Dana Cavalea is the former strength, conditioning and performance coach for the New York Yankees and author of, “Habits of a Champion, Nobody Becomes a Champion By Accident.” He started in baseball as an underperforming player, knowing he would never make it to the major leagues. In 2002, at 19 years old, he was given the opportunity to be a towel/weight room cleanup guy for the Yankee’s – he quickly jumped at the chance.
How did Dana make the move from towel guy to strength and conditioning coach? Core and functional training was just taking off in the world of sports. He committed himself to learning everything he could in that sports niche. Players would give him the chance to teach them different stretching techniques (on the side of their other training). His tips were working and players confidence in him and his confidence in himself snowballed.
Dana gave players two things other trainers weren’t providing: 1. He could find immediate ways to locate and alleviate pain. He took players like Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter and found where their pain was and gave them tips and tricks to help relieve some pain to get them on the field for their next game. 2. He built relationships with players outside of the stadium. Dana would go to breakfast, lunch and dinner with players and gain comradeship. When players know, like and trust you, you win them over.
As a New York native Dana grew up loving the game of baseball. And as a player himself, he always wanted to know what the pros “edge” was. His new book (and this podcast) is packed full of how players like Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, Mark Teixeira, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada think. He shares what gives baseball’s elite players the edge needed to be a winner–lessons we can all use baseball players or not.
In this episode of Trend Following Radio:
Importance of routine
Talent vs. work ethic in pro sports
Science behind training
Downshifting the nervous system