Gifts for Athletes

About the Author: Eric Cressey

For the Aspiring Athlete

Call it shameless self-promotion, but it’s my newsletter! Publishing The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual was one of the highlights of the year for me – not just because it was my first publication, but because of the tremendous feedback I’m still receiving on a daily basis. The self-tests and 30 weeks of sample programming alone justify the investment; all the other information is just icing on the cake!

On a related note, I can’t say enough great things about Kelly Baggett’s Vertical Jump Development Bible. It belongs on every athlete’s bookshelf.

For the guys who don’t consider “round” as being “in shape”

If you know someone who is looking to lean out in 2007, your two best resources are Afterburn and Turbulence Training. You won’t find two guys that know how to get folks lean better than Alwyn Cosgrove and Craig Ballantyne.

For the “Sponge”

Are you one of those people who just can’t get enough information about anything and everything that is training, nutrition, or supplementation-related? If so, the FitCast Insiders would be a great gift idea for you. Great interviews with some of the industry’s brightest minds on a variety of topics several times a month; what more could you ask for?

You’re watching, but are you listening and observing outside of your comfort zone?

Last week, Jeff Salzenstein (previous career high ranking of #100 in the world in tennis) was in town to work with us. On Thursday morning, Jeff and I sat down together and watched film for about 90 minutes. In that time, we watched some of the best in tennis history – Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Marcelo Rios, David Nalbadian – in slow motion to pick up on the little things that great, efficient athletes do. Additionally, Jeff and I discussed at-length the growth areas he perceived for his game and considered them in the context of the film I’d seen of him and his injury history. The intent was obviously to help Jeff get healthy and improve his game, I can honestly say that it was an eye-opening and extremely beneficial experience for me, too!

How often have you taken an athlete and just run him through an assessment in the confines of your facility, but never watched that athlete in his “normal” surroundings? And, how often have you really dug deep to get feedback from an athlete about his perceived weaknesses? Jeff is a high-motivation athlete who is always looking to educate himself, so he was primed for providing that feedback to me. If he had been a different personality type, though – and introvert, for instance – I would have missed out on a great opportunity to help him and grow as a coach at the same time.

The take-home message from Jeff and my film session is that you obviously have to take into account what you see in your facility, but just as importantly, you need to “pry” with some athletes to figure out what about their performance concerns them; nobody is absolutely perfect, but you might as well be assuming that they are if you aren’t asking questions. And, you need to observe them “live” as often as possible.

Thanks, Jeff.

Until next week, train hard and have fun!

All the Best,