On this podcast, what we like to do is we like to find the differences that make the differences. To break down, we got a professional quarterback in here today, Shane Austin. We are going to find out what his beliefs are, what his values, what his strategies, what his thinking patterns that help him produce the results that he does. What’s great, the reason why I love doing this, this idea of modeling is. I know he is a quarterback and I know you may not be a quarterback or a football player for that matter. You might not even be into sports. When you hear his answers, you are going to see how they are going to apply to your life as well, maybe as a parent, as a business person, whatever it is. His thinking patterns, what he focuses on, his daily habits, his routines, you are going to see how by modeling them, you can better and improve the quality of your life as well.
I am excited to have Shane on here because he is also the son of a previous guest, Dave Austin, the mental performance coach. Shane grew up with a lot of these principles and these different mental winning habits from a very young age. In the off season, he also works himself as an Extreme Focus coach, as a mental performance coach. He is very articulate with his answers and so he makes for a great guest on the show to be able to explain not only what he does but how he does it.
In fact, you know me, I love tools. I love techniques. Don’t just give me some big motivating speech. Give me a technique that I could follow, some steps that I could follow and apply to my own life. He does that. He is going to share with us the process, something that he uses, something that he learned from his father. It’s a five-step process to be able to get clear and to bring that inner voice from inside of you. Get advice what you need to do in a situation, make a big decision. He is going to walk us through each step and tell a little bit of a story about it as well. Actually, he’s going to also share some really good stories on his dad. People who know him will really enjoy this episode. Without any further ado, walking up to the plate right now is Shane Austin. Come see us on the other side.
Listen to the podcast here:
Pro QB Shane Austin on Winning Habits
Here we are on the other side with stone cold Shane Austin, professional quarterback. Shane, welcome to the show brother.
Thanks for having me. I appreciate you letting me hop on with you.
I am excited to hear your perspective on things. I know you are into the mind game and have raise up in it with your father being Mr. Dave Austin, big wave. I am interested in learning your perspective as being a quarterback and how you use a lot of principles and your journey through your career and how you’ve grown throughout it over the years.
I am looking forward to it and it is cool seeing different perspectives. Obviously, you are a baseball player and I am a football player. But at the end of the day when it comes to the mind and the mental principles, everything applies and relates to any area of life. Let’s get started with it.
I definitely want to talk to you about growing up and especially with having your dad being a mental performance coach and all. Currently, you are going back to Shanghai, right?
I am going back in the fall. We are bringing football to China, which is pretty exciting. We did it for the first time last year and it was well received. We are going back this fall. Hopefully, we are going to continue to build on that success out there. It’s exciting stuff.
I played a lot of years out of the country, a couple in Japan. One of the things I really respect about you is the way that you have really embraced the culture and the fans of China. What’s been important to you about that?
I have been fascinated just by how different their culture is than ours and the different nuances that come along with it. I’ve been trying to learn as much as I can while I am out there. They paired us up with a Chinese roommate while we were there so we can get to know it more. My roommate spoke maybe as much English as I speak Chinese. It was a lot of Google translate and a lot of that. This off-season I’ve actually been trying to pick up the language. I have been on that Rosetta Stone and trying to learn some Mandarin. It’s a tough language though, but hopefully it’ll pay off once I get back out there in fall.
Any good lost in translation stories, now that I think about it, with sharing a room with a Chinese player?
There’s definitely plenty of opportunities, especially with coaching it. We’re trying to teach the game to them and we had a Chinese translator during meetings. I think halfway through the season we realized he was definitely translating things wrong, because guys were making mistakes and we kept telling them. The Chinese translator didn’t really understand the game of football. He probably didn’t understand just some of the terminology that we think is just second nature to us. We got to actually speak it as if you are speaking to a kindergartener, so that way it was more simplified. Once we figured that out, then we are able to coach up the guys correctly. There is plenty of lost in translation moments and I am sure there will be plenty more to come. I look forward to that challenge.
That’s good, knowing it in advance. It reminds me, playing in Japan. It didn’t happen while I was there but there’s an older story about an interpreter trying to translate a hit and run. In baseball, when the runner on first takes off and the batter hits it intentionally to put it in play. In the translation, the interpreter tried to explain a hit and run car accident. Looking up in the translation book and was explaining how when the two vehicles collide and then the driver takes off.
There are plenty of those funny moments.
We mentioned it here already, we’ve had your dad as a guest on the show, a long time mental performance coach. What was it like growing up with that and when did you recognize that, “This mental stuff is important and I need to start utilizing it on a daily basis.”?
Like you said, I was very fortunate to have that influence and those principles. I was brought up on that growing up. I found I had to separate myself from a young age because I was always a smaller guy. I never got that size. I always thought I’d grow into my feet. I always had big feet but I never grew into it. I always had to compensate, one with just working harder on the field, working on my fundamentals technique, being as quick that I could possibly be, being quicker than those big guys. But also I realized the importance of the mental side. I had to be mentally tough when coaches are telling me that I am probably too small for this position. I’ll never be able to make it to the varsity level, the high school level or the college level. There are plenty of those naysayers, those doubters, that naturally I had to be tough mentally just to be able to have a strong belief system in myself. I was fortunate enough to have my dad as one of those positive influences.
He wasn’t always a mental performance coach, at least professionally. He would work with people growing up and he never really turned it into a career. I think until my freshman year in high school actually, I ended up winning the starting job. We had a good season. But the very final game of the year, we were playing our cross town rivals. It was a big rivalry game, even for a freshman high school football game. It was a packed crowd. It was a pretty big game. They had been killing every team by 40 points. We went on to actually beat them and win our conference for that year.
There’s this sports agent that my dad was close with and I played with his son before. He was like, “I need my players to have what your son has.” He recognized something in me just in the mindset that I wasn’t afraid of this bigger, badder team. I was able to just have that poised. I know he knew that it was due to how I was brought up and the principles that my dad instilled in me. Then he was like, “I can actually turn this into a thing.” He started working with professional athletes on the mental side and really started turning that into a program, turning that into a career. I’d like to joke that I take credit. I was like, “I got you started in this,” but really obviously, he got me started in it as well because he was the one instilling these principles into me at a young age.
