Excuses are worthless! 5 ways to stay on task and stop making excuses!

Anyone who knows me realizes that I hate excuses! I really just have no tolerance for excuses. My kids always have excuses, especially my son. Now I realize he is only 9, but at some point he has to realize that just isn’t going to fly. He never seems to admit when he is wrong or that he didn’t do something to the best of his ability. There is just always an excuse with him. I get the same thing from some of my patients as well. What’s the reason that you couldn’t seem to find time to do your home program that I worked so hard setting forth for you? “Well, I had a long day and I couldn’t seem to find my exercises that you gave me.” Well, we all know that isn’t true because I use an exercise app that I have you download in the clinic so that you always have access to it. WRONG! Try again! Or the best is… “I had no idea I was supposed to do this stuff at home?” All typical answers that I deal with all the time. In general, I have a pretty good understanding from my patients but I still get the occasional excuse on why things just didn’t happen. I decided to put together a list a list of just 5 things that you can do to try and stay on task and stop making excuses. This goes for everything not just for physical therapy related home exercise programs.

Set goals, 1 month, 3 month, 1 year, 3 year etc…

I have always been a procrastinator! When I was in school I would wait until that last possible minute to get things done. I still procrastinate from time to time. Up until recently I never really set goals for myself. I would say I wanted to do something specific, but rarely accomplish it because I would never give myself a timeline to finish it. Try to set goals for yourself. They can be weekly, monthly or even yearly. If you have a fitness goal set a date and try to reach it that way. You would be surprised when you just set a date on something how much easier it is to make it.

Focus on one task at a time

Sometimes we get so ambitious that we have 4-5 things going on at once and we never put our full attention into one of them. If you have 2 or 3 goals that’s fine, but try to stick to one at a time and it will make your life a lot easier.

If you have questions find someone that can answer them, ex. A mentor

Chances are you are going to have questions at some point. We drive ourselves crazy trying to find the answers! My suggestion is to ask someone that has been there before. Find a mentor that can guide you through the process. If it’s a fitness journey, find a physical therapist, Crossfit coach, nutritionist or personal trainer. If it’s something career related find a mentor that will show you the ropes.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Things are going to happen and they are going to make you upset. Failure will happen, but count this as a learning experience and move on. Try to become stronger from it and use that as fuel to take you to the next level.

Just say F$#@ it and go for it!

At this point you just have to stop bullshitting yourself and go for it! Stop the excuses already and just say “F” it! Like I said above failure will happen at some point, but so what. This should just drive you to want to do more. Be better and prove to yourself that you are not just full of excuses!


Are you persistent?

Are you persistent with things you do throughout your life? Being persistent helps to keep yourself on track. It drives you to achieve your goals, and it gives you the ability to not take no for an answer. It’s proven that people that are persistent get what they want. If you are determined to get something done, most of the time you will achieve it. You have to be relentless in your actions. 2 weeks ago was no different for my son and I when we had gone archery hunting for the elusive buck!

I didn’t start hunting until about 10 years ago. Growing up I had uncles that were big into hunting, but my mom hated guns and would never allow me to go. I eventually stopped asking and moved on to other outdoor activities. About 10 years ago my father in law told me to buy my license and he would provide me with everything else. If I didn’t like it I would just be out the price of the license. So that’s what I did. I remember opening day of rifle season in PA. It was raining that morning and continued the entire day. We went out and only saw one doe the entire day, but for some reason I loved it! I enjoy being outdoors, but something about it really got me going. I hunted a few more times that season with my uncle and saw a few more doe, but never had a shot. The following year I decided to buy a compound bow and take up archery. A friend of mine helped get me started and tought me how to shoot. That season I saw so many deer it was amazing. I even shot at a few, but missed! It was very hard for me to accept the fact that I didn’t get a deer. It was unlike anything that I had done in the past. It was much more difficult to get gratification. After that season I practiced shooting a lot that summer into the fall. I shot from all different heights and even thought about standing on my roof a time or two. I was determined to get a deer the next season. And I did, my first doe! It wasn’t the biggest deer, but I was very proud of what I had accomplished! 3 years later I got my first buck and 2 more since then. It proved to me that being persistent with what you wanted will pay off in the end.

