Protect Your Kids...

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cressey STILL rocks...

John Wooden knew that one of the keys to success was the physical component of each sport. Part of that is knowing what to do during the off season.

Segue to Cressey Performance in Massachusetts, one of the nation's premier elite training facilities....

Followers of BALL know that we're huge Eric Cressey fans.  We use his advice and guidance for several BALL lessons. MLB recently did an article on off-season training in which Eric was heavily quoted. The article is here.

It's worth the read...

Friday, December 7, 2012

Jesse is an Eagle Scout...

I was humbled to ask to speak on behalf of a former high school athlete of mine for his Eagle Scout induction. If you don't know what that is, it's kind of like speaking for someone as they're inducted into a Hall of Fame.

In preparation for the talk, I re-researched the Scouts and what they teach young men. I never quite bridged the gap prior to tonight, but what struck me most was how similar Wooden's Pyramid and maxims are to the Boy Scout motto, creed, etc.

It turns out that BALL had very little effect on this young man. It simply reinforced the solid parenting and positive modeling that his scout leaders had been feeding him since he was 7 years old.

How cool is that?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Happy Birthday BALL Legend Vin Scully!

Happy Birthday to the best in the business...

 In the 2005 book “Voices of Summer” by Curt Smith, Scully was named as baseball's all-time best broadcaster based on “longevity, continuity, network coverage, kudos, language, popularity, persona, voice knowledge and miscellany.” Each criterion was rated from 1-10, with the perfect score being 100. Scully was the only broadcaster to reach that number.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving thanks to the United States

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
- Abraham Lincoln

I just watched the movie "Lincoln" with my family last night, on the eve of America's celebration of Thanksgiving. The movie was about an extraordinary man who took extraordinary measures to ensure the Union's survival...sometimes blurring the line between what was constitutional (or not) in order to advance his belief that it was America's destiny to be a land for all people to be free.

"The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty . . is finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American People."
- George Washington 

The Founding Fathers established these United States in what became known as as the ultimate "Grand Experiment". I am so thankful that we had the wisdom and guidance of these flawed but extremely thoughtful men.  230+ years later, it still works.  Not always with the result that I want, but, like baseball, every man gets his chance.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I work with a loose bunch of kids...

Most of you know that I'm a Vanguard University baseball coach.  The players on the team decided to put together a video based on the One Direction song "What Makes You Beautiful" that rivals Harvard Baseball's "Call Me Maybe".  Honestly, I thing Vanguard's is better. 

Here it is:

By the way, Vanguard is a faith-based Div 1 NAIA scholarship school that is located a few minutes away from the most beautiful beaches in the United States.  If you know athletes that are solid character kids, you can't beat the combination of a great education, quality sports, a Southern California lifestyle, and a focus on the Greatest Story Ever Told...

Make each day your masterpiece!

Ted Browne
Chief StoryTeller
Beyond Athletic Life Lessons ("BALL")
Ass't Baseball Coach
Vanguard University 
BALL Blog: (blog)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What colleges want...

I recently sat down with a dean of a local university to chat.  Our conversation turned to generational changes as it related to education.  Interestingly, even though we were teaching kids at different age groups, we shared remarkably common viewpoints that applied to both younger and older kids.  It really drove home the key takeaway we try to make at BALL: Emotional Intelligence matters.  Coach Wooden got it right.

When I was at Babson getting my college teaching certification a few years back, we had long conversations about this very topic.  Much has changed in the 30 years since I entered college.  Grades are important, but with increased financial pressure on dual income families, single parent families, and an increasingly instant-gratification societal mindset, kids today have different stressors.  Perhaps a growing percentage of parents are relying too much on outside resources to instill the emotional depth that is necessary for a child's proper emotional development.  This is highlighted when the child eventually goes away to college.

As a result of this trend, many college administrators are searching for more ways to differentiate prospective students. The "Big Thing" at upper tier universities these days is measuring Emotional Intelligence.  Entrance interviews key on how well-rounded and socially-adjusted kids are.  There are even Emotional Intelligence tests that are given to prospective students at these institutions.  In some cases, these tests are weighted more heavily that SAT's!

It seems that youth athletics, if handled properly, is an excellent training ground for reinforcing and even developing, Emotional Intelligence.  The key, however, is getting parents on board early and often, and engaging the youth at an early age.  For BALL, this is the legacy we hope to leave. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

On the subject of trust...

