Achievement Zones

This was a fun weekend my daughter was home for a wedding and Steve Odgers, a former athlete and a colleague with the White Sox visited. Steve now works for Scott Boras, the most powerful agent in baseball. He does the conditioning for Boras clients. In that capacity he works with some of the biggest names and highest paid players in baseball. The point of all of this is that Steve and I and then Kristen and I at different times on the weekend were talking about work, training, achievement and success. Here are my thoughts based on my conversations with them.

Anyone can work. Work is not training. Training has a specific direction and purpose in pursuit of a specific goal. There are three training zones.

Zone One is the foundation. This is where the athlete starts. They get familiar with training. They learn routine. The work is more general in nature. In essence they get in a comfort zone.

Zone Two is the performance zone. Here they learn to be uncomfortable. They intensity is higher. There is a narrower focus.

Zone Three is the high performance zone. This is the zone where many are called and few are chosen. The focus is lazer like. This demands the highest level of commitment. Everything here is purposeful, mindful and directed. There is no fluff. This is where the big dogs play.

Progression from zone to zone is not automatic. There is no social promotion. Each step must be earned. It seems that the hardest transition is getting out of zone one. There are many million dollars athletes in zone one. They are simply getting by on ability and skill. The great one, the ones who achieve consistently at the highest levels live work and play in zone three.


At 2/26/07, 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I found this very helpful. Concise, clear. Coaches, athletes, parents and administrators would benefit tremendously from this simple and well said principle.

Tim Clark

At 2/26/07, 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Dave K.

At 2/26/07, 8:50 PM, Blogger Barry said...

I showed this to a volleyball coach that I work with and she liked it so much she decided to put it in her training journal that her athletes will fill in for the their summer training, on the inside cover. With full credit to you, Vern. Even a couple of her veteran atheltes saw it today and it was like a light went on for them.

This address a problem we had identified and were trying to find a way to get the point across about focus, committment and working hard day in and day out.

Barry Stockbrugger

At 2/26/07, 11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



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