2024 College Strength and Conditioning Coach of The Year – Brijesh Patel
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (00:07.691)
So we know that you’ve got to get out of your comfort zone and get into the growth zone, right? But there’s this uncomfortable feeling that’s there. And so a lot of people don’t like going there. Walk me through how you encourage your athletes as a strength and conditioning coach to get out of their comfort zone into the growth zone. And not just from a physical standpoint, because obviously that’s where muscle growth is, but we’d love to hear you even maybe comment on that and how it applies to mindset as well.
Brijesh Patel (00:30.677)
Brijesh Patel (00:35.278)
Well, I think, you know, being a strength, getting a shin coach and doing this for, for such a long time, I’ve seen, you know, athletes fail and I’ve seen athletes grow and I’ve seen athletes that are willing to accept challenges. But one thing that I’ve realized over this, over the years, it’s the number one key factor is the willingness to accept the fact that no growth ever happens in state of comfort. And if you can apply that message and that sentence to every aspect of your life.
then and you’re willing to fail and you’re willing to understand that you have another level of athleticism, you have another level of ability to learn, you have another ability, you have the ability to improve. I think that’s what it really is. You have the ability to improve, then you can get better whatever somebody else asks you to do. So I’m going to say it again, it’s the willingness to understand that no growth happens in a state of comfort. So if you want to apply that from a
hypertrophy standpoint and you want to increase a muscular size, you want to get stronger, you have to do something you’ve never done before. Like you just got to be ready to accept that. And if you want to grow mentally, like in let’s say, for example, like your performance, you don’t like the way you’re performing right now, like then you got to start to understand what let’s take a mental inventory of what’s your approach to the game. What’s your approach to training? What’s your approach to
your nutrition, what’s the approach to your sleep hygiene and your habits and getting you to understand that the success that you want to have does not operate in a vacuum. Everything is connected. Everything works together and your willingness to get outside of that and develop the level of awareness to understand where are gaps that I can try to fill and what are skill sets that I can try to add to my game to try to improve. I think that’s the secret sauce.
That’s everything if you want to get better. I think that’s where it really comes down to with the athletes that I see on a day to day basis. I asked them, do you want to get better? Right? If you want to get better than I can help you. But if you’re going to fight me and you’re going to fight the process of improvement, then I’m not going to be able to serve any kind of purpose along your journey. And that’s all I’m here for is I’m going to stand alongside you and try to help you realize the things that you can achieve, but also help you to become the best version of yourself.
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (02:58.075)
I love it. And everyone, so we’re here with Brijesh Patel, who joined Quinnipiac. And he’s a strength and conditioning coach who joined Quinnipiac University in 2008 as the athletic department’s head of strength and conditioning and was previously the head, uh, head title, held the title of assistant. This is, you know, I’m not, I’m not a good reader, but boy, you know, I’m, I, uh, I’m excited to hear more.
Brijesh Patel (03:18.254)
Brijesh Patel (03:25.774)
You’re a good speaker.
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (03:27.419)
Yeah, exactly. I’ve got my own YouTube channel, but I’m not a good speaker. Um, uh, Patel previously held the title of a assistant strength and conditioning coach at the, uh, college of Holy cross and, uh, Worcester mass and, uh, primarily works with the men’s and women’s basketball and ice hockey teams at Quinnipiac university here in Connecticut. Uh, and he also oversees the strength and conditioning development for all 21 varsity sports at Quinnipiac and
Since joining the Bobcat staff, Patel has enhanced the strength and conditioning program at Quinnipiac behind the philosophy of year-round preparation, which I’m excited to talk more about in a moment. And not only that, but Brijesh, also known as Coach B, has been nominated for the National Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year Award in 2016, 2018, 2020.
two in 2023, but also ended up winning it here in 2024. So congratulations on that. Especially, you know, knowing that you were nominated four times, you know, tells us that, yeah, exactly, you finally made the difference. I wanna kind of circle back to the conversation that we initially kicked the podcast off with. When we talk about the growth zone and getting out of the growth zone,
Brijesh Patel (04:32.91)
Brijesh Patel (04:37.902)
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (04:54.439)
What is it, especially with athletes, why do you think that some athletes are more willing to, or at least would rather spend more time in the comfort zone instead of the growth zone? Because as athletes, you would just inherently think that everyone wants to be a better version of themselves. Is it that they just don’t have the motivation intrinsically? What do you think it is that holds some athletes back?
