Daily Dose of Coach #289: Think on This - If It Doesn't Suck

“The pain is kind of a challenge your mind presents--will you learn how to focus and move past boredom, or like a child, will you succumb to the need of immediate pleasure and distraction?" Robert Greene

I love the saying "if it's too hard for them, it's just right for us." Or the Navy Seals motto of, "If it doesn't suck, we don't do it."

Only those with this mindset can accomplish the most in their life. While the majority are chasing pleasure and distraction, these types of thinkers are looking for their next fight.

There's a rule called the 40% rule. It says "when the mind is telling you you're done, you're only 40% done."

This applies to everything you do in your life. As a coach and someone who pretty much lives in gyms, I see people training at 40% (if that) every day and act like they're freaking dying.

We're continually seeking pleasure or distraction to stop any pain, discomfort or boredom. This happens at work, with your family, with your training, everything. The results are mediocrity, regret, excuses, and blame.

If you're tired of being something you're not, embrace everything that sucks about getting there. Choose the steep path and prove to yourself you can do it. And remember when you think you're done, you're not done, you have 60% left. Learn to find that next 60% in everything you do.

Daily Dose of Coach #288: In Training, It Doesn't Take Long to Lose What You've Earned

Your life gets busy. Sometimes your busy body can't make into the gym for three to four weeks!

When you finally come back to the gym, you feel physically and mentally discouraged. All that hard work you've put in for the weeks or months before seems like its been for nothing. And, physiologically, for the most part, you're right.

In an article written by Erin Beresini, she interviewed exercise physiologist Inigo Mujika on what happens to your body physiologically when you take a break or stop training.

"After about 10 days to two weeks, your VO2 max, or the max amount of oxygen you can take in during exercise, will start to drop at a steady rate of about 0.5 percent a day. Two weeks off, and your brain’s ability to recruit muscle will drop, by about one to five percent. That’s not much. But it can cut power in sports that require fine-tuned movements for optimal performance, like swimming.

After three to four weeks off, your muscles will start to atrophy. Your body will increase its reliance on carbs rather than fat for fuel while simultaneously upping its capacity to store fat. In other words, your ability to burn fat slacks off at the same time it becomes easier to get fat.

That’s how metabolic syndrome gets started. Physical inactivity leads to becoming overweight, then insulin resistant, then diabetic."

Getting back into training after taking time off is always tricky. We all get busy, but that's no excuse. If you've worked hard to achieve a great base of fitness, there's no reason to lose it all in three weeks. Commit to make and keep what you've accomplished.

If you've been training in an intense program for twelve to sixteen weeks, it's okay to take an intentional recovery week, or maybe even sometimes two.

But to keep progressing. Try to avoid those extra "busy" months in your life, you don't show up to the gym. Progress is hard to come by when you're always starting over again.

Daily Dose of Coach #287: 12 Foods You Should Eliminate Eating Now

Here's a list of 12 foods that if you eliminate NOW can start having some real positive effects on your health and body composition.

Some of these are obvious. But still, try to make this list become extinct in your life.

-1- Artificial Sweeteners: Their negative health benefits outweigh lowering sugar intake.

-2-Processed Meats: A study by the Harvard School of Public Health found processed meats increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by 19% and heart disease by 42%. Research also shows that the regular consumption of processed meats has a 67% greater chance of contracting pancreatic cancer versus those who consume little or no processed meats.

-3- Coffee Creamers: Not only are they high in sugar but reading the contents alone and seeing the oily residue that sits on the top of your coffee should be enough.

-4- Breakfast Cereals: A lot of processed sugar and carbs in these things. Don't buy into the high fiber, healthy cereal sales pitches either. There are plenty of other better breakfast options.

-5-Breads: While some whole grain options aren't bad, most bread has high calorie, high carb, and sugar contents. The more bread you can eliminate out of your diet, the better off you'll be.

-6- Soda: Duh. I put this in the category of knowing not to smoke cigarettes or not wearing your seatbelt.

-7- Tasty Coffee Drinks: If you're watching your calorie intake or trying to be health conscious at all, don't make this choice. Some of these drinks can be up to 1000 calories in the medium version.

-8- Potato Chips: Anything that comes in a bag, crunchy and leaves stuff on your fingers after you eat it, is a definite no.

-9- Cheap butter alternatives like Margarine: About everything you don't want in food is in Margarine. Try other alternatives like olive, avocado or grapeseed oil.