One of those athletes way back in the day was a young Texas Ranger. I know when I started working with your dad, you were still in high school and I was blown away with the stories. We haven’t met at that time and I was so blown away with the stories that your dad will say about what your daily habits were, in terms of the mental side and setting goals, and setting affirmations. I really like you to explain that. With these podcasts sometimes there are these great episodes where I share with different groups of people. Some come up and I’m like young athletes need to hear this. What I’d really love for you to explain is, “Look, as a high school age kid this is what you did and it’s not too early for others to do the same.” What were the habits that you got yourself in during those high school years from the mental side?
Goal setting was a huge part of my life growing up. Even at a young age, I might not have it as organized as I might have it now but I always knew that there is a value to setting goals. It’s funny even before high school, just in Pop Warner Football days, my parents would always give me an incentive by the end of the season. If I were to accomplish this, then they would give me basically some type of gift, some type of reward. They would put these ridiculous goals out there that they thought no way that I would get to, but I was so driven.
I do remember one example. This one was probably the biggest one. I was really big into skateboarding. I love skateboarding. I wanted to have my own half pipe. It sounds crazy. They’re like, “Y got a half pipe if you throw such and such touchdowns this year.” I can’t remember the number off the top of my head, but I knew it was ridiculous. They knew it was ridiculous. But I had a drive to achieve that goal. The thing that’s funny about our minds is our minds are goal seeking mechanisms. It’s just a matter of putting that target out there. In that way, you can surprise yourself when you start going into that direction. I always surprise not only myself, my parents and their wallets because they’d have to figure out some way. They are like, “We did promise him this. We just didn’t think he’d actually hit it.” We did find a deal with this guy who built them, so we ended up getting a half pipe. It took maybe a year after I hit the goal, but eventually I did have it. I did tear it up plenty of times. That was the start of it.
Then, I took it more seriously once I got to high school. It wasn’t just an incentive, just so I can get some gift at the end. It was more for myself because I wanted to get to the college level. I had high goals. I decided, going to my senior year, I really organized them a lot better. I set multiple goals. I set some large goals, some end of the season goals, and then some smaller goals to help me get to those. I organized them in a way where I wrote them all out on a piece of paper. I put them up on my wall in my room right where my door was, so I was forced to see it every single day as I was leaving my room. I think it’s very important to actually have it in front of you on a constant basis. It’s easy to just write down goals. People setting New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of the year, they file them somewhere, put them in a drawer or in their phone, and they never see them again until the end of the year. Then they’ll say, “Let’s see how I did.” But you usually forget about those goals that you set.
I was seeing them every single day. I’d set some lofty goals, I’ll be honest. The numbers that I were going for were probably double whatever the school records were, which in hindsight seems very farfetched. If I would have shown my high school coach at that time, he probably would have laughed at me and said, “You’re crazy.” I definitely kept these goals to myself. I didn’t really tell anybody about them, but I believed in them and that’s really all that matters. All my work went towards that. I realized probably about the second or third game of the season, I was calculating out where I was at, where I needed to be, am I on track. I was way off track. I wasn’t even close. I was like, “Maybe I did shoot a little too high on these goals. Maybe I should think about adjusting them or something like that.”
I was like, “I’m going to stick to it. I am not going to worry about these long term goals right now. I am just going to focus on one game at a time and just focus on my intentions for that one particular game.” I kept those goals still in front of me, so I am still seeing them. But I didn’t let them become a distraction during the game, because I am not going to go and throw, if my goal was twenty touchdowns, which I think it was, twenty touchdown passes in the season. I am not going to throw all those twenty in one game. That can seem a little overwhelming. But if I stick to my intentions for that game that I want to be strong with my feet, I want to keep it simple, I want to trust in my ability, all those things, they add up and those baby steps started to add up.
By the end of the season, I really did surprise myself and I ended up hitting majority of those goals. I hit the twenty touchdown passes exactly. I think I was even at nineteen going into our final game and I called an audible just so we can have a passing play into the end zone. I was like, “I am hitting this goal.” I’ve always been very goal-driven so that was like, “I am hitting that one.” I ended up hitting all these ones. Maybe two or three weeks into it I was like, “I am way in over my head.” I stuck to it and I kept it. I stayed in a one game at a time mindset and I was able to hit majority of those goals and translate that. That was what helped me ultimately get to college and get to having track records. I always use goals now in anything that I do. I am a very big believer, firm believer in setting goals.
You talked about finishing that senior season and then you go on to the University of Hawaii, but you did it as a walk on. Now, was there other interest from schools that were recruiting you? What was the decision of taking that risk of going to a place as a walk on for you?
Again, me being as goal-driven as I was, I had a goal that I was going to play D1 football. There was nothing below that, anything else wouldn’t be acceptable. Now, looking back on it, I could’ve definitely gone D2, D3. I could have even done junior college. Those are all great options because guys have still gone on to do great things. Tom Brady went to a junior college. All these guys have gone different paths to get to the ultimate goal would be the NFL. At that time, I was so driven on D1. That was the only thing I could set my sights on or wrap my head around.
I didn’t have a lot of options. I was under the radar. One, being my size. Really it’s your junior year is when you got to go off because then most guys are going to big colleges. They are already committed before their senior years. I wasn’t on anybody’s radar. I was splitting time my junior year and then I didn’t even take over full-time starting job until my senior year. That’s when I ended up breaking my school records and hitting all those goals. I was behind the recruiting radar but I still was determined that I was going to find a way. I went on some visits. I even did some camps for Stanford. Stanford was my dream school to go to. It was funny, they even said I did so well at those camps that the head coach was like, “We like you. If you can grow two inches, then we will offer you a scholarship.” I am like, “Okay, great. I will work on that coach. Thanks.” Literally the only thing I can’t control. That coaching staff ended up getting fired and that’s when Jim Harbaugh came in. I had a few options from that. I had some D3 options, some scholarship offers. I had some junior colleges interested but I was still, “I am not at that D1 level. How can I get there?” I heard about Hawaii. Hawaii was making some press that year because of their high flying offense. They had the Run and Shoot with June Jones as the head coach. They were just putting up ridiculous numbers. It was a quarterback’s dream to play for there.
