Davante Adams grew up like many other kids – going to school, playing with friends, and attending the Boys and Girls Club. In his free time, Adams’ parents encouraged him to pick up sports in order to keep busy and stay out of trouble. So, Adams dedicated himself to improving his athletic skills, and his hard work began to pay off. During his senior year of high school, Adams helped lead his team to the CIF National Championship, but fame was never his end goal. Adams’ motivation for success was more selfless: he simply wanted to give back.
“I didn’t want to be famous. I wanted to be successful,” Adams said. “I wanted to do everything I could to help my family out and give mom and dad everything they gave to me.”
Now, going into his sixth season as wide receiver for Green Bay, Adams realizes that his potential to give back reaches further than just his family. Through his words and actions, he can impact the next generation of athletes.
“The kids running around the Boys and Girls Club are me,” Adams said. “It’s important to invest in kids because setting a good example for them will shape the future and put us all in good hands.”
Regardless of what grade you’re in or what sport you play, Davante Adams believes you hold the power to create a bright future, so here’s five pieces of advice he has for you:
1. Have fun playing sports but be safe.
“I play football because I love the sport and have fun playing it,” Adams said.
It’s no surprise that Adams is an advocate for youth sports because of the effect they had on his own life. Adams believes that not only do they provide a method of keeping kids active and healthy, but he says it can also benefit kids socially.
“Getting involved in sports gives kids something to do, and it helps out with relationships as they make friends,” Adams said.
Although competition is fun, Adams points out that there’s an element that needs to be taken seriously.
“The number one thing is to always be safe,” he said. “They have different levels – flag football if you don’t want to worry about being tackled, or if you want to play tackle football, that could be fun too. Either way, wearing a mouthpiece is big. People think it’s so your teeth don’t crack, but it also helps prevents concussions if you get hit.”
2. Your passions may change, and that’s okay.
One thing that makes Adams a unique football player is
that he didn’t start playing football until 11th grade. His first
love was basketball. He began dribbling at the age of five and kept playing
through high school, lettering all four years.
“Growing up, some of my biggest influences were AI and
Deron Williams. I watched how they moved on the court, and I’d try to mimic
that,” Adams said. “I always had a mean crossover; I just had to figure out how
to incorporate it into my releases and route running.”
No matter how much you plan, you don’t know what the future holds. Adams didn’t know that learning basketball skills as a young kid would help him become a great football player; he just followed his passions and dedicated himself to the sport. So whether you see the big picture or not, give 100%, always.
3. Listen to your parents and take school seriously.
It’s a cliché saying, but it bares truth: hindsight is
20/20. Now that he’s an adult (and a soon-to-be parent himself), Adams realizes
the importance of listening and heeding the advice that his parents gave him.
“Listen to your parents when they tell you to stay in school and take your schooling seriously. That’s the biggest thing,” Adams said. “I didn’t do that well when I started high school, and by the end, I had to catch up in order to graduate and become eligible for D1. The hardest thing in life is having to work backward. So listen to your parents, they know what they’re talking about.”
4. Dream big and work hard.
“Growing up, football was
an outlet for guys to get away and set us up for life,” Adams said.
He knew that if he worked hard to dominate the sport, he could earn a free ride to college, so that’s what he set out to do. After two years playing in high school, Adams left for Fresno State on a football scholarship, and two years after that, he was drafted by Green Bay.
You always want to set your sights on the biggest dreams possible.
Although Adams admits that returning to NorCal as a
local legend was once a dream of his, he’s still adjusting to the reality.
“Yes, I dreamed it would get to this point, but it was just a dream to begin with and now being in this position – coming back to the Boys and Girls Club, like the type I grew up going to – there are kids looking at me like the figures I looked up to when I was young. It’s surreal.”
5. Leave your own legacy.
Adams says he’s been
inspired by LeBron James and the impact he has both on and off the court, and
Adams hopes to inspire people in similar ways.
