Thomas Jefferson: Great Man, President, Motivational Speaker, and Closest Footballer!

by CoachZ on January 27, 2009

One of the greatest men in American history, and that of the World, is Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson was the principle author of the Declaration of Indepndence. Jefferson is not only regarded as one of the greatest men in history, he is regarded by many as one of, if not the greatest president in American history, and a motivational speaker and success coach in his own right, to be sure!

Note: Keep in mind as you read through the quotes attributed to this amazing thinker that “men” was generic term of the times and not a true reflection of Jefferson’s
views towards women, a subject we will not get in to here. Perhaps on our next blog! I hope you know I am kidding here! Here are some of the great man’s thoughts, along with another man’s input, where appropriate for context.

“Books constitute capital. A library book lasts as long as a house, for hundreds of years. It is not, then, an article of mere consumption but
fairly of capital, and often in the case of professional men, setting out in life, it is their only capital.”

Note: The only security any of us have is what’s between our ears. The more we learn the more real capitol we have to spend. In terms of athletics in general, and soccer specifically, training serves the same purpose. A well-conceived, appropriately implemented, effective soccer training program translates into ready capitol one can call upon and spend in the competitive arena.

The capitol, in this case, not only takes the form of actual performance but, more importantly, takes the form of increased self-confidence, self-assurance, and ultimately, self-worth. Knowledge is power and proper training in any athletic endeavor is powerful!

“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”

Note: Talk is cheap! How many times have we heard coaches say, “Don’t tell me, show me!” The true champion is one who lets their actions define who they are. Jefferson hit this one right on the head! Do you think he was a closet footballer?

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal;
nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

Note: PMA! Positive mental attitude! Whether Thomas Jefferson or Norman Vincent Peale or Napoleon Hill or Vince Lombardi or Tony Robbins or Pat Summitt, every era has their motivational gurus. Yes, even Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra had his way with a message, a phrase-smith like no other, Berra could get his players to identify with him, love him, and play for him!

Regardless of the vehicle these special individuals ultimately choose to get their message out with, these coaches, mentors, and speakers seem to be able to motivate
people in a way few of their peers are able to. Ultimately, the PMA must come from within, someone once referred to it as a “burning desire.” Whatever you call it, if you cannot bring it to the fore on demand, you are doomed to mediocirty. The proper soccer-specific, sex-specific training, mental and physical, can go a long way towards developing the discipline to call on this attitude until, like a negative attitude, it becomes habit. (more to follow this week on this) 

“Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.”

An idle mind is the devils workshop! Heard that one? Sure you have! Well, perhaps loafing won’t bring on the devil…but you’ll have a devil of a time getting playing time! Training is an all-the-time thing, whether soccer-specific, sex-specific strength and fitness training, footskills work in the back yard or for a half an hour before or after practice, running in the morning or planning your meals for the next week to ensure proper nutrition, absolutely vital to the success of any athletic training program!

Have you ever heard the story of Anson Dorrance witnessing this young woman, at 5:30am EST, running on the UNC campus. You guessed it! Mia Hamm, a champion’s
champion, running on practice days, and before classes. Talk about PMA and filling time productively. If Mia didn’t have time, she found time, made time…even if it was 5:30am EST!

“But friendship is precious; not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.”

Note: One of the greatest, lasting benefits of training is the bond you develop with your teammates, your coach, and other training personnel (trainers, asst. coaches,
strength coaches, etc.). The friends you develop when being tested, really stretched, are the ones you will have for a lifetime, through thick and thin. Or as Jefferson put it, “in the shade…[and]…in the sunshine of life.” What an awesome promise!

“Happiness is not being pained in body or troubled in mind.”

Note: No matter how sorely we are tested, how much is demanded of us, how much the training pains us, the happines that comes from a real sense of accomplishment with overshadow and overcome any pain of body or mind. Have you ever found that when you absolutely did not want to work out, felt tired and just wanted to blow it off, but you did it anyway and ended up feeling great, fresh and invigorated?

You gotta love those natural opiods! There are three well-characterized families of opioid peptides produced by the body: enkephalins, endorphins and dynorphins. The met-enkephalin peptide sequence is coded for by both the enkephalin gene and the endorphin gene (also known as the POMC gene) and that the leu-enkephalin peptide sequence is coded for by both the enkephalin gene and the dynorphin gene.
From Wikipedia ( and Opioid peptides: Molecular pharmacology, biosynthesis and analysis,
R.S. Rapaka and R. L. Hawks (editors) in a National Institute on Drug Abuse Research Monograph (#70), 1986.

“He who knows best knows how little he knows.” And, “He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.”

Note: Coachability! You’ve heard the word, everyone has. The fact is, the more we know, the more we should realize we don’t know anything. OR at the very least, the more we know, the more we realize we have to learn! An open mind, combied with PMA, and the discipline to use time effectively is an invaluable combination.

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”

Note: Above all, be honest with yourself and your team! Honesty is a trait that is treasured by those people you meet and deal with day-to-day. Honesty is also vital when it means being honest with yourself! Be honest with yourself and with your strength coach, together you will be able to move mountains!

“I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.”

Note: In pushing up others, you will push yourself up at the same time! Not only does it make you feel great to help your fellows, you develop a feeling of comradery that can never be duplicated by any other set of circumstances, events or actions.

