Well, it’s not every day that you get a chance to talk to somebody who worked closely for years and years and years with people like Kobe Bryant and Steph Curry and Kevin Duran and our guest today, Alan Stein Jr. Did exactly that. So for 15 years he worked as a, basically a, a high performance skills and mental training coach for NBA superstars and athletes. And in the last few years, he’s transitioned over into speaking and writing. He’s got a couple books out. His first book has done very, very well. It’s called raise your game, high performance secrets from the best of the best. And then he has a new book out called sustain your game. And I just saw him in person recently at the event that we had for ed my let’s book launch in North Carolina, and we sort of connected there. And then he was on ed my let’s podcast a couple weeks before I was. And anyways, I just, I really love Alan and what he’s about and the people he’s hanging out with and, and what he’s doing. And I just was sort of curious, like, man, I, I wanna know what’s going on behind the scenes with some of NBA superstars and to see if I can get a little free coaching for myself. So welcome to the stage a Stein Jr. What’s up, man.
Aw, man. It’s so great to be with you. I’m looking forward to a fun conversation and I’ll give you all the coaching you want my friend
well, it’s cool because you, so you did that, but then I noticed that like, so obviously I know you’re a speaker for Michelle Joyce. We’ve got, you know, some really good we’ve, we’ve got at least three really good friends that work with her and we love her and, and they’re, you know, like their team and what they’re all the, the speakers that she works with are our first class. So then, so you transitioned into doing these kind of programs for American express and under armor and Pepsi Starbucks and Charles swaps. So you like really have moved into the more of the corporate space, but like first of all, tell me about your name. What’s the junior cuz we were, we were talking before and you’re like, yeah, there’s a story behind Alan Stein Jr.
Well, you know, I’ve never gone by or embraced the junior part of my name. And, and throughout my basketball training career, it was always just Alan Stein. And when I decided to make the distinct pivot outside of, you know, to leave the direct training space of basketball and inter corporate speaking when I went to get my website domain and social handles Alan Stein was taken so I, I wanted to try and figure out a way to keep that branding consistent. But I also wanted to find a way from a searchable and SEO standpoint to kind of differentiate my two professional lives. So if you, you Google Alan Stein, you’re probably gonna find a lot of stuff from my basketball days and training. But when I add the junior, now it’s a very distinct difference and that’s kind of the corporate keynote speaking. And in writing that I do, and it’s allowed me to have alanine jr.com and at alanine Jr. On all social platforms. So smart, there’s kind kind of a branding play and just a, a separator for sure.
Yeah. I love that. I mean, that’s really smart to have that consistency, like man, it’s so it’s so tricky when you’re like, how do I tag this person on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook and it’s all different every time. Like I actually have some issues with that myself because when we sold our company, some of my profiles were caught up in that transaction. So, but anyways, so I wanna, I wanna talk to you about what you talk about and what a lot of people ask you about, which is like, what is it, what do you learn? What have you learned from coaching? I mean, you’re not just coaching professional athletes, you’re coaching or coached some of the most legendary players in the history of the game. I mean, Steph Curry, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, like these are, these are at the, the absolute peak of the peak of the peak of the peak performance in one of the most competitive games in the world. So I’m curious, you know, for both myself and for the person listening, how do, what can we take from the, the mindset it takes to operate at that level?