Last year I got my son his first mentorship hunting license. He had been out with me a hand full of times to sit, but this time he was able to shoot a crossbow. We saw deer last year, and even had a spike at about 60 yards. He just never came to a comfortable distance for him to shoot. That day my son got his first taste of Buck Fever! When he set up to look through the scope he was breathing so heavy and his knees were shaking. After the buck left and he sat down he asked me “Dad, why was I doing that?” I said that’s called buck fever and if that ever leaves you then you need to stop hunting. He just laughed and still couldn’t stop shaking. That was a great day that I will never forget.

Fast forward to this year and he was even more excited than before. He would get mad if I would sneak out in the morning and not take him. We practiced a bit more this year than last to try and get even better at shooting. 2 weeks ago it just felt like a great evening to hunt. The wind was right, the temps were comfortable and the woods were quiet. We sat for about 2 and a half hours and hadn’t seen anything. Right before dark a deer came from our right. I saw that it was a buck, and since he is 9 he can shoot any size. I whispered “it’s a buck buddy get ready!” He grabbed the crossbow and turned to his right. The buck came right out into the path at 25 yards and stopped dead. I said he’s broad side so shoot when your ready. No sooner did I say that and he pulled the trigger. It was like slow motion watching the lighted nock fly through the air and then you heard it hit, THUMP! The deer kicked and ran down the hill. He sat down breathing so heavy and said “Dad did I hit it, did I hit it?” I smiled and said yeah buddy you hit him! A fist pump in the air and a high five made my day! It was awesome seeing how he reacted to his hard work! I had a feeling he might have hit him a little far back and when we got down to get the arrow I was right. We decided to wait an hour and look. We had good blood but followed him for about 200 yards or so and lost blood. We decided to back out and come back the next morning…

He was up early ready to go and find his deer which was very nice to see. His friend also wanted to come and help so the 3 of us searched the woods for about an hour and a half. It didn’t look good and it had rained the night before. We decided that we were not going to give up though so we just kept on walking down a trail we thought he might have went. Sure enough about 150 yards from where we last saw blood a 4 point was laying on the side of the trail, and the fist pumps started! It was awesome!

It felt good showing my son that persistence pays off. He was dedicated to shoot better this year. He was determined to go out as many times as he could every chance he had. And we were both relentless in our quest to find this deer!

When you have injuries or you are in pain the last thing you want to do is just give up. You have to be persistent in your efforts to get well. Set goals and strive for them. Don’t take no for an answer. And if someone tells you no then you change your approach until you get what you want.

Don’t be afraid to try new things

It’s easy to be the one to shy away from something new. Sure, when something is unfamiliar it can be intimidating and make you want to just say no. I used to be like that. If something made me uncomfortable I would just not do it. Until I realized that in order to experience things throughout life you have to try them. You can’t just do the same thing over and over again. I get so many patients in my clinic that have never picked up a weight in their life and it can be very intimidating to them. Especially when they are in the gym area and have to perform an exercise in front of people.

I try to make it to the gym at least 4 days a week. I enjoy working out because it relieves my stresses from the day. I also like the way it makes me feel after I’m done. But lately it’s been getting kind of boring. I found myself in that rut of doing the same sorts of exercises for different body parts. It can make you feel bored and unsatisfied. This is when I would tell someone to try something new. So I decided to take my own advice.

This past weekend I went to a continuing education course for work. The course was about ways to assess and treat the fitness athlete. The fitness athlete is also known as an athlete that does “Crossfit”. But the things learned in this course can be broken down to be used with just about any patient or even the highest of fitness athletes. I’ve always wanted to do Crossfit, but I always felt a little intimidated by it. So this course fit right in to my plan because here I could learn about it, how to do things properly to assess someone and use this to help program patients to get stronger.

The course was held at Recharge Ho-Co Crossfit in Elliot City, MD. What a fantastic facility. It made me wish I lived closer to this place. Institute of Clinical Excellence is the company that put on the course and I can’t say enough about it. From the time I walked in to the time I left I felt inspired. The energy from the instructors Ryan Smith and Mitch Babcock was infectious. Ryan is part owner of Recharge and Mitch runs his business out of a Crossfit box he trains at in Michigan. Both were so knowledgeable and had an amazing ability to break down each movement so that it was easily understandable. And the best part about it, they are both Physical Therapists! I knew it was going to be a great weekend.

