3 Point Guard Coaching Tips: Who is on Your Team?

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3 Point Guard Coaching Tips: Who Is On Your Team?

Look at this cute little pack of lion cubs!

Oh snap, they are cute.

But just for a moment think about who has helped you become who you are. What people have stopped you from doing something stupid? What friends have challenged you to grow? What family has pushed you to be better at something that you may have quit otherwise? What athletes and coaches have made you better at your craft?

These people are your pack and your pack is powerful.

“You are the average of the 5 people that you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

Thanks, Jim Rohn. Too many kids want to be cool while they play basketball, in practice, and on the court. Too many parents want their kids to succeed at the expense of learning how to deal with failure. Too many coaches don’t demand more out of their youth programs, AAU dads, and players.

Too many kids want to be cool while they play basketball, in practice, and on the court. Too many parents want their kids to succeed at the expense of learning how to deal with failure. Too many programs don’t demand more out of their youth coaches, AAU dads and mom coaches, and their players.

Look at who you spend time with and what or how they influence you. Too many kids want to be cool while they play basketball, in practice, and on the court, yet if you have a leader on the team that works hard, typically the “cool” kids fall in line.

Too many parents want their kids to succeed at the expense of learning how to deal with failure.

I grew up in Petoskey, Michigan and realized rather quickly that Northern Michigan isn’t the mecca of basketball (yes, sorry to break it to you). We are way behind and our athletes are behind. But if we can start to change the culture and who we surround ourselves with, we can make progress.

I like to surround myself with people that work like underdogs and act like champions and embrace a similar pack mentality. I like to surround myself with a team that works together and pushes me to be better. I feel it’s time to start training, practicing, and building your habits so you can succeed out there in the real world.

I value helping others reach their goals so join my mission if you like, just like this pack of cute lion pups.

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POINT GUARD COACHING TIP #1: If you can’t name five people that push to grow, it may be time to start meeting new friends.

POINT GUARD COACHING TIP #2: If your teammates don’t like to work out, train, or practice every day, it’s time to find someone that does.

POINT GUARD COACHING TIP #3: If your coach or program doesn’t open the gym, the weight room, and help motivate you to get the best grades possible, it could be time to find a new program.

Why?

First reason, because I DO BELIEVE who you spend most of your time with has a big impact on who you eventually become.

Second reason? Duh, because Mr. Rohn said so.

BASKETBALL COACHING TIPS: HELPING PLAYERS FIND THE ATHLETE’S WAY

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BASKETBALL COACHING TIPS: HELPING PLAYERS FIND THE ATHLETE’S WAY

Written by: Trevor Huffman

TrevorHuffman.com is about my life and about getting out of our comfort zone– in sports, in basketball, in building a tribe and surrounding ourselves with people that want to grow.

I’ll be sharing my uncomfortable failures and short-lived successes from around the world as I played professional basketball. I’ll be sharing basketball coaching tips on how I design my basketball training workouts for my THBA Elite and Youth Northern Michigan Basketball Skill Development Academy.

Yet, what I really want to talk about is something deeper. I want this to be something athletes, coaches, humans, and parents alike can take the darker and lighter side of what I’ve learned from my 20 years of NCAA, NBA, and European experiences.

If you want more practical sports training knowledge, here’s another athlete sports blog I love following.

In the end, how we help each other get to where we want to go is all I care about talking about.

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“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” – George Bernard Shaw

As you know (or may not know), I am an aspiring writer, basketball coach, old ex-professional point guard trainer, and solo travel junkie. Today’s athlete sports blog is about learning how to handle making mistakes and then finding the Athlete’s Way to bounce back. So as you know, I love juicing up kids, parents, and coaches and getting them a basketball workout/fitness plan that gives them access to finding personal and team success.

Today, I see so many flaws in how we are prepping kids to approach their basketball, their passions, and their lives. Entitlement, poor work ethic, and bad programming is a pattern in AAU and development programs.

I don’t have kids, but I understand how you must want to protect them and save them from their feelings getting hurt. No one likes emotional or physical pain, but the truth is, without small amounts (or big amounts) of pain and suffering, it is hard to grow, reflect, and learn how to bounce back.

THREE THINGS WE CAN DO BETTER AS BASKETBALL COACHES, PARENTS, AND PROGRAMS:

  • CARE FOR THE PLAYERS, BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH THEM BUT BE HONEST WITH THEM. IF SOMEONE THINKS THEY ARE WORKING HARD AND THEY AREN’T, TELL THEM. IF SOMEONE MESSES UP, CHALLENGE THEM TO DO BETTER. MAKE PLAYERS ACCOUNTABLE, BUT SUPPORT THEM AND GIVE THEM PRAISE WHEN THEY DO THINGS RIGHT!
  • JUST SHOWING UP ISN’T ENOUGH. KIDS HAVE TO DEMONSTRATE POSITIVE ATTITUDES, EFFORT, FOCUS, LEADERSHIP, AND TEAMWORK IN PRACTICE. ALSO, BY HELPING THEM CREATE A VISION AND A PLAN FOR THEMSELVES, THIS PREPARES THEM FOR THE REAL COMPETITION ON AND OFF THE COURT.
  • ALWAYS HAVING FUN ISN’T THE GOAL. LOSING ISN’T FUN. WINNING IS FUN. PROGRESS IS FUN. WE MUST VALUE GROWTH AND THE ABILITY TO ACCEPT PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO MOVE FORWARD. WE MUST HELP KIDS LEARN TO HANDLE MISTAKES, SMALL FAILURES, AND TOUGH CHALLENGES SO THEY CAN LEARN TO BOUNCE BACK AND SUCCEED. BOUNCING BACK SHOULD BE RECOGNIZED AS THE THE FUN PART OF SPORTS.

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I am not sure why we humans end up where we do, doing what we do, other than we decide to value that time we have and do it the right way. I constantly have a conversation with kids: “What’s your workout plan? What have you written down to do the moment you step on the court? What are your weaknesses and what drills are you working on to improve them?”

By having a plan, writing it down, and carrying it with you wherever you go, you start to value your vision and goals because every second you have on the court, or in the weight room, or with your team is PRECIOUS. 

LIKE LITERALLY, PRECIOUS.