-10- Soups in a Can: They are full of sugars, salt, fats and artificial substances

-11- Frozen Meals and French Fries: Often chuck full of fat, sugar, and additives. Though delicious and easy to make for the kids, do everyone a favor and stop eating these.

-12- Most Fruit Juices: These are usually vitamin C infused sugar water drinks. Some contain as much sugar as popular soda drinks.



Daily Dose of Coach #286: Technique - Where to Grip The Close Grip Bench Press

I'm a big fan of the close grip bench. I've found it to be one of those exercises that is a great modification for clients who experience shoulder discomfort in it's wider gripped cousin, the bench press. It's also just a great exercise for improving upper body strength.

One thing I've found is my clients are not quite sure about is where to position their grip. I've seen people think that it has to be as narrow as the distance of touching your two thumbs while gripping or both hands have to be inside the knurling (rough part of the bar) on the smooth part of the bar. Not true.

As Eric Cressy explains in the video above, the grip is based on the individual. Those with broader shoulders will be more comfortable with a distance between the hands of 12-14 inches.

A good place to start is placing your index finger where the knurling meets the smooth part of the bar and go from there. Find the grip where you're able to keep your wrists in a neutral position keeping the elbows under the bar.

Watch the video above for full instruction on who to properly execute the entire movement.

Daily Dose of Coach #285: How Have You Changed Lately?

How have you changed in the last year? 2018? The last month? Or, even the previous week. What significant decisions have you made and followed through on that have helped provide a result you desired?

I ask this because it's easy to fall into a rut. Growth isn't something that happens overnight. It also doesn't happen if you pick and choose the days you feel workout best for you. Change, real progress is only found in what you change in your daily agenda.

The difference between a productive person and non-productive person is those things they commit to daily. You will never change anything in your life until you something you every day.

Now the real question is if you haven't changed much lately, what is just ONE thing you could start committing to on a daily basis that can start helping you make that change?

Where you are this time next year is based on those decisions you make today. If you are in the same spots, it's because your daily agenda will look the same as it is right now.

Think about how some of these simple examples would change your life in a year if you committed to them every day.

-Workout for at least 30 minutes a day

-Read something that improves the skills of your career for 30 minutes a day.

-Made healthy choices for at least three of your meals. Or, heck even started to eat a healthy breakfast.

-Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day

-Stretch for 10-15 minutes a day

-Putting your phone down when you get home from work and have quality conversations with your children and family.

-If you are an athlete, dedicating 15-30 minutes on a weakness or even improving a strength.

What are you preparing for today? Small changes practiced consistently well reap great rewards over time. Be patient, be persistent and stay committed.

 

Daily Dose of Coach #284: Think on This - Lead Yourself First

“If I can't lead myself, others won't follow me. If I can't lead myself, others won't respect me. If I can't lead myself, others won't partner with me.” The 360 Degree Leader

Your discipline and courage determine your growth. Your growth will make you who you are.

You attract who you are, so your growth determines what you continually attract in your life.

What you attract into your life determines the level of success you can have.

Take an inventory of what you are drawing into your life. Is it the right people? The right situations? The right partnerships? Are these things adding up to what you want to accomplish?

If so, great. If not, the next thing you need to do is take step one I mentioned above, find the discipline and courage to grow every day and get better.

This stuff doesn't happen overnight. There's no lottery winner in the grind of getting better at who you are and what you do. Growth never stops. Life never stands still. You're either moving forward or falling back.

Daily Dose of Coach #283: How Athletes Really Improve

The goal of most young athletes who start training with me have the intentions of getting stronger, faster, quicker and more powerful. But, there thought process doesn't usually start out as, " I'm here to improve these different elements as skills." They're blending everything in their mind as just a workout.

Most of the time it's because a workout is what they were accustomed to. And by a workout, I mean a group of exercises put together with either no intent or blind hopes of improving athletic qualities. I've found a lot of young athletes can "workout" but don't understand what it's like to train with intent.

To improve any skill you must work with intent, focus and attempt to master through correct repetitions. Steph Curry did not just to shoot a basketball with 6 foot 10 guys in his face, off the dribble. He started breaking down the skill of shooting at a young age and worked on all facets for years and years with tens of thousands of correct repetitions. He worked with intent.

Olympic Champion speed coach, Charlie Francis said, "Correct technique is the necessary prerequisite for an athlete to begin to run well and for optimum development to occur. The neural motor patterns of correct technique must be wired in place at as young age as possible."