I just had my sight set on Hawaii, for the college experience, but also just to live in Hawaii. How can you beat that? I set that as another large goal with my quarterback coach. He actually had contact with June Jones and Mouse Davis who’s the founder of the Run and Shoot offense and also was an assistant coach there at that time. Through him, we created our own recruiting visit. It wasn’t an official visit. It was all on our own dime and dollar. I got to thank my parents again. During this time, they had to fork up some money that probably they weren’t prepared to. They knew that I was determined and they knew that they wanted to help in any way they can.
I made my trip out there to Hawaii. It was around the Super Bowl week. Basically got into the coach’s offices, I started talking to them. It’s like having to sell myself, which I hated to do at that time. I was like, “I’ll just do it on the field and my playing will speak for itself.” But there is more things off the field that I had to do because it obviously wasn’t enough so I had to do go those extra steps. I probably shouldn’t even admit this, but we even found some loopholes, I guess we will call them that, is you are not technically allowed to do a work out for a coach or show them in person. In talking to one of the coaches at the time, “If I have a ball with me, if I happen to be on the field at this time, is there a chance you might drive by?” We were definitely leaving no rock unturned. I ended up going at that time. I was throwing with my coach. I was throwing as good as I’ve ever thrown. I am like, “It’s a bummer. I am throwing so well but nobody’s watching.” He’s like, “You see over there under that tree? There’s a car parked under there at the shade.” He’s like, “That’s a coach right there.” I was like, “Oh shoot. He is watching.”
You’ve got to get creative. You got to think outside the box sometimes if you really want to accomplish something. Long story short, because I was late on the recruiting trade, they didn’t have any scholarships available. Colt Brennan was coming back and at that time was the hero of Hawaii. He said, “You come in. You walk on with me and I’ll take care of you,” that following year. I didn’t even hesitated. Right then I knew that that’s where I was going to go. I will walk on and I will earn a scholarship at some point. I ended up taking a little longer than I thought because that coach ended up transferring to SMU right after my first year there. I was like, “Wait. What about my scholarship?” I ended up having to work my way into that and I did eventually earn that while being there on campus. I’m very fortunate for that. I was grateful that I was able to stick through with that dream and that determination and find a way.
Then you get into pro football. Which was the first team that you played for?
Actually, first team I played for was in a small league called the IFL and it was up near Seattle in Everett, Washington. I only played seven games for this team, Everett Raptors, but that is what helped parlay me getting me into the AFL. Then I started my rookie year with Pittsburg.
Now, what’s the transition? You’re in college, you are going to classes and you are playing, I assume you are going to classes. You get yourself into the professional ranks of football. I know as a baseball player, that’s a big jump, a big transition. You are on your own. There’s school work, all these other stuff here, you’re facing for the first time. What was that experience like for you?
It was definitely a jump going from a college to professional. The funny thing is I was just talking with one of my personal clients that I work with. He is making the jump from high school to college, just signed with a college. I honestly think, in football at least, that’s the biggest jump; from varsity football to college. Because when you get to college and then you jump into professional ranks, college football D1, it’s very top-notch. Everything is very organized. It’s very similar to the professional side when it comes to how hard you work, how much pressure is on you, all that stuff. NFL or CFL, all that, they have some more money to work with and some of the top athletes in the world. But it wasn’t as big of a jump as it was from high school to college, because you are still developing and then you just jump onto a team with these men.
When I got there, I was eighteen years old as a freshman. There was one guy who was 27 on my team or 28. He’s ten years older than me. That gap was a huge jump for me. Transitioning into the AFL, which is the Arena Football League, now that is a whole other animal when it comes to the speed of the game. That was a huge jump for me because in outdoor football you have on average about three seconds to get the ball out before the pocket collapses on you. In the AFL, it’s like a second and a half. You’ve got to literally speed everything up double. You’ve got to be so much faster with your pre-snap reads. Everything is just happening so much faster, you’re in a condensed space.
When I first got picked up by that team up in Everett, they literally called me on Monday saying, “We need a quarterback. We need him to start this Friday in Nebraska.” I flew out Tuesday, had one practice with the team Wednesday and then flew out to Nebraska and started that Friday. Not only was I learning my teammates, learning their offense and play schemes, I was learning the game. It’s different rules. There are guys in high motion. That was the biggest transition right there. Everything is thrown at you in a matter of days and trying to pick that up on the fly. I think it fits my attributes, though, the indoor game, because I always wanted to get the ball out quick. That fast style of play works with my style of play. I definitely love the indoor game, but I don’t think there’s a game out there that’s as fast as AFL. Even NFL, CFL, all that, there’s nothing as quick paced as that game.
What do you do when you signed up with a new team and you are out there on the field and not knowing the play? Do you just tell them to go get open, I’ll hit you up?
The coach was good that he, obviously, kept it very simple for me, simplified it a lot, but coverages are all different in the arena game. I definitely had to wing it a little bit at first, but did well. Until I started actually learning it, I probably took a few steps back before I could take those steps forward. Probably should have just kept winging it because that was working, then I started understanding it. I am like, “There is a lot more to this.” It’s definitely a process and it took some time to adjust to. I was a student of the game and really just put in the time and work in the film room, on the practice field to try to pick up to that pace and level of play.
When you line up over the center or behind the center, what are you focusing on? What’s going on in your head?
I try to keep it simple. The first thing when we break the huddle, first thing I am looking for is the play clock. You always got to make sure you get that off first. Then I start to look at what are my pre-snap reads, trying to get an idea of what the defense is already setting up. Then I set my motions all that stuff, remembering the snap count for one. Then once the snap of the ball, it goes back to confirming those pre-snap reads. You got that idea but then you got to confirm it. You can’t just predetermine and assume what’s going to happen because that’s gotten me in trouble before. I’ve gotten into a good habit of keeping it simple but just narrowing it down to a couple of things. Based on their alignment, based on the film study I’ve done, they’re going to do one of two things. If he does this, then I go here. If he does this, then I go here. That can helps me get it out faster because I already have a plan of attack as I am starting. I am not just reacting to what’s happening. I am trying to stay one step ahead at all times.
