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Bad Coaching

Parents and Coaches,


Hearing what I’m about to tell you made me sick inside…for many reasons.  Sick because I’ve worked with this athlete many years…and what happened was dangerous and unprofessional.  Sick because this “coach” is probably doing the same thing to many other athletes.  Sick because parents pay for this “coach’s” services and are getting fooled into thinking that what he’s doing with their athlete is awesome.


Bad Coaching


So this athlete has a hitting lesson recently at the “coach’s” facility where he also does strength and conditioning work with his clients.  RED FLAG – Most hitting lessons are once per week which is fine because it is skill based.  However, if you then tack on some strength and conditioning work once per week you have an almost certainty of getting extremely sore…every time.  You need a consistency of effort of at least twice per week to build and maintain a level of physical readiness to not get extremely sore from strength work.  This is Strength Training 101 – not a closely guarded secret of the Russian Olympic Team.


And this “coach” crushes the athletes with the work he throws at them.  It shows an ignorance of basic training principles.  It shows an immature and misdirected “let’s see if you’re tough enough” mentality not suited for the mentoring of young bodies and minds.


And the CRAP - I can’t call it training - he put the athlete through has left the athlete sore 4 days later.  And the athlete has been training with us for 4 years and has accumulated the amount of training work more typically reached only by a college level athlete.  It is hard for me to describe how over the top and ridiculous the amount of CRAP work that is required to make a highly trained athlete that sore, but it was roughly the amount of work that should have been done in 2 or 3 workouts!  Oh yeah, did I mention that the athlete is in the middle of their high school season right now?


Brace yourself it’s going to get worse…


Every week the athlete reports to the “coach” their results from all their at bats during that week’s games…this is the one solid thing this guy seems to do.  However, because the athlete had a poor hitting week, the “coach” poured the workout CRAP on extra heavy.  For what purpose you may ask?  To motivate?  To toughen the athlete up?  Only that “coach” knows what he was thinking.  But I know what I’m thinking:


This idiot made the athlete WORSE this week.  FLAT OUT WORSE.


Like I said, I’m SICK.  Once I feel better, you’ll hear from me again about this.



TAT 2-Week Test Drive


Dan Bessetti

Owner & Head Coach



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Speed in Sports

Parents and Coaches,

I’ve rarely trained an athlete who did not want to get faster or talked with a coach or parent who didn’t want their athlete to get faster.  Whether its basketball, softball, baseball, lacrosse, or football, the play making ability of those who are fast is obvious!

 However, when getting down to the nuts and bolts of the training components required to get faster, most people don’t understand the contribution of strength.  Parents, coaches, and athletes in the football community are naturally more receptive to the idea because of the physical nature of the sport.  However, they typically only partially understand the importance of strength because of the obvious need to be able to push other people around in football.

 If you really want to grasp one of the most fundamental and powerful training outcomes in sports performance, open your mind and let the following sink in:

 While football players display strength by pushing others around, ALL ATHLETES display their strength by pushing themselves around!

 Powerful strides that propel a fast athlete are actually well timed, mechanically proficient…PUSHES.

 Want to push something harder?  Get Stronger.  Want to run faster (push the ground harder)?  GET STRONGER.

Is your athlete ready to get faster and stronger?  If so, click on the following link to test drive our program for 2 weeks:

2-Week Test Drive


Dan Bessetti

Owner and Head Coach 


(407) 965-8738


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Winning a National Championship

Parents and Coaches,


I had the pleasure of catching up with a colleague and friend, Eric Biener, last week.  I’m sure many of you also had opportunities to reconnect with family and friends over the last few weeks as well.


Eric was a strength and conditioning coach for 8 years at the University of North Carolina.  During that time he was in charge of 6 sports in that high profile college athletic department.  During his tenure there he had a personal hand in the development of the physical and mental abilities of hundreds of elite athletes – many of them D-I All Americans and a good number that went on to play professionally in their respective sport.


Several of Eric’s teams also won national championships during his tenure at UNC.  When comparing his good teams to his championship teams, Eric offered a simple yet profound assessment of what made the championship difference:



Understand we are comparing perennial top 10 Division I teams with perennial top 10 teams that won it all and took home a national championship.  We are comparing shades of gray here….or maybe more fitting…gold.  So when the comparison between any two things is very close, isn’t the differentiating factor magnified in its significance?  I think so.  So Eric’s assessment is worth repeating:




All the teams had blue-chip top notch recruits.  And we are not talking just football and basketball.  We are talking about Olympic sports that recruit internationally.  So they had some of the best athletes in their sports in the world.  All the teams had elite college coaches.  Remember these are teams at the same university, so there wasn’t huge disparities between the programs that could easily explain the championship difference.


But the championship teams got better.


