Sunday, April 3, 2011

What We Can Learn From Butler Basketball

Saturday evening, the Butler Bulldogs continued one of the most improbable runs in the history of the NCAA men's basketball.  They beat Virginia Commonwealth University to return to the title game that they lost by one shot, just last year.  This year, at least 28 teams were more favored to win the tournament than last year's runner-up, receiving an 8th seed in their region.  But, they are back!  It is a fascinating story, though after watching just about all of the tournament games so far, the reason why is becoming evident.  Butler basketball knows how to win (not in the Charlie Sheen way, but the impressive way).  That sounds cliche.  But, at this point in the tournament, so many talented teams have failed because they lacked the mental, emotional, and team characteristics that Butler possesses. 

We could all learn a few things from how Butler gets things done and apply them to our fitness training.  Here are a few:

1.  Be Smart:  Most of Butler's success is because of Brad Steven's coaching.  He is a smart guy who knows how to put his team in the best position to win.  Most people don't have a smart coach helping them.  Sure there are a number of fitness enthusiasts willing to give you their two cents.  But, high-quality experienced coaching is harder to find, but invaluable.

2.  Do the Little Things Well:  Butler does a great job of consistently executing  fundamentals of basketball.  They run their offense well, box out, rotate on defense, rebound, etc.  These things are often overlooked as we get caught up in talent and athleticism, but usually the team that executes the fundamentals, wins.  How about your training?  Are you executing the fundamentals?  Do you have some basic goals?  Are you consistent with your training?  Is your technique solid?  Do you work on your weaknesses or go straight to your favorites?  If not, then don' ask about fancier training programs or nutritional supplements.  Master the fundamentals, they will take you further than anything else.

3.  Determined and CommittedButler demonstrates determination even when they are losing.  They were losing during several games in the tournament and at critical points, but never gave up.  Their body language said it all.  They fought for each possession and never hung their head.  Many other teams gave in before they did.  Are you determined and committed in your training?  Or is training the first thing to go when something else in life comes up?  Are you starting over every six months?  Do you give up because you aren't getting the results as fast as someone else? 

4.  Talent is Overrated:  Don't get me wrong, I do think Butler has many talented basketball players.  Though, they have played against many teams in the tournament with bigger, stronger, faster guys, and still won.  Many teams have lost with NBA lottery draft picks on their roster.  Just proving the point that talent, alone, is not enough to succeed.  You need all the other intangibles.  In fitness, talent is like genetics.  Some people were just dealt a great genetic hand.  They have great bodies and fitness in spite of their less-than-desirable training and nutrition.  Often, we can get frustrated when we compare ourselves to these people.  Though, most people can go very far with their genetic hand and smart, consistent, focused training.  Combined with a supportive environment and caring people, you will be surprised what you can accomplish.

5.  PassionButler basketball is very passion-filled.  Watch a game at Hinkle Fieldhouse and you will agree.  The environment is electric.  The players don't talk a lot of talk, they simply play their hearts out for the love of the game.  How about you?  Is fitness a necessary chore to keep you somewhat healthy?  I am so surprised how many people talk like going to the gym is a chore.  They joke all the time that they would rather be somewhere else, and they are only there out of guilt.  If that is your case, you will never achieve much.  I speak for myself, many clients, and friends.  I love going to the gym to workout and relish the chance to work hard and improve myself.  I am passionate about what I do.  That is why I have been training for the last 18 years and plan to forever.  If you are not passionate, you won't get far.  You need to find a training program you are excited about, find a supportive environment, and surround yourself with great people- like we have at Hubbard Training Systems.   Good times, great results.  That's our new motto.

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