Essentially, skill training is wiring and re-wiring the nervous system to produce an act or produce an action in response to some outside stimulus. But to improve skills to their highest levels, they must be done with engagement, focus, and concentration.

Don't think of your next workout as just a workout. Do everything with the motive of improvement. If you are working on skills in your warm-up, don't half-ass through it. Take your time to learn and develop in slow and controlled environments. Have a mastery mindset rather than a "just get through this mindset." Only count perfect repetitions. And if you can't perfect a specific movement break it down and improve the step before.

Athletes improve not just because they show up to workout. It's because they show up with the mindset of developing. That doesn't change in the weight room or their athletic development program.

Daily Dose of Coach #282: You Can't Eat Just One

The old Lay's potato chip commercial says, "You can't eat just one." And, they are absolutely right.

This goes for most easily handled, processed, sugary foods. I watch my children handle treat foods like ravaged animals and try to put a stop to it by telling them sugar is poison or sugar eats your muscles. And, yes sometimes I'm right there with them.

But these sweet foods are so highly palatable. You can't just eat one. Cookies, chips, candy, overstimulate the reward/pleasure zones of our mind and it makes us so happy to continue chucking that crap down.

These little binges add a lot of extra energy or calories to our diet. Worthless calories that don't do anything but steal energy by giving us a quick boost of it. Don't be fooled by fruit juices, yogurts with sugar and fruit, fitness foods (like bars). They're packaged nicely but delivered with high sugar contents.

At the end of the day, if you could just eat one, you'd be okay. But, because of the enjoyment it brings to our palate and how our brains respond to them, we can't.

My advice, don't have them in the house. It sure is nice to pick up a bag of chips when you're starving, but if it's not available, you won't be tempted. Fill your house with fruits and high-quality snacks . Try a large glass of water before you dive into snacks, and make sure that you are eating at least three quality meals to avoid getting into "I'm starving!" mode.

Daily Dose of Coach #281: Technique - The Dead Bug

Dead-Bug-Crunch.jpg

There are two main reasons I like the Dead Bug exercise for core strength and stability.

The first is it gives you a great awareness of the movement of your lumbar spine while moving your upper and lower limbs. For example, if you do not "brace" or contract your abdominals while moving your arm or leg toward the floor, you'll feel your lower back start to come off the floor.

Second, it helps train a stable core through movement of the arms and hips. Many people cannot do this without moving their spine. As their legs and arms drop, their rib cage rises, and lower back comes off the ground.

This is important for developing overall core strength and a safe way to train stability or lack of movement in the spine while moving the arms and hips.

Here's how to perfect your dead bug:

-1- Start lying flat on your back with arms straight up, fingers pointed at the ceiling and legs bent at a 90-degree angle.

-2- Press your lower back to the floor by engaging your abdominals

-3- Inhale then slowly lower one arm and the opposite leg towards to floor.

-4- Only drop the arm and leg to where you feel you can control your lower back still pressed to the ground. Continue to brace your core.

-5-At the bottom of the movement exhale forcefully and hold for 3 to 5 seconds.

-6- Return in control to the top position and repeat on the other side.

You may not be able to control this movement by dropping both your arm and leg at one time. Regress this movement by keeping your arms in the same position and alternate dropping one leg at a time. Still, inhale at the beginning of the movement and forcefully exhale at bottom. Once you can control the movement of your hips start adding your arms.

Daily Dose of Coach #280: Everyone Should Listen to This

David Goggins is a former Navy Seal, current ultra-marathoner and one of the most inspirational people I've ever listened too or read about.

I was first introduced to David by my friend Don Zerivitz when he gave me a book he thought my demented mind would enjoy, Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet.

Coggin's started with absolutely nothing. He came from a poor and abusive background, had learning disorders, was grossly overweight, unmotivated, and working as a cockroach sprayer before he decided to change his life.

That change drove him and made him obsessed with becoming a Navy Seal.

In this podcast, he talks about the insecurities and fears he had to overcome. He speaks of the power of the mind and just how much we leave on the table every day.

Just a fair warning, there is a lot of expletives. But, do yourself a favor and listen. As one person who desires to get better to another, this will add fuel to your fire.

You can download the podcast on Itunes here as well .

Daily Dose of Coach #279: Think on This - The truth will set you free...