If you’ve been around TAT long enough, you’ve heard me coaching your athletes or read my writing about getting better.  The athletes probably can predict when I’m going to spin out another “getting better” speech.  I am happily guilty of being consistent.  Our young athletes need consistency.   Here is one of those speeches:


Getting Better 


Getter better is fundamental to the process…arguably it is the process.  We are in the “improving” business…the “development” business… the “getting better” business.  TAT just does it in the delivery package of speed, strength, and agility training.  And if your athlete isn’t getting faster, quicker, and stronger at the fastest rate that modern training practices can induce, then they will not reach their full potential in their sport. 


Families new to our program can follow the link below to sample our program for 2 weeks:

2-Week Test Drive




Dan Bessetti

Owner & Head Coach




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The 8th Grade Year : Intro to TAT

Parents and Coaches,

 The eighth grade year is one of the most common times that athletes will start to train with TAT.  This is due to many factors including a big push in preparation for high school athletics and the maturing of the athlete from both a physical and - more importantly - mental standpoint.

 This is the first in a series of blogs that will lay out what is typically experienced by athletes in the 8th grade year from a training  outcomes standpoint depending on the length of time training in our program.  The time lengths we will focus upon are training 1-2 months, 3-5 months, and 6-9 months.  Our reference point is an athlete who is new to TAT.  Athletes who have been with us previously will have accelerated results, having already been exposed to our training system.  The results below reflect the “average” TAT new athlete which of course is impossible to quantify as everyone is an individual in their response to training.  However, the outcomes we will expound upon in the coming weeks will be seen in varying levels with every new TAT athlete. 

 So without any further introduction, here is what we typically see in our 8th graders who train with TAT for 1-2 months:



 ANAEROBIC FITNESS – Get in Game Shape!

Over the course of 1-2 months, athletes will improve tremendously in their work capacity, especially for short burst anaerobic types of activities common in many stop-and-go team sports.  In layman’s terms the athlete will get “in game shape”.  If the word “anaerobic” in that first sentence leaves you scratching your head, you are probably more familiar with the term “aerobic” meaning “utilizing oxygen” and the common aerobic forms of exercise like continuous running, biking, swimming, or the appropriately named Jane Fonda popularized exercise method called aerobics (did I date myself with that Jane Fonda reference?).  Being highly aerobically fit or “in shape” and being highly anaerobically fit or “in game shape” have some crossover, but in the quest for athletic performance the distinctions are clear by looking at extremes.  For example, consider the physical build and ability of an elite marathon runner…would you want that kind of aerobic training outcome for your baseball, basketball, or football player…absolutely NOT!  Elite marathoners have little muscle mass and some of the lowest vertical jumps and sprinting speeds of any athlete - strongly as a result of how they train!   Now I’m not saying that if your athlete goes and runs 2 miles that they will have an immediate decrease in speed and power – things like that take time.  Nevertheless, it is researched and documented sport science fact that large volumes of aerobic exercise have a negative impact on strength, power, and speed – the very things that our athletes are trying to enhance!  The truth is if your 8th grader commonly goes out for a “run” taking longer than 15 minutes to get “in shape” for their anaerobic stop-and-go sport they are probably giving themselves little to no athletic advantage and could possibly be inhibiting their athletic development!  Bottom line, there is a stark diminishing return of investment with aerobic training for anaerobic sport athletes.  Especially as athletes are approaching and in high school, all training needs to become more specific toward the physical outcomes that will result in sport success.  Need to be fast, agile, powerful, strong, and do it repeatedly?  Then get in great anaerobic condition - get in “game shape” at TAT!


INTEGRATED STRENGTH – Strength That Actually Makes You a Better Athlete! 

The other outcome we will expound upon is what I call integrated strength.  First, athletes will acquire basic lifting and weight room safety practices.  They will develop total body strength especially in major muscle groups with an emphasis on integrated strength between the core and extremities.  These exercises will develop the foundation of strength upon which subsequent training will build upon.  More importantly, these exercises will enhance athleticism!  Strength gains are meant to make an athlete move faster, jump higher, and play their sport stronger!  Exercises that integrate more of the body (core and extremities) into a coordinated system will have greater carry over to whole body motions and movements - which in our case translates into enhanced athletic ability!   Contrast this integrated athletic strength with body-building-style body part training (for instance spending an entire workout focused on biceps and triceps) that has much less carry over to athleticism.

Now you guys out there that “know your way around a weight room” or maybe were a college athlete that trained under a great strength coach, this may blow your mind:  I’ve learned over nearly 20 years of developing college, high school, and youth athletes that many of the classic lifts (bench press and squat to name two) that are popular in college and high school strength programs are poor choices for most youth and young high school athletes.  This flies in the face of the conventional practice that those classic barbell exercises are the basis for getting stronger as evidenced that most high school lifting programs are centered around those types of movements.  Understand, however, that many high schools are simply copying the programs run by high profile college athletic departments.  Your 9th or 10th grader is not a Division I athlete – let alone your 8th grader – so how can the physical training for a 20-year-old be applicable to a 14-year-old?  Simply put, it is not.  A foundation of integrated strength must be built before and then simultaneously with the learning of barbell exercises for best results.  And remember, that the results we are focused on at TAT are on-the-field results of athletes playing their sports better, not simply getting better at certain lifts!  We want you to PLAY STRONGER not just lift more weight!