For me, playing basketball with a team is over. The wins, the losses, the setbacks, the injuries, the anxiety, the exhilaration… it’s all over as a player.  During this amazing process of ups and downs, I learned what I call THE ATHLETE’S WAY.

The Athlete’s Way is a mental approach to sports, life, business, anything and everything, and it is part of my DNA now. After 20 years of training, practicing, and competing at the highest levels, I want to help others find the Athlete’s Way in their own lives. I want to help teams and players understand the value of the time they have on the court and bounce back from anything and everything that happens to them in life.

Building Your Own Inner Athlete’s Way

Now, my current use of the Athlete’s Way is helping others approach their game and lives in a way that promotes growth faster and helps kids bounce back from mistakes.

Now, it is helping teams and players understand the value of the time they have on the court by having and creating a plan, so they can truly put all of their efforts into a drill, a rep, practice, or the next workout.

Now, my intense two ball basketball dribbling routine is being handed on to the next college hopeful (as I yell at them to get out of their comfort zone).

The edge I sought in the weight room is being taught to the next dreamer.

The camaraderie I had winning championships is what I’m trying to build with my new teams.

Most of these sports moments of learning the Athlete’s Way are over for most of us after high school.

Not all of us, but most of us. For the select few that value their vision and create a plan, sports continue into college and beyond.

Playing basketball for me is done, but everything you learn from it isn’t.

What’s next, young athletes, parents, and coaches?

The Athlete’s Way is next.

It’s what sports teach you. The Athlete’s Way is still inside me, beckoning me to find my next craft.

Okay, Yoda, but what is the Athlete’s Way you ask?

The Athlete’s Way is that voice that pushed me to do what others would not. It was that voice that woke me up at 6:00 am to dribble in my basement. It was that voice that wouldn’t let me get off the bus after a bad shooting game without getting more shots up that night. It was that mental obsession that would watch tape on my opponent over and over and over until their moves were engrained in my mind. It was the workout plan I taped to my ceiling every night.

I had a plan as a kid and little did I know, I was developing my own inner Athlete’s Way.

The Athlete’s Way is beckoning me now; to find my next team, build my next project, explore my next passion and know my next purpose. Yet, I’m not there. I just don’t know what it is, but I am getting closer. I don’t believe in typical American society telling me or conditioning me to do what it bids. I didn’t listen to people when they told me I would never play division one basketball and I won’t listen to people tell me to do something, “for the sake of doing something.”

  “Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.”

SO WAKE UP! YEAH, YOU! I’M TALKING TO YOU. GRAB A PEN, A PAPER, AND WRITE DOWN WHAT YOUR WORKOUT LOOKS LIKE EVERY TIME YOU STEP IN THE GYM. NEED HELP, THEN LISTEN TO THIS!

MEASURING HAPPINESS BY CHANGING VALUES

MEASURING HAPPINESS BY CHANGING VALUES— (5 Minute Read)–

TrevorHuffman.com is about getting out of our own comfort zone– in sports, in basketball, in life, in traveling the world on a budget, in building a tribe and winning the small battles to succeed big.

I’ll be sharing my uncomfortable failures and short-lived successes as I solo-slow traveled the world playing professional basketball, or as I design basketball training workouts and practices for ‘THBA ELITE,” my Northern Michigan Basketball Skill Development Academy.

Whether it’s following me get out of my comfort zone sailing the Caribbean or talking about building a vision for success, my mission is to give you more than just basketball tips, but rather the authentic stories of my worst defeats, deafening anxiety and depression, sharing and understanding cultural differences, and the detailed obsession of preparing to win at the highest levels.

Hopefully, this blog can be something athletes, coaches, humans, and parents alike can take something deeper from– something that shows the darker (and lighter) side of what I’ve learned from my experiences.

In the end, how we help each other get to where we want to go is all I care about talking about.

 

Measuring Happiness by Changing Values

Written on April 6th, 2017 in Isla Mujeres, Mexico

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“Here is your cash. Good game. Keep winning,” the Venezuelan GM says. He grins a cheap smile, pops his collar, and sticks out his hand.

I accept what I know is 10,000 dollars in a manilla envelope.

Straight cash? Really? Hell yeah…

I open the envelope. Exhilaration hits and the dopamine spreads through me like crack (for the record, I’ve never done crack).

“Thanks. We will keep winning.”

I am suddenly the happiest freaking dude in the world. Seriously, what could make you happier than doing what you love and getting paid to do it?

And so the happiness paradox begins.

The next day the alarm clock hits me early. My body is sore and it’s time to get to work. I’m back to two-a-days. I’m back to morning track workouts and evening practices.

Where’s the dopamine now?

Where’s that happiness?

I want that happy feeling again, but it’s gone.

Three weeks later, I get fired and fly back from Caracas, Venezuela embarrassed and heartbroken. Another bad job. Another failed season. I hit an all-time low. I am 24 years old and decide it’s time to stop playing basketball for awhile. Instead, I turn to something I’ve never done.

Partying.

And for awhile, it helps. I forget the pain. The unhappiness. But in the meantime, I gain 35 pounds of fat, stop caring about basketball and constantly want people to stop talking to me about how lucky I am to do what I love.

I didn’t feel lucky when I was measuring my happiness with the wrong measuring stick. But I was young and when you are young, you tend to do stupid stuff.

It’s just that simple.

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Being young doesn’t matter as much as self-awareness does. My self-worth and happiness went up and down like the stock market. One day, I’m up. The next game, I’m down. Do I measure happiness in my life by points scored? By salary earned? By games won or lost?

If you do fall into this trap, it’s a short-sighted, unfulfilling way to live.

If I had continued to measure my professional basketball life with only external basketball success as my metric, I would have never been satisfied, happy, or peaceful from day to day. And I think a lot of competitive athletes (or just humans) fall into measuring their life by the wrong values. By using the wrong measuring sticks. And when we use the wrong measuring sticks for happiness, just like typical American society, we wind up in a rat race with declining happiness levels. We are constantly unfulfilled. We end up using drugs, alcohol, and anything that will give us a high to get us to that next fulfilling high (or happy island).

If I had continued to ride the basketball-success-failure-emotional-roller-coaster, I would have most definitely been in a psychiatric institute a long time ago.

Many high school and college athletes that stop playing go through this when they are done playing and never figure it out.

Dude, it’s over. Your career is over. So stop attaching your happiness and identity to it (as I write about my old career, #hypocrite)!