By the middle of the first day I felt more comfortable with different Olympic lifts that in the past I just did because I was told to do them. I was never properly instructed on every detail of form like I was this past weekend. And if there was a break down in form what was I going to do in order to fix it. At the end of day one we all participated in a workout. I was excited and a bit hesitant like most people are when they try something new. But I didn’t need to convince myself because I knew this is what I wanted to experience. At the beginning I was thinking I can get used to this. By the middle of the workout I was thinking when the F$@% is this going to end? And by the end I was thinking thank god! I was excited about a few things. First, that the workout was finally over! Second, I was proud of myself for trying something new. And third, I can’t wait to do another one! It was just so much different than any other workout I had done. And it encompassed every part of my body. This is how it started. We did a dynamic warmup for about 5-10 minutes that consisted of bear crawl/squatting lunges, walk out to push up and walk up into a pike position, sideways squat lunges, high knees, butt kicks and maybe something else I’m drawing a blank. After that we set up the bars with 55 lb for women and 75 lb for men total including the bar. Now, this may not seem like much, but when you have to do as many thrusters as you can it kills your lungs and your body. We had a partner an one started on the rower and the other had to do thrusters. You had to row 250 meters while your partner did as many thrusters as they could until you reached that distance. Then you switched and did the same thing for them. On and off for 10 minutes. That was the longest 10 minutes EVER! But, when I was done I felt awesome! Well, not right away, but about 10 minutes later it was great!

Day 2 consisted of more technique on pull-ups, kipping pull-ups, clean and snatches. All great exercises that involve the entire body if done correctly. Each movement was broken down and encouraged to do to practice correctly. If there was a breakdown things were incorporated into the movement in order to cue the athlete to do it correctly. If things were still not clicking, then another activity was done to break down the movement. This was key to understand what exactly was hindering the movement and what can be done to fix it. There was no day 2 workout, but I did enough snatches and cleans to last me for a while. I know because for the next 2 days I felt it everywhere! What a great feeling too!

I left that day inspired! Not only to be able to take back the knowledge to my clinic and incorporate it with my patients. But this course opened up my eyes to an entire new way to look at things! It made me want to be able to master what I learned and use that to drive my treatments. I would have never learned any of this if I hadn’t tried something new. This is what I always encourage my patients to do in order to challenge themselves. You never know what you might learn.

Thank you again Ryan Smith and Mitch Babcock for being great instructors and coaches! You have both inspired me to be more. Not only with my workouts, but with my patients! And in my opinion, when you can do that for someone you are on the track to greatness! Thank you Recharge Ho-Co Crossfit for hosting the class you have an awesome facility! And finally Institute of Clinical Excellence, you have some great content and instructors! From what I hear all courses you put on are class act!

A little bit about me

Many people including patients ask me what got me into this field? Why I chose physical therapy over something else in the healthcare field? And the most frequently asked question…do you like what you do? I can’t even count how many times someone has asked me one or all of these questions, but my answers never change, especially the last one.

Ever since I can remember I knew I wanted to do something in the healthcare field. I didn’t always know that physical therapy would be my calling. When I was younger I always said I wanted to deliver babies. If anyone asked me that is what I was going to do. It wasn’t until later when I found out exactly what had to be done when I decided that just wasn’t for me! That didn’t switch my focus because I wanted to be a helper. I wanted to be someone that could make a difference in someone’s life. Now, there are many ways to do that outside of healthcare, but the body just always fascinated me.

I can still remember in high school I wanted to take an anatomy and physiology class. I was a B/C student. I even had gotten a D in a few classes. I wasn’t a bad student, I just never really applied myself unless it was in something I enjoyed to learn about. You could tell in my grades, math and science were always my strong suit. History and language arts not so much. I will never forget when I signed up for the anatomy class and the teacher who was going to be in the class called me to her class room during a study hall. She asked me why I signed up for the class. I explained to her that I wanted to learn more about the body and I planned on being in the healthcare field at some point and this would help me get started. She looked at me with a very serious look and said, you know this is an advanced class to take right? Looking at your grades I’m not sure this would fit you. She said I take my position here serious and try to make sure that I have the right students. So you know what I did? I said yes I know that this is an advanced class and my grades don’t reflect the type of student that I can be. My grade will show you how serious I am when I’m done with this class. She agreed to allow me to take the class even though she was hesitant. Well, needless to say I got an “A” in the class and proved her wrong! I knew I would do well because I enjoyed what I was learning. This started my obsession of the human body and after this one class I realized that health care was going to be my route.

