I learned a long time ago whether or not I was training myself or others, before we worry about skill level, that someone has to be mentally and spiritually right with themselves. Today in this political incorrect world, I teach the secular version first of spirituality but as training progresses teach the real spirituality. People forget and athletes do not understand that the road to success is a road filled with failure, speed bumps, potholes and injury. The only way someone gets through this and keeps their goal in sight is to have a strong belief system. This is why I teach the "a,b,c,d's" of life-- attitude belief courage desire discipline and coachable-- but this is also the road map for life.
The next thing I teach is that athlete's must respect their gift. So many athletes today think they "poop vanilla ice cream". That they are the best. Again, going back to faith, I know that there is always someone faster, stronger or better than yourself and if not prepared for such, the athlete will crash and burn and become one of those statistics on TV. Hence the very first thing I teach is "you are not privileged to be an athlete it is a privilege to be an athlete--- understand and respect the difference". This phrase can also be changed to doctor, elected official, artist etc etc when teaching people. I want the athlete to respect themselves enough to know how lucky they are. Now I tell them one of the most powerful moments in my life: I was teaching fitness at Bellevue Community College in their Venture Program. The Venture Program was the first nationally accredited AA program for special needs students. These students were Down's Syndrome, Autistic etc. When my wife became pregnant I announced it to the class. They were jumping up and down like first graders (these kids were 18 to 27 but their behavior was like first graders due to their condition). They all were asking boy or girl. My wife and I had decided we didn't want to know and I told this to the class. They kept asking the same question and finally one girl said, "Andy, really what do you want?" The oldest kid in class responded this way, "They just want their baby to be healthy." This is and was one of the most powerful moments in my life. The class stopped and quieted down; then every student, 16, came up to me individually and sincerely said to me, "Andy, I hope your baby is healthy." These kids got the fact that life had not dealt them a 52 card deck, they realized how precious and precarious life is. These same kids would have given anything and everything to be and play like some athletes. So I expect the athletes I train to respect this code. Most of them do not understand that their athletic ability is only leased and is only available to them for a short time and that that window is always closing. The only reason that Jerry Rice or Nolan Ryan lasted so long is that they respected their gift and nourished it, grew it and took care of it. Now the door is open for so many more of life's lessons and "Andyism's".