Friday, 22 March 2013

three habits...a guest post from Steve Mesler

I began coaching Steve Mesler in 2002.  He began his career as an under-achieving, injury-prone University of Florida graduate decathlete.  Undersized and under-strong, Mesler was not your typical bobsled athlete. 

But he was smart.  

He was willing to do what it takes.  

He was willing to listen.  

And to learn.

Eight years later, he had participated in three Olympic Games.  Won numerous World Championships, become the USA’s all-time leading World Cup winner, and capped his career off with an Olympic Gold Medal at the 2010 Vancouver-Whistler Olympic Games.  

He now is a successful business consultant, passing along many of the lessons he learned throughout his career to the corporate world.  He also mentors many young athletes, and founded Classroom Champions - a non-profit charity that connects inner-city classrooms with ‘athlete-mentors’. 

Today I have asked him to share a couple of key habits that underpinned his success.  

Developing Habits - what are YOURS?
a guest post from Steve Mesler...

There was a time when my entire life revolved around one goal. I miss that time, I really do. When I think of the things that it took to accomplish what I did – all I can do is sit back and smile. It happened because I wasn’t willing to not let it happen. Bottom line.

There were a handful of habits I developed over time. Some came from my coaches.  Some came as I watched my competition prepare, while others came from my teammates that I lived with on a yearly basis. 

So let’s jump right in with three simple habits that I believe were crucial to my success.

1. Never, ever hit the snooze on your alarm

You set your alarm for a reason, right? If training is at 9AM and you know you need to be up two hours beforehand to wake up your nervous system and get some food in your belly, then you set your alarm for 7AM. That’s what you need to do. The thought of waking up any later would be a detriment to your training. So don’t do it.

You should be as excited to wake up and get prepared for training on a daily basis when your alarm goes off as you were when you woke up on Christmas morning when you were ten years old. Waking up at the right time is a chance to get better; just like eating right, warming up right, and finishing that last set – don’t squander any opportunity to get better.

2. Get to training no later than fifteen minutes early

Set the example for your training group and yourself. Showing up on time in my training group was the equivalent of showing up late. 


Because really, if you don’t care enough to get your mind right with a few minutes to spare, then you don’t care enough to win. When you arrive to training early it gives you ample time for the normal chit-chat (which is necessary for rapport amongst your training group), to roll or stretch anything that acted up overnight, and to look over the day’s agenda without the need to start late. 

Your competition time doesn’t wait for you, neither should your training time. Form the habit early and make it stick.

3. Rally your troops...even when they’re not yours

I trained for the majority of my Olympic career with athletes that I competed against, the majority of them foreign. Some people would not want to push them as you may your actual teammates. I didn’t care. 

If you were in my training group – you were on my team.

Always treat members of your training group as if they were people you were going to go to war with, whether they are or not. You are at the very least going to go to battle with them all off-season long. Increased competition and quality in a training group will make you better. Period. Outside of motivating them – it will motivate you to ensure you beat them every rep. Every set. Every session. Every day.

Steve has previously written three other posts for mcmillanspeed.  If you haven't already read them, I highly recommend checking out his thoughts on post-athletics challenges, Lance Armstrong and doping, and the importance of the basics. 

If you're a teacher or an educator, you may want to visit Classroom Champions, as they are now taking applications across both Canada and the United States.  

...give Steve a follow at @SteveMesler


  1. Well said Steve
    It truly is a lifestyle that isnt for everyone, but those who do enjoy it carry those habits forward onto whatever life may throw at you.

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