I played baseball and basketball in high school and eventually played baseball in college. Before applying to schools for college I decided that I wanted to go into Athletic Training. I loved sports and this seemed like the right fit for me. I knew I didn’t want to go far, but I didn’t want to commute either. I had applied to 5 colleges and got accepted to 4 of them. Waynesburg University was at the top of my list. They had a great AT program, it was only about an hour and 15 minutes away and I was going to play baseball there. So I decided to accept my acceptance and move to Green County PA. This is also where I met my wife who is really responsible for my grades in college. If it wasn’t for her studying with me, I would have never made it through some of those classes I had to take!

I started baseball about 2 weeks after school started and it was great! It took up a lot of my free time, but I didn’t mind because I loved to play. The other part of my time was spent in class as well as trying to get hours in the clinic for AT. It turned out that in order to start doing anything with athletes you needed a minimum of 2,000 hours in the clinic observing! I thought wow! How am I going to find time for this? Well, after a long time thinking about what I wanted to do I made the decision to change my major. I know what you are thinking. You changed your major because you didn’t want to do the observation hours? I thought you wanted to do something in the health care field? Well, you have to realize that I was 18 at the time. My number 1 priority besides baseball was socializing and of course partying. Baseball took up most of my time, class took up the other and I wanted to have fun. Something had to give. So I switched to Biology (pre-physical therapy). This was kind of like a pre-med degree and gave me avenues to go to.

My freshman year anatomy teacher was Dr. Giles! He was an awesome teacher! He made things fun and easy to learn. And since I loved anatomy he made the class that much better. But Dr. Giles was not only an anatomy teacher…he was also a Chiropractor. I thought, this might be my calling. It just seemed like a good idea. He had great stories of how he made patients well and how he helped so many people. It got me thinking. Over the next few years I thought about what I wanted to do after college. I knew I was going to go on to grad school it was just a matter of where. In my second to last semester I had to do 200 observation hours in a health care facility. It could have been anywhere. They gave me a list to choose from. The list included chiropractic, medical doctor, surgical center, dentist and then physical therapy. At this point I had been tossing up chiropractic and physical therapy. I just was not sure about the differences. So I decided to go to a PT clinic. I had had PT in the past on 2 different occasions for my knee and my elbow. From what I remember about it I really enjoyed it and it helped get me back to playing baseball of course!

During my time at the clinic I met so many different people who had so many different injuries and pains. Some worse than others. I loved the fact that patients would come in with problems and leave able to do the things that they couldn’t before. Physical therapy was able to get patients back to doing what they loved. I wanted to do that! I wanted to be a helper, a healer and a person that people came to to get them well. Needless to say, after my 200 hours, which took me about 4 months to get, I was dead set on physical therapy school. I started applying right away. I had 3 choices for where I wanted to go. Chatham University was my first choice, Pitt was my second and Slippery Rock was my last. I remember where I was when I found out I got accepted. I was in Cocoa Beach Flordia on spring training for baseball. I called home daily to talk to my parents and my mom had said I got a letter from Chatham. I told her open it. She opened it and read that I had been accepted to Chatham University’s Physical Therapy program! And you can say the rest is history!

Here I am today 12 plus years in the field and I love being a helper, a healer and most importantly a person someone can come to to get them well! There is nothing like seeing someone come into the clinic miserable, visibly in pain, unable to do the things they love and on crutches. And months later seeing them smile because they are running, walking, playing with their kids and doing everything they love to do because of something that you were able to do for them! So to answer the question of do I like what I do? The answer will always be yes!

Is there a fountain of youth?

If you look all over the news especially on ESPN there is no way you are missing all the hype behind Tom Brady the quarterback of the New England Patriots. Now, let me preface that I am a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan and it pains me to even talk about him. But it is really amazing what he has done for the length of time that he has done it. How has he been this good for so long? How is he getting ready for his 17th season in the NFL and 16th as a starter? Brady is 40 today August 3rd and in football years that is an eternity! The average NFL career is between 3-6 years depending on position and ability of play. Brady has broken records, won 5 Super Bowls, is a two-time NFL MVP and has the most wins as an NFL quarterback EVER! So how does he do it? How has he been able to keep up with all of these other younger more versatile quarterbacks? And how does it seem that he just has a knack to win the big game?