Three things jump out immediately. And, and my favorite part of these three things is they have such high utility. You know, they, they apply to every area of our lives. I mean, these three things allow me to be a better speaker and run a better speaking business. But they also allow me to be a better father. And I’ve, I’ve always been fascinated by principles and strategies that have that type of utility. The very first one is, is something that I learned from Kobe Bryant that changed my life forever when he said the best, never get bored with the basics and that if you want to be good at anything, you have to work towards mastery of the fundamentals relentlessly during the unseen hours. And you know, the very first thing I do with anyone that I work with is get them to identify what are the basic building blocks required to be good in this specific area of your life. You know, if, if you want to thriving in healthy marriage, what are the basics of having a thriving and healthy marriage? If you wanna run an elite speaking business, what are the fundamentals required of doing that? So getting clarity, and I know that’s what you all are all about getting clarity on the basics and the fundamentals, and then having the, the humility to stick to them on a daily basis was definitely the first lesson. The
Second was, let me hold on. I wanna stop there cuz I wanna dig in on, on, on, on this, like there’s, this is so true for us because Alan, you know, people come to us and they go, oh, I wanna become a New York times bestselling author. Like, so and so, or I wanna have a podcast like Lewis Houser, I wanna speak on stages. I wanna have, you know, have millions of people watch my videos like Eric Thomas. And then it’s like, okay. And we go, great. We’ve broken it down step by step systematically. There’s there is no question about if we can teach people to do all of those things, we are a hundred percent sure that it works, cuz we’re doing it ourselves in addition to like doing with, with other people, but nobody wants to do it. And it’s the same thing. Like when, when you think of you know, like you think of Kobe Bryant, you think of the game winning shot, you think of these epic highlight real dunks. Tell us, like, tell me a little bit about him in real life. Like to this point of never being bored with the basics and to the fundamentals, even when he was at his peak, was he doing that or did, was that just sort of like something he did to get to the NBA or like how long was that a part of what his philosophy was?
Such an insightful question and I’m glad you went in that direction. You know, continuing to work on and work towards mastery of the basics, remained a fundamental component throughout his entire career. And then he took that same mindset, you know, when, when he left basketball and re and retired and he had that same mindset in business. Now what’s important to, to have discernment is I’m not saying that he never graduated to more advanced techniques and more advanced skills and drills. He obviously did what I’m saying is he never left the basics behind. He realized that those were the foundation to which the rest of the house was built. So the very first time I had a chance to watch him work out in one of his private workouts. Back in 2007, he spent the first 45 minutes doing basic footwork, basic shooting mechanics, basic ball handling drills.
I mean to the tune of stuff that I had already taught those things to middle school, age players. And here you’re talking about, you know, arguably the best player of a generation, certainly the best player in 2007. And yet he still made the commitment to focusing on those fundamentals for the first portion of his workout. And then of course, again, he would matriculate up and graduate to more advanced techniques, but he would never leave them. And, and as I’ve been a part of and, or studied other thriving organizations, especially in sports, you know, a, a duke basketball or a new England Patriots back in their heyday, you know, it was the same thing. You know, their practices and their workouts were built on the fundamentals of the game. They never left those that wasn’t something they said, well, we’re gonna do these things until we get good and then we’ll just leave them behind.
They made sure those were a staple of everything they did moving forward. And, and I know in my own life, you know, anytime I don’t believe I’m getting the results that I, I think I’m capable of when I, I sit with some self-reflection and some introspection, I usually realize that I’ve, I’ve started to skip the basics. I’ve started to, to kind of, you know, move on to more advanced techniques and leave them behind. And as soon as I refocus that lens and get that required clarity and get back to the fundamentals, I see my performance escalate again. So it’s, it’s not about never moving past them is just about never leaving them behind
Mm-Hmm and, and some of these, like how, what is the average NBA workout, like on a non, like say a non-game day? Like, you know what you’re talking about with Kobe Bryant? Like how much are they working out in a, a day?
Well, this is another part that kind of a part two to the story of when I saw him work out, that I thought was so cool was he had cuz the workout that I watched him do was really, really, really early in the morning. I mean at 3:30 AM type of work to some people that’s almost late cuz they’re considering it from the day before, but that was his first workout of the day. And, and he said to me at that time, cuz I asked him why he chose to get up that early. And he said even the most dedicated and determined NBA players in the off season, cuz this was an off season workout. He said the most D driven and ambitious NBA players will work out twice a day. They’ll work out for two to three hours mid-morning then they’ll take a little break and they’ll work out for two to three hours midafternoon and he said, if I only do what everybody else does, then I’ll only have what everyone else has.
I need to do more than they do. And this, this really parlays into, you know, ed my let’s concept of the power of one more. So Kobe said, if I can go in and get my first workout before they’re even awake and I’m leaving the gym from my first workout, as they’re coming to the gym for their first workout and then they’re coming home from their first workout and I’m heading in for my second workout, he said, I’ll always be a step ahead. And, and that might not matter over a couple of weeks or maybe a couple of months, but when you start to stack years and in his case decades, he said, no one will ever be able to catch me simply because I’m always doing one more than they are. And that was really kind of the, the cornerstone of his Mamba mentality.