I think that comes a lot with the preparation. Preparation is key to be successful in any sport because that can help you to narrow your thoughts. It can help you have a plan of attack and to be able to trust in that instinct within you that, “I’ve put in the work. I’ve watched the film study. I’ve trained on the field.” I’ve wrecked it so many times and I’ve visualize. I’ve seen it in my head mentally so many times that then it becomes clock work. Then it becomes second nature and you are able to rely on those inner instincts because you put the preparation in ahead of time. They say game day is just pay day because you put the work in during the week.
I was actually reading a story not that long ago about Floyd Mayweather. He was saying something similar. It was actually someone’s telling a story about him and how they went in before one of his big fights, because I think they were going to walk out with him and so they went in really early to say hi. He was laying on the couch watching a basketball game an hour before the fight or something like that. The guy was caught off guard thinking he’s going to be in there prepping or doing something. The guy was like, “I just wanted to say hi and I’ll let you do your thing.” Then Floyd’s like, “Why? Just hang out. I’ve already done all the work. I am either going to go out there and be prepared and win or I didn’t prepare well enough, I am going to go lose. There’s nothing I can really do right now at this point an hour before the fight.” I just thought of that with other moments in my life where there always comes this time where you just got to step into that trust factor and know that you did everything you can, just go out there and trust and go play the game.
I am a strong believer that preparation is just like lifting weights. It’s just like building your muscles physically. That preparation is building your trust muscle. It might not be a physical actual muscle but it’s something you can rely on when it’s game day. There’s nothing you can do, like Mayweather. An hour before, he’s not going to go pump some weights and go hit the bag. That will just exhaust him before the fight. The preparation’s already in. The hay is in the barn. Now, you just got to rely on that trust muscle and just trust in that you put in the preparation. If you really did put in the preparation, then you’ll be able to count on that in clutch, in a pressured situation. If you didn’t put in that preparation, then you might have a weak trust muscle and you might not have as much trust in yourself. That’s when you see the greats from the goods, the guys who win, the guys who have that confidence as opposed to the guys who have that weak belief system in their selves.
That’s great that you mentioned it because that made me think too. You talk about that, it’s just going to exhaust him if he lifts weights. In my mind sometimes I’m like, “There are other things from the mental side you could prep yourself. But if you over prep yourself mentally as well, eventually that can exhaust you too.” If you’re in there basically worrying or stressing out, that’s going to give you a physical toll as well. That’s a brilliant insight there.
If I were to sit there on game day and just thinking about the game the entire day, I’d probably stress myself out. Honestly, before a game, I am in a locker room. I already have my preparation. I already have my intentions. I’ve already visualized. I’ve already done everything. I’m ready to go. There’s no point in really thinking about it and exhaust myself mentally. I just get on. I just play some games of my phone, listen to some music, and basically try to tune out from football. Then right before the game, then I can zone it back in and lock in.
One of my favorite questions I always ask, especially athletes, is when things aren’t going well. Unfortunately, sometimes even when we’re aware things aren’t going well, they continue to drag out. But I always think as an athlete there’s this moment where we go, “Enough is enough. I have to turn it around now.” When you get to that point, what are your go-to strategies in terms of getting yourself back into the rhythm of playing well and getting hot?
There are a few things that I do, because there’s definitely those times in anybody’s journey, when you’re going to have the highest of highs and lowest of lows. It seems like there’s more valleys than there are peaks. When I am in those valleys and things aren’t going well a lot of times, one thing in the heat of the moment is I got to remind myself to stay in the moment for sure. If I’m thinking about these mistakes that I’ve been making, just through a multiple number of interceptions and I’m carrying those with me, the weight of those mistakes and I am holding on to them during a game, then it’s only going to hold me back. It’s going to hurt my potential if there’s an opportunity in front of me.
My dad mentions this analogy a lot. The old trash can talk is when you make a mistake and hold onto it, it’s like you’re holding on to a trash can attached to your hip. Then every mistake after, is like your piling in trash and building up that trash can. It’s getting heavier and heavier because you’re thinking about all these mistakes. You’re holding the weight of all these mistakes and then you’re playing slower because of it. You’re playing hesitant. Sometimes we just have to remind ourselves to just let go of that trash can and stay in the moment fully because that’s the only thing we can control. We can’t control going back and changing those mistakes. As much as we’d like a time machine to go back and to re-fix those mistakes that we made, we can’t. All we can control is right now. Sometimes that could be the biggest moment of the game. That could be the biggest opportunity. If you’re still looking at those mistakes or holding on to that extra baggage, you might miss it.
I try to remind myself to stay present, be ready for that opportunity when it comes. One example that comes to mind, just a couple seasons ago, we were having our best season. We actually were having the best record in AFL history. We were going into playoffs as the number one overall seed and we were playing a very tough opponent first round, a team that has been to the ArenaBowl, which is the Super Bowl of arena. They’ve been plenty years, they were a championship caliber team from the year before. Somehow they’ve got into the first round with us. We had a tough game ahead of us. I threw the most interceptions I’ve ever thrown in a game. I threw five interceptions that game. It was the biggest mental challenge I’ve ever had to go through as a player in a game. It was easy to have those doubts and those thoughts like, “I am blowing it. This record is out the window if we lose first round,” and we’re projected to go all the way. I really had to remind myself to stay in the moment and to let go of it. As hard as it was to let go of those mistakes.