To be an NFL player you have to be special! You don’t just luckily get drafted and you don’t just get a starting job because you made the team. You have to work and work hard if you want to be successful in the league. There are many players that have gone past their years as a football player trying to get that one last season before leaving the game that they have loved to play for so long. Payton Manning comes to my mind right away. Even though he won a Super Bowl to end his career he was a shell of himself that year. His defense carried him most of the way and he did what he needed to do to win, even if it wasn’t pretty. Tom Brady has evolved as the exact opposite only getting better and more focused with age.

Let’s start with his diet and how he decides to fuel his body. It is no secret that he eats vegan most of the year. Now I’m not saying this is the option for ultimate health because there is no way that I could go without meat. But this is his secret to success. Diet plays a huge rule in your health and weight control. I have posted in older blog about the 80/20 rule that most should follow. 80% diet and 20% exercise. There is no need to kill yourself at the gym 6 days a week if you are not eating the right things to fuel your body. Next, his workout regimen is very strict requiring him to wake up very early each day because of his busy schedule as an NFL player. His workouts along with him being very conscious of his health play a huge rule in how he is able to keep going. He is a very focused individual and it shows through all that he does.

If you want to get serious about your health and the way that you feel I suggest you take a look at what this man has been able to accomplish. Tom Brady is an extreme case, but he is a perfect example of what hard work and dedication to your body and health can get you. Is 40 really the new 25? If so, Patriots fans would seem to think he might have at least 10 years left in the league! We all wonder how much longer he will be in the league for. The short answer, as long as his body will let him be. Truth is there is no telling how much longer he will play. He’s like the damn energizer bunny! All that I know is as a Steelers fan his retirement can’t come soon enough!

Things aren’t always impossible!

This past week was one of the best youth baseball experiences I have ever been a part of. Our 9 year old little league team went to the state playoff tournament. If you would have asked any one of us coaches at the beginning of the season how we expected to do I think we would have all said we probably wouldn’t make it past districts. Our team is made up of all 9 year olds and this was a 10 year old tournament. In youth baseball 1 year makes a huge difference. Some of these kids are a whole head taller and have at least 50-70 pounds on some of our kids. Our 10 year old team decided they did not want to be a part of this so we decided why not? If we go and get crushed at least they get the experience.

Districts were against a bigger North Allegheny team. It was a best of 3 series so we knew we would play at least 2 games. The first game was at our field. We came out and competed very well and won the game 9-2. We looked at each other and said we have a shot at this. 2 days later we won districts 16-15. That game was a lot closer but we battled back and won with a walk off hit! Now it seemed like we really had a shot!

A week or so later sectional playoffs started. This was a 4 team double elimination tournament. The first game was also against a much bigger team from Sharon, PA. This game was a very close game back and forth all game. Again, we ended it with a walk off win! It just kept getting more real! The goals we had set forth seemed attainable. Our second game was the next night against Carmichaels. We were down 4-0 after the first 2 innings, but that didn’t stop our boys! They came out on fire the next inning and continued that throughout the game. We ended up winning the game 7-4! It was awesome! We were in the winners bracket and had to be beaten twice now. 2 days later our boys didn’t disappoint. At this point we all believed we were going to win. We won 12-5 and won the PA section 2 championship! On to Morrisville, PA!

The experience all week in Morrisville, PA was awesome! Not only for us coaches but the kids had an absolute blast! From the banquet opening night, to opening ceremonies and the first game it was great. At this point the boys did feel some pressure and it was obvious from the first inning. We gave up 6 runs in the first inning and had to play catchup all game. We ended up losing 12-5 a very disappointing opening game and now we were in the losers bracket. We came back the next day ready to fight until the end and that is what these boys did. Coming back from being down 10-3 scoring 7 runs in one inning to tie the game. We just couldn’t hold them off for long. We ended up losing our second and last game and our run was over. It was sad to see these kids work so hard to come up short, but I was so proud of what they accomplished!

This entire season was very special and I am so glad that I got to be a part of it. Seeing how hard these boys worked to get where they did was awesome! They committed to a goal and they went for it without ever questioning themselves! They were never intimidated by any team that they faced and never let the spotlight get the best of them. I am so very proud of this team for never giving up.

