FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's new book, "The TB12 Method," was released on Tuesday. Published by Simon & Schuster, the book details Brady's training regimen -- pliability is a common theme, as is sustained peak performance. It is 305 pages and written in Brady's voice.
"I'm writing this book in the hope that my experiences and discoveries can resonate with everyone and allow them to achieve beyond what they can even envision for themselves," Brady says in the book.
Taking an initial flip through the book, here are a few things that I learned:
He felt like he threw the ball better in 2016 than any year of his career. In the introduction, Brady details how he went to a field near his house in the late summer of 2016 to work out with his close friend/business partner Alex Guerrero and a former teammate. "I'd never thrown the ball as well as I did that day -- not when the Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2001, or in 2004, 2005 or 2014 -- not ever, in fact, in my life. It was one of those days. I was 'in the zone.' ... I remember being really excited about the opportunity to play and to show all the things I'd been working on in the offseason."
His motto: "Always treat practice like a game." In the first chapter, Brady goes through his early years in sports and shares a lesson that still resonates with him from University of Michigan sports psychologist Greg Harden. Brady tells the story of how he would let Harden know that he didn't think he'd ever get the chance to play quarterback at Michigan, pointing out the coaching staff was giving him only three repetitions in practice. Harden responded by telling Brady how much he needed to invest in those three reps, which were much better than zero. Writes Brady, "His words jump started my own competitiveness. They empowered me, actually -- now I had a plan. I would leave Greg's office and go to practice and do those three reps well. A week later, the coaches gave me four reps. Then five. Then six. As time went on, I was getting the majority of the reps. ... I thought: 'If I don't treat practice like a game, there's no way the coaches will let me play in an actual game.' ... It's a rule I still live by today."
Friday at 6 a.m. was his "secret" time. Writing about his early years with the Patriots, Brady shares how he carved out one-on-one time with former strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik. "With every level you reach, everyone gets faster, stronger and better, and I had to work really hard just to be competitive. That's why every Friday at 6 a.m., when no one else was around, I worked with [him] doing speed and footwork drills, trying to close the gap between me and my teammates."
Right elbow pain had him barely able to throw. Brady details the point of his career when he changed his training approach. "After a couple of years of two-a-days, plus the pounding my body was taking every day on the field, I got to a point where the tendinitis in my right elbow was so bad I could barely throw a football ... three or four years into my Patriots career, I'd gotten more conditioned than ever to the fact that no matter what I did, my arm and shoulder were going to be hurting. By 2004, at age 27, I was pretty much constantly aware of the wear and tear on my body." That's what led him to Guerrero, on a suggestion from teammate Willie McGinest.
He isn't perfect on his diet. While Brady is known for avocado ice cream and discipline with his diet, he writes that perception isn't always reality. "At the same time, contrary to what the media thinks, I won't always turn down a cheeseburger or an ice cream cone," he writes. "I just won't have one every night, and I won't have 10 of them, either. Last year, my wife and I went to Italy ... [and] I definitely ate some things that were not TB12-compliant! My brain and body needed that downtime. Too much of a bad thing is bad for you, but too much of a good thing isn't a good thing, either."
He trains four hours a day. Relaying that players will sometimes ask him the "one thing" they need to do to improve their performance, Brady writes that there isn't one thing. "Sustained peak performance isn't about changing one or two habits in your life. It is your life. It requires commitment. It requires discipline. It requires openness. My career as an NFL quarterback and my life aren't two separate things. Every hour of every day in my life revolves around my job ... As a pro quarterback, I train about four hours per day -- and I'm committed to making every hour of every day count."
Mid-40s remains the target. Brady highlights what he has said in the media in recent years when it comes to the length of his career. "I want to play until my mid-40s, and I realize that requires a focused, disciplined approach," he writes. "I've always been motivated to target and improve on my deficiencies, and I still am. Coach Belichick says, 'You pay the price in advance.' and a teammate of mine liked to say that 'The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.' The reason I got a chance to play pro football in the first place back in 2001 was that one of my teammates got hurt. I never want to see someone else do my job -- which is one reason why I need to stay healthy."