What are you going to do this Summer? Take a family vacation? Head to the Beach? Chill at home? Whatever you and your family do, enjoy yourself, be safe, but be ready to go when football practice starts in August. For high school and college players, get your workouts in early in the day, preferably before Noon, so you can beat the heat and humidity, and you still have time to catch up with friends and spend time with the family.

     Don't procrastinate! Don't try to squeeze two months of training into the final two weeks of your Summer break. All this does is open the door for injuries to occur because you're overtraining and not getting enough rest and recovery time. Make sure you work on your flexibility on a regular basis, and drink anywhere from a half-gallon to a gallon of water daily. Don't lose out on a starting position or playing time because you sat around all Summer and didn't do anything (or didn't do enough).

     Enjoy the Summer, but be ready to compete when the time comes.

 
 

...If you believe it is possible. Dare to dream! With that being said, if you have a dream, you must have a plan to make that dream a reality. Do you want to play college football? Be a doctor? Own a business? You can do anything you want, if you apply yourself, make the necessary sacrifices, and focus on your goal. I once heard a former NFL player say, "work hard and you might get lucky." All this means is that you create your own luck, your own breaks, your own opportunities, by preparing yourself to the best of your ability to be as successful as possible. I've also heard the saying, "luck is when preparation meets opportunity." Simply put, this means that when the opportunity does arise, you better be ready for it. Are you ready?

 
 

     One of the most valuable lessons I learned as a young football player was the importance of flexibility. As I look back on my playing career, particularly during my college and pro playing days, I was very fortunate not to have suffered any hamstring, groin, or quad muscle pulls. I attribute this good fortune to Paul Connor, my college head coach, who placed strong emphasis on warming up and stretching all the muscle groups before any type of activity in which we engaged. 

      Not only does stretching help prevent injury, it can also help improve performance. If I took two athletes of similar skill levels and trained them concurrently, and had one athlete incorporate a flexibility regimen into his training program, while one did not, I can all but guarantee you that the athlete who focused on flexibility would realize greater gains over a specified period of time as compared to the one who did not place an emphasis on flexibility. Additionally, the athlete who improved his flexibility would subsequently redcue his risk of injury, and at the same time, would be able to push himself or herself harder, thus making greater gains.

     The key to good flexibility is to start young. Even though every athlete is different, and their goals, limitations, etc., will vary greatly, every athlete can benefit from improved flexibility. Every athlete I train focuses on the same core flexibility movements and exercise, regardless of age and skill level. From there, different components are added to each athlete's training program to work on their individual areas of need based on what their goals and target areas of improvement are.

     All athletes, whether they are young or old, big or small, pro or amateur, should make it a point to integrate a flexibiltiy program into their training regimen. He or she will be happy they did; overall, they will become a better performer, and a better athlete. I will be happy to discuss designing and instructing a flexibility program for anyone who is interested in improving their game, regardless of the sport.



 
 

     The first step. It's a short, fairly simple phrase that can be applied in many ways to a lot of different things. For instance, think about the first step a baby takes. That small foot moving forward marks a rite of passage, from an infant to a toddler, and signifies a life changing event that will be remembered by the baby's parents for the rest of their lives. While the first step will be followed, and even overshadowed, by colossal, monumental events such as graduating from high school and college, marriage, the birth of one's own children, etc., it is never forgotten.

     As an athlete, huge emphasis is placed on the first step, regardless of the sport played. How important is the first step down the first base line for a hitter turned base runner? Or for a shortstop trying to make the play in the hole to end the inning? Or for the defensive lineman trying to get to the quarterback on third and goal from the nine? Coaches constantly preach to their players, "The first step is the most critical one." A good (or bad) first step for a prospective NFL player at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, IN next week can mean a world of difference in draft status, and potentially millions of dollars.

     The first step can also be a symbolic one, whether it means getting off the couch and getting in to the gym to get back in shape, finishing (or starting) that project around the house that you've been putting off for who knows how long, going back to college to finish a degree (or start on a new one), or getting closer to the Lord. For me it was acting on a vision that I had several years ago to start my own company so that I could be in position to utilize my years of experience in football to work with others doing something I love to do. Why did it take me so long to get started? I ask myself that all the time. Some of my procrastination probably stemmed from a lack of free time; most of it, however, more than likely came from a fear of failure. We all have our own reasons why we delay doing certain things, and deep down, they all may revolve around being afraid of something in some way, shape, or form--not meeting our own (or someone else's) expectations, wondering what others will think, etc., etc...

Don't be afraid to take the first step.

 

    Author

    Ron Selesky, President of ProFind Inc., is a professional football coach with over 11 years of experience coaching arena football. Coach Selesky is also the author of the ProFind Inc. Blog. Please check the Blog page frequently as Coach Selesky will be updating the Blog on a regular basis.

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