“I want to leave a legacy of greatness whether that’s in my community or the sport I play,” Adams said. “Being able to give back to my community sheds light on my character and lets kids know how important it is for them to do the same.”
It’s important for people to know how much something means to you, so I want them to know that I put everything into the game — blood, sweat and tears.
Adams’ legacy only reaches so far, but his impact on the next generation can start a chain reaction for a positive future because everybody has the potential to impact others with what they leave behind.
To shop Davante’s look head on over to eastbay.com, and to see his interview with two kids from the Boys and Girls Club, check out our video page.
Noah Lyles grabbed the attention of sports media when he took first in the men’s 100-meter at the 2018 USATF Outdoor Championships. But Lyles isn’t letting the new spotlight distract him from his upcoming season or the big events of summer 2020. No matter the race at hand, Lyles’ goal remains the same: “Win everything.”
This competitive spirit is in his blood, having been raised in a running family with parents and a brother who all have track experience. But it takes more than just a competitive streak to be successful in professional sports, and Noah Lyles’ track record is a clear indicator that he knows what it takes to be the best. So, here’s his advice for finding success on and off the track.
1. It takes two types of training: mental and physical.
“A lot of people think it’s the hard training [that makes you a better athlete], but it’s not just hard training. It’s also being smart with the training, and that all comes from your mind,” Lyles said. “My mom has always said this sport is 90% mental, 10% physical.”
The biggest competition on the track isn’t always an actual person. Sometimes it’s the voice in your head questioning your ability to shave a couple tenths off your next meet; sometimes it’s the crippling fear that you’re not as good as you think. But through training you learn to shut up that voice and become the best you can be.
2. It’s crucial to create a strategy.
“The night before, I talk to my sport psychologist about our plan for the race,” Lyles said.
Then on the day of the race, as Lyles prepares to get in the blocks, he repeats his plan in his mind. He focuses on the track before him and pictures himself passing up his competitors one by one until all that’s left in his sights is the finish line.
Envisioning the win is a key to success.
3. Don’t try to be anybody but yourself.
“I’m not here to be the next whoever,” Lyles said. “I’m here to be me. And I’m hoping that when people see that, they’ll try to be the best them that they can be.”
It’s easy to see that Lyles is true to himself from the themed socks he’ll wear on race days to his victory dances after he crosses the finish line. Comparison is the thief of joy – maybe that’s why Noah Lyles is always smiling.
4. Find a creative outlet.
“In high school, track and field was all my life was built around,” Lyles said. “During off season I would kind of go crazy. So, I decided I would start incorporating my hobbies heavily into my life. Because if I don’t have something to work on outside of track, I start to think that all I am is a runner, and that’s not how it is.”
Noah Lyles loves his career as a professional sprinter and dedicates tons of time to perfecting his skills. But he also understands the importance of embracing his hobbies like creating music, designing sneakers and filming YouTube videos. Drive and determination are necessary tools for success, but finding balance is equally important.
5. Don’t live in the past.
When asked what piece of advice he would give to a younger him, without hesitation Noah Lyles said, “You did everything right.”
It’s a simple answer that holds an important lesson. The wins and losses make you who you are today. It does no good to worry about how the last meet went or hate yourself for not setting a new record. Instead you must decide to train, race, and give 100% every time.
These five keys set Noah Lyles apart from other athletes and put him in a league of his own. But even the most talented workman has his favorite tools, and for Lyles it’s adidas through and through. Check out a full selection of adidas track and field gear at eastbay.com and start owning your success today.
This weekend, the best high school track and field athletes from around the nation will gather at Aggie Stadium in Greensboro, North Carolina to compete for the title of All American. Big meets like New Balance Nationals Outdoor mean big expectations, and to come out on top, athletes need to be prepared both mentally and physically. So, we asked former pro sprinter Keith Ricks how he kept his cool when big wins and PRs were on the line.
Eastbay: Did you have any superstitions or rituals for competition day?
