Do you have the right attitude?

"I'm not the starter, what can I do?"

I get emailed this question by high school and college players quite a bit. I get it, it’s frustrating and you start to lose your focus. You begin to worry about things that you cannot control. The answers that Tom Brady gives in this interview (see the full interview below) are inspiring because most of us are not a prodigy. We have to work at it from the very start to earn your way into the position. See if his words apply to your situation and take control of your reps and your work ethic and see if you don’t achieve the results you’re after.— Coach Mike Farley

After his second year at Michigan, Tom Brady wanted to transfer.

He wasn’t playing in games, and he was so low on the depth chart that he only got 2 reps in practice.

Brady met with his coach to express his frustration, “The other quarterbacks get all the reps.”

Coach replied,

“Brady, I want you to stop worrying about what all the other players on our team are doing. All you do is worry about what the starter is doing, what the second guy is doing, what everyone else is doing. You don’t worry about what you’re doing.”

Coach reminded him, “You came here to be the best. If you’re going to be the best, you have to beat out the best.”

And then he recommended that Brady start meeting with Greg Harden, a sports psychologist who worked in Michigan’s athletic department.

Brady went to Harden’s office and whined, “I’m never going to get my chance. They’re only giving me 2 reps.”

Harden simply replied, “Just go out there and focus on doing the best you can with those 2 reps. Make them as perfect as you possibly can.”

“So that’s what I did,” Brady said. “They’d put me in for those 2 reps, man, I’d sprint out there like it was Super Bowl 39. ‘Let’s go boys! Here we go! What play we got?’”

“And I started to do really well with those 2 reps. Because I brought enthusiasm, I brought energy.”

Soon, it went from getting 2 reps to getting 4 reps. Then from 4 to 10, “and before you knew it,” Brady said, with this new mindset that Greg instilled in me—to focus on what you can control, to focus on what you’re getting, not what anyone else is getting, to treat every rep like it’s the Super Bowl—eventually, I became the starter.”

“I never once in my life ever said I wanted to be the best of all time. Ever. I wanted to be the best I could be, period. I learned that in college. It didn’t matter what the other guys were doing. It mattered what I was doing.”
— Tom Brady

Coach Farley's advice...

For kickers… truly understand your Kicking Zone. Get really good at this distance. Own it.  become the guy who just doesn’t miss at whever distance your K-zone is. Stop worrying about the big ball (and all the accolades you could achieve if only you were the starting kicker).  That’s last on your list.  For punters… truly understand your P-Zone (blog to come) — this is your ability to hit the desired third of the field past a set distance. When you get comfortable succeeding in your Zone (as in, it would be shocking to miss from that distance), you will begin to understand the mentality and perfromance level that will attract the attention of your coach and get him to actually put you into the game — because he KNOWS he can count on your from that distance. 

Story picked up frrom this interesting interview with multi-millionaire businessman Patrick Bet-David