I hope you have learned something about athletic development in this first installment of what can be expected when your 8th grader begins training at TAT.  Look in the coming weeks for the second installment, detailing what can be expected over 3-5 months.

 If you would like to sample our program for 2 weeks, click on the following link:

2-Week Test Drive

Reach Your Potential!


Dan Bessetti

Owner and Head Coach 


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Totally Worth It

Parents and Coaches,

I know that sports families are busy. 

Every current TAT family is balancing their athlete’s TAT training with a combination of sports camps and practices, private sports lessons, actual sport competitions, and family vacations – just the usual balls in the juggling act!

There is not enough time to do everything, nor is there enough money for most of us.  We have to choose the experiences that will be of the most benefit to our children.  I understand.  My wife and I do the same for our children.

Recently a parent gave me some casual feedback about a recent sport camp experience and compared it to what his son is doing at TAT.  The info was unsolicited, brutally honest, and more powerful than if I tried to tell you the same thing, so I asked him to write it down.  I shared his words last week on our Facebook page,, or you can read them here:

 “My son and I just came back from the UF Gator camp. We had a great time and a great experience. Just as a little background on the camp, they had a couple hundred kids with some of the Gator players and coaches over the 3 day camp. They had many drill stations with coaches running them every day. They received instruction and life lessons over the 3 days. We toured the stadium "Swamp", practice facility, trophy room, weight room, film room, and more. The athletes practiced in the Swamp and practice facility. Like I said, It was a great experience. If you are a Gator fan I highly recommend attending the camp. In comparison to Total Athlete Training (TAT), the Gator camp is more about the experience. They corrected, coached and trained the best they could with so many kids. Each athlete only had enough time to perform each drill once. At TAT it is more about training the athlete. You have around 10 athletes and around 3 to 4 coaches give or take. They receive more skilled and focused attention. To compare the 2 I used the price of each, travel, along with the food, hotel and the time the athletes received instruction. I do not want to discourage anyone from attending either facility. They both have their pros and cons, but the benefits you receive at TAT are well worth the price you pay. The Gator camp helped light a fire in my son to focus and train harder at TAT!”

 -          Brandon and Ashley Hepinstall, TAT athlete and future Gator Aidan


If you'd like to experience what the Hepistall's are talking about, our 2-Week Test Drive is the way to go:


Dan Bessetti


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Me...Getting Better Too!

Parents and Coaches,

I attended a conference last Friday and Saturday in Orlando to earn some continuing education toward my strength and conditioning certification.  I’d like to share the highlights of some of what I learned that I think may be interesting to a person not in the industry.  Ultimately, TAT is the composite of what I’ve learned over the years and the exercises, drills, sets, and reps your athlete does is reflected in what I’ve learned!

Click Here to Hear What I Shared With Our High School Athletes About the Conference 

For the first time I was able to attend a Stuart McGill presentation.  He is the world’s foremost expert on the spine and back. 


It’s not a debate like is Curry better than Lebron or Jordan or Bird…no one else is in the same category as McGill.

Key takeaway applicable to us all (even us parents):  Flexion (forward bending) of the spine under load (think moving a couch) is the most destructive motion to our vertebral discs.  In the weight room lift with a flat back and ask for help with the couch!


 I have learned a lot from Mike Boyle and if you’ve been around TAT long enough you may have even heard me quote him before.  I didn’t realize how much I have learned until I walked into his “Learn by Doing” presentation and thought I was walking into a TAT workout!  All 3 of the featured exercises were things we have done the last month!

 Key takeaway applicable to us all: Most of sports and even daily motion is an alternating leg endeavor.  We walk from leg to leg, we go up stairs from leg to leg, our athletes run around from leg to leg…the alternative would be us jumping around on two legs to move our bodies everywhere!  Get strong and balanced and powerful on one leg!


Bill Parisi is a very successful entrepreneur with his sports performance franchises operating in 85 locations.  He coached and led about 40 of us attendees through his speed training protocol.  I pulled out when we actually started the high effort sprinting and let the 20 and 30-somethings in the room have at it…I was already sore from participating in Mike Boyle’s session the day before! Bill couples his great business sense with an awesome understanding of the human psyche.  Most of the people in that room had never done his protocol before (and were pretty rough), but he made everyone feel like they were just killing it!

Key takeaway applicable to us all:  Beginners need  A LOT of positive feedback.  Bill focused on the one or two things that everyone was doing great instead of the half a dozen errors everyone had with their technique.  At the end of the hour everyone had improved, was jazzed up, and most importantly was ready to do it again!  If you coach kids in a sport the most important thing is to keep them excited about it!  I will be striving to keep doing the same at TAT!

