When you sit down to invest your money, it's important to get your head in the game and be prepared. Unlike football, the market has no off-season -- it's open year-round, and you have to be prepared all the time.

I can help you with that by sharing my investing ideas several times a week, but before I get to today's pick, let me share some insight with you about being prepared.

It's that time of year for the start of NFL training camps.

Make no mistake about it, training camp is a "necessary evil" in every sense of the word. After an off-season of gallivanting around the country, spending money earned from the previous year, everyone patting you on the back telling you how great you are, you have to go somewhere and get your head back into your job.

The evil comes in the obvious forms: twice-a-day practices, eating food that all tastes the same after the first week of camp, having a roommate (well, some of us didn't have to worry about roommates), being told when to be in your room, and even worse, what time lights have to be out!

For a guy like me who reveres the game, I took it as disrespectful when coaches would check my room. In fact, most of the time I would put the chain on the door so they couldn't get in!

All in all, at the end of the day, I was always thankful for training camp, because I knew that when it was done, I was physically ready to play. I had my legs under me, and I was in game shape and ready to roll.

In my 17 years in pro football, I missed only six days of camp, and that was because my first daughter was born prematurely, and I obviously had to leave camp to be with her and my wife. Other than that, I didn't miss a day or even a practice. In my years in the league, I saw very few players who performed poorly in training camp and then were able to turn it around during the regular season.

That holds true in the market as well. You want to go after winners and not gamble on stocks that are slackers or just not as good as the rest.

One Strong Pick

Today I want to talk about

Cooper Industries

(CBE)

. This company's origins date back more than 170 years to a small iron foundry in Mount Vernon, Ohio. It was started by brothers Charles and Elias Cooper in 1833.

Cooper Industries manufactures and sells electrical products and tools. Its electrical products segment makes, markets and sells electrical and circuit-protection devices, including fittings, support systems, enclosures, wiring devices, plugs, receptacles, lighting fixtures, hazardous-duty electrical equipment and fuses. The tools segment makes, markets and sells hand tools for industrial, construction, electronics and consumer markets.

I like this company for several reasons. Cooper, which is slated to announce its earnings tomorrow, boosted its second-quarter guidance earlier this month. The company said that strong demand overseas offset a slowdown here in the U.S. That is certainly welcome news, and it should provide readers with some comfort that this company has several pockets to pull from.

The company's stock is off more than 20% in the last year and closed at $43.93 on Tuesday. It's definitely at the lower end of its 52-week range of $35.37 to $57.25. At this level, I really like the price.

And its balance sheet is key factor. It's all there. It has a very attractive forward price-to-earnings ratio of 11.18, while its return on equity (ROE) is dynamite at 27.08. And it has heavy institutional support -- an amazing $87.3% of the company's shares are held by institutions. The higher that percentage, the more stable a company's stock price is thought to be, because institutions are thought of as long-term, buy-and-hold shareholders.

Shares of Cooper could help you chew up some more yardage.

Keep moving the chains!

At the time of publication, Brown had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

Tim Brown played 16 seasons in the NFL, where he made nine Pro Bowls. After a brief stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004, Brown retired as an Oakland Raider. He was a Heisman Trophy winner in college for Notre Dame.