Breathing, and how it makes you suck


What do you notice about that kid?  Can you see their stomach pulsing up and down, while their shoulder remains relatively quiet, with little motion.

This is how we are supposed to breathe.

You probably aren’t breathing this way.

Athletes have a similar situation arise when they are playing sports, their heart rates quicken, they start breathing hard to make up for a appeared lack of conditioning, and it is all over.  Your body spends a ton of time trying to fight its way through the attack to get back to a normal level, and your shot. Continue reading

How To Go Pro: The Struggle

Every athlete at some point in time starts to think about the life of a professional athlete.  This is the dream of playing sports, eventually making it to such a high level that you are paid to play.

We all dream of the car and the nightlife and the people we’ll meet and the fans who will be hoping just to see us up close.

The life of a star.

I see these athletes up close every day.  I see the ones with stars in their eyes and I see the ones who’s stars have since faded black.  I have seen the thrill of achievement and I have seen the agony of “The End”.

Even the athletes who make it “pro” don’t necessarily live a life that you would’ve felt you’d have.  A minor league baseball player isn’t uncommon to make themselves $1,000 a month to play for a major league affiliate team.  Worse if you are playing Indy ball.

The same could be said for D-League players and Arena football Stars.

Arena athletes can make a prorated portion of about $50-$70,000 a year.  Only problem is that’s for 20 weeks and it is over.  Most of them then have to work other jobs and still train at the same intensity of an NFL or NBA player who is making much more and has time to dedicate solely to betterment.

Most Minor League Baseball players give hitting/pitching lessons in the off-season while also working part time jobs and living at home with their parents.

Lets succeed this struggle a little bit more and talk about the player who makes an MLB roster.  Did you know that they pay about $13,000 a year in club fees?  Then the 50% for taxes minus the loans that some took out so they could keep playing and they make maybe $150,000 for a job they commonly won’t have in 2-3 years.

NFL?  Play for $400,000 dollars for 16 games.  Anything else you get a per diem and aren’t really paid all that well.  Covers food and a few minor expenses and that’s it.

I have had the chance of helping a number of people live out dreams and attack goals with a relentless pursuit for being better and striving for more.  Shooting to be that professional and living the struggle.

They sweat in 100 degree heat, lift weights 4 or more times a week, practice their skills and never have a guarantee that they will have anything at all beyond today.

I see players spend 4 hours in a row working to get themselves better to get to the highest level and then have their talent be deemed “under” some desired line.  It is hard not to beat your drum and support the player as best you can, but in the end, every athlete has the same story.

The ones who succeed and make it and the ones who barely miss are so similar it is scary.  You see some kid an think, “Roster Fodder” and blow them off in your mind.  You didn’t see the sweat and blood.  You didn’t see them working the over night shift trying to make extra money so they could make it.

You didn’t see them eating free mints from a platter because they can’t afford lunch

Oh yes, the struggle is real.

Athletes act like they grind and strive and struggle and complain about unfair treatment but that is what life has in store for you.  When we all get subtracted from the umbrella of our parents and live our lives you have what you make, not more.

Athletes realize these things faster than others.  They are forced to.  They can’t hold themselves in regard and complain of treatment because that only leaves you exhausted from battling life.

We all had a dream.

I hear people talk about how they could go pro, or they could do this and I laugh.  Commonly I will say, the best athletes in the world make it look so easy that everyone thinks it is possible.

You however couldn’t survive the struggle.

It’s why you didn’t make it.

Dad used to say, life is a war of attrition, it isn’t who makes the big move but the guy who avoid messing up.

We all battle it.  The attrition rate in life is high.  Most fall off at a level that is dictated by their comfort.  I work with people who push passed comfort daily.

The struggle is real.

It is real because the dream we had seemed so attainable that athletes will push passed mental breakdowns that are worse than any physical one you could create.  I have found out what the struggle is, I have found out what being professional really means at the end of the day.