“Never let fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” Babe Ruth

Lately, I've been using a lot of strikeout metaphors and strikeout psychology. Probably because I coach six-year old's in machine pitch baseball. One of the best things a kid can learn to do is strike out, turn around, job back to the dugout and be okay with it.

That's easier said than done. My son doesn't like striking out. Who does? But I've shown him YouTube videos of the best players in the world striking out followed by hitting a massive 450-foot bomb into the upper deck. Now when he strikes out, I ask him, "Who strikes out?"

He says, "The best players in the world."

And besides his short six-year-old attention span, it's helped him think he's going to hit a bomb the next time he gets up.

Everyone needs to learn that striking out or failing is normal. Everyone needs to learn, at an early of an age as possible that life is difficult.

M. Scott Peck wrote in the book, The Road Less Traveled, the great truth we all need to embrace and even invite into our lives:

"This is the great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult--once we truly understand and accept it--then life is no longer difficult. Because once it has been accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.

Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult. Instead, they moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy."

Learn the truth. Accept the truth. Teach the truth.

Daily Dose of Coach #278: Should Your Kid Only Play One Sport?

A lot of kids I train have decided to specialize in one sport. That's okay. But I always encourage parents with kids under the age of 13 to play multiple sports.

Not just from a burnout or risk of injury standpoint, but overall athletic development and there are also so many different things you can learn from playing multiple sports. I believe all of these experiences prepare a young athlete to be even more successful when he or she decides to focus on only one sport.

Here's a great article written in 2016 by the Washington Post. It's called, Playing one sport year-round isn't smart, even for kids who want to go pro . It references a couple of studies showing how playing multiple sports is more beneficial in the development of young athletes than early specialization.

Many of the elite high school athletes I work with today were multi-sport athletes until they entered high school, and many of them have continued to play at least one other sport. For parents of young athletes, it's worth the read and consideration.

Daily Dose of Coach #277: If You Want to Start Eating Well

Many of us did not grow up with great role models for nutrition. Because of this, we're stuck with about 100 foods in our memory bank that we don't venture too far from. Many of these may not be the best choices for improving our health.

Learning to eat well for most of us is learning to eat new. It's learning new habits, new foods, and the developing the practices to do so.

When starting with my nutrition clients, I coach them through a new habit every two weeks.

Because the habits don't necessarily begin with food and food choices, I give them three guidelines. If you've read my emails, you've heard them before but their worth reiterating.

-1- Follow a not good meal with a healthy meal (following the portion and content guidelines I provide them)

-2- Drink 16oz (or at least 8oz) before every meal.

-3- Don't eat like an ahole. This is eating like a gluttonous ravenous animal, taking in entirely too much food, and/or eating like a child.

Daily Dose of Coach #276: 5 Ways to Improve Your Warm-Up with Foam Rolling

I'll be the first one to say I hate warming up. And rolling around on a 2-foot long piece of foam never really seemed like the best use of my time until I actually started doing it.

While nothing can reproduce the hands of an good bodywork by an experienced therapist, foam rolling daily can improve the quality of your fascial tissue ultimately enhancing your flexibility, mobility and movement.

So simply put, here are five ways to improve your foam rolling for your warm-up:

-1- Do some movement to warm-up the tissue before rolling. I hate to say walk on a treadmill for 5 minutes, so jump on a stationary bike for 2 minutes. This helps get you out of your zombie state, get the blood circulating and warm the tissues.

-2- If you are rolling for general release, work the calves, IT bands, thoracic spine, quadriceps, and piriformis muscles. If possible, a great way to start is with the bottom of the feet using a lacrosse ball.

-3- The technique is to roll over the belly for the muscle 5-10 times until you find a tender spot (myofascial adhesion). Hold or "pin" the tender stops for a few seconds. Think of working out a knot. Then roll 5-10 more times and repeat.

-4- Stay away from rolling the tailbone, lower ribs (floating ribs in back), the tip of the breastbone, abdominal area (pubic bone), cervical vertebrae (neck area). These are pretty much common sense. Just because you have tightness or discomfort somewhere doesn't mean you should foam roll it.

-5- When rolling you should experience discomfort and/or pressure when hitting myofascial adhesions, not pain. If doing it correctly, the sensation will be a feeling of this discomfort and then eventually relief as the tissue relaxes. If you have any severe discomfort after a few breaths, move away from that spot.

