01:41
I have been a self diagnosed “quote nerd” for as long as I can remember. Back in high school in the early 90’s, I started with a spiral notebook and a pen and wrote down every quote I found inspiring. Quotes from movies, coaches, books, signs… you name it… if I saw it or heard it, I wrote it down. Years later, I converted the growing collection into a computer database and added to it as often as I could.
As a professional basketball strength & conditioning coach, a big part of my job is to motivate my players to work hard consistently; to get them to do the things they don’t’ want to do because I know it will help them get to where they want to go. So there have been countless occasions where the inspiration from a specific quote has come in handy. I use quotes as tools to motivate my players as well as motivate myself. While I am a strength & conditioning coach by trade, my overall goal in life is simple - to inspire, to motivate, to influence and to help anyone who is passionate about basketball and training. I have found quotes are a valuable tool in doing just that. I am extremely thankful to have platforms like Twitter, Facebook and my blog to impact players and coaches of all ages and levels… all over the world!
If you have followed me on any of those social media platforms, you know I have been posting 5-6 quotes a day for the past year. I have received a ton of positive feedback in response to the quotes I have shared and have had dozens of folks ask me to compile them in a book. So that’s what I’ve done! I just recently compiled my favorite inspirational quotes in a new e-book:
Motivational Quotes to Inspire Success On and Off the Court
It is important to understand this e-book is merely a collection of my favorite quotes. I am not the original author of any of the quotes.
I am sure you have heard (or read) many of quotes I compiled, but I am confident there are several that you haven’t. I tried to pick quotes that transcend sports and are applicable to life as well. After all, life is the game we are all playing.
You can purchase a downloadable copy of Motivational Quotes to Inspire Success On and Off the Court at http://Shop.StrongerTeam.com. In addition to the 500+ motivational quotes, I added a bonus section: Books Every Coach and Player Should Read. This e-book is an invaluable resource for coaches and players at every level.
For 20% off of my quotes e-book please enter the Coupon Code: ST-Twenty.
Here are 5 of my favorite quotes from the e-book that are too long to post on Twitter:
1. Persistence and patience is exemplified by the stonecutter who hammers away at a piece of rock. He may hit the rock 100 times without so much as a crack showing. Then, on the 101st hit, the rock will split in two. It was not that hit that did it, but an accumulation of all that came before it.
2. Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. Moral? It doesn’t matter who you are, when the sun comes up, you better start running!
3. If you can’t risk, you can’t grow. If you can’t grow, you can’t become your best. If you can’t become your best, you can’t be happy. If you can’t be happy, what else matters?
4. Watch your thoughts, they become your words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
5. Champions do not become champions on the court. They become recognized on the court. They become champions because of their daily routine and commitment to excellence. Players do not decide their future; they decide their habits and their habits decide their future!
I hope you enjoy these quotes as much as I do and use them to motivate yourself and those around you. I wish each of you the absolute best this season. Please keep me posted to how you are doing and drop me an email if I can be of service in any way (Alan@StrongerTeam.com).
Play hard. Have fun.
10. November 2009 02:54
If you are a high school basketball player in the United States, you are probably about to start (or have just recently started) official practice for the 2009-2010 season.
As the season gets underway and you begin practice, don't be surprised if your body is overwhelmingly sore the first couple of days in particular. This is normal! This does not imply you aren’t in great shape; it’s just your body’s way of adjusting to the new demands placed on it. You are finally going full speed with contact on a daily basis; which is understandably more intense than anything you did in the pre-season. In particular, your low back may be constantly tight and your ankles, knees, and hips may get sore. It is very important you take care of your body throughout the season, but especially now, while these are minor issues. For these little nagging aches and pains, you should apply ice after practice (unless told otherwise by your athletic trainer). With parental consent, you can also take an occasional ibuprofen or Advil to help alleviate soreness. Foam rollers are another great tool for recovery and restoration. Make sure you eat well, get lots of rest when you can, and properly warm-up and cool down before and after every practice. If you incur any major injuries or issues, make sure you tell your coach, athletic trainer, and parents immediately so you can get the proper help. It is important to address these issues when they are small so they don’t turn into something big!