That game ended up coming down to the wire. They scored and went up by one point with twelve seconds or twenty seconds left. I still had to make fourth and long passes just to get us in position, into field goal position. I know if I was still holding on to those mistakes of those interceptions, I probably wouldn’t be as confident. I wouldn’t be able to make that play happen in that clutch moment. I was able to stay in the moment. We were able to make the plays and we ended up kicking a field goal with no time left, to win it. We ended up going on to the ArenaBowl. That was my most challenging moment. But the other thing that I use in those times that are not feeling so great is I just have to remind myself of just being grateful for the things that I do have because gratitude is such a powerful attitude shifter. It is an instant mindset shifter. I like to tell the clients that I work with that it’s a game changer for us athletes. When you can just put your focus on all the things that you’re grateful for, the things that are going right for you, then it’s easier to distract your focus away from those things that maybe aren’t going right.
Again, another example is I was in college, I had a moment where I was in a very heated quarterback competition and everything is very highly watched over and over again because we film it. It was a very high pressure moment. That particular practice, I remember, I was just struggling. I wasn’t playing very well. I was in just a hole, a rut and I felt like I couldn’t get out of it in that moment. We had a water break. I had a moment to just, “How can I shift this? How can I flip this in my head?” I just started thinking about all the things I was grateful for. I was like, “I am living in Hawaii right now, living in paradise. I’m playing the sport that I love at a D1 level. I have a full ride scholarship, got my education paid for.” I started just listing all these things that were going for me. I am like, “How can I possibly be in a bad mood right now?” This is like, “I have so many things going on for me.”
Instantly, I was in that true power of gratitude. My mind was shifted into a different flow, different way of thinking. I was more into the positive thing, just focusing in on those positives and that shifted. We went to finish practice with a team session. I ended up just killing it the rest of the practice. I could have easily just let it tack one off as a bad day and just say, ”I just didn’t have it that day.” But I decided to shift it in that moment, instantly it changed my perspective and changed my results in that moment. Those are a couple things. Staying in the moment and staying grateful.
I love that story about staying grateful. Thinking about your dad too, using the analogy or metaphor of emptying the trash can. He actually, one time, did that on the Ranger’s clubhouse floor, he emptied the trash can in the middle of a talk with the team. I think he made his point but also on the other hand, people are starting to think, “Who’s going to pick that up?”
I’ve seen him do that before. As he does it, he realizes there is a lot more trash than he thought was in it and there are open containers, so now there are liquids. He was like, “By the way,” mid talk, “By the way, I’ll clean that up. Don’t worry about it.” Then he just goes right back into his talk. I love seeing that. He has no idea what’s in that trash can. But he’s given a visual and it does make an impact because you remember that moment, didn’t you?
That’s courage and that’s extreme focus. I didn’t plan on telling this, but speaking about him and that talk too and like you said, he got your attention type of thing. I think in that same speech that he had with the Rangers team, one of the jokesters on the team, he was going to play a video about the University of Hawaii and the football team and everything. Someone sneaked in and switched out his DVD and put in an adult video. He turned it on and pushed play. It was a different image than he was expecting to be on there. He was great though, because he turned it off real quick and he looked at everybody and goes, “Now that I got your attention.” He totally used it for himself, didn’t get rattled. That’s one thing I love about your dad, I respect about you too because you’re following in his footsteps. There are all these mental principles but at the same time you guys walk your own talk.
If we teach these principles and nobody remembers it, then what’s the point? You got to have something. Maybe it is a shocking image, but it reminds you in a moment and you’re able to remember what it was, “He was talking about staying in the moment when he threw all that trash full of stuff all across our nice locker room.”
One of the things I wanted to share too, Trick Shot Tuesdays. I’ll let you talk about Trick Shot Tuesdays and I want to hear how this all came about because I don’t even know.
It’s funny how it all started. In my training, I was actually out here in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that’s where my fiancé is from. I went from training in California where there’s a surplus of athletes and receivers to throw to. I was throwing with NFL players. I was throwing with Drew Brees. I was throwing with all sorts of big time people and I always had people to throw to and train with. It was a great environment. It’s summer year round out there so you can always be outdoors. Then I come here to Albuquerque and football is not as big out here. It was really difficult to find people to train with and to throw with that were on at my level. I found myself training alone a lot. I’d find some park or some school. I just set up targets and I do my footwork drills. I would start throwing it into a bucket or throwing at a tree. I’ve definitely scuffed up a ton of my footballs that just don’t even look like footballs anymore because they’ve hit so many trees and fences.
It gets a little lonely. It gets a little maybe less exciting when you’re just out there by yourself doing the same thing over and over again. I wanted to spice it up a little bit and just have fun with the training and reward myself after I’d get in a good training session out on the field. I would just set up a camera and do some trick shots. I was like, “If I get in this much at work, then at the end, I’ll do a trick shot today.” Then I started thinking about different ideas and I just started having fun with it. It actually ended up helping the training. Once I made my first video, it was pretty well received, especially when we went to opponents’ places. We go to Philly and they’ve all seen the video and they’re talking smack from the fans. They were like, “Why don’t you just throw a trick shot?” They try to get in my head but I was loving it. I was like, “They saw the video. That’s good.”
Then people wanted to get involved and I started incorporating teammates when we were in season. I was able to utilize some of the facilities that we had. Because we play at the Quicken Loans Arena where the Cavaliers play. I did some trick shots during the playoffs. You see a big, old poster of LeBron, and I do something over that. It just kept building from there and we even brought it out to China last year. I was able to accomplish some trick shots on the Great Wall of China and then some other great landmarks in China. It’s a fun thing to do. The guys that are along for the ride enjoy doing it with me as well.
That’s one of the things I really liked about it, they call them the #ChinaTrickShotTuesdays along with the teammates involved and some pretty confused looks in the background as well from some Chinese people.
The logos, they loved it but they didn’t really know what they loved. They don’t know what they were watching. They are like, “What are these guys doing?” But it was fun. We had a blast. We definitely like to show off each city that we went to. You guys can check it out, Trick Shot Tuesdays. It’s on YouTube. There is a playlist on it. We tried to post it every Tuesday when I was out in China. I got to get some new ones. I got to get some fresh content while I’m out here in the States.
Is there any stories of just ridiculously long times of having to get a shot in? You’re pretty impressive. When I watched the video, you make it every single time.