Brijesh Patel (05:06.35)
Brijesh Patel (05:13.518)
Brijesh Patel (05:21.294)
Well, you said motivation, like I can go on another tangent on motivation too, but like what I’ve noticed and what I recognize is that it’s a lot of the athletes willingness to grow and willingness to get uncomfortable is truly a product of the environment that they grew up in. And it’s a product of the coaches that they’ve been fortunate or unfortunate to have as they’ve developed.
Um, push their comfort zone, recognize that they can improve, recognizing, get better. And these are the ones who show up every single day. What else can I do? What else can I improve with? What else can I get better at? Um, and I’ve seen athletes on the other side that will fight you on every little thing to try to improve. And they’ll say, well, I don’t need to do that. Um, I don’t need to improve.
I don’t need to get any better at all. This is kind of the way I am. This is as good as I’m gonna get. And it’s kind of this, if you’ve ever read Carolyn Dweck’s approach to mindset, like fixed mindset versus growth mindset. And I recognize and realize, and because I have conversations with these kids, is sometimes the ones that have these growth mindsets often were taught at an early age, hopefully by their parents and by youth coaches that they’ve had, is that they can consistently find ways to improve or grow.
Versus athletes who have a fixed mindset. They’ve often been always been told they’re so good They don’t need to work any harder. They’re the best of their team they’re the best of You know, they’re the best in their class whatever it may be The ones that have always been told that they’re the best at things Often have a tougher time as they get older and older to be told guess what? you’re not that good at at this particular skill or
you need to improve a little bit more. So that’s what I’ve recognized and realized is that it’s honestly the approach from a younger age and from their environment at the things that they’ve been fed throughout their journey if they can truly improve at a higher level or stay the same. But like you did say motivation, I did wanna go on that for just a quick second. I don’t often think that it’s a lack of motivation, but rather a lack of discipline.
Brijesh Patel (07:45.39)
Right? Because, you know, you could put out a motivational video. I can be intrinsically motivated or inspired by, uh, by, by something that my coach would tell me, and then my last for a minute, then my last a week, then my last a month, but sooner or later, I need to have the discipline within me to be able to take the steps and take actions towards developing the habit where I can actually improve.
Right? So any YouTube video that you watch, any speech that you may hear, understand it’s only going to last so long. At the end of the day, you’ve got to be able to take some action and that’s internal. So you’ve got to have the discipline and desire and willingness to actually take the steps and develop the right habits to improve. Does that make sense?
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (08:35.175)
Oh, absolutely. And I love that because one of the things that comes up consistently, uh, and when I was researching you more and following your videos is, is finding like the why the, the why is what kind of drives it, you know, the motivation internally. And I think some of us, we have this extrinsic, this desire for other people to, uh, love us or appreciate us or recognize us. Um, you know, we’re looking for this external validation.
when most of us should find some level of peace from just knowing that you did the thing. You know, like if you were in the woods and you did something amazing and no one witnessed it, could you be okay with that? You know, and I think a lot of people would struggle with that. They’d rather that they caught it on video so that they could put it up on Instagram and get some validation. And so it’s interesting how that works. I wanted to go back to something you said because I had a little bit of a moment as I was listening, you said, wait a minute, when
Brijesh Patel (09:21.006)
Brijesh Patel (09:31.726)
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (09:33.455)
you tell someone that they’re the best at something, that is definitely an identity play, right? So if I say you are the best, you, I’m basically making the statement about who you are, which is your sense of self, your identity. And so what’s interesting is if you allow someone’s identity to be tied to a result, then your sense of self when you win is you are amazing. And the dopamine highs,
Brijesh Patel (09:40.718)
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (10:00.231)
and everything is great. The world is an amazing place. I even call it like the results roller coaster because then all of a sudden, just as quickly as that wind happens, if your sense of self is tied to results, where does it go? And this is why we need to focus on and it’s so cliche and I actually, it’s so cliche. I can’t stand when I say I need to deal with that is that you need to focus on the process and like how you do things, right? How, how do you shift an athlete’s focus from
Brijesh Patel (10:08.782)
Brijesh Patel (10:22.67)
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (10:28.551)
We all want to win. We all want the best results. So why even spend time there? What are you going to do to get there? What are the micro tiny commitments you’ll make three times today, six times tomorrow to get there? How do you move a focus from an athlete who’s heavily focused on results and their identities attached to that to the how
Brijesh Patel (10:48.59)
Yeah, that’s a great question, Jay. And I don’t know if I have the exact answer for it. I mean, I can share with all the listeners about how I would do it, but the fact that you said process is, it kind of hits home because that’s one thing that we talk about all the time is to focus on the process rather than the outcome, right? The outcome could be winning a game, scoring a goal, making X amount of baskets, achieving a position, getting a job, earning a certain amount of money. Like those are all outcomes.