Keith: When I was in high school, I would watch guys in the Olympics do their pre-race shakeouts right before they get into the blocks. I noticed that Tyson Gay raised both arms right before he gets down in the blocks, and I thought it looked cool. So I started doing it before my races when I was just starting to run track in school. It became a habit, and I continued to do this throughout my career. Fast forward six years later and I was racing beside Tyson Gay at the USA Outdoor Nationals doing the same pre-race shake out as he was ‑ that was an awesome race for me!
Eastbay: What’s one piece of advice you have for the athletes preparing for New Balance Nationals?
Keith: By the time you reach New Balance Outdoor Nationals, all of the hard work has been done! You’ve trained hard all year and hopefully got the results you were looking for during the season. Championships are a time to show out! Show all of the hard work you put in all year and punish the competition. Prove you are fast enough to not only compete but win against the very best!
Eastbay: When you’re competing at an elite level, how important are mental preparation and focus?
Keith: Mental preparation is essential. I would mentally prepare for every race the same way to stay consistent. I would visualize myself winning and running the best race of my life. I would do this for every meet from ones as important as New Balance Outdoor Nationals to the small district meet in high school on a Wednesday.
Eastbay: What are some physical recovery tips athletes should remember for after a meet?
Keith: After the meet, it’s important to cool down and recover effectively. Most runners hate ice baths but they are a life saver! It feels like it takes years (even though it’s really only 15 minutes) to adapt to the freezing cold ice, but your body will thank you later! A protein-rich, post-race dinner can also be beneficial. My favorite meal to eat after a race was grilled fish or chicken with rice and vegetables on the side.
Eastbay: What’s the most important thing you learned/your biggest takeaway from your competitive career?
Once every two years, the greatest athletes from around the world represent their countries with pride and compete to etch their names in the history books. This massive event is truly a spectacle, and there may be no one better equipped to break down what it takes and what the stage feels like more than Lauryn Williams. As one of only five athletes, and the first American woman, to take home hardware in both winter (bobsledding) and summer (sprinting) events, Williams can provide unparalleled advice and knowledge on the topic. So we sat down with the legendary competitor to hear all about her experiences on the global stage.
Part 1: Training For The Stage
Q: How did training for a huge event like this differ from how you trained normally year-round?
A: “You don’t train any differently for the games. That’s one of the biggest pieces of advice I give to people who are training for the team. Do what you know works, don’t do something completely different. A lot of times people get poor performance at the games because they are like ‘ok, I made the team, now I have to go above and beyond.’ But the thing that helped you make the team is the thing that will help you perform while there.”
Q: Can you walk us through what your training routine looked like?
A: “I trained roughly three hours a day, six days a week.
We would start with early morning, 6 a.m. weight room workouts, then we’d come back in the afternoon for the running portion. Depending on what day it was, it would be a harder workout or a sprint workout.
Wednesday was our recovery day, so we could regroup — which was really important. A mistake athletes everywhere make is overtraining. A lot of times, you’ll hear people say ‘you need to work smart, not hard,’ and I completely agree. You can’t work yourself to the bone and think it’s going to make you the fastest.”
Q: Competing on that stage also meant added pressure and expectations. How did you prepare mentally for that?
A: “The biggest thing for me was telling myself ‘I am good enough to be here.’ So often you second-guess yourself and compare yourself to the competition, but, in reality, mental prep is knowing you’ve done everything you possibly could to make the result go in your favor. Then you just need to go out there, relax, and realize your potential.
In my sprinting events, I often had only 100 meters. I had 11 seconds or less to make the most of my moment, so if I had spent the time thinking about what my neighbors were doing — it would have gotten me off track and the result wouldn’t have been as good.”
Feb. 9 – Part 2: Competing In Summer Events Vs. Winter Events
Q: You can give really unique insight on this since you have competed and medaled in both summer and winter events. What were the biggest differences between the two?
