Today I'd like to share a success story with you…
Every Wednesday and Thursday morning since October I've been working with a program initiated by Volleyball Canada called the Centre of Excellence.
The Centre of Excellence is a program that takes aspiring young athletes between the ages of 15-18 and provides them with exposure to higher level training and coaching to help prepare them for post-secondary/varsity athletics.
It runs twice per week from 6am to 8am and athletes will come from all over the Greater Toronto Area to take part.
When the program was initiated, we of course, had to do some baseline physical testing – functional movement screen (FMS), speed, agility and power.
It takes a special athlete to be in this program and to get the benefits from it.
Not so much from a physical standpoint, but from a mental standpoint.
For example, I have one athlete whose mom calls me almost every week and asks me why her son is not improving. Why he is not jumping higher or his coach is not putting him in more or why he's always getting hurt.
And then there's an athlete like Owen (not his real name).
Owen is a late volleyball bloomer. Now in his final year of high school, he didn't realize his love for the sport until late into his junior year – a point in time in an athletes life where some have been playing competitive club ball for 5 years.
As a provincially ranked swimmer, Owen understands the dedication needed to get to the level where college recruiters will start to take notice.
But he lives an hour away (an hour and a half in rush hour) from the program in a small town outside of the city.
He gets up at 4:15am everyday, borrows his parent's minivan and drives himself to the program in downtown Toronto.
When we wrap up, he gets back in his car and drives in rush hour traffic back to his small town where he has to get to his first period class at the local highschool.
Every week, Owen submits food and training journals to me for evaluation.
He takes my advice and gets to bed by 9pm almost every night sacrificing a lot of what some would consider “regular teenage indulgences” (playing XBox, creeping on Facebook, watching Jimmy Fallon).
He doesn't eat junk food and on the nights he knows he has club volleyball practice (which goes until 10pm twice, sometimes 3x per week), he strategically plans afternoon naps when he gets home from school – before he hits his homework.
When I tested Owen back in September he was barely touching 10 feet. And for a guy his size – he's 6'4″, which is considered small for someone who plays his position on the volleyball court – the likelihood that any college program would look at him was pretty slim.
Well, we tested Owen last week, and he's now touching 10'8″.
I thought a lot about how many lessons there are in this 18 year old's story and which one to convey.
To get an improvement like that, I honestly didn't do much other than 1) Getting him to move better, 2) teaching him how to hip hinge (by doing rack pulls & kettlebell swings) and 3) teaching him how to do get ups.
BUT, that's what I taught ALL the athletes in the program.
So, we could make this lesson about swings and get ups and how powerful they are for any athletic purpose.
Or we could make this about how if you prioritize the basics in your training, only good things can happen.
Or we could even make this story about how just by teaching these athletes how to move properly – clearing up faulty patterns in the way they moved on the court and in life – we were able to increase their power output.
But instead, I think the biggest and most impactful lesson learned is about taking responsibility.
And it's easily learned from an 18 year old athlete named Owen.
Owen wants it. He wants to play collegiate volleyball and he understands that the only person that can make that happen is himself.
And so he's taken responsibility for it.
He's made it known to myself and his coaches – not just by verbalizing it, but by showing up and putting the effort in – and as a result, not only is he seeing positive things happen, but the people around him are doing everything they can to HELP him achieve his goals.
Last week I touched a nerve with some of you when I posted the term “the desissyfication of civilization”.
But that phrase can just as easily be translated to “the lack of responsibility that individuals take to make a difference in their lives”.
Not because of the results that he's gotten, but because of the lesson and habits that he's learned through this experience and the fact that people twice, 3 or 4 times his age – grown adults – have yet to understand.
He won't be touching 10'8″ or higher for his entire life, but the lessons and habits he adopted to get there he can use in any life situation.
So please, take responsibility for your training and your results.
Stick to the program, document and record your progress – use the Training & Transformation Journal that I provide you – and do all the things you need to do to make it happen (get to bed on time, get rid of the junk food in your house, rid yourself of bad habits).
Learn from this 18 year old who wants it so bad that he gets up at 4:15 in the morning and puts in 2 hours of training while the average high school student is still in bed or doing their homework at the last minute.
Take responsibility, and let me know how I can help.
Because I want to see YOU succeed too.
Have an awesome day,
P.S. Taking responsibility means taking action and seeing things through to completion. If it's important to you, you WILL make it happen. Here's how I can help…