Sometimes a business musing transcends into sports...Seth Godin is pretty big in my world outside of sports. I consider him very wise.  

We always tell our kids to trust us.  Does it go both ways?

---------- Forwarded message ----------From: Seth GodinDate: Fri, Oct 26, 2012 at 3:25 AMTo: Ted Browne
Subject: A bias for trust

Two very simple truths:
a. Don't waste your time initiating relationships that aren't going to thrive and benefit both sides.
b. Productive connection requires mutual trust. You can't empathize with someone you don't trust.
If you enter an engagement filled with wariness, alert for the scam, the inauthentic and the selfish, you'll poison the relationship before it even starts. Those you deal with won't be challenged to rise to your expectations of excitement and goodwill. Instead, they'll struggle in the face of your skepticism.

Instead of seeking and amplifying the sharp edges, consider focusing on the dignity and goodwill of the people you're working with.

Sure, there are people out there who will disappoint you. But expecting to be ripped off poisons all your interactions instead of saving you from a few dead ends.

An open mind and an open heart usually lead to precisely that in those that you are about to deal with. Perhaps we should give people a chance to live up to our trust instead of looking for the gotcha.
Make each day your masterpiece!
Ted Browne
Chief StoryTeller
Beyond Athletic Life Lessons ("BALL")
Ass't Baseball Coach
Vanguard University 
BALL Blog: (blog)
Ball Facebook Page (click here)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Quick Twitch and Bat Speed

Beyond Athletic Life Lessons (BALL) teaches a unit about strength conditioning and quick twitch versus slow twitch muscles and the effect on bat speed/arm speed.  Both are important.  But in athletics, (especially softball, baseball, golf, etc.) there's a time and a place for conditioning each.  The on-deck circle is an excellent place to excite your quick twitch muscles...but it's no time to be lifting weights.  

We've always believed that weighted bats (donuts, etc.) hurt quick twitch response in the on-deck circle.  Many coaches scoff at this - even at the MLB level.  Have them watch this Sports Science clip...and if they prefer a written version of the research, go to a Wall Street Journal article just might change their mind... 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Focus on the process, the end result will follow your lead...

While history will ultimately vet Saban, there's no denying his success in developing what he calls "The Process".  Sports Illustrated describes it as simply focusing "on the steps to success rather than the end result." Eerily similar to Coach Wooden's prescription for success, no?

Here's an article about how it can be used in other areas of your life.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Creating a REAL strength and conditioning program...

Those of you who have followed BALL know that Eric Cressey and Cressey Performance have generously shared their resources and knowledge with Beyond Athletic Life Lessons for a long time.  It's been awhile since I've mentioned Cressey on this blog, but his presence can be felt all over the place at BALL for those fortunate athletes that have followed his advice.  

For those of you that don't know him, Cressey's business is training elite athletes.  There is no one-size-fits-all approach with Cressey Performance.  They custom-design each program for the individual.  I think that about 70% of his clients are pro or elite level baseball players, but he also trains Olympic athletes and the general public.

The video that follows is another great example of his expertise.  If you want a very thorough and in-depth look at training program considerations, look no further.  Cressey spells it out for you here:

Once again, Cressey absolutely rocks the house.  If you want more fitness resources (especially you baseball players), I highly encourage you to check out  I personally use his products and advice (and gladly pay full retail for his stuff). 


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wooden's Witness Protection Program

Many of you are aware that Coach Wooden was very public about his Christian faith, but was very careful not to "shove it down people's throat". 

By allowing athletes to find their own path, he believed that he could "do more damage for the Kingdom" by living a Christ-centered life and mentoring them in life skills than the "christian" (small "c") that was conviction-centered Fire-and-Brimstone. Those of us that have witnessed the pebble in the pond that he dropped more than 80 years ago know that by any measure, Wooden was successful. 

Because of Wooden's example, by popular demand, a few months ago we began a new project. BALL was asked to create faith-based versions of several of our sports lessons for use in private school curriculum and faith-centered football, basketball, and baseball/softball clinics. This is in addition to our existing lessons that are secular. 

It turns out that these lessons are becoming pretty popular. So now, we need a few volunteers to help convert and/or research more content. This is not a huge time commitment (maybe 2 hours per lesson conversion), and you will be helping change lives through sports... If you are interested in helping this worthwhile endeavor, please message us (privately) at so we can work you in to the rotation. Make each day your masterpiece!