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Kenny Florian and the Championship Mentality

Tonight, Kenny “KenFlo” Florian, a former Boston College soccer player, fights B.J. Penn for the UFC Lightweight Championship at UFC 101. This is Florian’s second shot at the title after a loss to Sean Sherk several years ago.

As Florian has progressed in his professional MMA career, his brother and trainer has kept a notebook chronicling his progress:

His brother Keith carries a notebook with him to each training session and each fight in which he records everything, positive and negative, that his brother does.

That allows him to tailor his brother’s workouts so that he is constantly evolving. The results have proven Keith Florian’s method has been working. He’s won six in a row and is coming off an impressive first-round submission of the dangerous Joe Stevenson at UFC 91.

The wins themselves, however, aren’t what Keith Florian is using to judge his brother. He simply looks in his notebook and sees the hurdles Kenny has cleared since last he fought for the championship.

“He’s a totally different fighter,” Keith Florian said of his brother. “Mentally, physically, spiritually, he’s a totally different person. What makes him so great is that he’s always looking to take it to the next level. He’s not satisfied with anything. He’s not satisfied with his last win. He’s not satisfied with anything. He just wants to go out there and improve and make himself better in every way.

Everyone in every sport wants to be good. Most athletes want to be good right now. They think they are ready. They think they are good enough. However, good enough is never good enough. There is always someone out there better than you or working hard to take your spot.

How many players (or their trainer, coach or parent) write down everything from every practice session and every game to improve their future training sessions? How many athletes constantly evaluate their current training and their progress? How many question their current approach and seek a better way to train or improve?

The few players who make this effort are usually the ones competing for championships or Most Valuable Player awards or NBA 1st Round picks or college scholarships or state championships.

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