There’s definitely some editing that goes into those videos. It’s funny, just some days I’m on it, some days I’m not. Some days it will take me, for one particular thing, it will take me 30 or more. Some days I’ll just give up because I just can’t hit it. Then another day I’ll hit it first or second try. I am like, “Why didn’t that just happen the first time?” One of the most impressive ones, I was in Cleveland and our other quarterback on our team wanted to be a part of it. We went to the very top level of the Quicken Loans Arena, which is the third story. We were at the very back wall and looking down, we had a trash can in the middle of the field. Literally, to get it to the middle of the field, you have to throw it over like the different rafters, sponsors, the railings and all the stuff. It was a crazy ridiculous shot. I am like, “We’re going to be up here for a while.” He was the one doing it. He actually hit it second try and I just lost my mind. It was crazy. I think we were both in a state of shock like, “How did he just do that?” That was probably the quickest one that has ever been done. But I have hit things first try before, maybe not as long of a shot as that one. It varies.
One more question as a quarterback and being the leader on the field and in the clubhouse, what does that mean to you in those types of environments of being a leader?
I think being a leader is definitely important, especially in my position as being a quarterback. I think it comes with the job description. You have to be a leader because you’re the guy holding the ball every single play. You’re the guy the guys look up to. Whenever it comes to leadership, my mindset is always, “I want to be first. I want to earn people’s respect. I want to lead by example.” I’ve seen times where I’ve come into a new team and maybe I’m going in a QB competition against another guy who’s brand new. I was going against one guy. He just came in and his thing was just talking right away. He thought that was his style of leadership, he’s got to rally the guys around him just by being very vocal right off the bat, even from the first practice.
I wasn’t as vocal at first. Even the coaches asked me about that later on. I was like, “I got to earn that right. I got to earn the respect from my teammates before I can tell them what to do in a sense.” I wanted to show them that I was going to be the hardest worker. Anything that I was going to ask out of anybody else, my teammates, I wanted to be able to show that I could do it first, that I was a leader by integrity and a leader by example. I think in the long run that always has worked to my favor than just going out right away and being vocal. I think the vocal side is important. There’s times where you got to, in the heat of a game, you’ve got to sometimes let a guy know, “You need to step it up in a certain area,” or whatever. But if you haven’t earned that respect from them, then they might take that disrespectfully. They might not be as well received to that information or that critiquing, coaching, whatever it may be. I put a very high importance on leading by example. Having that integrity first, do as I do, not necessarily as I said. There’s definitely parental figures that say, “Do as I say, not as I do.”
You learn a lot more by mimicking others. That’s an energy that people can feel. If they see somebody working their tail off, it’s going to inspire them to work their tail off. But if you’re dogging it, taking shortcuts, but then trying to tell other people that they’ve got to push themselves, they’re probably going to be like, “Why don’t you do it?” I always try to take that mindset and just be poised too when there’s pressure on the line. If it’s a big game, my energy and my poise helps relax the rest of the huddle. I’ve had people tell me that as well. “When you’re in the huddle, I just feel at ease because it might be down by eight with this is the last drive of the game but you’re still cool, calm, and collected. That just relaxes me and the whole team can be more relaxed rather than frantic and uptight.” Those are definitely important aspects of being a leader in my opinion.
That’s an incredible answer. Now, I know that you do a lot of work with other athletes, being a mental performance coach yourself, even while your career is still going on. How has that helped you with your own mental game?
It’s just upleveling. It’s been a great blessing in disguise. I’m so passionate about it. I’ve seen how much it has helped me from a young age, that there’s a lot of youth athletes that just don’t have that access like I did. I’ve been very passionate about giving back and becoming a mental performance coach even while I’m still playing so that I can help the next generation of athletes get their minds to work for them, so that they can achieve their goals just like I have done. The thing that I love about it is that it’s one thing to know some of these principles and know how important the mindset is. But as I’m coaching it, as I’m teaching it, I’m learning it to a different degree. I’m diving into it even deeper because as you teach it, you learn it to a deeper level.
One thing, Roger Anthony was a great mentor of mine. He’s been a guy that’s worked with my dad and helped bring their program together. He always was talking about, and I don’t know this quote exactly, but I love his quote, “It’s one thing to know something. It’s another to teach it, but then it’s one thing entirely different that if you are so consumed by it and it’s all that you are that your very presence does the teaching.” That’s the part that I’m working on. I feel like we’re never done learning. We’re always absorbing as much as we can. Once I get to that point where just my presence by just stepping in a room that does the teaching, then that’s what I’m ultimately aiming for. I think it’s great coaching and playing at the same time because it’s just upleveling my game and I’m learning things to a deeper level as I go.
I hear your dad on a lot of different talks. He talks about, “In the doing comes the learning.” I know when he and I worked one-on-one and he was helping teach me to be a coach, he’d always say, “In the teaching comes the learning.” What a great opportunity that you have to learn more by teaching others. I know I’m learning more through this process and I can’t imagine how much of a benefit it is while your career is still going on.
The thing that’s cool about it too is that even though I’m teaching, I’m coaching, I’m giving these kids and these youth athletes game readies, I’m giving them visualizations so that they’re prepared for their game. I still go to my dad as my coach because I still need basically an accountability partner. I don’t know it all, so I still go into every game having him lead me through visualization. Even though I know how to give them myself, it’s still great to always have that coach. I think everybody, even if you are a coach, you still need that other coach behind you or a mentor or an accountability partner because like I said, we’re always learning, we’re always bouncing ideas off each other and making everybody better at the same time.
On the Extreme Focus page, not so long ago I read an article that you wrote. We don’t talk much about Cathy Austin, but she is a ghostwriter. She’s known to write stuff and put other people’s names on it.
If it has my name on it, I definitely wrote it. If you’re talking about that one on Fear, that was one I wrote in one of my inspired writings through the thing we call the process.
You were talking about fear and using it as a benefit, basically. Can you elaborate on it a little bit?