But changing my values back then took getting fired. It took losing. It took gaining 35 pounds of big ol’ love handles in an eating and drinking depression that lasted four months. It took looking within and figuring out why I really play basketball.

So? How did I do it?

Well first, I wanted to live happier. So I asked myself an internal question: “What do I truly value about playing the game of basketball?”

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My answers: I loved the struggle of winning, the camaraderie of being with teammates, the weight room workouts, the daily expression and practice of my craft, the competition, the will to win, the on-court creativity, the cultural differences of traveling Europe, the skill programming with training, the feeling of a leather ball sliding in between my hands twice a day (usually), and finally, being a teammate with guys from completely different backgrounds.

In the end, this question helped me be aware of what I valued and could start to measure intrinsically about playing the game of basketball.

It helped me be let go of the fleeting trap of valuing money, partying, 10,000 dollars in manilla envelopes, hitting big shots, buying shiny things, big houses, making a good pass, sports cars, winning a big game, and all the popularity from momentary professional (or amateur) basketball success. Not that I had big mansions and sports cars (I still drive my 2007 Hyundai Sonata, yeehhh boyyyyyy), but it seemed like all the professional athletes I knew were talking about the wrong values.

I learned to stop caring about these superficial values (and measuring them) and start measuring values that came from the inside. I started to ask myself, why judge my life by metrics (that I had no control over), metrics that could literally haymaker-gut-punch me into misery?

Well, it’s not for me, I don’t want any part of that rat race, I decided.

Ironically, my own fears, lack of self-awareness, self-worth, and own inadequacy pushed me towards those value traps. It’s kind of like writing this blog. Should I share, should I not share, what if someone thinks I’m soft or a sissy?

The truth is, I am scared to write this blog and share it. What if my grammar sucks (which it does). What if someone laughs at me? What if someone… blah blah blah.

The truth is I write it because it feels good. I learn from writing out my feelings and experiences and seeing my patterns and weaknesses flesh out onto the screen. And it feels good to share my experiences and look at what makes me happy on the inside.

So it’s time. Let’s all hold hands and sing: Kummmm-byeeee-yahhhhh.

If you don’t like singing, guess what, I don’t care.

The truth is, I do hope that I can help people grow and reach their dreams, goals, and self-actualize. If one person reads this or takes one nugget of a sentence they can use to improve their lives from the awkward recesses of my twisted mind, then kudos to them.

It feels good to help people, to have a real impact and the catch is, I enjoy writing this weird life blog anyways, so it’s a win-win.

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While solo-slow travel sailing from Guatemala to Mexico (yes, solo-slow travel sailing is a legit experience, watch my montage there), I thought a lot about happiness, about doing what you love, and learning how to measure the things you love to do in life. I would look into the cosmos at night and wonder why I was alive or how I was connected to all these billions of people around the world.

A thousand miles away, there are people shuffling along dirt roads with no water and no food and still smiling at me.

Yet, when I walk through my own American town, people just put their head down and walk by, disconnected, lost, and most likely, half of them unhappy.

My Caribbean nights star gazing and watching sunrises or sunsets really made me think. I kept finding myself asking, “What are my values now and how am I measuring them?”

I value a sustainable lifestyle, living close to nature, traveling to new places I’ve never been, building a community and tribe of friends that want to push themselves to be healthy, passionate, and take on extreme adventures or projects, helping kids, teams, and people reach their potential (on and off the court) and over-achieve in the process!

So Ask Yourself 3 Happiness / Value Questions:

First, what are your current values and how do you measure them relative to your happiness and once you have those, are these values externally linked (uncontrollables) or internally linked to your happiness?

And second, are these values really giving you happiness or are they just momentary blips on the radar that just raise our brain’s dopamine levels?

Third, are you a valuing crack, kid? Is it time to change your values?

If you aren’t enjoying the daily struggle, the daily ups and downs, maybe it’s time to start asking new questions about what you value or want to do in life. I am not a big cusser (okay, once in awhile it slips out), but this book was interesting to me:

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So okay. We have to change our values. Now what (you ask)?

Maybe you are saying, I still suck at stuff. I am still average at things I care about. Now what? The only thing that will help you find happiness will be figuring out what you value that intersects with your daily struggle to master your craft.

What I demonstrate grit for, what I put effort into surrounding my daily passions, and how deliberately compete, plan, and prepare to win, all feeds my metrics for happiness. It feels good to do it this way for me.

So, just like when I was playing professionally, it’s easy to fall into that trap of measuring success on and off the court with external values that become internal metrics.  I want people to like my game, oh wait, that person doesn’t like my game.

Unhappy.

But who cares about that person, you don’t know them. They don’t know you.

Or you say I want to be a dedicated All-State basketball player, but wait, every time you try to work hard and sacrifice to get better, your classmates, your friends, even your family laugh at you or question why you are doing it.

Again, once you care enough about something, that quote above makes a lot more sense, doesn’t it?

This is just like starting a business. Just like being an All-State pitcher. A better parent. A better business owner. Or maybe you are quitting a BS job and self-actualizing a new life goal.

The list goes on and on.

Find a craft (passion) you love and then start measuring your happiness by internal standards you set for yourself to enjoy that struggle of winning in your craft.

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If you value swimming with whale sharks, then do it as much as you can! (From Islands.com)

 

After my long months of darkness, anxiety, and depression, and comfort eating, I had to take stock of what I could control in my life. Just like now. As my Caribbean sailing adventure in Isla Mujeres, Mexico came to a close, I am reminded of how lucky I was to reflect on my current values.

Who knows. Then again, maybe I’ll be a broke beggar writing and living on a beach that teaches, develops, and helps kids (and adults) make a better, happier, more fulfilling life.

Maybe one day, by sharing our experiences, and lending a hand, our world, communities, and tribes will grow closer and we can all help each other self-actualize to reach our potential.

And better, I’m sure I’ll find more happiness moment to moment in that struggle.

Good luck out there.