And the outcomes are going to be dictated by the process. And falling in love with the process is really the most important thing that anybody can do who desires to achieve a certain goal, right? Or desires to achieve a certain status is you have to fall in love with the process. But here’s the thing, the process isn’t sexy. The process isn’t always fun. The process doesn’t always get rewarded. The process sometimes isn’t always quantitative.
right? I think there’s things that are going to be much more qualitative, right? It’s falling in love with that process. And there’s a great study that I read years and years ago. It was done on Olympic swimmers. And the paper, I don’t know the author off the top of my head, so forgive me there, but it’s called the Mundanative Excellence. And if you’ve ever heard of it, it was a research paper done and it observed Olympic level swimmers. And it showed what made them excellent.
And it wasn’t their level of motivation. It wasn’t their, um, any kind of skills that they particular had. It was the boringness that they attacked every single thing that they did with every single day. Like they fell in love with doing the boring mundane acts over and over and over and over again. And, um, you know, I’m referencing somebody else like
Angel Duckworth would call this grit, like it’s their passion, their perseverance. But honestly, it’s just falling in love with doing the fundamental tasks of the things that you know they’re going to help you over the long term. You know, like I gave this example to my athletes all the time. You can go to bed 10 minutes earlier tonight and it may not make the biggest difference in how you feel tomorrow. But if you do it every single day, that’s an extra hour and 10 minutes of sleep that you just gained over the course of one week.
Brijesh Patel (13:12.782)
Do you think you’d feel better in there? And every athlete is like, yeah, probably. Now imagine you did that for a month. You’re gonna actually over four hours and 40 minutes of sleep. Add that up over the course of months and months and months. Now you’re compounding that small task of going to bed 10 minutes earlier. And imagine how much better you’re gonna feel. Imagine that your joints might ache less. Imagine what that’s gonna do to your body composition. Imagine what it’s gonna do to your hormones. There’s so many things that are gonna happen.
positively because of the one act of going to bed 10 minutes earlier. And now if you discipline yourself to do it over and over and over again, that’s what we call about, we call those stacking wins, right? We’re going to stack small wins on top of each other. And hopefully we develop the belief system that we understand that they’re going to accumulate over the course of time to allow us to be able to accomplish those big goals, which is to win games, to win a championship.
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (14:11.071)
Yeah, I love that. And it’s interesting because I just did a video on something called the winning effect by Ian Robertson. And one of the things I think is really fascinating to me is that nothing has meaning until we give meaning to it. And so what exactly is success? What is a win? Right. And so the average athlete, if I say, what’s winning too, well, I mean, winning to me is going to the game and we have this weekend and winning the game. I mean, it’s pretty easy question, isn’t it?
Brijesh Patel (14:25.39)
Brijesh Patel (14:29.742)
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (14:39.419)
Okay, well, what if that game, even if you’re injured or maybe it’s off season, well, what if that game’s not for three months, four months, six months? If that’s your idea of winning, well, you got a long time until you’re gonna be winning. It’s gonna be a rough three, four, six months, but it’s like, wait a minute, isn’t there something that you could define as a win that is within your reach in the next five minutes, 10 minutes, hour, right? It doesn’t need to be this huge grandiose thing because
Brijesh Patel (14:50.798)
You got a long way to go.
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (15:08.327)
Like you said, we need to stack wins. Okay, well then what’s a win? And a lot of people, I really don’t think even spend time defining and getting clarity and being curious, because I always say you need to be curious because when you’re curious, you gain clarity. When you have clarity, you have some direction. But people need to redefine winning. Do you find that athletes struggle with the thought of like defining what a win is, or do you think there might be an opportunity for athletes to…
walk with the winning effect a little bit more and refine that to get better outcomes.