A: “The biggest difference between the two is the atmosphere and size. When I was on the winter team, we had around 230 total athletes representing the US, whereas just our track and field team had over 180 people one summer. So that one sport is pretty much the size of all the sports for the winter. But that smaller size helps you get to know the people better. It’s a lot more intimate of a community and more of a family environment in the winter.”
Q: How did that transition from sprinting to bobsledding come about?
A: “My track and field career was getting ready to be over and I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do next in my life after sports. So I started playing with some different options and I ran into a friend at an airport. I had just read an article about her trying bobsled and asked her ‘hey, I heard you did bobsled? How did you like it?’ She had nothing but praises to say about bobsled, and what a great opportunity it was. She said ‘Lauryn, you’re fast and powerful, those are two tools you’ll need. So if I were you, I’d give it a try.’ So I did, and six months later, I was at the Games!”
Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you had when you made the switch?
A: “Definitely the learning curve. Track and field is a very individual sport while bobsled is much more team-oriented. It was one of my biggest life lessons — it taught me how to compete against someone but also have their best interests at heart. You want the overall team to win. It was a very steep learning curve, and I depended on the other girls to help me so that I could be good enough to represent the USA.”
Q: As someone who has truly excelled at multiple sports, what advice would you give to young athletes who want to go down that path?
A: “It’s a great way to diversify yourself. I work in financial planning now and that’s a common term that we use, but it applies to multiple parts of your life. You want to be multifaceted so that you can give yourself different skills and strengths. The more things you expose yourself to, the better opportunities you’ll have long term. It’ll also make you more well-rounded as a person. Plus, what you learn in one sport could be useful in another.”
Feb. 16 – Part 3: Favorite Moments Of Her Career
Q: When you look back at your career, were there any moments that really stood out?
A: “I would say in 2012, when I did my part to help the 4×100 relay team win gold and break the world record. I was part of the qualifying relay, but wasn’t chosen to participate in the finals. You would think that would be a negative experience for me, but it was kind of that redeeming moment that I realized in bobsled later: it’s bigger than me.”
You’d have a tough time finding someone more accomplished than Maya Moore. Her extensive resume is highlighted by four titles in seven seasons, five All-Star selections, and an MVP award, already establishing her as one of the best to ever play the game. And she did all of that before the age of 29.
In addition to dominating on the court, she’s also proven to be incredibly influential off the court as one of the biggest stars in women’s basketball. She became the first female basketball player to sign a deal with the iconic Jordan Brand, where she’s received several successful player’s edition shoes and helped grow the women’s game with events like the Jordan Brand Classic for high school All-Americans.
We asked Maya Moore about winning championships, working with Jordan Brand, and what’s next for the superstar who’s already done it all.
Q: You won your fourth title last season. How does that compare to your previous championships?
A: “This past championship was one of the most challenging and satisfying experiences of my professional career. It’s just really unbelievable to think about four titles in seven years, and the group of people that I’ve been able to do that with. It’s been amazing.”
Q: You’ve won at every level: college, pros, and internationally. What’s your secret?
A: “There’s no question that I wouldn’t be who I am without the amazing teammates and coaches I’ve had. I’m really spoiled to have some of the best of the best to ever play the game or coach the game by my side through so many championship experiences. I’ve been so blessed to have talent and opportunity around me, but I try to make sure that I am as competitive as I can be in every situation. That’s a key ingredient to my success. Trying to compete at everything I can to make sure that I have a competitive advantage when I step onto the court.”
Q: What advice would you give to athletes who look up to you?
A: “First, surround yourself with quality people who understand and are trying to pursue the same things that you are. I had great people when I was a teenager and young adult that had been where I was trying to go and I could learn from them and grow in those years. I’d also say just understand how much work and sacrifice it is going to take to reach your goals and how sweet it is when at the end you can stand knowing you gave everything you had whether you won or lost. Continue to pursue your passion. Make sure you are cultivating that passion for the sport, for your team, for your craft – whatever it may be.”
Q: You’re one of the biggest names in the game now. What’s that been like?
A: “It’s really amazing to think about the platform that I have now as one of the top WNBA players.”