If your athlete has never been with us before, click the following link to see how you can Test Drive Total Athlete Training for 2 Weeks:

TAT 2-Week Test Drive

Reach Your Potential,

Dan Bessetti

Owner and Head Coach, Total Athlete Training


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He (or She) Already Does This...

Many families' first introduction to TAT is at a youth or high school sporting event where I have my sponsor table set up with TAT training videos playing on a TV.  For example this video:

TAT Video

I've found that playing the videos is very eye-catching and serves as a default ice-breaker where people can approach the table and not feel obligated to talk because they're watching...but more often than not it does naturally lead to conversation, but I always cringe inside when people first respond with this comment:


"He already does this."  "You know...speed and agilities...."


But it's not at our place...I personally work with every athlete at our facility and know all the parents.  I cringe because they are wrong - they aren't doing what we're doing.  I cringe because they are not training at TAT - but think they are getting the same thing because a few exercises or drills are recognizable enough to their uneducated eye to resemble what their athlete is doing!   


Despite my internal cringing I usually respond, "That's great!  Where are they training?" If the athlete is pre-high school, the answer is usually with their sports team where one of the coaches (a parent volunteer) puts the players through some drills as part of their practice.  Let me emphasize that I do think this is great!  Our young athletes are generally not getting enough coaching and work on overall athleticism and general physical development.


But trust me they aren't doing what we're doing.


For the off chance that someone is actually training with a professional coach / trainer at a field where they meet, at another sports performance facility, or even with coaches at their high school my answer is still the same.


They aren't doing what we are doing...they simply can't be:


TAT is not some canned and planned cookbook-style program that you can download off the Internet or replicate by watching a couple YouTube videos.  Believe it or not, but you can't even copy a college team's training program or just remember what your coaches did with you in high school and get the same results as TAT!


I've been doing this almost 20 years. I have the degrees and the certifications.  I've proven myself at the college level as a strength and conditioning coach at 4 universities.  But that isn't why you should come try TAT.


It's because training the youth athlete and high school athlete is different than training elite athletes...A LOT different!  But 15 years ago I didn't fully realize how different it is.  Running my first youth strength and speed camp at UCF in 2001 I quickly came to see that my skill set developed by training college athletes was not meeting the needs of the kids in my youth program.  College athletes don't need to be taught how to be athletic...they wouldn't be there if they weren't athletic already!  But unless your athlete is in the 2% destined for the elite level, they DO NEED to be taught how to run, jump, cut, and move athletically to reach their full potential!  In a nutshell, that's what our program is about:  Teaching the movement skills required for success in athletics within a training system modeled after the elite level but regressed and developmentally appropriate at both youth and high school levels.


So unless the coach working with your athlete has been where I've been, has seen what I've seen, and then developed a training system based upon those experiences, backed by sport science, and honed through in-the-trenches coaching with thousands of athletes...


There is simply no way they could be doing what we are doing at Total Athlete Training!

Reach Your Potential,

Coach Dan Bessetti


Click this link to set up a 2-Week Test Drive of our program to see for yourself:


 TAT 2-Week Test Drive



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This Will Blow Your Mind!

Parents and coaches be careful of where your information comes from that is used in guiding your athlete.

I recently had an athlete tell me when I asked them where their water was that they didn't bring any because their "trainer" said don't drink any water until a workout is over! Before we go any further this is probably the worst advice I've ever heard.  Dangerous advice that could literally get someone killed!  

So who gave this advice?   And to what age and level of athlete? 

Surprisingly and sadly, the "trainer" in this case is a sports medicine professional or certified athletic trainer!  It just blows my mind that someone on the front lines of athlete safety would be so ignorant in a subject area for which they should be an EXPERT!  

Now who received the dangerous information?  If you're thinking high school athlete, I am happy to say that you are wrong.  And I am only happy because the person giving the advice doesn't have exposure to hundreds of high school athletes.  And the answer is not a youth level athlete either.  Scratching your head?  We've been working with some college and professional athletes lately and just to keep some level of anonymity spread between them that's the level where the advice was either the college or professional sports level!

Folks I'm not making this up.  It's much too serious an issue to fabricate a story like this just to drive people to read my blog.

The reason I'm sharing is to make the global point about being careful about where you glean information that is used to guide your athlete.  Just to be clear and not overly paranoid, most of the bad information is not going to be dangerous...just hampering of your athlete's development.  For example, doing a lot of long-distance running to get in shape for a speed and power sport like basketball will never kill your will just make them slower and decrease their vertical jump!  And avoiding the weight room until the often quoted age of 15 or 16 per a misinformed physician's recommendation will not kill your athlete will simply keep them from realizing their full potential by not maximizing their speed, strength, and power!  I could share endless examples of information misapplied or just plain hogwash that I've heard over nearly 20 years of immersing myself in the training of athletes.     

In this age of information, ANSWERS are easy to come can just talk to Siri or have a 5-year old do a web search for you.


However if you want to find the TRUTH, you better have a trusted resource.  

