What the Patriots Can Teach Us About Optimizing Our Training
There are a lot of Patriots hater’s out there. Like, almost everyone who doesn’t live in a 207, 603, 802, 401, 681, or 978, or 781 area code. I get why, but personally I love to witness greatness, whether it’s in sports, business, or some other endeavor. More often than not there are many common threads between the greatest of the great, and those qualities are all things that we should look at to learn from and emulate.
Here are some of the qualities that I think have led to the Patriots being at the top of the heap for the last 18 years, and how we can use them to kick ass in training and life.
The Patriots aren’t rah rah types, they stick to the basics and do them very well.
The Pats rank in the bottom 25% in penalties committed this year, and only had 1 in the AFC Championship Game. They stay in position, and are brilliant at the basics of football: they block, tackle, cover, throw, and catch. They don’t bring a lot of flashiness, but they get the job done.
When it comes to effective training programs, it’s usually a case of the simpler, the better. Push some stuff, pull some stuff, pick stuff up off the floor, carry some stuff, and make sure you move well and often. And don’t get called for a block in the back on kick coverage-Belichick hates that.
They stay focused on the task at hand (“We’re on to Cincinatti!”)
This year in the season opener, after winning the Super Bowl last year in dramatic fashion, they got absolutely waxed at home on national television.
Instead of getting too down about it, they got back to work, and then won 15 out of their next 17 and are in the Super Bowl again this year.
Similarly, a few years ago, they got absolutely annihilated in Kansas City in another nationally televised game. It was ugly. Brady looked old, slow, and it seemed as if his skills fell off a cliff overnight.
There were rumors flying everywhere that TB12 was over the hill and Belichick was going to trade him. I didn’t totally believe it, but I even vowed to never watch another game if it was true.
When asked about it in the post game presser, Belichick just kept repeating, “We’re on to Cincinatti,” who was to be their opponent the next week. Over and over he repeated the same phrase. It got to be a joke on Sportscenter for the rest of the year.
What happened the next week against the Bengals? An old school ass whooping, that’s what. A 43-17 type of beatdown that wasn’t even as close as the score. I vowed to never miss a Patriots game for the rest of my life. (I haven’t missed one since ’92, for anyone keeping score.)
Think about the last time you had an absolute stinker of a workout. How’d you handle it? Did it bug you for the rest of the day? Did you panic and think that you were on the wrong program so you blew it up and started something new? Did you come up with extreme solutions to a really simple issue like, maybe you needed to switch to German Volume Training to bring up your squat when in actuality you were just not at your best because you missed lunch due to a busy workday?
Dude, you just had an off day/week/month. Tom Brady doesn’t panic after a bad game or interception, and neither should you. Forget about it, and just stay the course. Small setbacks need to be accepted as such, and not allowed to become bigger.
Dan John says the goal is to keep the goal, the goal. The Patriots had bigger goals that season than beating the Chiefs in week 4-they set out to win a Super Bowl, which they did. Props to Pete Carroll.
Stay focused on the big picture, but use small successes and struggles as fuel along the way, just like it’s brought the best football team in history to 10 Super Bowls.
Excuses are simply not accepted in New England, and they shouldn’t be accepted by you. Tired? Not an excuse to not take your goals seriously. Everyone’s going to happy hour after work? You knew that ahead of time and should have trained earlier in the morning. Kid’s sick and you’re working from home? There are a million bodyweight exercises you can do in your living room between bouts of cleaning up puke.
You might have to call an audible and deviate from your original plan for the day, but keeping yourself on the right path day after day and not allowing excuses to derail you is one of the major keys to long term progress in anything, and especially training.
ESPN, The Sporting News, and Jimmy from accounting might not expect the Pats to win a Super Bowl every year, but that doesn’t mean that the guys who are employed at 1 Patriot Place in Foxboro, Massachusetts don’t. Back in 2001, they were 2 touchdown underdogs to the Rams, touted as the “Greatest Show on Turf.” That didn’t stop the squad from believing that they were going to play the game of their lives, which they did, and beat a team that probably would’ve beaten them 9 out of 10 times.
If you don’t expect greatness from yourself, who will?
In terms of training, expect a great effort from yourself. Expect that you are going to set PR’s and have a great session. Don’t beat yourself up over trivial things, but think positively, and have goals that you intend to reach, both short and long term, and then work your ass off to get there.
Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and Robert Kraft are to the Patriots organization what squats, deadlifts, presses, and rows are to your training program: the most important cogs in the wheel.
While a lot of players and coaches have come into the fold, and many have had a huge influence on the team’s success, ultimately, the backbone of the Patriots has been their quarterback with the golden arm, the best coach in NFL history, and a great owner.
The same goes for your training. Big, compound movements should provide the framework for your training program. Getting stronger on these types of exercises will give you the biggest bang for you buck.
While it’s a good idea to rotate things in and out of your training programs, keep the foundation consistent like the Pats, and keep winning.
As an unapologetic Pats homer, I could literally go on for days with this stuff, but I think you get the picture. Keep it simple, be brilliant at the basics, stay the course, and set lofty expectations for yourself.