And, and with that said, and I always make this disclaimer and I especially make it with younger players when I would work in that space. I don’t want everyone to think that the answer is always more as better. And that, you know, you know, if, if, if you’re working 12 hour days that working 16 hour days does not necessarily mean that that will improve your business. I mean, there’s, there’s a variety of, of different individual scenarios, but I just liked his mindset and his mindset was my edge is going to be my work ethic, my, my obsession towards mastering the fundamentals. And I’m always gonna do a little bit more than you’re going to do and you’ll never beat me. And I, I think that’s an incredible mindset to have.
Yeah. Well, I mean, I have to say like, you know, there’s a lot of this, like anti hu, like, you know, everyone was like, oh, the hustle culture. And then there’s like been this pendulum of like, oh, anti hustle. You don’t have to hustle. And you know, I’m not saying that you have to work your whole life. Like that’s all you do to be successful. But when I just look at the reality of the stories of the people who have become the elite in their profession, the volume of time spent matters tremendously. Like, and, and you know, I think, I think a lot of people would look at Kobe Bryant and go, oh, he is gifted. Right. Cause he was drafted straight outta the out of high school. Right. And go, oh yeah, totally gifted. Like just like wonder kin like the, the chosen one.
But then to hear this story of going that happened for decades and so people, they couldn’t catch him. And so it, it’s a different side of the story and it go, I’m not advocating for all we do is work, but I am, I, I can’t argue with the facts of the matter, which is that no, nobody gets to be at that level by just doing it. Part-Time like nobody. So that’s, that’s power, that’s powerful. And you’d say the same is true for Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, all the other teams in organizations you’re working with.
Absolutely. What, what most novice fans don’t see is that, that peak behind the curtain of the unseen hours, which I’ve been privy to. And you know, obviously this is during the NBA off season when we’re recording this, but let’s just say it was in the heart of the season. And, and Steph has one of his magical games where he knocks down 12 threes and scores, 60 points and people are mesmerized by that. And, and I certainly get that. It’s an incredible feat, but if they knew how much work he put in during the unseen hours and how many millions of shots he’s taken and Macon in empty gyms, when no one else is around, it actually becomes less spectacular. And I say that with a smile, cuz I’m not diminishing that type of feet, but when you shoot that many shots in an empty gym, when no one’s around, you’re supposed to make those shots.
When the lights come on and the cheerleaders start dancing and that’s how those guys look at it, you know, they’re never surprised by their unbelievable performances. It’s an expectation for them, but that’s because they’ve put in the work to deserve the right to, to perform that well. And that actually leads to the, the second lesson that I learned from those guys is they do a masterful job of blending confidence, which is what they earn through time in the unseen hours. They blend that with humility, which is what allows them to stay open to, to feedback is what allows them to stay open to being coached is what allows them to say, you know, you all might say I’m the best player in the NBA, but I’m not as good as I’m capable of becoming. So I’m gonna get back in the gym. You know, I mean, when, when I watched Kobe go through that workout, he was already an NBA champion already, an Allstar already, a multimillionaire, you know, 20 times over, already a surefire first ballot hall of Famer.
And he’s in the gym at three 30 in the morning working on his craft because he doesn’t believe he’s as good as he’s capable of. And when you can blend that type of confidence with humility, you get something really magical. And, and that’s something else that I’ve, I’ve tried to apply in my own life. I mean, I, I’m not anywhere on a performance level of a Kobe Bryant, but I wanna make sure that I am earning the right to hold someone’s attention when I’m on stage speaking, but I wanna stay open to being coached and, and to growing and, and developing and working on my craft. I mean, I, you know, my next speaking engagement, I aim to make the best one that I’ve ever done. But I also know that 10 years from now, if you have me back on your show, I will be a better speaker, 10 years from now than I am today because of my commitment to craft. And that’s, what’s most important to me.