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Sports Nutrition Tips: What to Eat Pre-Game or Workout

I noticed one of our high school athletes dragging tremendously this morning during our workout. An athlete that is usually very well prepared and from a family that I know has supplemented their athlete’s diet with various products in the name of performance enhancement.

Upon quizzing him of his workload yesterday (nothing out of the ordinary), he volunteered that he was feeling like he was going to see his breakfast again. Asking him what he ate, I will now offer these sports nutrition “tips”:

· No pre-game or pre-workout meal should EVER contain gravy. EVER.

· If your pre-game or pre-workout meal comes out of a freezer from a cardboard box and then requires a microwave oven (and contains gravy), you can do A LOT BETTER!

You would be able to dive in the dumpster outside of a supermarket and find some barely expired fruit and bread that would do a much better job of fueling athletic performance! Yes, you just read that.

The kicker to this entire unfortunate situation is that the athlete made that choice ON PURPOSE, with the intent “to get some protein” (pre-game meals shouldn’t be focused on protein), and his father was in agreement and shared the meal! The athlete also ate the other half of the meal that the father didn’t finish…lucky dad!

This brings a quote to mind that I am going to paraphrase and cannot remember who said it, but you’ll get the point:

“It’s not what you don’t know that hurts you the most…it may be what you think you know that simply isn’t true that hurts you the most.”

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Make Your Coach Think Differently About YOU!

It’s human nature to make a decision and stick to it until all factors point toward a different decision being warranted. We would seem wishy-washy and not able to gain people’s respect and trust otherwise.

The decisions sport coaches make about playing time and their athletes are no different.

If your athlete didn’t like where they finished their last season on the depth chart, they have to force some indecision upon their coaches by showing a markedly better version of themselves the next time they get a chance!

The local high school football coaches will be putting together the fall starting line-ups during the month of May as they put their players through spring practices minus the departing seniors…its next fall’s team already!

In other words, February, March, and April are the last 3 months your high school football player has to improve their speed, agility, strength, and overall athleticism in order to throw some indecision into their coaches minds during spring practice and force the coaches to think differently about them.


For the player who played JV and maybe got some varsity snaps after the games were decided:


For the varsity starter who has college aspirations:

Training with TAT for these crucial 3 months will give your athlete the edge over their teammates and force their coaches to change think differently about your athlete! Begin your 12-WEEK training package soon and you will complete it before spring football season and save some $$ in the process!

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Simply put, it takes DELIBERATE, SPECIFIC, CONSISTENT hard work over time to reach your full athletic potential! I am not sure where the high school programs fall short…it’s probably a combination of all those factors of varying levels at every school…and nothing that I personally can control in any way.


We do control ALL THE FACTORS during each 90 minute session at TAT!

  •  At TAT we are DELIBERATE! You cannot “go through the motions” or “just run and do some drills” and get the same results that come from focused hard work!

  •  At TAT we are SPECIFIC! For example, to improve speed your technique must be maximized…arms, legs, torso, head, doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing…close does not cut it!

  •  At TAT we are CONSISTENT! You get better at things you do the most of, right?…and most of the high school programs are centered around the weight room 3-4 days per week and the athletes get stronger! Focus some Deliberate, CONSISTENT hard work on speed and agility and the results will come!
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When You KNOW Better; You Will CHOOSE Better!

Twice in the last week, I’ve been saddened by information told to me by potential clients.

In the first instance, a high school athlete was having trouble explaining to me the machines that his “strength guy” had him working out on..the “strength guy” recommended by his travel ball coach. It’s sad because the athlete trusts this “strength guy” because he was recommended by his travel ball coach whom he also trusts. It’s sad that the travel ball coach doesn’t have a professional person to whom he can refer his players that is up-to-date in current methodologies for the training of athletic performance. Training on machines is “like so 1980’s”. I can’t believe I just wrote that, but it’s the quickest way to get my point across!

In the second instance, a dad proudly showed me a quick video of his son lifting weights where he works-out four days a week with a “trainer”. It was sad that he was doing an exercise that is more for “show” than for athletic performance: bicep curls. It was sadder yet that the athlete was using sloppy form in the execution of the poor exercise choice (any exercise DONE WELL can still be beneficial to a degree)! It was still sadder yet that the video showed a panorama of the facility and there was no “trainer” to be seen in the video…only other people working out! And it was the saddest of all that after a few strategic questions, I determined that the athlete was being trained on a “body-part-split” type program first popularized in the 1970’s (or possibly earlier) by the steroid-rampant bodybuilding community.

This stuff really gets to me more now that I’m a parent compared to 3 years ago. People are looking to do something good for their children but truly don’t know where to turn, get lead astray by people they trust, and the worst part is they don’t know the difference!

That really got me to thinking:

How would you go about buying a service or product that you’ve never used before? More than likely, you are going to ask a friend or relative and get a referral, right? Then hopefully that friend or relative points you in the right direction and you get hooked up with a very competent professional able to deliver that service or product. In this way it’s usually not too hard to find a mechanic, doctor, yard service, or babysitter that fits your needs. This system works because most everyone has multiple experiences over many years with all those types of services.