Brijesh Patel (15:41.294)
I think every athlete’s gonna be different, right? Like every athlete’s gonna understand what winning means on a day-to-day basis. And for us, I think that one thing that’s been really successful is trying to define how to win each and every single day and how to win each and every single task. And sometimes when an athlete comes in, whether it be an incoming freshmen or whether it be a transfer, they might not understand what our culture means and how we literally try to attack the day and win each day.
Um, there’s, there’s a sign on the outside of our door. When you walk in and says, be responsible for the energy you bring into the space. So if you walk in with positive energy, that’s a win, right? Because if you have positive energy, that’s going to directly impact the actions that you’re going to take upon whatever session it is that, you know, that we’re going to perform it also, it’s going to be contagious to those around you, which are going to be your teammates. Um, so we recognize that. So if somebody comes in and they’ve got great energy and it will say, you know,
Nice job. How’s your day going today? And like little things like that. So the way we greet them and get them to understand, like those are small wins. Um, you know, eating a good meal, like, you know, we can ask them like, what did you eat for breakfast today? You know, and, and if they say like, you know, I didn’t eat anything. Well, that’s, that’s an opportunity to educate them. An opportunity, then an opportunity for them to understand why it’s important for them to get nutrition in before we start to train and how that’s going to directly impact how they train.
Um, and so a lot of it, honestly, Jay’s is, is trying to connect the dots from what we’re doing in the daily to what it is that they want in the future. Right. Cause every athlete is so driven by what they want to see in the future, what they want to see at the end of a game, what they want to see within the game. But a lot of those things are uncontrollable because they’re, they’re going to happen in the future. Right. And so we’re trying to get them to be present focused with their, with their attention, which we talked about at the beginning off air.
To try to be present focus with their actions to be present focus with their energy to be present focus with their efforts to be present focus with their enthusiasm their level of engagement All of these types of things so they can try to win those moments and win those opportunities Win the set that they’re gonna do win the warm-up which you know, which we’re gonna do win each stretch Try to get a little bit better at every single thing that we do So a lot of I think especially in this state today’s day and age is is about education and trying to get them
Brijesh Patel (18:05.934)
to be aware and help them connect the dots to what we’re doing now, to what they wanna do in the future. Because especially like you train, you exercise, there’s so many people that go into the gym. There’s so many things that you’re gonna do within the gym that are completely irrelevant to what you may do within your sport. Like you may do a squat, you might do a bench press, like in the gym, you’re never gonna do that when you play. It’s a completely different skill set than what you’re gonna perform.
But doing the act of that exercise can help strengthen your joints, your muscles, your nervous system, help improve your force outputs, help improve your ability to protect your joints a little bit more effectively. So when you do play, you’re a little bit more confident, you’re a little bit more resilient towards whatever it is that’s going to be at, you’re going to be called upon to perform. So I, you know, I think it’s education. I think a lot of it is based on trying to get the athlete’s level of awareness to improve.
on the day-to-day tasks and try to get them to understand how to win it at everything that is that you’re asking them to do.
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (19:09.907)
Yeah. And to that point, there was one video you had and I was like, I fell in love with the video. There was a video you had where, yeah, cause you think about it. Let’s say that I tell you, and I believe the example you gave was with the bench press. I could be wrong. So there was, there was, um, the thought was if I just say, Hey, I need you to go on the bench press and do six sets of this weight, right? Okay. Well, yeah, I’ll go do it. You’re my coach. Sure. I’ll go do it. There’s one level of
Uh, there’s, there’s one level to that, which is just doing the thing, but that’s not really your game. Your game. It sounds like is, Hey, listen, I’m going to have you do six sets of that weight on the bench press. But here’s why, because when you hit the puck, we’re going to get a little bit more strength when you do, when you check someone, you’re going to have a little bit more power to push them back. You gave examples as to why. So now all of a sudden, instead of me just doing this thing, this, this movement that I’ve done a thousand, if not 20,000 times,
Brijesh Patel (20:01.902)
Brijesh Patel (20:07.246)
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (20:08.651)
You’re giving me a why and where I thought was so brilliant about that is at least how I experienced it. How I experienced listening to you and it was wild where my mind went. I literally have never even played hockey. I literally became in my mind as I was listening to you in your video, I became a Quinnipiac hockey player in my mind and I could see myself doing the thing and that would be the outcome or result of me doing that bench press. And I’ll be honest with you.