Yeah. Yeah. I, we, we bumped up against this a lot because we have a fair number of like quasi celebrity or celebrity clients that we work with at brand builders group. And, you know, it’s, it’s a little bit amazing to be like, wow, we’re coaching, we’re coaching. We’re punching above our, our weight class here because like some of these people are, I mean, they’re real good and they’ve have, they’ve gotten, you know, had real success in real reach, but then, you know, so there’s like this initial part where you think, oh, that doesn’t make sense. Like why would somebody who’s the best in the world take coaching from somebody who has never even experienced that level personally. And it’s like, no, the reason they’re, they are the best in the world is because they take coaching from, from, from those people. Meanwhile, the people who you who need coaching are the ones who have no idea what they’re doing and they’re not good and they’re not starting and they’re set they’re, they’re not doing it cuz they think they’re above coaching and it’s, it’s not the weak or the, or the untalented or the UN gifted who get coaching.
Its the opposite. It’s the, it’s the, the elite highest performers on the, on the planet. And I think that’s amazing. So you talk about earning your confidence. So I like what you were saying there. So you’re so talk to talk to me a little bit more about that. You’re saying that they’re earning it through what they do in the, basically the unseen hours.
Yeah. They, they understand intimately that repetition is not punishment. Like that’s one of the lessons I teach my own children. Repetition is not punishment. Repetition is the oldest and most effective form of learning and skill acquisition on the planet. And that is never going to change. Even technology won’t change that you have to get in reps if you want to be good at anything. And, and they understand that and they’re willing to put in those reps to an unbelievable degree and you know, the reason Stephan Curry will go down in history as the greatest shooter the game has ever seen is not because he did a bunch of reps to get good. And now he just coast, he’s still in the gym working on his craft. He is still putting up shots, you know on off days and in the off season. Cuz that’s the repetition is what’s what’s required. And certainly it’s true in the speaking game. I mean the, how
Do you more reps
Get on stage the better you’ll be.
Yeah, for sure. Yeah. There’s, there’s no replacement for stage time and for sure. So when you, a lot of people listening are, you know, some type of a coach or a consultant or a leader, you know, kind of this experience like I’m presuming that you’re not, you, you’re not gonna be in the hall of fame, the NBA hall of fame as a player yourself. And so I think there’s a lot of people who end up sort of coaching above their weight class. Like I was talking about. Did, did you ever have insecurities or self doubt yourself? I mean standing on the court with these guys saying, Hey, do it this way. Not that way. Did you ever experience any of that? Like, well, who am I to tell, you know, Kevin Duran, like how to, how to whatever block somebody out or block a shot and how did you get past that?
Well, I, I got past it. One, by being honest, I mean I wasn’t trying to BS anybody. Those guys knew they were better players than I had ever dreamed of becoming, but they also knew that doesn’t exclude me from having certain expertise or experience that can still add value to what it is that they do. You know, a good portion of coaching comes from that, that intellectual knowledge from certain experiences from having a different vantage point from having different perspectives from shared experiences that you’ve had from other players. So I had to lean into that and say, yes, I realize that you are a better player than I ever. Would’ve been. However, I can still add to your game. You know, I can still give you things that will make you a better player. And with guys like that, you have to prove that very quickly, you know, the, the quickest way to get an elite level player to tune you out is the moment they don’t think you can make them better.
You know, I think that’s one of the reasons that coach Kay was so successful with, with the Olympic teams was because those guys, and then you’re talking about Kobe, LeBron, Steph Curry, KD, those guys knew that he still had something that could make them better. So they didn’t discount the fact that he was a college coach and they were pros. They realized that he could still make them better based on his experience and expertise. So to me that’s the most important part. I mean, if you look at, and, and I certainly wouldn’t want to go on a tangent of who’s the greatest player of all time, I’m, I’m still kind of in the Michael Jordan camp. And a lot of that is just based on my own age, but Michael Jordan is arguably the best player to ever play the game. So from that previous logic, he could never have a coach because no one is going to be better than him.
Right. Well, how foolish does that sound? Even me saying it out loud, you know, Phil Jackson was never as good of a player as Michael Jordan, but you better believe Phil Phil Jackson had a, a perspective and a philosophy and experience and expertise that he could use to help mentor and, and groom Michael Jordan to become the player he was. And, and, and I think all of those guys will acknowledge that. So to answer your question, yes, there were certainly moments of kind of that imposter syndrome. Oh my gosh, are they gonna listen to me? But I had to quickly move right through that, lean in with honesty and vulnerability and show them and prove to them that I have something that can make you better.
I love that. Okay, so you left us, hang in here, you got three, you covered to cover two of them. So I wanna, I wanna make sure that we have time to get into the third one.