“I cannot live without books I find that the harder I work, the more luck
I seem to have.”

Note: How many times have you heard this? “Oh, she’s just lucky” or “He’s always been a lucky so-and-so!” It is frightening how little credit many are willing to give others for playing hard and training harder. Recognizing that, the saying goes: “The harder I work…the luckier I am!” And it is true, we make our own luck by being prepared for a situation that demands absolute preparation…in this case by means of soccer-specific, sex-specific strength and fitness training for match play.

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”

Note: I have a story that illustrates this point perfectly! 

The Story of Tommy Pitts!

It was March of 1982, I got a call from the printer that was handling fliers for a mailing I was putting together to promote a new, in-home athletic training business I had conceived of during those long nights of contemplation about how the heck I was going to make enough money during
the recession that was playing havoc with everyone’s finances (i.e., kicking everyone’s butt!). Interest rates just went to 22% for cars, and that meant I was going to try to get my junker to make it one more year.

At that time, Tommy’s dad, I’ll call him Bob, was trying to get some help for his son who had spent the previous season on the bench after a fairly respectable sophomore season. Tommy was a big kid, fast and agile, but undisciplined and a bit cocky (not always a bad thing). Well, I met with the Pitts Family and they cried about this, that, and the other for almost an hour before I finally cut them off with a single question to Tommy. The question is kind of crude, so I’ll clean it up a bit, and it went like this:

“Tommy, what are you willing to do to play next year?” He thought for a moment and then hung his head, tears in his eyes.

“Coach Z,” he said, ” I’ll never play, the coach hates me!”

The pain in his voice almost broke my heart, I wanted to give the big lug a hug and tell him everything would be fine. Instead, I asked him one thing. Here’s the question:

“Tommy, if I told you to go out in the street right this minute and s#*t bagels, would you?”

Hey, I was 27. What can I say!

Well, Tommy smirked and looked at his parents, not really believing what I had said in front of his parents. When he looked back at me and saw I was dead serious he paused. And then, in a very low voice so he wouldn’t be able to hear it crack anymore he said, 

“I never want to sit on the bench again, I’ll do whatever you say.”

I smiled and nodded. You see, not only had I just made my first sale without ever talking price, only talking about what Tommy wanted and what it meant to him and his family to be able to accomplish his goal, I knew my voice would have cracked too if I’d said a word…so I nodded again!

Tommy was true to his word, often coming over to the house to get me to open the gym early in the morning, so he could workout before school, and then he’d return later when he got home. During that summer, all the way up until pre-season training started, two weeks before school and the season commenced, Tommy did everything I told him to. I never did ask him to go out in the street! You see, Tommy forgot about the past and focused on the future. Tommy began to see the possibilities, the hope of “What can be” instead of the depressing “What was.” That season Tommy, who had informed me that the coach “hated him” and that he “would never play,” started every match, ate dinner at the coaches house six times as player of the week! Tommy’s buddy Paul, who I also trained, won it the other four weeks possible! Tommy and Paul both went on to win all-Ohio honors that fall and got respectable scholarship offers to the colleges of thier choice.

All accomplished by a kid who never played, never would play again, and who the coach hated! A kid who put the past behind him and believed in one more person before quitting, giving up the sport the loved forever.

I trained 56 athletes that first summer, young and not-so-young, male and female, amateur and professional. The poorest perfomance I had for a player at any level was
by a kid from Cleveland, not really from Cleveland but I had to pick a city, who made all-district. And I was worried about him, didn’t know if he’d play or not! You see, I was comparing him with the other athletes I was training, and they were all the cream of the crop!

All those athletes had one thing in common. They all believed in what was possible, one more time!

That was, without a doubt, the most exciting summer of my life. Not for what it did for me, although my business absolutely exploded after that first season with athletes on the field, pitch, course or court after training with me for a significant period. I was excited for my kids, and they were my kids, regardless of age! And that included the professional football player who got special permission from Head Coach “S.R.” (not his real initials) to train with me instead of with the team’s strength coach, “D.R.” He had the best season of his career and never experienced the nagging injury he had been troubled with for the last several seasons. Missing two games with cracked ribs, he still ran for more yards than in any season of his professional career! Talk about satisfying!

No, not satisfying! An absolute BLAST!

More quotes attributed to Thomas Jefferson:

“I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they led.”

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

“It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good.”

“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today; never spend your money before you have earned it.”

“Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.”

“One travels more usefully when alone, because he reflects more.”

“Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation and freedom in all just pursuits.” 

“The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money.”

“To penetrate and dissipate these clouds of darkness, the general mind must be strengthened by education.”

“When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.”

“Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.”

Note: I aplogize for the length of this one! It kind of got away from me a bit. I hope you liked the story about Tommy, it is absolutely true in every detail. The fact is, I’ve had several Tommys every year since that first summer but it is the first one I remeber the best. Not for my success, for theirs…which was nothing short of amazing! A Blast!

The inspiration for this posting, in part, came from blog postings by a couple of individuals, most significantly, Joseph William. Mr Joseph William is a success coach and more of his writing can be visited at:

See you in the cheap seats!

yahoo! IM: keepersteam

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

ArianaLype May 14, 2009 at 7:21 am

beautiiful blog merciiiiii

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