When you have a goal that you want to attain ,whether it’s physical therapy related or not, you need to realize that things are not always impossible. It’s easy to look at something and say there is absolutely no way I can do that. It’s also very easy to not even try. We could have easily said lets just wait until next year and just enter in another tournament. But we decided to believe in our boys and just go for it and try. I am so glad that we did because they will never forget this, and neither will I!

Who doesn’t like a walk off?!?!

As long as I can remember I have always loved the Pittsburgh Pirates. I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s with the Killer B’s, Bonds, Bonilla, Bream and Bell! That was a great era of baseball to be a part of! The pirates were so competitive and seemed like they made the playoffs just about every year! Once free agency really took it’s tool on the Pirates they seemed to have nothing left but a farm system for the rest of the major leagues. Every year it seemed obvious, if a player started to do well it was certain they were getting traded by mid season. And every year that was the case. 20 years of losing was upon us! Do you even understand how long that is to suffer from losing? It hurts to even think about it. Even though it was rough I continued to watch my team get pummeled every year. I may have lost hope for about a year until they brought up Cutch! That was a great time because you knew he was something special! Even after they brought him up the losing continued up until 2012.

The Pirates actually had a great shot that year! They started out slow as usual, but at one point in the season they were 16 games over .500 with 7 walk off wins! They hadn’t had a winning season in 19 years and we were that far over! We were all going to win that year! And then the wheels fell off. They had a total collapse the last month and a half of the season and ended up in forth place in the N.L. Central with a record of 79-83 4 games under .500. Another losing season in the books!

2013 was a different story. They added some pieces that were going to prove to be key! Francisco Liriano and Russell Martin were added to help and boy did they ever. Again the pirates had 9 walk off wins that year! Liriano went 16-8 revitalizing his career and Martin ended up with 15 home runs! The key home run being in the wild card game when he belted a 2 run HR over the left field wall off of Johnny Cueto! It was still by far the best game I have ever seen. I was in my living room jumping up and down screaming! 20 years of losing can do that to a fan let alone a town! It was awesome! They lost in the divisional series against the Cardinals but it was still a great season. Their record was 94-68.

2014 started off just as strong in and out of first place of the division all year with the Cardinals. They ended up with with a record of 88-74 and made the wild card game for a second consecutive year. They had 10 walk off wins that year! They ended up losing to the Giants that day, but it was still a great season. Winning baseball was back in Pittsburgh!

2015 was even better then the year before. This time the national league central was stacked and between the Pirates, Cardinals and Cubs it was a battle all year. The pirates had 11 walk off wins that year and ended up with a record of 98-64! And they didn’t win the division! They made the wild card game for the 3rd consecutive year and lost to the Cubs. It was a very promising year!

2016 was very disappointing. They had just came off of a 98 win season and just didn’t look good. A lot of blown opportunities and they finished the season with only 4 walk off wins and a record of 78-83, another losing season! I personally was very upset and frustrated about it. How can you have a 98 win season and lose that many games the following year? Do walk off wins play a part in momentum?

As most of you know I help coach my sons travel baseball team. This past year has been a blast and I have enjoyed being a part of every moment. This year alone they have had 4 walk off wins that I can think of. One of them was just the other night in the sectional little league tournament. My son came up and hit a single into right center to win the game. It was great to be a part of! The next day those kids carried that momentum into another win and a birth into the championship! Last night we came in and totally dominated! A 12-5 win and a birth into the PA state little league championship! I am a big believer in momentum and feel that the experience these kids have will give them a huge advantage.

When I talk to my patients in my office about their success and failure I try and relate it to the walk off hit to win the game. If you have a great day or week or month of physical therapy you need to celebrate it! You need to use that as fire to build upon. Mindset alone can change what you believe and how you think. If your down it will show in your effort. If you use it to your advantage nothing can stop you!

So far this year the pirates are 48-48, 3 games out of first. They have had 7 walk off wins so far this year. One of them coming two nights ago. The momentum is starting to show because they have won 11 out of their last 13 games. Hopefully the walk off will hold true as to what type of season they will end up having.

Putting in the work and staying consistent always pays off!