I wanted to, I have a gym downstairs. I almost went, I’m not kidding you. I almost went and did a set. Like how crazy is that? I’m not even, it’s wild, right? And so it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that when you give someone a why as to why they should do something, it doesn’t just have to be their why, right? It doesn’t always have to be an intrinsic why, but it could be like, here’s the reason why. And I just thought that was powerful. Maybe if you give some examples of like one, how did you even discover that?
Brijesh Patel (20:41.678)
That’s wild. Yeah.
Brijesh Patel (20:52.686)
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (21:05.671)
And two, what does that look like in a training session with you and your athletes?
Brijesh Patel (21:09.902)
Well, yeah, I think, I don’t know when I had this realization, but I basically came to the understanding and awareness that like, listen, the athletes that I’m going to be able to work with, especially in a university setting, don’t necessarily want to train. They’re here to play their sport, right? That’s first and foremost, they’re here to get an education and they’re here to play their sport. So training is something that they’re going to do to help prepare them to play their sport at a higher level.
but it’s not the thing that they want to do on a day-in-and-day basis. So I had to try to get them to understand, well, at the end of the day, this is my job, is to be able to get other people to do things that they may not necessarily wanna do on their own. So if you can understand, that’s my job, and that’s a lot of our coaches’ job, is to get people to do things that they might not wanna do. And that’s kinda like how I define leadership too.
came to the understanding and realization that I’m trying to get other people to do things that they might not necessarily do. So how can I best bridge the gap between what I’m asking them to do and based on the research that I’ve done, based on the education that I’ve learned about how to prepare them as best as I can, to get them to fall in love with doing these tasks and educate them on why they need to do it a certain way to help benefit them.
Like that was the realization I had. I think it was before I came to Quinnipiac, honestly, but it was one of those things that’s nothing that I read. It was just something that I realized like working with lots of different athletes, lots of different ages, seeing pros, seeing college kids, seeing middle school kids, seeing high school kids. It’s, you know, I was fortunate to be able to work with a large population in my early, my early careers, my early twenties, and where I started to understand like, how do I get.
these kids to understand or how do I get these kids to buy in, right? Buy in is the biggest question of how to become an effective coach and how to become an effective communicator is you got to get people to buy into what you’re saying or what you’re selling them. So that was probably the biggest thing is getting them to realize that I need to be able to communicate effectively enough and educate them at a level where they understand why they do what they do in the gym. It can directly impact what they can do.
Brijesh Patel (23:33.774)
in their field of play. So, and that’s kind of, you know, a big pillar of my philosophy. Like I said it before, it’s it’s it’s honestly, it’s education is a big piece of the puzzle. And so for me, to be able to effectively educate other people, I need to educate myself. And I say this to my interns, I say this to my staff is you need to be able to know something so well, and so deep enough that you can explain it to a doctor, a trainer, a parent, an athlete, so you need to be able to speak it to many different levels.
where you can get them to understand effectively what it is that you’re asking them to do, how and why they have to do it at a certain level. Like, you know, I get, you know, you asked for an example. I think one big thing that we do with ice hockey players that might be different than some other places, and we do it a lot, is we jump, right? We do a lot of plyometrics. We do a lot of jumping. We do a lot of sprint work. And to the naked eye, some of these are, well, why are you going to do that? Because they never going to do that on the ice, right? So the things that they do on the ice involve.
extension, right? Triple extension of their ankle, knee and hip. And so what things can we do in the gym that can mimic those things is we can jump and we can sprint. The other things that’s going to be extremely important to understand is like the forces on the ice and the velocities that you’re going to have on the ice. There’s nothing that you can do dry land that can even mimic the velocities that your tissues are going to hit when you skate because of the friction of the ice, you’re going to be able to skate at such a higher speed except for sprinting.
Sprinting in a high velocity sprinting is the next closest thing that you can do to try to help you prepare your tissues and your joints to the velocities that you’re going to experience when you skate. And so me being able to understand those things, but then also effectively communicating to them gets them to put a high degree of effort when we jump and when we sprint. Do you want to go sprint now?
