WYC 115 – Athlete Development – Trevor Ragan talks Training Ugly

Trevor Ragan is the founder of Train Ugly

From Trevor:


To challenge and question EVERYTHING that we think we know about sports, education, and development.

Through this journey I’ve worked with best-selling authors, olympic coaches, professional athletes, renowned professors, and thousands of coaches, teachers, students, and players from all over the world.

These experiences helped me to discover some incredibly important research in the fields of motor learning, performance science, and psychology that should have totally changed the way we train and develop students, athletes, and people in general – but they have not.

It’s my mission to change that.

Each morning I get out of bed inspired to read, research, learn, and share as much as possible with students, athletes, coaches, and teachers.


Website: trainugly.com

Facebook: /trainingugly/

Twitter: @train_ugly

Youtube: /SabiSushi1

Listen Now:

Listen on iTunes: iTunes link

Listen on Stitcher: Stitcher link

Listen on Google Play Music: Google Play link


‘You have to be bad first’

Cringe Moment

  • Being too focused on the win or loss – Enjoy the journey!

Teaching Skills

2 pillars:

  1. Motor learning –
    • The number of reps
    • Make reps: Random & Gamelike – Games are random, so reps should be too. Great video on this: youtu.be/m_5nWKyRzKM
  2. Growth mindset – The people who believe in their capacity to learn and grow, do much better at learning and growing. ‘Skills are built not born.’ Learning is not easy – you have to be bad first. You have to understand that being bad first is part of the process.

Dealing with failure

  • Trevor had a goal since 7th grade to make the Duke basketball team
  • He tried out as a walk-on, and was the last one cut.
  • How do you deal with this type of failure? Learning to appreciate the value of the struggle, while you are in the middle of the process
  • Have huge goals that you can picture yourself doing. But then focus on the systems and process that will get you to that goal. The result of achieving the goal does not define you.

Championship Culture 

  • Create a safe place to learn
  • You’re going to be bad first
  • Don’t create a culture that only values success and perfection
  • Teammates and coaches need to take the focus off the outcome when building up their teammates and players
  • Coach K from Duke – He invests a huge amount of time in creating 1 on 1 relationships with all his players

Best borrowed/stolen idea

  • Karch Kiraly – Now coach of the women’s U.S. Olympic team – Always learning. He asked Trevor after Trevor observed his practice: ‘What do you think we can do better?’

Train Ugly

  • Video essays – Great explanations of the science and research – check them out at trainugly.com

Favorite coaching book/quote

Parting Advice

  • Sports provide the opportunity to teach children life skills that are life-changing

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