TrevorHuffman.com

MY TOP 5 THINGS I’M USING FOR ATHLETE SUCCESS IN THBA ELITE BASKETBALL:

  • Doing 1 on 1 Basketball Moves on these bands. Talk about getting more explosive and your heart rate up. These will absolutely make you more explosive, lower your shoulder, and work on explosive starts / stops with a basketball in your hand. Work on defensive slides or linear speed. Your choice. I use these bands at the start of my practices to recruit fast twitch muscle fibers for speed before fatigue sets in later.
  • My favorite raw organic plant based protein bars. These things are like Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies. Freeze them. Or don’t. It doesn’t matter, they are that good. And better they are nutrient rich and are made with Chia and Flaxseed, which is rich in Omega 3’s, I feel good about them and have stayed at 185 pounds, which isn’t easy for me.
  • I love to train, shoot, workout and do speed/agility/conditioning in heavier shoes than I play or compete in. These Air Jordan basketball shoes are heavy as heck! When I go from practice to game shoes, it may be a placebo effect, but it’s like going from cushioned running shoes to running flats on a track. Lighter, faster, quicker. All day!
  • My favorite thing is making nutrient-rich smoothies every day. I mix in spinach, kale, avocados, or anything that is a vegetable, green, and doesn’t have a ton of sugar. Then I mix these organic raw protein powders with espresso, peanut butter, and ice.

The 2nd Secret of Basketball Championships

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“Welcome to the hood,” Andrew said, grinning.

“Drew, you sure I’m good here man? Everyone is looking at me.”

“You’re with me. Relax.”

I glanced around, slunk down in his passenger seat. I had just turned 20 years old and suddenly wasn’t sure of my choice to accompany Andrew to his mom’s home in inner city Detroit. At any moment I thought bullets were going to pass through his car and rip through my body.

But there was good news (no, it wasn’t the Kevlar jacket I had on), I had just survived playing in St. Cecilia, one of the most famous basketball gyms and runs in the country. St. Cecilia was a cracker box gym with no space and a raucous, engaging crowd. It was my first time playing there. I was surprised I was even allowed on the court to be honest, because every time I touched the ball, or defended the ball, a certain murmur and electricity went through the stands and opposing players.

“Attack him.”  

“Score on him.”

“Go at him.”

“C’mon, get this dude off the court,” they laughed.

And yet, there was Andrew, playing alongside me, just grinning like a little kid in a candy store.

“Let’s go Huff– you have to earn everything here.”

The 2nd Secret to Winning Basketball Championships.

And this secret came to me decades after realizing and reflecting on the formative years of my college career and how they were about learning how to build relationships inside your tribe or team (even if you have to wear Kevlar from time to time), find your authentic self within your obsession and your tribe, and learn to go through psychological and physical pain or suffering with them to improve your skills.

First of all, it’s a simple idea or personal philosophy to build relationships with people that embrace the struggle to be the best within the same field or obsession as you. I loved the game of basketball, just like Andrew did. I saw Andrew suffering and struggling to be the best everyday. I saw where he came from and how hard it was for him. He didn’t have the resources I had, but yet, we both had our own struggles to get where we were.

Sports offers us an even playing field, where the athlete that can embrace the struggle and the pain, and can build skills for themselves. The more skills you have, the more valuable you are on the court.

Simple right?

Yet, playing at the St. Cecilia with my teammate pushed me out of my comfort zone and brought us closer together.

So focus for a second.  Ask yourself some questions.

  1. Who is in your basketball tribe?

  2. What kind of people do you need in your tribe to be successful with your obsession?

  3. Who will push your kid or program to develop their skills and learn to embrace struggle and create radical self-reliance on the court?

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I can’t answer these questions for you, but I can help you ask yourself the right questions.

There won’t be many people willing to suffer with you, sweat with you, shoot with you, rebound with you, play 1 on 1 with you, and push you to be your best.  And maybe you (yeah, you kid) just like the idea of being a college basketball player. Maybe you just like the idea or vision of being on TV, or in the paper, or having success, but don’t actually enjoy the struggle to get there.

That’s okay if you don’t, but go find a struggle you actually enjoy.

The truth is, you have build a tribe around your obsession to win championships.

Your team has to stick together. Your team has to have strong bonds. And that happens on the micro level first. I learned quickly that building a tribe helped me improve at the game of basketball quicker than if I was trying to do it on my own. And so it begins, when you have a tribe around an obsession, you have quicker growth. And when you have quicker growth, you reach your potential and self-actualize your goals faster.

You have success faster and when the team has more success, you get more accolades. A team that acts as a tribe cherishes those moments together.

 

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“Attack them Huff. Attack them every time you get the ball,” Andrew would whisper, as he snatched a rebound out of the air and passed it to me.

Then he would wave his hand, beckoning me forward– beckoning me to face my fears, to grow, and to stop being passive. But we all have to go through our own internal struggles, and to put it simply, I just wanted to fit in (and maybe that was because before I stepped on the court, I gawked and watched NBA great Jalen Rose score 60 points without sweating, only trash talking to everyone that guarded him).

“You’re not in Kansas anymore Huff.”

“No kidding,” I said back, trying to feign a smile, but eventually the game progressed and I started to forget I was a stranger there, what color my skin was, and where I was from. The game doesn’t care what color you are. The ball doesn’t go in the basket because of your religion or race.

Basketball is basketball.

So again, who is in your basketball tribe?

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I left St. Cecilia gym feeling grateful, grateful Andrew took me into a place where legends were made and played and developed their basketball skills at a level most players never get to see. He took a chance on me and I appreciated it. But after playing at the St. Cecilia and visiting Andrew in his home, it started to make sense why he had won a state championship in Detroit East Catholic High School.

Andrew wasn’t afraid to be different. He wasn’t afraid to challenge what society had told him he had to be.

He had a community that never let him settle for anything but his best. He had a brother that pushed him and challenged him. That’s what parents and family and tribe is for– to push people to be the best versions of themselves, through struggles and suffering and all the stuff we don’t usually like. See, Andrew Mitchell was overlooked. People said he was too small. Too light. Too fragile. Kent State had been one of his only suitors.

In my eyes, every championship team I ever played on had players that were developing this obsession and culture within the team. And when that happens, magic happens. So the Kent State University Men’s Basketball tribe formed. This culture was passed down to us, and we passed it down to the next generation of incoming freshman.