When people think of the idea, the concept of fear, they think of it as a negative thing. There are two big motivators within us: fear and desire. Those are the two biggest motivators we all have. It’s really a natural instinct. If you think about animals, their way that they survive is because of fear of death. If we see it in a different way, maybe a different energy that how can we utilize fear to actually benefit us and get the best out of us, then we can look at it in a different way and we can approach fear in a different light. That’s something that I’ve been very passionate about.
It takes courage to stand up to any situation that has a level of fear. It’s going to take courage. Courage doesn’t mean you have no fear. It’s not the absence of fear, but it’s rather seeing that fear and understand that there’s something more important about it and stepping through that fear with courage. More times than not, you learn more things about yourself. You achieve new heights. You really got to push yourself and get the best out of yourself. I think of the visual. If I was to be face-to-face with a hungry man-eating lion or even a shark, whatever atmosphere we’re in here. I’m going to have a level of fear for my life. If I start to run to try to escape or swim if it’s a shark, if I’m running away from this lion, I’m willing to bet that I’m going to run a little faster than if I were just to run a 40 trying to clock it at a pro day because I’m running for my life. If I don’t escape this, I’m going to die. I’m going to be so focused in on anything that can trip me, anything that can derail me from escaping. You get to a level of focus actually that’s so much more fine-tuned that you can eliminate those distractions. It doesn’t matter if you just got dumped by a by this girl you had a crush on, at this moment you’re just thinking survival.
You’re not worried about paying any bills when you are being chased by a lion.
None of that stuff matters. All that matters is you surviving. When we can get to that level of focus in what we’re doing, we can eliminate those distractions. We can focus in on what’s important. We can get there much faster because we’re having that fear as that pressure, in a good way, guiding us and helping us accomplish greater things. I like to harness the energy of fear and take that pressure and utilize it into a good way so that way I’m on top of my game rather than letting that fear take over me and letting the lion devour me in a way. Hopefully, you’re not in a life threatening situations. These are all metaphors. I hope I’m never in this actual scenario.
I like to have that visual as I take on the field. I’ve had many comebacks where we’ve scored in the last second of the game. Obviously, there’s a lot of pressure going into that final drive. If you don’t score here, the game’s over and you lose. It’s easy to feel all that pressure and let that destroy you. I like to flip the script and try to take that pressure and put it on the defense. I try to put it, “They got to stop us.” That’s one thing. Once you own that fear, that pressure, then I feel like the opponent starts to fear you because they can feel that presence. They can feel when you’re just like, “This guy’s not getting shook.” They start questioning themselves. Before you know it, that’s when the comeback starts to happen. I love fear.
You mentioned the process. I wanted you to explain the process because this is tool the audience could use in their own lives. Can you walk us right here step by step?
The process is something my dad has developed. I’ve just been fortunate enough to be able to utilize it. It really opens up your inner thoughts. There’s so much brilliance from within us. Sometimes we’re always looking for the answers outwardly, “How can I make money? How can I achieve this?” We’re looking to all these sources, but a lot of times the answers come from within but we’re not opened up to that inner voice of ours. This process is a way to unlock that inner voice and see what’s really the brilliance that’s within you.
There are five steps to this process. The first and foremost is you start with finding three things in nature. You can surround yourself, you can step out in your backyard, you can go to a park or a beach. If you’re in a New York type of setting where it’s just buildings, I’m willing to bet you can find some type of nature even in the most urban of settings. There is something that you might not even notice. If you are around a lot of nature, maybe it’s something that you didn’t notice before or you just took for granted, but find it in detail. Find some type of beauty in the nature. Find three things.
Once you do that then you go into step two. It’s really circling yourself with just this positive energy. My dad likes to refer to as a divine white light around you. You can visualize that, but it’s really just circling yourself in this positive energy. I feel like energy is a real thing. It’s really contagious. Then you think about all of your family members. You think of anybody you can think of that you just want to circle them with this positive energy and this positive vibe. The more you can think of, the better and stronger it is. I even circle my dogs with this positive energy and try to just put that on them as well.
Then you go into the third step, which is gratitude, which we touched on earlier and how powerful that is. You really just take a moment and appreciate all the things in your life that you’re grateful for. It could be the smallest of things. If you have a ton of bills that are piling up on your table, think about how grateful you are for the services that these bills provide. Your electric service, you have light. You have electricity in your house. Rather than focusing it on the money you have to fork up. It’s all about shifting your attitude and your focus to the things that you are grateful for.
In that power and that gratitude, now you’re in an energy and more open, clear minded, level headed way of thinking. Then you close your eyes and you visualize. You visualize your life. You visualize yourself being successful. You visualize whatever you want, but you visualize yourself in a very high quality as if you’re watching HD picture, even beyond HD. You’re living it. You’re living your life to the fullest of your potential and enjoying it.
Once you get through that visualization, you go into step five. As soon as you open your eyes, you already have a pad of paper and a pen with you so you’re ready. You just start writing with an open mind. No judgment. Don’t close off any thoughts. You just completely are open to allow whatever flows through your pen. You might have a question you can lead off. Sometimes I have no idea where I’m going to go with. That’s how that fear writing came from, I had no idea that I was going to write about fear. But for some reasons, right when I opened my eyes and I started to write, that was the first thing that just came to my head. I just wrote. I just titled it Fear. I just started writing, anything that came to my head. You don’t think about grammar. You don’t think about, “This sounds dumb.” You just go and you just let it go until you’re basically done writing. There’s no length. There’s no right or wrong answer.
It’s funny, when I do these, a lot of times, I don’t even know what I’m writing as I’m writing. That Fear one, I didn’t even know what I was writing until I was finished. I went back and read it. I was like, “I wrote this? There’s some good stuff in there.” You can really surprise yourself when you use this five-step process because you really open up a side of you that you might not have known was there. It’s there, but maybe it’s been dormant for a while so it’s just about unlocking that. One, three things in nature. Two, circle yourself with that positive energy and everybody else around you. Three, tapping into gratitude. Four, visualizing. Five, just opening up and writing whatever comes to your mind. That is, in a sense, what the process is and you can use it for anything.