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (25:21.607)
I will tell you this I have a funny sprint story. So this will definitely answer your question. I decided to do sprints with no warm-ups at 52 years of age in my front yard and I actually Threw in that I didn’t even know this is possible. I blew out I pulled my right hamstring when my right leg pushed off and then I didn’t know that I had done that and I so I pushed off with my left foot for the next one and I pulled that one too and I
Brijesh Patel (25:31.95)
Brijesh Patel (25:40.846)
Brijesh Patel (25:49.166)
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (25:49.811)
I literally crawled back to my house from my front yard. Where were you when I needed you, Coach B? Yeah, I know. That would have been like, why is that? It would have been actually warm up. Well, first wise up, then warm up, right? So no sprinting.
Brijesh Patel (25:54.958)
Oh boy. I would have told you to warm up. That’s crazy.
Brijesh Patel (26:05.262)
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Or I would have told you, you have to prepare to sprint, right? You can’t just go into sprinting, right? And that’s one thing that too, it’s like, you know, we do lots of like jump roping and like low level jumping and plyometrics. And again, that’s an education part too, is try to get our hockey athletes, especially to get them to understand we have to prepare your legs, especially your lower leg and your feet to handle jumping and sprinting because you don’t experience those forces on the ice. So when we do, we’re going to the off season.
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (26:10.39)
Brijesh Patel (26:33.07)
Those are things we have to do early on for the first two to four weeks to really prepare your lower legs to handle greater and greater amounts of forces, which in turn can help you become a faster skater.
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (26:44.447)
love it. Yeah. And you know, one thing I wanted to ask you about, because this is kind of where my specialty has moved into. Um, I’ve realized that I’ve had a lot of, uh, I work with pro athletes. I also have a group coaching program for student athletes. And the one thing that I noticed is that sports performance anxiety is a thing. And a lot of times people don’t compete like they practice. And so for me, my, in the last six months to a year,
I’ve moved more into specializing specifically with sports performance anxiety, using something I call the calm method that I created. What do you do or what tool do you use to help athletes either reduce fear, reduce anxiety, or maybe even just bridge the gap between how they practice and how they compete.
Brijesh Patel (27:33.774)
Yeah, I think I was probably started with, you know, how they practice and how they compete. We were fortunate if we had do have a sports psychologist on staff that can work individually and work on some mental skills and different strategies that they can use in game to try to help them calm themselves. But between practice and training, I think the sorry, practice, training and competition. A lot of athletes will always value competition at a greater level.
right? Because that’s where you’re, you’re measured ultimately. Right. And so we talked about it before. I think you said it is whatever you value, you’re going to work towards and whatever you practice, you’re going to get good at. Right. Those are the things I say all the time is. So if you practice, if you practice at 50% capacity or 50% effort, then the game is a manifestation directly of your practice habits. And we kind of mentioned habits at the beginning of this too.
is we want to get them to understand as you practice and we train. And we’ve broken the numbers down. And this is specifically for, for hockey almost three times as mount as then we play, for example, so for the college hockey level, we played 34 plus games. If you count up, how many times we practice, how many times do we train? How many times we work out in the summertime? How many captains practices we have? How many times do we test? It’s, it’s well over almost probably three times that amount.
And so what we try to do is equate that towards studying for exam. Like when we prep, when we play a game, that’s like going into an exam, right? That’s when you’re going to sit down, you’re going to take a final, you’re going to take your midterm, that’s when you’re going to get tested. And what are you getting tested on? You’re tested. You’re being tested upon how well prepared you are, you know, and we always talk about your level of preparation is going to directly impact your level of confidence, right? And it’s going to impact your competence in.
particular skills. And so if you have holes in your training, if you have holes in your practice, if you’ve cut corners in practicing, if you cut corners in your preparation, you know, in the back of your mind, you know, you didn’t do the work, right? There’s there’s no way like you can always fake it to some degree, but you know, at the end of the day, what you did, and what you know what you didn’t do. And you know, when you go into a final, are you going to exam?