The, the third is those guys were certainly driven by external results. They wanted to make Allstar teams. They wanted to win NBA championship rings. They wanted to win scoring titles. And, and those were often north stars that, that provided clarity and direction for where they were headed. But after that, they didn’t spend any time focused on results. They put all of their effort into the process. They put all of their effort into what are the habits I need to establish? What are the micro skills I need to develop? What are the behaviors that I need to exude on a, on a daily basis that will get me closer to that north star or that goal? So it wasn’t so much, you know, I want a championship ring as much as it was, what do I need to do today to give myself and my teammates the best opportunity to be a champion next season.
And they were very, very process driven. And when you can combine, you know, the, the humility and vulnerability, it takes to stick to the basics when you can earn your confidence in the unseen hours, but stay open to coaching and feedback, and you can stay focused on the steps and the processes and the habits you combine, those three things together. There’s really nothing that can stop you. And, and, and there’s no one arguing that the guys that, that we’ve been talking about were born with some physical predispositions that allowed them to be world class athletes. Sure. I mean, they’ll tell you, they were born with certain levels of athleticism, but so are a lot of people and they didn’t actualize it. And then of course, going back to what I said originally about these things, having high utility in the space that you and I play in, it doesn’t matter if you’re five feet tall or seven feet tall.
It doesn’t matter if you have a four inch vertical jump or a 40 inch vertical jump, the physicality is no longer relevant. So now these things actually are the separators and the difference makers in business or in entrepreneurship or in any of the, the playgrounds that we play in. So these are all things that are under our control, which goes back to your brilliant point, that you can lay out the blueprint of exactly what someone needs to do to reach a certain level of success. And it’s been proven, you guys have proven it with hundreds and hundreds of elite level clients. Problem is people just don’t stick to the script. They don’t execute the blueprint, they get bored with the basics, and then they try to do things their way, if they will follow your recipe, they will get unbelievable results.
Yeah, it’s funny. Like you know, I played basketball in high school was my whole big, you know, consuming focus. But when I, when I got to college, the, the way I was able to let go of the dream or what helped me let go of the dream was R realizing that I was competing. I know in, on something that I couldn’t control, which was the physicality part. And so I was like, well, if I’m always gonna be under massively under resourced in this area, I’m gonna quickly shift my attention into something where that is not a part of the game. And you know, that it actually was a pretty quick flip of the switch where it was like, it went from being my whole life to, I pretty much dropped it. You know, just because it was like, oh, I, this is I’m gonna go.
I’m gonna go basically find another game to, to play and to, to compete in, which is, which is really cool. So I mean, this is awesome, Alan. I, I, I think it’s, it’s, it’s amazing to me how, how consistent this story is. And, and people don’t necessarily want it to be that way and they try to rationalize it and popular culture tries to change it, but it’s like, this is the deal. And it’s super duper powerful to, to get to see it. So where do, where should we send people? All right. So we have, so your, your, your, you had raise your game, which was the first book, and then sustain your game, just came out. Where, where do you want people to go? If they wanna connect more with you and like, keep up with what you’re doing.
My primary speaking website is Alan Stein jr.com. And then I have a second,
Don’t forget the junior, don’t forget the junior
Don’t don’t ever forget that. And, and it’s a quick side note to that. Not implying that you ever would, but if you ever meet my father, he’ll tell you the biggest dad, joke of all time. He’ll say I’m Alan steins. I’m the original, he’s the carbon copy. he thinks that’s funny every single time. So I,
I think that’s funny.
Yeah, that’s good stuff. So Alan Stein jr.com is the speaking site, stronger team.com has info on my books podcast and online course, and some one-on-one coaching. And then I’m very easily found and very accessible and resp responsive on social media at Allen Stein Jr. On Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. And then of course you can just search for the books on Amazon or audible or wherever you like to get your books or audio books.
I love it, man. Well, what a, what a cool glimpse into what it takes, and then to see you applying it in your own life, in your own business, what you’re doing now as a speaker is really, really cool. Like you can, you can see the, the trajectory of your career just shaping up nicely in terms of like your ability to apply this to other people and to companies and organizations to build stronger teams. It’s really, really inspiring brother. And you know, I’m very encouraged by that and inspired by you. So, so stay the course. We’re cheering for you.