This blog is dedicated to help build a strong foundation on and off the field.
In 2000, the Baltimore Ravens had one of the top NFL defenses of all time. They held opponents to a mere 165 points all season, an NFL record.
One of the key contributors to that historic defense was Super Bowl MVP, Ray Lewis. Ray was a keen student of the game. People talk about his football instinct, which he certainly had, but he was also an avid student. Ray spent hours in the film room, looking for clues, charting tendencies, and seeking anything to give him an edge. He even invited teammates over to his house to study film.
Early in Super Bowl 35, Ray chased down NY Giants RB, Tiki Barber, from behind. Lewis recognized the formation and saw the sweep coming. When Ray made that tackle, Barber thought to himself, “’Nothing is going to work.”
That play was orchestrated through intense preparation. It set the tone for the game and sent a clear message to the Giants that they would not be able to run the ball. The Giants ended up throwing four interceptions as the Ravens won 34-7.
How can you better prepare yourself for what’s ahead?
Remember, “Use your mind or be left behind.”
In his eighteenth season, 40-year-old QB Tom Brady will be making his 8th Super Bowl appearance. No small feat considering the average NFL career is only 6 years!
He spends four days a week performing pliability training. Tom even admits, that among strength, conditioning and pliability, he spends one-half of his time on pliability training. In case you are wondering, pliability is simply flexibility.
At 6 months, we’re the most helpless dependent mammal on the planet. Fast forward to age 16, 26, and 36, we’re the only large mammal who can juggle, play the violin, and dribble a soccer ball. Flexibility is like an evolutionary process to learn a huge diversity of skills.
The aging process and inactivity erode our flexibility. We become overly stereotypical in our movement. Movement is crucial to maintaining health. Stop moving, and the risk of pain and injury goes up.
Through proper physical activity, you can use movement as a means to enhance your health for a life of sustainability.
Remember, “Use it or lose it.”
WINX2 – Winning on and off the field through movement. Remember the Physical Building Block phrase, “Sustainability.”
“Use it or Lose it” Activities:
- Weight Training
- Tae Kwon Do
The Minnesota Vikings only had a 4% chance of beating the New Orleans Saints when they had the ball at their own 39-yard line with 10 seconds left. The improbable happened on an amazing throw and catch for a last-second 61-yard touchdown that earned the Vikings a trip to the NFC Championship game.
The “Minneapolis Miracle” left one of the Vikings players to proclaim, “That play right there was God.”
Not sure if God cares who wins and loses, but the Bible does give us three principles to bring honor to God:
1. Be READY for the opportunity: The Vikings practiced that play every week.
Timothy 2:21 (NLT) says, “If you keep yourself pure…you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.”
2. Make the MOST of the opportunity: The Vikings executed the play with perfection.
Ephesians 5:15-16 (NLT) says, “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity…”
3. Leverage the success of the opportunity to SPEAK UP for God: The players involved in the play publicly honored God.
Colossians 3:17 (NLT) says, “And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord, giving thanks through him to God the father.”
Bring honor to Christ in every aspect and activity of daily living. When a God moment comes in your life, are you ready to allow God to use you for his noblest purposes?
WinX2 – Winning on and off the field through a relationship with God. Remember, “The real issues in life are spiritual.”
In a field where one is required to work with individuals from very diverse backgrounds, building relationships can be challenging. One way to bridge the gap is to offer encouragement.
A method I use to offer encouragement is to use a simple phrase that starts with “I noticed…” I fill in the blank with a quality or attribute that the athlete exhibits- something personal, positive and true.
For example, if the athlete exhibited good work ethic in the weight room, I acknowledge that quality and say, “I noticed you worked hard today.” If he elevated the group by his encouragement of a fellow teammate, I may say, “I noticed you encouraged others and made them better.”
Research that shows a student’s improved behavior or cooperation can be traced to the personal connection he or she developed with an adult.
Even Jesus received encouragement when God the father said to him, “You are my son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’ This is an example in which God teaches us that sometimes we need encouragement to move forward.
Life is filled with moments. Having an awareness of this strategy heightened my antennae to not miss one! How many opportunities are missed to capitalize on a behavior or quality of someone because we are not in the moment? Or, we notice the trait but don’t take the time to acknowledge it?
We all need encouragement. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to inspire someone!
“You are my son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers possesses NFL records, a Super Bowl ring and an MVP trophy. The 34 year old has his eye on a new milestone – sustainability.
To prolong his career, Rodgers has shifted his focus from the field to his fork. He says, “There’s always little tweaks, but the key for me is really that diet and trying to continue to be smart about what I’m eating and how it affects my performance, even in the offseason.”
One “tweak” that Rodgers adopted was a dairy-free diet. We’ve been told that dairy “does a body good”, but the truth is that cheese can be surprisingly dangerous. A two ounce sandwich-sized serving of cheddar has as much saturated fat as eight slices of bacon!
The benefits of a dairy free diet include:
- Weight loss – Rodgers is at his lowest weight in ten years.
- Increased energy– Rodgers feels so good that he is convinced he can play well into his late 30s and even his 40s.
- Inflammation Reduction: Rodgers was initially motivated to remove dairy from his diet to reduce inflammation after having knee surgery.