Daily Dose of Coach #275: My Latest List of Favorite Books

"You will be the same person you are in 5 years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read." Charlie "Tremendous" Jones

A few days ago I came across an article on success.com called, 25 Books for Success . As I read the list, I noticed that most of these were timeless pieces by authors like Norman Vincent Peale, James Allen, Jim Rohn and Zig Ziglar.

As April joins the year 2018, a new quarter is upon us. It may be time to look back at your personal growth goals for 2018. What books have you read? What steps have you taken in the first three months of 2018 to grow?

I had a few requests to post the books that I've read or have influenced me over the past couple years so here they are. Each of these books presents something different, but all are great in developing your mindset for personal and leadership success.

Here is the list in no particular order.

  1. The 21 Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell
  2. Start with Why, Simon Sinek
  3. The One Thing, Gary Keller
  4. The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy
  5. Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink
  6. Grit, Angela Duckworth
  7. The Go Giver, Bob Burg
  8. Legacy, James Kerr
  9. Get Smart: How to Think and Act Like the Most Successful and Highest Paid People in Every Field, Brian Tracy
  10. Be Obsessed or Be Average, Grant Cardone
  11. The Experience: The 5 Principles Principles of Disney Service
  12. Ego is the Enemy, Ryan Holiday
  13. Linchpin, Seth Godin
  14. Developing the Leader Within You, John Maxwell

 

Daily Dose of Coach #274: Think on This - No Crying in Leadership

“In the end, a leader can give up anything but final responsibility.” John Maxwell

The quote above is one of those statements that I have written down in many different places. And over the years, I've learned this is much more of a law than just a thought.

If you lead anything, a family, team, business, etc., the final responsibility falls on you. This was a difficult thing for me to accept as a young leader, especially through failure. It was easy to blame other people, circumstances and even that it just wasn't in the cards to succeed.

It was all just excuses. But leadership is all about taking responsibility and not making excuses.

Now and then my six year old son starts crying when we're playing baseball. He'll take a ball off the finger, or strikes out too many times. I can't help but say Tom Hank's famous line from A League of Their Own , "There's no crying in baseball!"

Same goes for leadership. There's no crying in leadership. Just responsibility and action.

Winston Churchill said, "The price of greatness is responsibility."

And just like learning to fail, the earlier you learn the importance of responsibility, the better off you'll be.

Daily Dose of Coach #273: Increasing your 1 Rep Max

For those of you interested in getting stronger, especially in lifts like the bench press, squat and deadlift, here are a few tips on how to improve your one rep max.

I thought Chris Beardsley, who reviews the latest strength and conditioning research at strengthandconditioningreasearch.com did a good and simple job of breaking down four ways to improve your one rep max.

This gets a little nerdier than most my posts because the info is from a research guy. I tried to simplify it as much as possible.

-1- Improve Technique: There's much more to benching, squatting and deadlifting than just getting under or over a bar, loading it up and seeing what you can do. The more you improve technique, the more efficient you become at the exercise. Strength is a skill. And a skill must be mastered through perfect repetitions. The better coached you are and the more repetitions you do with the correct technique, the better chances you have of improving strength in that movement.

-2- Improve intermuscular coordination: This improving the way your muscular system works together. This is done by performing a combination of "high velocity" variations with light loads as well as training at high intensities, or close to your one repetition max as possible. By varying your training, you can improve relationships of muscle that produce and reduce force to help improve your one rep strength.

-3- Improving Voluntary Action: This is where the central nervous system increases the size of the signal to the muscle. When this happens, more motor units are recruited and it will be able to produce more force. Do this by adding heavy loads and maximal eccentric movements. The key to improving voluntary action is exposing the muscle to very high forces.

-4- Changes at the muscle-tendon unit: Increasing the size of the muscle-tendon unit will help increase force capabilities. But for more specifically Beardsly identifies the following:

  • "an increase in tendon stiffness (stiffer tendons allow muscles to shorten at slower speeds, and therefore exert more force),
  • increases in the number of lateral attachments between the muscle fiber and its surrounding collagen layer (this increases the amount of force that is transmitted laterally, but reduces the effective fiber length), and
  • increases in muscle size at specific regions of the muscle (this increases the ability of the muscle to produce force at certain, specific joint angles)."

These are all, once again, improved through a variety of training loads including training close to your one rep max and heavy eccentric training.

A combination of improving technique, training with light loads at high velocities, training at loads close to your one rep max, doing heavy eccentrics and training at high volumes at medium intensity are all ways to help improve the four above and increase your one rep max.