And let me brag on Andrew for a second. In my opinion, he was one of Kent State’s greatest competitors and one of the Mid American Conference’s greatest basketball winners. I was lucky to have him as a teammate. He wasn’t the only teammate that pushed me, but he was the first at Kent State. And best of all, no one would tell you that our team would go onto win three MAC championships, three MAC tournament championships, and three NCAA tournament appearances (including our Elite Eight run), and break every Mid-American Conference team record ever made by some of MAC’s NBA greatest players and teams-– from Dan Marjele, Ron Harper, Bonzi Wells, Gary Trent, Wally Szczerbiak, Nate Thurmond and Earl Boykins.

And it all started with our obsession for basketball and building that brotherhood. That’s one of the biggest secrets to winning at anything in my book.

To your continued success,

Trevor Huffman

PS. Need some help with your basketball mind? Join the THBA tribe and start my Elite Mental Training course!

The 1st Secret of Basketball

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“The most important measure of how good a game I played was how much better I’d made my teammates play.”– Bill Russell

THBA on Winning Championships: The 1st Secret of Basketball

(three part series- 10 min read)

 

In the summer of 1994, I was 15, weighed 120 pounds, and figured out the secret to winning basketball championships after almost throwing fists at my best friend (and teammate’s) face. After that day, these basketball secrets spread into who I was during my high school, college, and professional teams. That day made me sit down and think about what winning meant to me. I may have forgotten a few (there was my 6th grade recreational championship, but I left that one out), but I counted over 12 high school, college, and professional championship teams that I’ve been a part of. Yet, these basketball secrets grow from within and over time, like a slow rising tide start to become part of who you are, part of the team’s identity, and the feeling is undeniable.

Isiah Thomas referred to one of these basketball secrets in a meeting he had with Bill Simmons in the Book of Basketball. He said, referring to why his Piston’s teams won championships: “…Cause everybody does something good. That’s what makes us good… we created an environment that won’t accept losing.” See, in my opinion, winning in basketball isn’t only about basketball. It’s about you and your teammates. It’s about chemistry. It’s the family atmosphere that despises laziness and bad work ethic and unauthentic players. It’s why teams and coaches like Greg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs have won so many titles. They get basketball players that have high character, know their role, and check their egos out at the door.

Championship teams can’t be built without players that understand human nature and are self-aware of their egos.

But where do you start in building championship caliber teams and programs?

Start with yourself.

Start with caring.

Start with being authentic in every encounter you have with anyone on your team from this point on.

If you start with yourself and you care, you are off to a great start.

Bill Russell used to throw up before big games. Caring is why players throw up,  it’s why certain players can’t watch certain losses after their season is over and why championship teams always have a bond and feeling that remains intact for decades. It’s why I still haven’t watched my Elite Eight game loss against Indiana (this is actually my Sweet Sixteen win, see, I won’t even let you see it!) or my loss in the Michigan Final Four in high school to Marshall. It’s why I would shut my eyes for 30 minutes before every game and try to visualize giving everything I had to win the game and execute our game-plan and ask for guidance from the Universe (God, higher power, whatever you label it) instead of vomiting into the toilet.

It all starts with you caring.

And when you care, you are starting on a good foundation, but it takes more than just caring to create championships. So let’s talk about that, because we all want to win. I’m going to break down my three basketball secrets so you can do your part to help bring a championship to your team or program.

BASKETBALL SECRET #1: BE AUTHENTIC, BE SELF-AWARE OF YOUR EGO, AND UNDERSTAND HUMAN NATURE AFTER YOU WIN

 

Pat Riley talks about “The Disease of More” and it refers to process NBA teams and players go through when they win titles and the change in psychology that happens after success comes to you. I had to learn the hard way after winning the championship title in one of the biggest Gus Mackers in the world (Belding, Michigan) as a 14-year old teenager.  We came back the next year and “The Disease of More” had started to seep into me. And that’s just it, it’s human nature to expect more after winning.

More shots. More newspaper clippings. More popularity. More ego. More attention from your classmates and the kids that are labeled “cool” at school. But I learned that summer, (rather quickly) that the secret to winning championships isn’t always about basketball talent or athleticism, it is about understanding human nature and then being self-aware of your ego WANTING MORE.

So let’s rewind to our Gus Macker title defense when I learned this lesson. My teammate Johnny was a better scorer than me. He could shoot from anywhere. He was relentless in his accuracy and creativity around the hoop. But I wanted to squabble over who was better, who could score more, who could do this or that better. I wanted to prove it to him, to our teammates, to anyone that asked, and to myself. Basically, my ego wanted to be known. It wanted to be stroked. It wanted to be told it was better.

It wanted more.

Right before the game started, as we argued on the court about who was better, who could score more, right before I threw a haymaker, his mother stopped us, yelling, “What are you two doing? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

I put my head down and walked off the court. Fifteen minutes later, still humiliated, we tried to pull it together and play our game.

We got smashed.

Our title defense looked like Jordan’s Bulls whipping on the Charlotte Hornets without Larry Johnson or Alonzo Mourning and worse, this was a classic case of Riley’s “The Disease of More.”

It was the disease of me and the disease of more.

"Detroit Country Day's Shane Battier against Petosky in a March 13, 1997 game."

There I am(#24) chasing Mr. Basketball, Detroit Country Day’s Shane Battier against my team Petoskey in our Final Four loss on March 13, 1997 game.

Yet, losing can shine the light on growth and self-awareness. And as I was watching ego self destruct team chemistry, I quickly realized that winning took precedence over everything.

On the ride home, watching the highways unwind out my window, I thought about Johnny’s strengths, about mine, and the rest of the team’s. Johnny was higher up on the food scoring pyramid. No if’s, ands, or buts about it. He was just a better scorer than me. Little did I know, he would be one of three players to go onto score over 2,000 points in high school and college.

Maybe Shane Battier did that as well?

Who knows (lucky for me, four years after our Gus Macker loss, I got to guard Mr. Basketball Battier in the Michigan Final Four of my junior year, eh hem, we held him to single digits, but he had the flu, so much to my chagrin, we can’t take full credit for that defensive effort).

My teammate Johnny and I went onto to fully realize our full potential (as well as our team’s potential). We won three league championships, three district championships, three regional championships, and had two final four appearances. Now, we didn’t win the ultimate goal of a state championship, but we were one of the only Northern Michigan teams to ever have that much success.

This happened again in my college career.

And again in my pro career.

And every year, after winning championships, I would have to reflect and look for that ego finding a way in. And every time I thought about wanting more, I started to reflect and utilize my self-awareness. Was I rationalizing for my ego? Was I being greedy? Was I doing enough to make my team better? Myself better?