I am one of the coaches of my son’s travel baseball team. My son is almost 9 and it’s his first full year of kid pitch travel baseball. He has played with most of the kids on his team since he was 4. They all started out on a rec team together. Year to year you can see the improvement. Constant practice and playing for most of the year is our life right now. It’s so much different than when I was a kid. I played a lot of baseball, but only from April till August. These kids started in November and will play until the end of summer. Constant practice and games keep these kids consistent. They stay focused by doing things on a regular basis and it shows. Most of the things that we succeed at in life are done on a regular basis. We make a habit of them and they become a constant.

This past weekend we had another tournament for baseball. We played very well in pool play to earn the second seed to start the playoff/championship round. Sunday afternoon we were set to play the same team we beat the day before 5-4. It was a close game, but we played flat that game. The kids seemed pretty upbeat at the beginning of this game, but it didn’t start out the way we wanted it to. My son started the game pitching and was a little off with his location. He ended up giving up a 2 run home run in the 1st inning. Luckily we got out of it without going down by any more runs. He was down, but his teammates encouraged him as well as all of the coaches after getting out of the inning. The kids were off and losing most of the game. We entered the second to last inning down 7-3. The kids battled this inning getting timely hits and staying disciplined at the plate scoring 4 runs to tie it up! We would have scored 1 more if it wasn’t for me running my son into an out at third after a nice 2 run double. The last inning comes and the other team scored 2 runs to make it 9-7. Things just were not going our way. The rain came off and on and it was just a miserable feeling. The kids did not seem defeated though. They have been in this situation before! This is what they practice for each and every week. We ended up with bases loaded and 2 outs, a situation every athlete wants to be in! As a kid we always played and yelled out 2 outs bottom of the 9th bases loaded down by 1!. So who steps up to the plate? My son steps into the box ready and focused. First pitch is thrown and he swings out of his shoes! He was pumped up for this! I yell down from 3rd where I was coaching and tell him to relax, because a hit scores two! Next pitch comes and boom! He smokes this ball high in the air towards left center field. I knew it was gonna at least score two right? Then it keeps going and going and I yell “GET OUT OF HERE!” And the ball sailed over the fence! You would have thought I hit the ball because I was jumping up and down like a little kid screaming! As my son rounded 3rd he had the biggest smile on his face and it’s a moment I will never forget and cherish forever! I’m getting chills right now just typing this! The kids went crazy and it was just a great moment to be a part of! They won the game!

These kids never cease to amaze me! They showed me something that day that will always stick with me. Putting in the work and staying consistent will always pay off in the end. They never gave up on each other and they never quit. Even when my son gave up a home run in the first inning he kept his composure and stayed focused. Every single one of them contributed to that great victory!

I always like to bring things back to a situation related to physical therapy or situations in life in general. If we stay consistent with anything in life we are going to make our situation better. If we practice at something or make a habit of doing something on the regular it’s proven that you have a better chance of success. If you are trying to be more healthy then make a commitment to stick with a new way of eating and doing some sort of physical activity weekly. Do these things at the same time and same day to make a habit and stay consistent. When you make an appointment to come to physical therapy stick to it and commit to the full length of treatment sessions. Do your program at home and stay consistent. It’s proven to work because I saw it first hand this past weekend.

I treat PAIN all day every day

Throughout the week 10-20% of my patients cancel. It’s a given. Anywhere you go, regardless if it is a medical facility or not, cancels happen. I have cancelled things on occasion as well. Something comes up and you don’t have a ride, you have to work late or you just plain forgot. Things happen in life and that’s why we prepare for these types of things to happen. Sometimes, the reason for cancelling is actually the reason you should be coming in.

I have heard a lot of different reasons for cancelling over the years. Some are pretty standard as you would expect. Some are off the wall and I just shake my head. But whatever the reason is I’m okay with because you had the courtesy to call me and let me know. There is one reason though I have a hard time dealing with. “ I’m calling to cancel my appointment today.” “ Is everything okay?” “Yes, I am in a lot of pain today and need to cancel.” “I called my doctor and they gave me some pain meds.” Wait a minute what? They cancelled because they are in pain? Isn’t that the reason they came here in the first place? They were lifting something heavy and injured their back. Now they are dealing with back pain and need my help. Why would someone cancel because they are in pain?

