This week’s tip is from former all-pro linebacker, Chad Brown. Chad played for the Steelers, Seahawks, and Patriots and played for Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XXX in 1996.

“The extra 5% makes all the difference in the world.”

me and chad brown

If everyone shows up to practice, and most work hard in practice, how do you separate yourself? You give that extra 5%. That could mean an extra ten minutes after practice to work on your game. Might not sound like much but ten minutes after every football practice is about 12 hours by the end of the season. How much better would YOU be if you had an extra 12 hours of practice that no one else did?

Chad was a star at every level he played: high school, college, and in the NFL. Along the way he drew motivation to give that extra 5% from another linebacker on a rival team. Here’s the story.

Back in 1991 I was a young, immature, and naive volunteer assistant coach at the University of Colorado. Chad was the starting linebacker for the Buffs at the time. One night after eating dinner at the training table (where the football and basketball teams ate) I happened to overhear a conversation Chad had with an NFL scout. The scout was there to watch the game versus Nebraska the next day. Nebraska had a star linebacker named Mike Petko. Turns out Petko played at a high school near Chad’s. They were rivals in high school and now rivals in college.

Petko was receiving a lot of attention from NFL scouts, attention Chad thought should be headed his way. The NFL scout told Chad not to worry, he too would be a high draft pick and NFL star as long as he kept playing hard. As someone who had dreamed all his life of being a star in the NBA (and never came close to realizing that dream) the frankness of that exchange amazed me. Chad was going to be a star in the NFL in two years. It wasn’t a pipe dream it was reality.

When I mentioned this conversation to Chad last week while covering a game for ESPN – 24 years later – he remembered it! Great athletes are usually great competitors. And they remember things like that.

Motivation comes in all shapes and sizes. Whatever motivates you, use it to give that extra 5%.

chad brown

By the way, Mike Petko did play briefly in the NFL.