My guest today is , who spent 12 years with the New York Yankees, many of which were as the Director of Strength and Conditioning & Performance Enhancement. He won the 2009 World Series and was named the top strength coach voted by his peers...
My guest today is Dana Cavalea, who spent 12 years with the New York Yankees, many of which were as the Director of Strength and Conditioning & Performance Enhancement. He won the 2009 World Series and was named the top strength coach voted by his peers during the same season. He is also the author of Habits of A Champion.
During the episode, we discuss what it was like to be called by Yankees GM Brian Cashman at the age of 23 to be promoted to the Head Strength Coach, why certain players have the right mental make-up and routine to succeed over time, how he helped young players work through failure, and what Mariano Rivera said the secret was to his success. He also touches on how GM Brian Cashman handled the team meeting during the 2009 season after they lost 10 straight games, which turned the season around, and what other lessons he learned from guys like Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Andy Pettite.
(1:40) —Episode begins with how he was hired to be the head strength coach for the New York Yankees when he was 23 years old
(3:00) — How he built trust with the players at such a young age
(4:30) — How players handle failure in baseball
(6:15) — Lessons from Joe Torre
(7:45) — How he helped young players handling failure for the first time in their lives
(9:55) — Lessons learned from Andy Pettite
(11:00) — Why some players were driven because of their rough upbringing
(13:05) — Why Derek Jeter didn’t think everyone deserved equal treatment
(15:50) — Mariano Rivera’s routine
(22:10) — How Yankees GM Brian Cashman handled a meeting during 2009 when the team was in the middle of a 10-game losing streak
(24:45) — End of episode questions
End of Episode Questions:
1. What’s 1 book every coach should read?
2. Who is one person you’d want to hear as a guest on this podcast? John Calipari
3. What’s one area you’re looking to improve in over the next year? Take his health and fitness to another level
4. What’s popular advice you hear people say that you think is wrong? You can’t be great at everything; you have to figure out what you’re great at and excel in that area.
5. What advice do you have for young coaches who are listening to this? Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you don’t know anything, but just because you’re young and you think you know everything doesn’t mean you do.
6. What’s the darkest moment you experienced professionally and how did you overcome it? He and Joe Girardi had philosophical differences on training and his contract wasn’t renewed after his final season as a result but he knew there would be something else for him afterwards.
“What makes him (Mariano Rivera) tick is he isn’t worrying about public applause and he’s not worried about public opinion. He just focuses on what it is that he was hired to do. And that was to pitch and get hitters out.”
“When you work under a guy like Joe Torre, it’s like having a grandfather /mob-boss as your manager.”
“You can have a difficult conversation with a player, but you always have to make that player leave feeling good about themselves, and that’s what Joe (Torre) did a great job of.”
“If you show up with the intent of being successful and being competitive, you have a great chance of being successful because you’re competitive.”