But what if the vast majority (easily 95% plus) of the population has never used the service in question or very likely doesn’t even know it exists? That makes it really tough to find what you’re looking for doesn’t it? Many people in this predicament go without finding help or just go with something that seems close. Unfortunately, they often get referrals from people who are in the same boat: people who have had to go with something that seems close but truly don’t know the difference between what they are receiving and what is the best available.

The niche in the fitness/sports industry that is Sports Performance Training (and thus TOTAL ATHLETE TRAINING) is described perfectly by the preceding paragraph, and here are the reasons why:

Ø Most people (easily 95% plus) have never personally been coached by a legitimate sports performance coach or strength and conditioning coach. Why? Most of these professionals are employed at the college (10 years myself) or pro sports level and unless you have been a college or pro athlete, you simply have never been exposed to this type of professional.

Ø The YOUTH and HIGH SCHOOL portions of the Sports Performance Industry are in their infancy. The first businesses that fully resembled today’s version of modern Sports Performance Facilities began popping up in the mid 1990’s. This makes the industry around 20 years old, so parents of 7-18 year-old athletes were likely never exposed to sports performance themselves.

Ø Sports Performance Training is easily confused. Many people have “worked with a trainer” before or “lifted with the football team in high school”. It’s human nature to go with what you know. People would still be working with their Commodore 64’s and gaming with their Atari’s if they hadn’t been exposed to the next generation of technology. Unfortunately, many “trainers” and “high school weight programs” are Commodore 64 and Atari level because it’s human nature to keep going with what you know.

Ø In the greater Orlando area, I know of 7 facilities that provide Sports Performance Training as their primary business, including TOTAL ATHLETE TRAINING. In contrast, big-box gyms, personal training studios, and most dangerously, Crossfit gyms, can be found in every shopping plaza and mixed use commercial rental space. Correspondingly, Sports Performance Coaches are probably outnumbered 1 to 100 compared with all the “trainers” employed at the other businesses. These skewed numbers dictate that people are more familiar with the other businesses and the people employed at those business. Add to that the point above, “Sports Performance Training is easily confused”, and we have the perfect storm responsible for the stories opening this article!

For clarification, while the opening stories about the athletes focus on strength training examples, what I’ve written is not really about “lifting weights” and neither is TOTAL ATHLETE TRAINING. I could have told you stories about athletes being instructed to run long distance to get “in shape” (by the way this will also make you SLOWER) or parents being told that their 10-year old needs to play only one sport year-round or they will not develop their skills adequately to compete when older (however it’s more often the young multi-sport athlete that ascends to a higher level because of a broad athletic base).

The main point I’m making is that WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER YOU WILL CHOOSE BETTER.

Making decisions about your athlete’s optimal athletic development can be confusing. A hallmark of a great teacher or coach is that they can make the confusing…simple.

Stop by and let’s have a conversation so I can simplify things for you. Your kids deserve it.

If you can personally relate to the stories above and aren’t part of the TAT family, you owe it to YOUR KIDS to set up a 2-Week Test Drive.  Come and experience a different and higher level of professionalism and service that cannot be replicated by the masses. You will not regret it. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain!

TAT 2-Week Test Drive


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The Most Important Decade in a Person's Life

This past Sunday at church I heard something that really resonated with me. The pastor said that the most important decade in a person’s life is from age 13 to 23. During those 10 years a person grows from adolescent to adult, completes most if not all of their education, gets pointed toward or started in a career, and possibly meets their spouse. All those things added up set up a person for the rest of their life. The irony of the teenage years when so much guidance is needed is that many teenagers begin a concerted effort to distance themselves from their parents! Suddenly we parents “don’t understand” are “old fashioned” and are otherwise ill-equipped to help our young people navigate through the minefield of life! If only they could see the battle wounds of our own navigation!

Part of the pastor’s message was to continue to spend A LOT of time with your kids. The same kind of time when they were 1 to 12 years-old, but obviously that time will look different. Many times it’s easy to just let the 14-year old seclude themselves in their room with their phone…especially with the way they’ve been talking back to you and you just want them out of your face. It’s also easy to give that 16-year-old the car keys so you don’t have to chauffeur them around anymore. Don’t get me wrong, becoming independent is critical, (no one still wants a 28-year-old in the house) but we must be diligent to remain connected in their lives because they need us more than ever!

I’m thankful that you entrust my team and I to coach and guide your child during this often tumultuous time of their lives.

I’m humbled that you choose to devote part of your precious time with your child to spending it with Total Athlete Training.

We are reminded constantly that our workout session does not exist in a vacuum, but is affected by the daily lives of the athletes. While TAT is a short time every week and our delivery method is athletic preparation, our sessions are often sprinkled with lessons other than speed, agility, and strength. Between drills, sets, and reps we are working through school issues, team issues, and relationship issues. I often feel more like a psychiatrist than a coach!