However, as far as the minor aches and pains are concerned, you have to tough it out. Basketball is an intense sport and if some part of your body isn’t sore, then you probably aren’t playing hard enough anyway. Learn to be comfortable with minor discomfort.
Make sure you enjoy this time of year as it is an important part of the journey. There is no time like the present, as playing well and competing during practice is the reason you put in so much time over the spring, summer, and fall working on your game, lifting weights, and running sprints. This is the time real players thrive. Regardless of how things start during the first week or two of practice, you have to keep in mind that it is a long season. If you get off to a rough start, don’t throw in the towel; there is plenty of time to turn things around. Most high schools don’t start playing games until the beginning of December, so you still have a few weeks to show what you can do and try to earn some playing time or a starting position. And if you have started off hot, don’t get cocky or complacent, as staying on top is one of the hardest things to do in sports. Don’t take anything for granted. Continue to play hard every practice.
Here are some tips to make sure you play your best this season:
1) Get rest whenever you can, your body and mind need it! Try and get to bed early and sneak in naps whenever possible (on the weekends; not during class!). While the off season regimen is tough, there is nothing harder on your body than in-season practices, games, and travel.
2) Eat well and stay hydrated. Your body is a machine and it needs to be properly fueled. Make sure you eat a healthy breakfast every morning and try to eat a light snack an hour or so before practice. This will ensure you are well fueled without making you feel full and lethargic. You also need to re-fuel immediately after practice. And don’t forget your body does everything better when hydrated, so drink water constantly.
3) Warm-up and stretch properly before all practices and games. Hopefully your team has a standardized warm-up, but if not, you need to make sure you do. This will ensure your body and mind is ready to compete and help reduce the likelihood of injury.
4) Continue to strength train during the season. Strength is an attribute that is quickly diminished. In as little as three weeks, you begin to lose functional strength on the court if you don’t continue to strength train. So if you don’t train during the season, you will be physically at your weakest come playoff time. All you need to do to maintain strength is one or two brief (but quality) workouts per week during the season.
5) Get in extra shots before/after practice and before games. Shooting is all about rhythm and repetition. The more game like shots you can take in practice and before games, the more automatic you will be when you play. The best players in the world get in shots before practice and stay after practice to do the same.
6) Be a good teammate. Do the little things to help your teammates and be very positive and enthusiastic, even when things aren’t going so well. The teams that play well together and communicate effectively with each other win more often. Period.
7) Talk to your coach. Your coach is the leader of your team and it is important you show proper respect at all times. No exceptions. If you don’t agree with something your coach says or does, or if you have questions on certain things (like why you aren’t playing as much, what your role on the team is, etc.), it is important you communicate effectively, appropriately, and maturely. Most coaches are more than happy to talk with you if you have an issue.
8) Stay on top of your school work. I know how hard it is to balance a busy schedule during the hectic season, but as a student-athlete, your academic work must always be a priority. Don’t let issues in the classroom distract you from handling your business on the court. And don’t do the bare minimum just to stay eligible; do your best to in every class, every day. Creating that standard of excellence will carry over to every aspect of your life.
I wish each of you the absolute best this season. Please keep me posted on how you are doing and drop me an email if I can be of service in any way (Alan@StrongerTeam.com).
For daily coaching points, motivational quotes, and videos of the “exercise of the week”, please follow me (and subscribe) to:
Train hard. Train smart.