It’s how you deal with the failure.  How you shake off the torment of missed achievement.  How you move passed where others say stop to a place where you doubt you belong.  The voice speaks and you either listen or fight it.

So how do you go pro, how do I make it to the next level and the next.

Have Talent

Push harder than anyone else you know

Believe in yourself more than you believe in the sun

Listen to the people who know more

Block out the people who fell to fear before you.

We only get one chance to make a mark on anyone in our lives, the years will pass and the story will be written.  I get to help tell peoples stories by building them to defeat challenges and conquer life.

I struggle to tell them when the struggle has won.

Billy

Major Leaguer Frank Catalanotto Interview

I recently interviewed Former MLB baseball player Frank Catalanotto about his rise to the Majors and what he did to improve himself along the way.  Enjoy!

- Give us a little back story to your life.  Where did things begin for you in athletics, not only baseball?
I grew up in Smithtown and I always loved sports. I played basketball, hockey, baseball and soccer. I always wanted to get better at each sport that I played so I was constantly practicing and playing sports in the neighborhood. I believe playing multiple sports as a kid helped me become more athletic.
- What was it like being drafted out of HS?
Getting drafted out of high school was a dream come true. I never actually believed it would happen because there were three other guys on my team that were better than I was. I figured one or two of them might be drafted. I worked hard to try to keep up with those guys during my senior year and it wound up paying off for me.
- Why do you feel Smithtown had such a strong group of baseball players around the same time?
I really feel like the Little Leagues were and still are very good in Smithtown. I always had good, positive coaches. Also the Smithtown Booster Club Baseball Camp that they run in the summer was very instructive. I remember learning a lot there.
- You battled injuries early in your MLB career, what do you attribute that to?
When I was young I lifted heavy weights every time I went to the gym. I rarely stretched and didn’t pay much attention to the little muscles in my body. My body seemed to get tight and the injuries caught up to me.
- How did the role of strength and conditioning aid you as a player?
The proper strength and conditioning helped me out so much as a player. Once I learned how to do it the right way my career started taking off. I became stronger, faster and less injury prone.
- How often did you train in-season?  162 games it must be hard to fit in.
During the regular season it was very hard to train but I would try to get at least 3 workouts in during the week. I would usually train after the game so I wouldn’t be wasting energy before the game. I did, however, make sure I did my core exercises everyday.
- When did you first take an active approach in S&C?
I first started lifting weights when I was about 15 years old but it wasn’t until after I got to the big leagues that I started learning about the proper ways of strength and conditioning.
- What areas of training do you feel most helped your career as a player?
Core training and speed training helped me the most as a player.
- What advice do you have for young players
Make sure you do plenty of core exercises. They helped me stay healthy when I did them religiously. Make sure you do plenty of speed training. Speed training helped me get faster and ensured the proper form so I wouldn’t be wasting any steps. Take care of your shoulders by doing Jobes exercises or a good shoulder stabilization routine. As athletes that need to throw we must make sure that the shoulder stays as healthy as possible. Proper nutrition is also very important. Make sure you are putting the right food and drink in your body.
- Speaking of nutrition you have Proven 4 sport.  What is that?
Proven4 is a vitamin and supplement company that I started a couple of years ago. I have helped develop a few NSF certified products that are free of banned substances. Over 20 major league baseball teams use my products currently. For more info you can go to Proven4.com
- In helping younger athletes, in what ways are you planning on teaching them and allowing them to get better?
Whether it be conditioning or sport specific training, I think it is important to start slow and really focus on drills that help teach muscle memory. When I give hitting lessons I like doing one arm drills to teach each hand and arm the proper mechanics individually. I believe you should first build a good, strong base and then work from there.
- What is in store for you next in your life moving forward?
I plan on continuing to do my best to help baseball grow locally. I’m passionate about youth sports especially baseball and I love being able to teach young kids what I learned when I was in my 20′s.

Frank is a great person, follow him on Twitter to hear more from him and his quest to get others better
Franks Twitter

Billy