Last season my teammate Coby Karl gave each of my teammates and myself a copy of Jon Gordon’s Training Camp. At the time I was wading waist deep through A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton G. Malkiel. I did not think twice about tossing the new recommendation in the “Books to Read” bin overflowing in some dark corner of my brain. When the season concluded, I remember finding the book and its unbroken seam buried in a drawer somewhere under old receipts and candy wrappers. I didn’t have much space to spare packing (the reason I’d made the move to reading almost exclusively on my iPad), but I decided to bring it along anyway. There it sat undisturbed in that carry-on backpack all offseason, and three months later when I made my trip to Italy and then here to Israel, I didn’t even remember it was with me.
Today I caved and admitted I needed a break from my latest read, James Clavell’s Shogun. Maybe it’s the length. It’s a one thousand plus page behemoth. Or then again maybe I just need to better balance the fiction with non-fiction; up until this point, I had been trying to alternate each book. Either way, today I broke my one-read-at-a-time custom and picked up the book (yes, physical book) I’ve been carrying around for a little more than a year.
Told through the story of an undrafted rookie at NFL training camp, Gordon outlines the practices and deceivingly obvious habits that help successful individuals achieve excellence anywhere from the boardroom to the stadium. Having experienced the NBA training camp process as an undrafted rookie two years ago, Training Camp struck a special chord with me. The 153 pages turned effortlessly with me finishing the book in one sitting.
Through my years of playing basketball, I’d certainly heard some of Training Camp‘s messages echoed by coaches and trainers alike. Even so, there was plenty of new food for thought. Some of the highlights include a list of twenty affirmations for nurturing and developing one’s mental toughness as well a three-piece technique for honing your “zoom” focus and getting the right things done. My favorite element was how Gordon deconstructed the notion of vision using the examples of a telescope and microscope. He explains that when we finally find what it is we truly want to accomplish (a feat in and of itself), we must skillfully identify the smallest, sometimes most obvious, habits that will make the big picture possible. The best, he claims, are masters of the ordinary.
In middle of our season, I found Training Camp to be a timely and enjoyable read. I’m already planning to use a few of the techniques in my own routine and I’ll surely find room for it the next time I pack up and move.