Chris Kuper: Great vs. Great in the NFL
On this episode of Pro Mindset® Podcast, host and NFL Agent Craig Domann sits down with current Denver Broncos OL Coach and former Broncos offensive lineman Chris Kuper, to discuss the journey of his career. As a child, Chris lived in Anchorage, Alaska, and dreamed of playing hockey in the NHL. He later shifted his focus to football, earning a scholarship to the University of North Dakota, and he was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 5th round of the 2006 NFL Draft. Chris had a humble and critical outlook during his career and developed a healthy fear of failure, fueled by the possibility of being cut. During his interview, Chris shares his philosophy of how a young rookie can make a name for himself in the NFL. He believes that a player should focus on improving while listening to their coaches’ critiques. They should pay close attention to the veterans and not speak until they have earned the right to do so. Chris worked to take in as much as he could mentally so that when his athletic ability started to diminish, his football IQ would compensate for it. His unique mindset has earned him success as a player and as a coach.
Chris advises players to let their work ethic speak for themselves. “Let your actions speak louder than your words. It may be old-fashioned, but it always wins. Let your work do the talking.” Your willingness to work will draw more attention than your words ever will. Chris explains that social media is popular in today’s culture, and it pushes people to talk about themselves. Players should not get caught up in this mentality or in the temptations of the social media world. “In the social media era that we’re in, everybody wants to tell the world what they're having for dinner and what they're doing every day. They want to tell how great they are, how great their life is, and how great their situation is. I think as a player, it's the opposite. You need to just grind and do your job.” Social media is a great tool for athletes as they work to build their personal brand, but they should not allow it to let them lose their focus. Their performance on the field is what really matters and what earns them their paycheck. “There's nothing out there that is going to tell the world how you played other than what you actually put on-the-field.”
Chris also talked about how a player should always be learning and soaking up the knowledge presented to him. He believes that you can use the knowledge you’ve gained throughout your career to benefit yourself after you begin to lose your athletic edge. “There's all these tools that you've learned along the way. You can use those to squeeze another two or three years out of your career. You can bank on technique and film study to keep you going.”
Chris encourages players to learn from the veterans on the team. They have years of experience, and there is so much that you can learn from their example. Find a veteran that you can emulate and observe their actions. “There are things that you can take from the old school guys that are still around the league. You want to pull as much as you can from the guys you can emulate. You should pull from different guys that have the same body type as you or maybe play the same as you -- that was always my mindset.”
According to Craig, one of the seven elements to developing a Pro Mindset is training. As a player and as a coach, Chris' years of experience within the league has taught him the importance of proper training. Athletes should learn from veterans and coaches how to train themselves physically and mentally while increasing their football IQ. Once a player develops a good work ethic, his performance on the field will speak for itself. The way you approach your training each day will increase your chance of success and play a huge part in developing your own Pro Mindset.
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