Daily Dose of Coach #272: Metabolic Damage and Why You Can't Lose or Gain Weight

In recent days I've had some conversations with clients about why they can't seem to lose weight or body fat. Most are relatively healthy eaters and keep their calories to what they believe is a minimum for the weight they'd like to lose.

Some are serial dieters who go extreme now and then, but always find themselves right back where they started.

Because of these conversations, I'm reposting this article from Precision Nutrition called, "Can Eating Too Little Actually Damage Your Metabolism - Exploring the truths and fallacies of 'metabolic damage.'

It may take you 10-15 minutes to read but has some valuable information on energy balance, metabolism, if dieting damages your metabolism, and best strategies for losing fat and keeping it off.

Any questions or concerns you have I'm always here to discuss and help provide the options that you may need to help improve your nutrition for your goals.

Daily Dose of Coach #272: Technique - The Split Squat

The split squat is a great foundational exercise for leg strength, stability, and unilateral training.

I tend to begin progress split squat training from core work in the split stance (or 1/2 kneeling position with knee resting on the ground). This is done early in training programs to develop core strength and stability using movements like chops, lifts and 1/2 kneeling single arm overhead presses.

The reason I do this is to help promote stability in as narrow of stance as possible. Think of performing these exercises on a 2 x 6 where the front foot is flat, and the back knee is directly behind with followed by the flexed toes of the back foot.

The next progression I use is the bottoms up split squat. This is performed by starting from the 1/2 kneeling position and then standing up. Beginners will start with just body weight while more advanced people can either use a goblet hold or dumbbells at the sides to add resistance.

From here the progression goes from top down to bringing the knee to just above the ground and returning to the starting position. This keeps constant tension on the muscles and increases intensity and difficulty.

There are a few things to remember about performing a split squat.

  1. Keep your front lower leg perpendicular to the ground. This will decrease shear forces on the knee by driving it too far over the toe.
  2. Maintain a tall posture with the upper body. Your down knee will be directly below your hip, shoulders and head. There can be some slight forward lean, but do not extend the lower back during any part of the execution.
  3. Lock the back toes into the ground. This will help give you more stability in the movement.
  4. Push through the heel of the front foot and toes of the back foot.
  5. Don't slam your knee into the ground on the descent. Control your body to either just above the ground or to a minimal touch. I like to put an Airex pad or mat underneath my client's knee to decrease the chance of hitting the knee to the ground.

Add this exercise as either a primary leg strengthening exercise or in a superset using it as strength and stability work. The exercise can also progress to a power exercise doing stationary split jumps and cycling split squat jumps.

 

Daily Dose of Coach #271: I am not Magic Johnson

Strength coach and combine training specialist, Chip Smith, posted a picture of the this year's NFL combine averages per position.

He said this, "The fastest 40 position average was defensive cornerback at 4.52. If the fastest position collectively is 4.52 do you really think you or your son runs below 4.5? For the record, they do not test with true electronic timing at the NFL Combine. It’s a hand held start and laser finish!"

He was trying to help parents understand that it's not as possible as they think for their child to run a 40 yard sprint under 4.5 seconds. And, in being in this business for years, one of the biggest frustrations we have as coaches is parents being unrealistic about their children's ability.

When I was in ninth grade and was a skinny little kid looking for anything to help me become a better basketball player. I read Magic Johnson's biography, and he talked about shoveling snow off the basketball court so he could practice.

At the time, we lived in a small apartment in Colorado. It had a basketball court in the middle of the complex. During the winter, it was covered in snow. Like Magic, I would move the snow around as much as possible and practice shooting as long as I could before I froze to death.

I'm not Magic Johnson. Though he was my boyhood hero growing up, I tried to do anything I could to play like him. But I wasn't a 6'9" freak athlete. I was a 5'5" skinny kid who just wanted to be a great basketball player.

Only a small percentage of people will ever be in the genetic "elite." God blessed these people with unique size and ability beyond standard human measures. But that doesn't mean we can't learn to do some of those things that make them the greatest.

Teaching children work ethic, being on time, finding ways to practice more, being a great teammate, having a great attitude are all things that will go farther than just focusing on performance.

Though we may never excel in the sports the way Magic Johnson did, focusing on these values early will set us up for success in anything we do.

To this day, I believe it was those things I started sacrificing at a young age that ingrained in me the work ethic and tenacity I have today.