4. November 2009 01:07
I have always been impressed by spectacular feats of athletic ability; it is one of the main reasons I love sports. It is absolutely mind-boggling what the human body is capable of doing. This past Sunday I watched the end of the NYC Marathon (26.2 mile race) in which an American runner (Meb Keflezighi) won for the first time since 1982. I ran the Baltimore Marathon back in 2002, so I have an incredible respect for anyone who can even complete such a grueling race, much less win it. What really blew my mind was the fact Meb ran his last mile at a staggering pace of 5:03. To put in perspective, Coach Vetter had our basketball team run one mile last week for time. Our team did well and half of our guys finished under 6:00; our fastest player finished in 5:18 (which is pretty impressive for a high school basketball player). That means Meb could run 100 laps around a standard track… then race our fastest player for an additional 4 laps… and still win!
This past weekend also marked the completion of my fall clinic tour; having most recently had great experiences at the state basketball coaches association clinics in Missouri, Minnesota, and Iowa. The hospitality was first class at each event and I really enjoyed meeting so many wonderful coaches. Presenting at clinics is a high priority for me for two reasons. One, I have such admiration for high school basketball coaches and am honored to be of service to them. Two, my goal has always been to have a positive impact on the game of basketball and to make a constructive change to the way players train. I have found that disseminating quality info at coaching clinics is a powerful way to do that. I take my craft very seriously and am always looking to improve my ability as both a strength & conditioning coach and as a clinician (presenter). In evaluating my most recent series of clinics I realized, on a couple of occasions, I got caught up in the excitement of the moment and used some profanity. I want to apologize if my language offended anyone in attendance as that was not my intent. Regardless, using profanity in a clinic setting is not necessary or acceptable. I will make sure it doesn’t happen again. Lesson learned. Along the lines of working on my craft, I just cracked open my 48th book of 2009; The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great In Front of Any Audience. Constant professional development is a key to success!
While my official title is “strength & conditioning coach”, I am involved in a variety of capacities with the basketball program at Montrose Christian. I work with the team year round, attend many practices, and sit on the bench in coat and tie during every game. I am a part of team meetings and make sure I always know the pulse of both our coaching staff and players. Given Montrose’s illustrious track record, I know first-hand what it takes for a program to be successful. While I would never argue how helpful it is to have very talented players (and we most certainly do), I have learned it is actually the little things that make a big difference in having a successful season. It is the little things that make an average team a good team, a good team a great team, and great team a championship team!
Only a very small percentage of high school teams can say they won a state or conference championship. I have known and coached numerous elite level players who never won one. It is imperative you realize the road to a championship starts now! Here are some self evaluating questions you need to ask (and answer honestly) to maximize your team’s potential this season. While it is important for you to know the answers to these questions, it is equally important for everyone else in your program to know them as well. If you are a good leader, you will make sure they do.
1) In addition to winning a championship, does your team have other goals? What are they?
2) Does each coach and player on your team know their exact role?
3) Do you prepare for practice with the same mentality you prepare for games?
4) Do you believe on any given night any team can beat you? Do you believe you can beat anyone?
5) Is your team on top of their school work? Will academics be a distraction during the season?
6) Is your team getting ample sleep, eating breakfast, drinking plenty of water, and appropriately tending to nagging injuries every day?
7) Does your team get to practice 15 minutes early to get in extra shooting and ball handling work? Do they stay after practice as well?
8) During practice, are you an energy giver? Is your enthusiasm contagious? Do you take charges and dive for loose balls? Are you a great teammate?
9) Does your team warm-up properly before all practices and games?
10) Does your team continue to strength train during the season to maintain the strength they worked so hard to develop this past off-season?
The answer to these questions will help dictate the type of season you will have. You need to do the little things every day to make a big difference!
“Success always looks easy to those who weren’t around when it was being earned.”
Next week’s blog will add some additional tips to making sure your season starts off on the right foot. I wish everyone the absolute best this season.
If you need any help this season with your team’s in-season strength program or want info on appropriate stretches to do before and after practice; please email me at Alan@StrongerTeam.com. I will respond as quickly as possible.
Until then, for daily coaching points, motivational quotes, and videos of the “exercise of the week”, please follow me (and subscribe) to:
Train hard. Train smart.