With letting go of my own ego, of wanting more for myself at the expense of the team, I gave up “The Disease of Me” and got more winning and team success in return. And the funny thing about winning is that you get more individual accolades this way. Ironic isn’t it? That when you actually focus on the team success, you actually get more individual success.

And this can only happen if your team has a certain chemistry, trust, and bond with your team. This takes authenticity. From you. From others. From accepting differences, but never accepting losing or poor effort.

If someone got out of line, a leader on the team spoke up.

If you are wondering how to create team chemistry for your team, start with authenticity and letting go of your ego.

Go first. Be the change you want to see in others.

Rebound for someone.

Play one on one.

Fall 2016: Trevor Huffman Traverse City Basketball Training-Camps-Workouts

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If you are the coach, bring in your leaders. Make them set the tone and make it expected that losing is unacceptable and that anything less than 100% is unacceptable. Make that your culture. Ensure team building and opportunities for your team to grow outside the court. Take them on a trip. Show them a new city against a new team. Take them to Europe in the summer.

Are you the leader of the team?

Demand them to make the extra pass and demand the same in return.

Only accept 100% effort from yourself in every drill and workout, and then demand the same from your teammates.

Talk to them.

Ask them to pick it up.

And in the end,  when you are authentic, you are aware of your ego, and you don’t allow human nature to creep in after your have success, you can focus on what really matters.

Winning. And being part of a team that cares so much about one another, words are hard to describe the bond that develops.

Elite Basketball Training Blog – HIIT Basketball Workouts

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Basketball Blog for Elite Players: High-Intensity Interval Training

“Life is an interval workout.” – Dr. Martin Gibala

LET’S GOOOOOO!

As a professional point guard that had a cup of tea with the Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, and then went onto to play in Europe for 12 years, there is one thing I wish I had done differently while I was still playing:

More high-intensity interval training.

The quote above makes sense to me: “Life is an interval workout.” Just like basketball, my whole life has been a series of intense training, learning, working, and adapting sessions where I work hard and then recover.

Using the philosophy of interval training is how I approach my life now. And after listening to a podcast with Timothy Ferriss and Martin Gibala, many of the suspicions I had about interval training before interval training was really a thing, were true.

I usually blog about personal stories of my professional career failing or bouncing back or developing confidence, but today’s elite basketball training blog is just me finding ways to help you become an ELITE ATHLETE inside the game of basketball. This stuff is the secret sauce in my opinion of what separates the good from the great.

First off, I say that because there is so much talent out there. I see it at AAU events. I see it on TV. But the difference between success and failure is razor thin. For every player that makes it, there are another dozen that could have.

And talent is over-rated. But high-intensity interval training isn’t. And I’ll tell you why. Because it’s hard. Really hard. And not everyone will enjoy it. Not everyone will enjoy suffering.

I am not sure why some people hold back from putting all of their heart into the game. Maybe it’s fear. It usually is. Fear of looking like they are trying too hard. Fear of failing. Fear of being judged by others.

But my THBA basketball academy is about finding a way to do what other people won’t, to obsess with your dream and goals and get there, hell or high water.

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Yoda said it best.

Do it.

Don’t try to do it.

If you want to be ELITE, you need to stop trying and start doing.

Don’t try to wake up before school. Just wake up.

Don’t try to lift weights. Show up and lift weights.

Don’t try to do high-intensity interval training workouts three times a week. Actually, like seriously, just plan them and then do them.

WE HAVE ALREADY TALKED ABOUT WHAT SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE AND BASKETBALL PLAYERS HAVE THAT OTHERS DON’T.

Being gritty and mentally tough with your workouts AND your life will be the biggest indicator of your success in basketball. How you approach your fitness starts with understanding how to train in a way that replicates basketball speed, endurance, and intensity that doesn’t wear you down or make you injury prone throughout the season.

But being successful starts by winning the ELITE MENTAL GAME.

Martin Gibala, Ph.D. (@gibalam) is a professor and chair of the kinesiology department at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. His research on the physiological and health benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) has attracted immense scientific attention and worldwide media coverage.

ELITE basketball fitness, in my opinion, is different for everyone and since I wasn’t the fastest, quickest point guard in the world, it meant I had to train differently than my competition. I had to not only train myself for the fastest motor, I also trained to have the longest lasting, highest RPM motor as well.

I studied Steve Nash, and he reminded me of how to play basketball at a high intensity for a longer duration. If you watch his game, he was never the fastest or the quickest, but he was relentless in his work rate and his ability to stay at a higher intensity the whole game.

So let’s gets started. Enjoy my notes!

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So this chart kind of outlines what we are wanting from our interval workouts. This picture is a high-intensity interval training bike workout, but you can adapt this to basketball conditioning quite easily if you just use it as a guideline.

Warming up, then getting right into maximum intensity but mixing up intervals is a great way to get ELITE ATHLETIC benefits in quickly. I personally love doing the Tornado drill or weight room basketball conditioning in my basketball academies to show players how to increase their speed, quickness, basketball moves, and rev up their V02Max.

EXAMPLE OF HIIT:

  • 30s-1:00min x 4-10 repeats
  • 4.5 min rest
  • 3 times/week

Training intensity

  • All out
  • About 500 W (on a bike)… in my basketball workouts, we attach bands to each other to reach maximum intensity)

Weekly training time

  • 10 min actual exercise PER session!!!!

 

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Don’t have 10 minutes?By training in the HIIT way, Gibala talks about how your V02MAX can substantially improve over 6-8 weeks of consistent training.

Well then, like I said, talent is over-rated. By training in the HIIT way, Gibala talks about how your V02MAX can substantially improve over 6-8 weeks of consistent training.

By training in the HIIT way, Gibala talks about how your V02MAX can substantially improve over 6-8 weeks of consistent training. SUBSTANTIALLY!

SUBSTANTIALLY! That means you are taking your talent and doing something with it!

But what is V02max and can it be improved?

Gibala 100% says that conditioned and deconditioned athletes, through proper training protocol, their VO2MAX can definitely be improved. And by the way, V02MAX also correlates to the longevity of your life, just like flossing.

Who knew interval training benefits also helped you live longer?

