As a young athlete, I would constantly strive to be the best. Working hard, training hard, and using positive self-talk became the staples of my personal program. Throughout my development, I gained the understanding that brain training is the key to success in both sports and life. I have seen countless examples where an athlete’s mental toughness out-performs ability.
When I was a kid, I would hit pea gravel with a wood bat for hours upon hours, eventually wearing down the wood bat to a point where it would break. Imagine how many tiny pebbles you need to hit, to chew through a full-size wood bat! Why would I do a thing like that? I was training my brain. When a baseball was pitched to me in a real game, it looked to be the size of a beach ball compared to pebbles I had been hitting. My mental training led me to win both the batting title and league MVP in both my junior and senior year of high school. In college, I visited a sports psychologist to continue my mental training. In our sessions, I would close my eyes and visualize different game scenarios for an hour straight. The experience was eye-opening (no pun intended)! In those sessions I was able to focus my brain so that I could feel, smell, and hear the game as clearly as if I were on the field. The art of visualization combined with using affirmations took my pitching to the next level, earning me the highest strike out to walk ratio. Visualizations allowed me to practice in my head each night. It became a tool that allowed me to get ahead of my competition and sharpen my skills without even hurting my arm!
I developed the attitude that I would win by out-working my competitors in college and carried it into the minors. When I retired from baseball, I continued to use visualization to master martial arts. While my competitors stopped training when they left the gym, I continued to train my brain to be the best at home. I was “in the zone” even when I wasn’t in the gym. With a clear mind and body, I was able to compete at the highest level with no fear and complete control over the situation. When sparring, I was always one step ahead of my competition because I had visualized my training. They say that Dan Marino would see the defenders working in slow motion because he was so mentally in tune with the game.
I applied the same brain training and visualization to road racing to win championships. Each night before racing I would visualize myself going faster into every corner of the track than my competition; I would picture the the brake markers in my brain and push myself to brake later and later; I would feel the motorcycle going 140 mph in my mind and imagine sliding to push the wheels into the track for maximum traction; I would imagine myself on the start getting the hole shot and see my competitors watch me check out. I went into each race having already raced it in my head. I was prepared both mentally and physically to do battle. The championships and podium finishes began to stack up and man, I was happy!
After retiring from racing, I moved on to a new focus - training novices on the track and in the gym in the same principles that had led to my own success - training the brain and body. I combined 20 years of experience in the fitness industry with brain training to help others meet their goals. Twelve years ago, I found myself on an unexpected journey with my son Trey - not on the tarmac of a road course, but instead on the dirt of a motocross track. I became hostage to the most brutal drug in the world: motocross. The noise, the smell, the pain, and pleasure were addicting. Motocross is intense, draining, and expensive, but we come back for more. People ask me why? Why did you start Next Level? It is a very simple answer: love. The love for the sport. Motocross gave me the greatest memories a father can ask for, and now I’m ready to give back to the sport.
Trey and I have battled from the bottom and been at the top. We hit the nail on the head many times and also made mistakes growing in our program. We now have the opportunity to pass on our experience to people entering this journey into motocross. In short, we have been there and now we want to share it with you! We will give you the valuable tools to get to the top of the mountain. The preparation, motocross training, dedication, the team work, expectation and so much more. I like to say “WE RACE” - We do things differently at Next Level. We will prepare mentally, physically, and mechanically better than the rest!
We are prepared: Mind and body
We are brave: We start from the inside
We look forward: eyes on the checkered flag
We grow from our failure
We are humble with our success