Webster defines intention as a determination to act in a certain way.
Bobby Valentine’s Training Lab, also known as BVT, is not about running through hoops and ladders or dodging in and out of cones. We are about producing athletes through proper principles of science to elevate performance.
As many strength coaches realize very quickly, there are a ton of hours spent with sets, reps, exercise selection, the load, etc…the list goes on and on. But coaches realize that none of this matters unless you have total buy-in from your athletes. This “buy-in” is one of the most difficult things to achieve in all of sports, whether that be in the weight room or on the field. At BVT, the buy-in starts on day one. We strive to hold an extremely high standard not just through our programming and exercises, but also in the way we mentally prepare our athletes. How do we do this? It’s simple. We take extra time to focus on not just the physical approach, but the mental approach as well.
Unfortunately, as simple as it seems, it is one of the most difficult things and can often be overlooked. It’s about doing the little things right through sacrifice and discipline and an extreme attention to detail. We ask all of our athletes to hold that within themselves to truly elevate their performance and take them to the next level.
Lewis Caralla, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for Georgia Tech, says it best, “You don’t have to do anything that isn’t required for you, but you also don’t have to win.” At BVT, we hold the same standard and believe this is what takes our athletes to the next level. People become successful through discipline and that is how they achieve great things. What you do in the gym is what is reflected on the field.
As coaches we commonly see two types of athletes. There are the compliant athletes, and then there are the competitive athletes. The compliant athletes come into the gym, put their bag down on the floor, look at his or her workout, then proceed to do the bare minimum and go through the motions the entire time. The competitive athlete comes in and does the same thing, but they mentally prepare. They come up with a game plan and attack. Every rep means something to them and you can see it through their intent. So how does a coaching staff get the competitive athlete everyday that puts intent into their workout?
The BVT coaching staff does this through a few different methodologies. First, we make sure that our coaching staff is always supplying our athletes with the educational background as to why we do what we do. As an athlete, if you do not understand the “why” behind what you’re doing, it’s extremely hard to put full intention into the act you’re trying to perform. An example of this can be something as easy as a Wall Drill exercise. From the outside looking in, it’s very simple to set up and perform. However, if the athlete is not educated on why we perform this, it can become repetitive and they won’t reap the benefits of the exercise. By taking the time to make it a learning experience, they understand the “why” and will put more effort into it resulting in a high-level of performance.
Although measuring intent is difficult, we have found that following a few simple steps to mentally prepare our athletes for their workout helps as well.
These steps include:
- Preloading your workout mentally: What type of workout do I have today? What does this require of me? What will be challenging, and how will I fight that adversity?
- Remember why you’re doing this type of work: What are my long term goals? What are my short term goals? What are my goals for today and how will I achieve them? Why am I doing these exact exercises and how do they fit my goals?
- How am I going to do this work?: What will it take for me to achieve the questions above? Will I be able to give enough effort and intent to achieve my goals, and if not how do I change that?
- Put away your work: Take a mental review everyday of your work. Did I achieve what I set out to do? Did I achieve my daily goals? Did this chip away at the stone of my ultimate goals?
At BVT, we’re constantly asking our athletes these questions. We’ve seen drastic improvements in performance when athletes take the time to mentally reflect through this process. When they mentally take charge of their actions, intent and attention to detail become second nature.
Attached here is a video of one of our athletes performing simple exercises. What makes these exercises applicable is the passion and desire to get better combined with scientific principles that are proven to work. If you watch closely, you can see in the athlete’s intention how he asked the simple questions above in the steps. You can see through his aggression and violent intention in every step that he understands his ultimate goals. He understands what type of work it’s going to get him there. The purpose of the exercises and why we are doing them. Most importantly he’s taken the time to improve on these exercises over time through mental reflection.
Although not simple, this type of mental coaching applied to high-level athletic performance training can create the coveted “buy-in” that coaches work so hard to achieve. At BVT, we pride ourselves in elevating performance physically and mentally. It’s these steps that separate us and our athletes from the rest of the pack.
BVT coaching is about attention to detail, intentions in every step, combined with proper scientific principles in our training methodologies to elevate athletic performance.
- Dixon , Diamond. “Training with ‘Intent’ Is a Concept Too Many Young Athletes Fail to Appreciate.” Stack, 24 Feb. 2022, https://www.stack.com/a/training-with-intent-the-concept-too-many-young-athletes-fail-to-appreciate/.
- “Intention Definition & Meaning.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intention.
“Setting the Mind to Boost Athletic Performance.” TrainingPeaks, 3 Dec. 2021, https://www.trainingpeaks.com/coach-blog/setting-the-mind-to-boost-athletic-performance/.