Brijesh Patel (29:57.998)
and you knew you didn’t prepare it, you say, I hope they don’t ask me that question because I’m really not prepared for it. Or please don’t ask me this because I don’t understand it and I didn’t put enough effort into it. So, you know, what we tell our athletes is, is, you know, you have to practice and train at such a high level with a level of engagement and level of purpose so that when you get to a game, you just fall back on your habits, right? And so, but if you have
poor habits that we’ve developed because you think you’re going to take this drill off because you’re tired or I’m not going to work as hard today because I’m a little sore, then what do you think is going to happen when you start playing against somebody else who wants to win? They’re not going to lay down for you, right? That’s the thing with a game and a competition is there is a winner and there’s a loser, right? And no team just wants to give up, right? Everybody wants to win. So
If you don’t have a desire to win in practice or in training, then how is it that you think that you’re going to be able to win on a game day? Right. And so getting, again, my approach is a lot of trying to develop ownership within the athlete or the individual that I’m fortunate to be able to work with and get them to understand that that is their season. It’s their competition. It’s their practice. It’s their training session. It is not mine. And they’re going to get out of it. What they directly put into it.
And so getting them to understand, it’s not just the act of what it is that we’re doing, it’s why and how that we do what we do that is going to be the most important for you to be able to get results, but also build the confidence and competence within yourself and your abilities to perform at the highest level in the most adverse of situations. Right? Because that’s really, I think the Navy says that, right? Like you rise and fall at the level of your preparation. And so we want to make sure that our preparation is challenging.
It’s difficult. You’re prepared. You’re confident. So that when you go into those situations, you’re gonna feel really good about yourself. You’re gonna feel really good. Like, you know, I know how to adjust. I know how to handle myself. I know if something doesn’t go my way, what are my coping strategies and what are my skills that I can fall back upon to reset myself? And that’s one of the things we mentioned earlier too, but within a game,
Brijesh Patel (32:23.662)
Our sports psychologist says all the time it’s about being present You know, what can you do to stay present as much as you can and not get fixated on the mistake that you just made it Which is being stuck in the past or worrying about what’s gonna happen on your next shift, which is the future Like just learn how to stay present find your breath You know had some strategies some skill sets whether it be writing something down in your stick Whether it be a hand motion whether it be words that you like to use
Try to figure out what your trigger words are, what are the things that you like to say, what works for you, all to remain present, right? And if we can stay present with our attention, then we have a greater likelihood that we can be present with our skill set and hopefully we’ll perform at a high level.
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (33:08.735)
I love that awesome answer. There was, there were so many nuggets in just one response, a couple of minutes. So I love it. Um, as we wrap things up, I wanted to make sure I got this question in, um, you’ve won several championships. So I want to hear how many under your, um, efforts as an athletic director and, and being part of Quinnipiac, we’d love to hear that. But what I’d like to do is here, there’s a lot of people that are amateur athletes that compete at a high level or a collegiate.
Brijesh Patel (33:13.582)
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (33:38.103)
to legit athletes that want to go pro. What have you seen as the common theme between maybe those who go pro and maybe those who should have, but didn’t.
Brijesh Patel (33:50.51)
Honestly, I think it’s the mental game. It’s the biggest difference between an amateur and a pro is their ability to be disciplined. Their discipline is a muscle that they can flex on a daily basis. What’s interesting about discipline too is it’s something that… It’s not magical. It’s not something that’s just genetic. It’s something that you can develop. You can develop discipline.
know, any tasks that you ask yourself, like anything that you want to get better at. If you want to get better at flossing, you know you’re not a good flosser, you can develop the discipline to floss. You might have to write it down. You might have to put an alarm on your phone. You might have to do, you might have to do some certain things to just remind yourself, but you can develop the discipline to floss. It’s like the discipline to warm up. It’s the same thing. Like a lot of people will go to the gym and they just say, oh, I don’t need a warm up. Well, yes, you do.
It’s an opportunity to try to prepare your mind, your body, your nervous system, your joints for the task at hand, for what it is that you’re asking yourself to do. So you got to have the discipline to do that. The discipline to cool down. But that’s something that’s really like a lot of people hate to stretch. A lot of people hate to do soft tissue work, right? Cause it hurts or it’s uncomfortable, but that requires a lot of discipline because you’re trying to prepare yourself for the next day. Right. And so.
I think that’s probably the biggest difference between amateurs and professionals and the ones that make it and the ones that we talk about too is we have athletes that aspire to be pros. We try to tell them like, listen, you don’t want to just get a first contract. You want to get a third, a fourth and a fifth contract because that’s when you can make some money to take care of generations. But if you’re just going after your first contract, like that’s not good enough. Like you got to think long term.