This week I shared with the athletes some life lessons wrapped up in the disguise of athletic preparation. Click this link to hear about how your athlete’s current ability, their future potential, and their ability to maximize their potential are all related. If you’ve had some trouble getting the same general ideas explained to your athlete, give me a shot…let your athlete watch as well!

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Make the Choice to "Be The Best!"

Anytime I run across something well-written that makes a great point, I like to share it!

Vern Gambetta is one of the leaders in the strength and conditioning industry and an individual that I look toward for inspiration and knowledge. This article comes at a time when I have been trying to express these very same thoughts to an athlete who has achieved a very high level of success, but is still working toward reaching true potential. Whether you are an athlete, coach, salesman, student, bank executive, or stay-at-home mom, there is a gold mine of information in Vern’s words:

To Be the Best

By Vern Gambetta

The process of getting to be the best is not a straightforward, linear path. It is a process, and it takes time. In my 44 years of coaching, I have seen many athletes who are called to walk the path, but few actually choose to. Yes, you read that correctly: Many are called but few choose. The opportunity is there for many, but few will make the choice because it is a difficult path that requires moving out of their Comfort Zone.

At each step of development, there are clear-cut choices that must be made. Some of the choices are conscious, like doing something different in training. Others are subtle and almost unconscious, like pushing through a pain barrier or finishing a workout that seems too hard. You must be guided by clear, SMART goals that help get you to your destination. SMART goals are:

S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Realistic
T = Time

The goal is where you want to go, where you want to end up. It is the beacon of light that guides you. Most athletes start in the Comfort Zone and stay there. They are good at their sport and satisfied with where they are. They make easy choices; they never go the extra mile. They do only what is expected, never more. Athletes in this zone take no risks; there are no champions here. If you aspire to be a peak performer, then you will quickly have to move out of your Comfort Zone to the Performance Zone, or you will never achieve your goals.

Athletes in the Performance Zone have a greater commitment. They take some risks, and they will go the extra mile when necessary. They occasionally are uncomfortable. They usually win as much as they lose.

From the Performance Zone, the next step is the High Performance Zone. As the athlete chooses to do what is necessary to move up, there will be less people in the higher zones. The athletes in this zone are willing to risk and get very uncomfortable. In fact, they are uncomfortable more than they are comfortable, and they win more than they lose. They will always go the extra mile.

The pinnacle, the Peak Performance Zone, is where the champions live, train, and play. This is a special place. It is as far from the comfort zone as you could imagine. Athletes here are the best of the best, and they are comfortable with being uncomfortable because they know what it takes to be the best. In fact, they are uncomfortable all the time, and they make others uncomfortable with their intensity and drive. The path is clear; you must do the work daily with ICE - Intensity, Concentration and Effort. You must win the workouts if you expect to win the competition.

Make the choice to be the best. Set your goals and start acting on those goals now. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable all the time.

Vern Gambetta, MA, is President of Gambetta Sports Training Systems in Sarasota, Fla. The former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox, he has also worked extensively with basketball, soccer, and track and field athletes. He is a frequent contributor to Training & Conditioning.

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Proper Nutrition Can Unlock Your Athlete's True Potential

Are you confused with what your family should be eating with all the conflicting information thrust in our faces between TV, internet, books and magazines, radio, and clever marketing on grocery store shelves?

Are you confident that your athlete is fueled for high performance for all their practices and games across a week?

Is your advice about nutrition for your older athlete leading to frustration and conflict when you see the fast food bags littering the passenger side of their car?


Bring the whole family to our facility (address and landmarks below my signature) on Saturday, June 20th , from 9 AM - Noon to get your questions answered about sports nutrition! This 3-hour blend of lecture, question and answer, videos, practical learning, demonstration, and most importantly FOOD SAMPLING, will be an incredible tool in unlocking your athlete’s true potential!

********SPECIAL CO-PRESENTER*********


OK, she’s not a real chef – she’s just the chef at my house – she’s my wife! Most importantly, Hilarie understands the time constraints of family life and the pressure most working women feel to be awesome moms, loving wives, taxi drivers, and the “chef” of the house! Hilarie is going to help me bring the practical side of sports nutrition to your family by explaining and demonstrating some strategies that allow the Bessetti family to “eat like athletes”!


· What exactly should your athlete be eating before a game or practice to perform their best?

· When are sports drinks a better choice than water for your athlete’s performance…and when they may actually be more harm than good!

· Why the “muscle-building” protein shake your high school athlete is drinking could be building more of a dent in your wallet than muscles on their body!

· How to read a nutrition label!

· Why losing weight to become faster usually results in a SLOWER athlete!

· What fats should we be eating more of to augment health and performance?

· The dirty truth behind the supplement industry!

· What great post-workout recovery drink is likely already in your refrigerator!







PRICE: $79* pre-paid online at

*$99 after June 17th

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Off-Season Training or Total Athletic Training?