As a physical therapist I am a musculoskeletal specialist. I help people get back to things they want to do by developing a program that puts them in the best position to win. I treat pain all day every day without the side effects of a pill! I don’t give you long term use effects by damaging your liver nor do I cause an addiction. I help people get back to the life they once lived without having to rely on me all of the time. I lead them to independence. I make decisions for them to guide them in the right direction. PAIN is usually a very common symptom of most of my patients.

So why would someone cancel if they are in pain? Early on in my career I had no idea and just attributed it to a patient being lazy. Sometimes that is the case, but most of the time it is just that the patient is misinformed. I didn’t do a good enough job explaining to them exactly what my plan was and what it was going to take in order for them to get better. Now, some patients just don’t pay attention and that’s on them. But I can always do a better job at communicating. So, if you are currently going to PT or are planning on going know that at times things might get flared up. You might get worse before you get better. You might experience more discomfort than you did before, but pain should not be a reason to cancel. I always want to see my patients if they are in pain. It ‘s what I am here for!

Practice, consistency and effort: All keys to have success

My son plays on 2 different baseball teams. He is on a travel team and an in-house athletic association team. For his travel team, we have been practicing in an indoor facility since late November. He is fortunate enough to play with most of the same kids for the past 3-4 years. They work well together and it shows. Since they started practicing until now there is a noticeable difference in their attitude, their work ethic, their desire and of course their overall ability! I’m one of the coaches, and it’s really amazing to see the transformation before your eyes with these kids! It’s truly something special. I can see that every single one of them has benefited from being on this team. You can see it from the pop of the mitt, the crisp and quick hands of a fielder and the sound of more and more solid contact of the bat! It wasn’t always like this though.

Rewind to November…and so it begins. Most of these kids play multiple sports, my son included. Flag and tackle football had just just ended and basketball was just about to get under way. Baseball seemed to be on the back burner for most. It usually is at that time of year. Practice started 2 days a week and only half the kids were ever there at one time for the first month and a half. It was frustrating at first because you could never really get the kids to gel. Even though these kids have all played with each other, there was just no consistency. And it showed in practice during drills and hitting exercises. You could tell which kids had been there more and which had not. It’s only natural that with consistency you improve. Over the next several months once basketball started to wind down is when it really started to show. You could just see it from practice to practice. Their attitudes changed, their ability to do things asked of them and the desire was there. Once we had a consistent bunch of kids who were committed and practiced together, is when they all started to gel together.

Just this past Saturday my sons in house team had their first practice. For most of the kids this was their first practice of the year. I am not a coach on this team, but I offered to help if needed. The coach talked to the kids at first and had them warm up. As they were warming up he stopped everyone and asked them to watch my sons mechanics on how he throws the ball. He said “everyone watch Caden and how he throws.” He wanted them to watch the entire motion through his follow through. He said that’s exactly how I want you guys to throw the ball. Great mechanics there! I’m always hard on my son with everything, and since baseball has been my passion since I was 5 I am extra hard on him with this! I thought, wow he is using my son as an example to all the players on what to do! Later on in the practice I was helping hit ground balls to the kids. I didn’t say much a I was just observing the team and what kids needed help with. The coach from time to time would jump in and tell a kid to do something different. When I coach for our travel team I am constantly correcting form, the way kids take a ground ball, throwing mechanics and everything in between. Like I said, I am extra hard on my son! What Dad isn’t hard on their kid? So I decided since I didn’t know very many people on this team I would just help and sit back. I was shocked, amazed and PROUD all at the same time! Not once did I have to correct my son! I mean I was really shocked that I didn’t have to even yell his name. Those that coach with me will tell you they hear me yell CADEN all the time during practice. I saw everything that we practiced so hard during the winter and more. He did everything that I normally have to correct him on! And to top it off he was instructing kids on how to do things better turning double plays! It was a very proud moment for me as a Dad!

I always try and take things back to how it pertains to Physical Therapy. This example is no different. My title for this blog post is practice, consistency and effort. Practice makes “BETTER” in my opinion. It never makes you perfect. There is always something that you can work on and something to improve on. Consistency with practice and technique will always help to focus on things that you are having difficulty with. The amount of Effort you put into something shows in your results. The more effort you put in, the better the results. If you truly want to get better, which I feel that every patient that comes to me does, then you have to take into account these 3 things. My son has shown me that with these 3 things he can do amazing things, and he is only almost 9! When I think about it though I wouldn’t expect anything less from him or my patients!