If you can increase VO2MAX by 20% through training (some increase it by 100% in 6 weeks), depending on your genetics and training, we as ELITE basketball players need to get this into our basketball development programs ASAP!

Don’t know how to start?

Well, plan out a 6-week program and use the same exercise program over those 6 weeks.

Not enough time?

Roger Bannister had 30 minutes a day to train during medical school. He used interval training at lunch time. Little did he know, he was practicing what we now know as HIIT.

He later went on to break the 4:00 min mile!!!!!!!

You can easily adapt your basketball workouts to incorporate some HIIT.

Read the expert Martin Gibala’s book here.

Enjoy your suffering. Or if you want to come find me, I’ll help!

To being ELITE,

Trevor Huffman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Getting Cut From a Team Can Change Your Life

GETTING CUT FROM THE NEW YORK KNICKS

It was game point and it was the last scrimmage before cuts were going to be made. I was vying for a spot on the New York Knicks Summer League team. Don Chaney, the head coach, and his minion assistants watched, their clipboards in hand, analyzing and watching and judging every play.

I, on the other hand, was fighting through a screen set by the New York Knick’s number one draft pick; a six-foot-eight-inch, 275-pound monster power forward from Georgetown named Michael Sweetney.

Running into him was like trying to shoulder charge through a cinderblock wall.

I was chasing ex-Notre Dame guard Matthew Carroll, but as I jumped, something happened. My balance felt wrong. My body awkwardly twisted and turned as the crown of halogen stadium lights engulfed the ball. Suddenly, like a sniper gunshot hitting me out of nowhere, an invisible force wrenched my body sideways.

Crackkkk. Pop.

I crumpled to the wooden parquet and pounded my fist into the floor.

No. Please. Not again. This can’t be happening again. It just can’t.

I felt the pain throbbing up my calf, through my tibia and into my kneecap. It was searing hot. A hush fell onto the practice facility. It is that silent hush that every athlete knows– when an injury isn’t looking good.

I shut my eyes to stop the tears from squeezing out. I took some deep breaths and tried to visualize something else– something that made me feel good. A highlight reel came on, and abruptly, the pain was gone. The picture playing was from a few days before, when Charlie started coaching me.

“Hey, take two dribbles, not one, when you use that ball screen.”

It is Charlie Ward’s voice, the Heisman Trophy winner and ex-Florida State national champion quarterback, and current New York Knick starting point guard, standing behind me with his arms crossed.

I am grinning, wondering: why are you, Charlie Ward, an NBA point guard helping me with pick and rolls?

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I nod and try to find words, but I’m speechless. Unexpectedly, Charlie grabs the ball from me, shifts his hips and dribbles off the chair. He is coaching me by showing me. He rises up for a 25-foot jumper and the ball swishes through the net.

“See. Two hard dribbles. You have to be a threat to score or you won’t get the spacing to make the flick pass to the big.”

He walks away. I smile again. This is a childhood dream come true.

“Thanks Charlie, I’ll keep that in mind. Hey Charlie, one more question–”

“TREVOR, Trevor… where does it hurt?”

The video reel suddenly stopped. I opened my eyes and the pain was back. There were faces and coaches circled around me. Charlie Ward was gone.

“Can you point to where it hurts?” the trainer asked, hovering over me. I had a sinking feeling that my ankle was broken.

But the real problem wasn’t my ankle, it was the slow realization that my first NBA summer league try-out was in serious jeopardy.

Just a few hours before, I was confident I was making this team. Charlie Ward helped me with pick and rolls. The New York Knick coaching staff was working with me, yelling at me, teaching me, and reaffirming to me keep doing what I was doing. And best of all, these coaches and players like Brendan Malone, Charlie Ward, Frank Williams, or Matthew Carroll, were pushing me to learn and grow as a point guard.

I tried to sit up. “It’s my ankle. I did it again, I think it’s broken,” I told the trainer.

“Let’s get you up and into the training room,” he said.

Some of the players asked if I was okay, then helped me limp with my arm around their shoulders to the Knicks training room. Matthew Carroll patted me on the back.

“Sorry man. Get better.”

It was his foot I landed on. He was one of the players I was competing with for a roster spot, but it wasn’t his fault. The moment replayed in my head. I was right there. I should have just let him shoot.

At the training table, I gingerly took off my shoe and NBA socks. The trainer slid a knife-like scissor device through my ankle tape and as he exposed my ankle, the swelling resembled an oversized grapefruit.

“Hmm. I’m gonna touch a few spots. Tell me where it hurts.”

He pressed his index finger into the swollen areas around my ankle and the pain made me wince and flinch at every spot. The trainer shook his head.

“Might be a break, might be a bad sprain. Hard to tell. Can you walk?”

I stepped down to the floor and it felt like someone was stabbing me with a dull #2 pencil between my ankle joint. I tried to take another step.

“Nope? Okay. Lay back down. We’ll take x-rays, but my bet is this a minimum of 4-6 weeks of recovery Trevor.”

He wrapped my ankle in three ice bags and saran wrap and jogged away. A few minutes later he arrived with assistant Coach Malone. Coach Malone walked up to me cautiously and slid his wiry glasses up his thick nose.

“How you feeling?”

“Been better.”

“Think you broke it?”

“Would be the fifth time since I was 16, so probably. I guess my family tree gave me bad ankles,” I said, trying to laugh.

“Well. I see. Trevor, it’s probably not the best time, but do you want the good news or the bad news?

“I’ll take the bad.”

“We have to cut you. With your recovery time, it leaves you with too little a window to get ready for summer league.”

“Well,” I said slowly, taking in the inevitable. I could feel the pain spread from my ankle bones to my chest cavity. “Coach, well, then what was the good news?”

“You had a roster spot if you hadn’t gotten hurt,” he said apologetically. “But get better. Keep working hard. We will have someone drop you for x-rays in Manhattan. Keep your head up.”

He handed me a summer league practice jersey with my name on the back, turned on his heels and walked away. But just like that, I had been cut from the team. This epiphany hit me hard and the sadness crept into my head, washing out any positive thoughts or vision of the future. No one was around. I was alone in a training room wondering what had happened, questioning why it happened to me, and ultimately, what would come next.