What are the things that we can do to develop ourselves mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, to try to prepare ourselves to be a pro before you turn pro? And that’s the thing that we try to do here, is develop those skills and those habits and that discipline where they understand how to take care of themselves so they can perform at a high level day after day after day after day. So like the difference between amateurs and pros is honestly their level of discipline. It’s their mental skills to want to improve
Brijesh Patel (36:16.334)
the willingness to develop the level of awareness to want to get better, but then at the end of the day, the discipline to take those actionable steps every single day, no matter the conditions, no matter the environment, no matter what’s going on around them. That’s the ability to quiet the noise and understand, this is something that’s going to be asked of me. I got to find a way to figure it out to do it. That’s probably the biggest thing.
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (36:40.255)
I love it. The big D discipline. It’s, it’s not some difficult magical thing that exists. It’s just a matter of managing your focus, energy and attention and doing the thing regardless of how you feel. Right. I don’t feel like doing it. Think about the times that we don’t do something. I just don’t feel like going, uh, to the gym today. I don’t feel like, I don’t feel like I don’t feel like, well, I, to me, if I don’t feel like doing something, I don’t care how I feel. I’m just going to go do it. And I think that’s also another way you can do it. Just do it anyways. Right.
Brijesh Patel (36:54.542)
Brijesh Patel (37:05.774)
You just gotta go do it.
Yeah, how about, have you ever had athletes that say this, like, oh, it’s raining outside, I don’t feel good. Like, what does the weather have to do with how you feel? What does that have to do with, like, you know, how hard you’re gonna work today? It has nothing to do with it. You’re just giving something outside of your external locus of control meaning, right? Like, you gotta give yourself meaning and your actions that you do meaning first and foremost. And I think we said it before, but whatever you value, you’re gonna work towards.
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (37:09.434)
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (37:26.72)
Brijesh Patel (37:36.558)
And then you’ll start to figure out how to build the life around you or build the lifestyle around the things that is that you want to achieve and that you want to attain. It’s not magical, but it’s not easy to. I will say that. It’s not easy to be disciplined in a world where there’s so many distractions.
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (37:57.707)
Oh yes, there certainly are. And so let me ask you this, as we, as we wrap things out, uh, if I know you have a podcast and as well, so I’d love to promote that. Um, tell me more about how can people reach out to you? How can people learn more about you and what you do? And, uh, yeah, tell us about the podcast.
Brijesh Patel (37:58.574)
Brijesh Patel (38:16.718)
Yeah, it’s the best thing that the best place that people can reach out to me is via my website coach B Patel calm. It’s kind of a it was a brain dump that I had during COVID right it was a it was an opportunity to put all the things I’ve done things that have written podcasts that I’ve done articles, any kind of press stuff, all kind of one location. It’s been nice. It’s been it’s been a nice hub for all things I’ve been able to do.
to speak about, but also for me, for people to try to connect. Because one thing I’d like to do in the future is to, you know, coach other people, help other people get better. So consulting opportunities, you know, doing nutrition plans for people, helping other people try to achieve their goals and reach their goals. And it’s been a, it’s been a great place to be able to create resources and content for other people who are trying to level up themselves. So that’s probably the best place that they can try to reach out to me, QHBPatel.com.
There’s you know, you can reach out via email there too, but that’s probably the best place And I do have a podcast with a friend of mine drew Cohen It’s called Meta athletes right and it’s something that where we try to You know, we have a community of people and Followers that love to try to win in life, right? That’s the motto that we have is we’re trying to help other people try to win in life And that could be financially that could be physically that could be spiritual. They could be emotionally
Any way that we can, we’re going to try to support the people within the community to try to help win in life. And we’ve done a podcast for well over a year now, Meta Athletes, and it’s been, you know, we speak a wide variety of topics, but a lot of it is just insights and perspectives to try to help other people find themselves, but also find and look for the wins that they can have on a daily basis.
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (40:07.495)
I love it. So you guys can win today by joining and following coach B’s podcast. Coach B thanks so much for joining, jumping on the pod. I really appreciate you brother.
Brijesh Patel (40:16.846)
I had fun. Thanks Jay. Nice and it was great to connect.
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (40:20.019)
Dr. Jay Cavanaugh (40:25.215)
All right, cool, great job.