I think I remember you speaking on one time, it was about Hawaii, going there or staying there?
There was definitely a moment where I was thinking about transferring. There was a time when things weren’t going according to what I thought my plan was. I was at a crossroad. I didn’t know what direction I should go. A lot of people were telling me that I should transfer. I should go to a different school so I can get onto the field right away. I decided, “I am just going to do the process. I am going to find out about it,” and I did it. It really just made things clear for me. It made answers clear. If you have a big decision, you have to use the process to open up these answers from within you.
I was definitely happy that I did it. It definitely gave me the answers that I was looking for. Maybe I didn’t know what the answer was at the beginning. I was like, “I’m not going to be able to come up with anything.” But once I did it, I surprised myself and I was able to come up with some great answers. I ended up staying and was very happy that I stayed. It’s definitely a way to open up to that inner voice. Sometimes it goes against logic, what logically makes sense. A lot of times, more than not, you got to follow your heart. You got to follow your inner voice because that’s ultimately what counts.
I appreciate you taking the time to be here and share so much about yourself and your thinking and your thoughts of being your very best. I got one last thing, if you are willing, just between you and me, is there any dirt, like an interesting story that I can hold on your dad next when I see him? I need some kind of ammo, some type of ammunition.
If you know Dave, my dad, personally, you’re going to know that he definitely has many stories. You can just tell by probably your first time meeting him, “This guy’s got some things up his sleeve.” I have a couple. There was one time, we were going out camping as a family and we had an RV with us and we went and we found this campground. We put a wager. We put a bet. We all wanted to see a bear. Those are hard to find in this particular area. We went plenty of times and never saw any bears. We are like, “We’re going to see a bear this time.” If anybody sees it then dad has to do one lap around the RV bare. “If we see a bear, he’s going to run bare.” He’s got to do a nude lap.” We even upped the ante. We said if it’s a grizzly, he’s going to do two laps.
The funny thing is my dad was actually the one who ended up seeing the bear first. Later on, we did find out that it wasn’t a grizzly, but he did do two laps. Maybe that extra lap was maybe he was just enjoying the moment being one with nature. That’s one story that I thought was pretty funny.
He just ran around bare, nude with just a straw hat covering his front side. This isn’t a completely vacant camp ground, so he definitely had to be quick about it.
There’s another story that comes to mind. Since I’m here in Albuquerque, I might as well share it. One of my first times out here in Albuquerque, they were here with me. I was playing a game here. We went to this breakfast place. My fiancé was from here. She recommended it to us. It’s one of the most popular breakfast spots around and really good food, really packed place, very loud noisy, and everybody’s talking. We’re talking at the table and my dad is telling a story. He’s got an actor background so he’s very animated when he gets into his stories. As you probably know, when he gets into a story, he totally loses sense of just what’s going on around him.
He’s a performer and a phenomenal speaker.
He’s just being laser focused. He definitely gets laser focused on these stories because he does not have any sense of what’s going on around him. He was getting so invested into the story that, I guess, there’s a part of the story where either the person who’s talking or something, they screamed and they yelled or something. As he’s doing it, he literally just screamed at the table. As if he was that person that he was describing in the story. He immediately caught it. It was like a second long scream. He stopped. He held himself. He just realized he just screamed in public as loud as he could. Literally this loud, busy restaurant, full of people just went dead silent. You could hear a cricket. Everybody just looked at us, “What is this guy, this crazy man screaming for?” Obviously, my fiancé’ is wanting to just crawl under the table and hide. I can’t stop laughing because he just is so embarrassed. He is bright red because he just realized what he did and everybody just thought he was crazy. That’s him. He just gets so involved in his stories and the actor side of him comes out and he gets very animated.
I wanted to hear a little dirt on him, but I got nothing but the highest respect and love for him with how he has helped me and the same goes out to you. It’s been such an honor and pleasure having you on here on the show. Where can people follow you, your coaching and your career? Website, Instagram, Twitter. Where can they find you?
All social media, I just go by ShaneAustin10. If it’s Twitter, Instagram, it’s @ShaneAustin10. I think even Facebook.com/ShaneAustin10. Website-wise I don’t have one directly associated with my coaching. I have QBShaneAustin.com. It was really as a platform for me to send that link to coaches, but it really has everything on me. It has my highlight videos. It has articles on me, all that stuff. I need to start shifting it into more of the coaching side. As for YouTube, it’s just Trick Shot Tuesday.
It’s been a pleasure having you on, Shane. I hope you guys enjoyed. Until next time, aim high, swing hard, smile often, and live full force.
- Trick Shot Tuesday
- Dave Austin
Shane Austin is a Professional Quarterback for the Shanghai Skywalkers of the China Arena Football League(CAFL). He played college football at University of Hawai’i. Austin went undrafted in the 2012 NFL Draft and signed with the Everett Raptorsof the Indoor Football League (IFL) after the draft. After starting the Raptors final games of the season, Austin was able to gain the attention of the Pittsburgh Power of the AFL. Austin was named the starting quarterback for the Power, but a broken hand caused him to miss two months of the season. Austin then was assigned to the Cleveland Gladiators where he was named the backup to Chris Dieker. With Dieker struggling for the Gladiators, Austin was given the opportunity to start and lead the Gladiators to a 14-1 record as a starter and a berth in ArenaBowl XXVII. The Gladiators lost to Arizona Rattlers in the ArenaBowl, but Austin was named Second Team All-Arena.
Born June 14, 1989 in Santa Monica, Californiato Cathy and Dave Austin. He attended Rio Mesa High School in Oxnard, California, where he participated in football. As a junior, Austin split time with Chris Gagua, completing 52-of-81 passes with five touchdowns and three interceptions. Austin was the lone starter for the Spartans in 2006 and broke many school records for passing.
Although he became certified as an Extreme Focus coach in 2012, Shane has been brought up with these mental performance principles from childhood due to the fact that his father, Dave Austin, is a mental performance coach. Not only does Shane coach and teach these principles and winning habits to his clients, but he uses them everyday in his own football career and business.