3 Empowering After-You-Get-Cut Mindset Questions:

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Getting cut can be a powerfully negative experience, but if we really examine failure or adversity, it isn’t really as bad as you think. For one, getting cut is just an unfavorable result, just one small bad moment in time. A tiny negative blip on the journey of your life.  I like to call these negative moments micro failures. And if you pause and reflect with some self-awareness, these micro failures can ignite powerful questions that fuel future growth and success through practicing grit, discipline, and having a personal development blueprint.

Here are three empowering questions that you can ask yourself when you experience the oh-my-life-is-over-why-did-this-happen-to-me-scenarios.

  • Question Number One: How does failure make you feel? This is important because you need to be clear on how you feel about your micro failure. If you don’t care about failing then maybe it’s time to find something else to focus on. A quote that resonated with me is from Abe Lincoln: “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with failure.” Here’s a tip. If you truly feel sad, upset, or bitter, it’s time to turn these emotions into personalized, commitment-laced jet fuel.
  • Question Number Two: Am I doing everything I can to create my desired future? Okay, so you are not content with failure! Yes, let’s get after it! Don’t be a victim, be a victor! That’s the grit and passion we are talking about! Okay, I just got hyped with you, but now what?  Now is the time to look yourself in the mirror and get your Elite Mental Game right. Get you or your kid’s game plan in place. Now is the time to look into those motivated, ambitious eyes and ask yourself if you are truly doing everything you can.
  • Question Number Three: What are the 3 small things I can do to invest in myself every day for the next 3 weeks? As a 12-year ex-professional point guard, skills trainer, and coach, I guarantee parents and athletes can always do better. I’ve developed a personal coaching package with Travis Thomas, a performance and leadership specialist, that has worked with NFL, MLB, USA soccer, and elite youth within the prestigious IMG Sports Academy. For a limited time, reserve your one of twelves spots in our Elite Mind Athlete Training course, where Travis will work with parents and athletes to help define and educate you on being an Elite athlete really means.

Being a successful elite athlete requires an education in developing real grit, passion, and meaning.

This is the time to start down your new path with unwavering commitments and start developing your mental game with the help of someone that works with the best athletes on the planet.

From my years in high school to the pros, Travis mentored and helped me navigate the athlete’s world of micro failures, setbacks, and choosing to say yes to practicing grit.

As a kid, every time I experienced a micro failure or setback, I didn’t realize my response was just another opportunity to practice what the world’s leading psychologist and researcher Angela Duckworth has recently described as one of the most underlooked indicators of success:

GRIT.

As a personal basketball coach and trainer, I’m watching and analyzing players, making recommendations for coaches on who stays and who goes. As middle schools, high schools or AAU programs like Northern Exposure or Northern Pride Sports Academy make cuts, it’s important to not let a micro failure get you down for too long if you don’t make it.

“Grit depends on a different kind of hope. It rests on the expectation that our own efforts can improve our future. ‘I have a feeling tomorrow will be better’ is different from ‘I resolve to make tomorrow better.’ The hope that gritty people have has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with getting up again.” ~ Angela Duckworth

Angela’s developed a grit scale that figures out why people give up, or move on, or don’t stick with something to succeed. She interviewed and tested cadets at West Point during Beast Barracks (read this Beast Blog!) on their challenging 7-week transition from cadet to soldier.

Want to know your how much grit you have? Click here for the GRIT test.

Grit is defined by Merriam-Webster as the firmness of mind or spirit, the unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger.

Yesterday, at the Northern Exposure boys try-outs I saw young boys compete with passion, yet inevitably, some of these players will get cut and they will be forced to ask themselves questions and this is happening all across the country as basketball season starts.

Players getting cut is happening all across the country as basketball season starts.

Getting cut, in a way, is the start of that discussion, not the end of your goals and dreams.

My sports advice on getting cut comes from a place of empathy– don’t let the obstacle stop you from growth. 

Being cut is an obstacle. For parents. For athletes. For anyone getting hit in the side of the head with failure. It’s as simple as that, but the way isn’t to turn around and quit. The way is to climb, go around, adapt, and commit to a super-charged plan so you can jump right over it.

I mentioned my colleague Travis who worked for IMG Academy as a performance and leadership specialist and is now the current author of Getting Unstuck: Live Yes And.  But I wanted to officially introduce him now and give athletes a chance to start the discussion on developing an elite athlete mind.

What does that even mean? Watch his video below.

Who is Travis Thomas?

From Travis:

We have all heard that sports is “mental.” We use the word when it comes to describing those players that are clutch performers, avoid distractions, embrace pressure, and know how to overcome adversity. But how do you teach these mental skills?

Travis Thomas has been teaching these mental and leadership skills to youth, college, and professional athletes for years. Now you have the opportunity to work with Travis on a one-to-one basis. In these sessions, Travis will help you and your child understand the tools for developing a high-performance mindset, on and off the court.

As a result, your child will learn:

* Playing with Purpose and Motivation

* Ideas for Being Able to Perform in the Zone

* Tuning Out Distractions

* Embracing Pressure

* Developing Grit Through Learning to Say Yes

CLICK HERE TO RESERVE YOUR SPOT NOW:  LIMITED TO 12 SIGN-UPS BEFORE JANUARY 8TH!

 

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Make your mind Elite. Travis has worked with the best in the field and I’ve always been a huge fan of investing time, energy, and money into the areas that give you the most meaning. This is one of those times to say yes.

If you aren’t interested, remember to keep asking those questions, find your grit, and stay inspired.

Sincerely,

Trevor Huffman

PS. WHY IS LEARNING GRIT IN PARENTING, SPORTS DEVELOPMENT, AND COACHING IMPORTANT?

An excerpt from Angela Duckworth’s Grit:“Indeed, over the past forty years, study after carefully designed study has found that the children of psychologically wise parents fare better than children raised in any other kind of household.

“… about ten thousand American teenagers completed questionnaires about their parents’ behavior. Regardless of gender, ethnicity, social class, or parents’ marital status, teens with warm, respectful, and demanding parents earned higher grades in school, were more self-reliant, suffered from less anxiety and depression, and were less likely to engage in delinquent behavior.”

Hey gritty parents, listen up! Travis Thomas and our Elite Mind Athlete Training will get you and your athlete get on track for winning the mental game that most athletes fail to master.  Whether it is creating a plan for the big picture or analyzing the small picture to begin a more respectful, supportive conversation for their athletic passions AND have high, demanding standards… Elite Mind Athlete Training will help!