If you are the parent of a high school football player (or future high school football player), you need to read this! I’m pulling no punches and going straight to the point:


First off, I am not damning the work being put in at the high schools by the players or by the coaches who are essentially volunteers when you consider what they get paid. They should be working out together, sweating together, and getting better together…that’s what great programs are built on…WORK.

And I’m not making the above bold statement just based upon simple observation of the kids in our program making improvement – and many times at leaps and bounds. I am also actually accumulating the data to prove that bold statement in RED above. That data is in the form of the in-house speed and agility tests that we use to track our athletes’ progress.

Time and again I have re-tested athletes returning to our program to train with us again…

Athletes that have been away from us for 4-9 months…

Athletes who have been working within their school’s off-season program or participating in their sports…

Athletes that can barely make the marks they attained when previously training with us…OR WORSE YET…

Athletes who actually tp>est out SLOWER than when they last trained with us…!

You don’t have to know much about sports to have an basic understanding that high school athletics is competitive and if you’re not getting better you’ll never achieve your full potential…or possibly never even see the field!

The high school coaches will be pretty much putting together the fall starting line-ups during the month of May as they put their players through spring practices minus the departing seniors…its next fall’s team already!

Hopefully your athlete has totally transformed themselves in the past nearly 4 months of the off-season: part of November, and all of December, January, and February. They should be significantly stronger, more agile, faster, and more athletic than they were in November…if they’re not a measurably better version of themselves by now, they are likely falling behind others who are putting in more (or better) work!

If your high school football player is to be fully prepared for spring practice commencing in May, they need to begin putting the final touches on their speed, strength, agility, and athleticism NOW!

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Dr. Andrews Speaks on The Importance of Recovery Time

It’s that time of year when baseball is in full swing. Currently training athletes are already talking to me about the league that they will participate with in the summer…going right from one season into the next without any break…which may essentially be considered an extension of the December wood bat league that they hopped onto right after the fall ball season…the fall ball season that began last September only one month after all stars finished up in July…which brings us almost a full entire year of playing professional baseball…






PD: The best advice you would give parents of a young athlete?

J.A.: The first thing I would tell them is, their kid needs at least two months off each year to recover from a specific sport. Preferably, three to four months. Example: youth baseball. For at least two months, preferably three to four months, they don't need to do any kind of overhead throwing, any kind of overhead sport, and let the body recover in order to avoid overuse situations. That's why we're seeing so many Tommy John procedures, which is an adult operation designed for professionals. In my practice now, 30 to 40 percent of the ones I'm doing are on high-schoolers, even down to ages 12 or 13. They're already coming in with torn ligaments.

Give them time off to recover. Please. Give them time to recover.

I said in the book, I want parents and coaches to realize the implications of putting a 12- or 13-year-old through the type of athletic work done by a 25-year-old. Parents and coaches, though they mean well, need to understand what the long-term effects of overuse can be.


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Coaching Our Athlete's Towards an "Athletic Mindset"

If your athlete has participated with TAT, you have an understanding that our program trains MUCH more than the body. A common saying out of my mouth is “Your mind is the most powerful part of your body; where your mind takes you…your body will follow.”

Coaching our young athletes toward “an athletic mindset” is the key to helping them reach their full potential. I find that even young athletes having a lot of success in their sports may be having that success despite glaring dysfunction in their athletic mindset. Whether it’s their self-confidence, poor body language, effort and attitude toward practice, or handling failure and success, helping our young people think like an athlete will have tremendous spill-over into all areas of their life. You can learn about being successful in life from just about anywhere…our delivery system at TOTAL ATHLETE TRAINING is athletic preparation through speed, strength, and agility training!

A common tripping point for young people in their school, social, family, and sporting endeavors is FEAR. Many times as adults we forget about the real stress that comes from childhood, adolescent, or teenage fears by rationalizing it from an adult standpoint and not recognizing how REAL it is to them. My 3-year-old’s bad dreams are probably MORE TERRIFYING to her than a close call vehicle collision would be to me…even though only one of those things would be physically harmful!

Click the link below to hear sport psychology expert Dr. Haley Perlus speak about some practical strategies to help our young athletes overcome the very common fear of not measuring up in athletics. This is something many of our athletes experience at some age and level - so it takes many different forms - but it’s a common theme we coach our athletes through at TAT.


Because of the busyness that may have enveloped your Thanksgiving, you may have missed the message that I shared with our athletes early that week, and shared via my Thanksgiving email.

Click below to hear what I coached the athletes about concerning Maximizing Their Athletic Potential:

Total Athlete Training has shared a video with you on YouTube Maximize Your Athletic Potential by Total Athlete Training

Dan Bessetti of Total Athlete Training in Orlando Florida coaches middle and high school athletes on practical ways to maximize their athletic potential. Help center • Email options • Report spam ©2014 YouTube, LLC 901 Cherry Ave, San Bruno, CA 94066

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