It may seem ironic that the hero of the dairy state would make such a change. But, if there’s one thing Packer fans like more than cheese, it’s Super Bowls.
What foods are keeping you from living a life of sustainability?
WINX2 – Winning on and off the field through nutrition. Make healthy food choices a part of your day to increase “sustainability.”
Fran Tarkenton was one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time when he retired. You may be surprised to learn that his failures helped him get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
He says, “If we lost, I didn’t go out. I stayed in my house, pulled out our old film projector and looked at all the mistakes we made. I’d ask myself, ‘What didn’t I do? How did I not prepare? What did I miss? What did I not see?’ and from that I got better. I learned from failure. I have never learned from winning.”
As Proverbs 26:11-12 says,
As a dog returns to its vomit,
So fools repeat their folly.
Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Biblical truth tells us that we are fools to expect different results if we don’t learn from our past mistakes. The worst thing about someone wise in his own conceit is that he feels that he needs no improvement. He is unaware of his need for help.
Don’t be a fool and let conceit hold you back from learning from your failures.
“Failure is merely a pit stop between where you stand and success. Failure allows you to learn the fastest; Failure inspires winners and defeats losers.” – Fran Tarkenton
WinX2 – Winning on and off the field through the mental building block. Remember, “Use your mind or get left behind.”
In the Bible, when Paul addresses the Romans, he says, “offer your bodies as living sacrifices – holy and pleasing to God – this is your act of worship.” The word worship comes from the Greek word – Latreuo, which means to work or serve by submitting all our nature to God. This tells us worship involves work. You will never be able to worship God without giving your best. The best of your gifts. The best of your time. The best of your intellect. Above all, God wants our heart. You cannot worship God without sacrifice.
Worship = Work + Submit to God
Worship gives us meaning because it bestows dignity to every calling. Super Bowl winning QB Trent Dilfer says. “Football, or anything we do in our day-to-day lives, should be an act of worship to Him.” Whether you’re a football player, coach, or stadium clean-up crew, you can serve God.
Whatever your calling may be, you must work at it with all you have. There must be some holy sweat if you are to please and glorify God.
WinX2 – Winning on and off the field through Worship. Remember, “The real issues in life are spiritual.”
Studies show that members of the various sections of a symphony orchestra perceived each other in the following ways: The percussionists were viewed as insensitive, unintelligent, and hard-of-hearing, yet fun-loving. String players were seen as arrogant, stuffy, and unathletic. Brass players were regarded as “loud.” Woodwind players seemed to be held in the highest esteem, described as quiet and meticulous, though a bit egotistical.
With such widely divergent personalities and perceptions, how could an orchestra ever come together to make such wonderful music? They follow three simple principles:
- Respect for authority. We all have an authority, whether it be God, a coach, a parent, or a conductor.
- Sacrifice. They give of themselves for the betterment of others.
- Humility. Team members must see everyone as important.
By following these principles, the orchestra members come together to play beautiful music.
“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” – Vince Lombardi
WinX2 – Winning on and off the field through community. Keep in mind the social building block phrase, “Touch the heart, touch the person.”
1 Corinthians 12:12-26
A few weeks ago, my two high schoolers attended Homecoming. That event made me realize that my time with them is short.
We experience approximately 20,000 individual moments in a waking day. Each “moment” lasts a few seconds while the memorable moments are almost always positive or negative. In some cases, a single encounter can change your life forever.
Moments with a small positive act are critical. By watching a short 15-minute video of interaction between newly married couples, John Gottman and his researchers could predict divorce with 94% accuracy. The “magic ratio” to longevity was a ratio of 5 to 1 in terms of balance of positive to negative interactions. When the ratio approaches 1 to 1, marriage “cascade into divorce.”
This ratio is critical in the workplace as well. A recent study found that workgroups with positive to negative interaction ratios greater than 3 to 1 are significantly more productive than teams that do not reach this ratio.
To increase positive interactions in your moments, show love by keeping these Biblical commandments in mind: Love God and love your neighbor (Mathew 22:36-40).
WinX2 – Winning on and off the field through relationships. Remember, “Touch the heart, touch the person.”
Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Star, as a 17th round draft choice, was practically ignored coming out of college. He was a part-time starter for the Green Bay Packers in his first four years in the NFL. Before head coach Vince Lombardi’s arrival in Green Bay, Starr’s record as the Packers’ starting quarterback was 3-15-1. In the next 10 yrs., he became the most successful QB in pro football, winning five league championships, thanks to Lombardi.
Star says, “I wasn’t mentally tough before I met Coach Lombardi. To win, you have to have a certain amount of mental toughness. Coach Lombardi gave me that.”
Lombardi built mental toughness into his players in two ways.
#1. Self-confidence. Lombardi believed in himself and his system. This came out in his whole approach – the forcefulness of his voice, his carriage, his very presence oozed with confidence. Star couldn’t help but feed off it.
#2. Preparation. Lombardi prepared the team beautifully for every game, for every eventuality.
Star says, “I knew that I would never face a situation I wasn’t equipped to handle.”
Lombardi showed Star that, by working hard and using his mind, he could overcome his weaknesses to the point where he could be one of the best.
WinX2 – Winning on and off the field through the mental building block. Remember, “Use your mind or get left behind.”
Winning is the Only Thing by Jerry Kramer, Crowell, 1976