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Two Things to Never Say to an Athlete

May 20, 2015

The words you say to your athletes will either help them or hurt them. Ask yourself: If you were a teenager and heard your words, would you understand them? Would you know what to do with them? Are they simple and clear?

Motivation by the Numbers: 199

May 1, 2015

The number 199 reminds us that it's easier to spot someone's faults than to spot their potential.

Motivation by the Numbers: 12

April 30, 2015

The Number 12 reminds us of two things: Avoiding failure doesn't work. Bouncing back from it does.

Motivation by the Numbers: 10

April 29, 2015

Why the number 10 reminds us that less is more.

Motivation by the Numbers: 18

April 28, 2015

What the Number 18 says about you.

Most Recent Coaching Tips

  • Three factors -- the NHL’s recent Winter Classic, the cold wave in the Northeast, and a conversation with mental toughness guru Craig Sigl -- made me think of the Canadian game of shinny. Shinny is a simple variation of ice hockey in which one player tries to keep the puck, and all the others try to get it away from him. There was a time when all Canadian boys played it because it was so easy to start a game. All you needed was ice, a puck and sticks. Nowadays, I’m not so sure how many people play it, because organized leagues start at such a young age. Sigl and I were talking about practice, and how important it is to make sure that athletes compete not only in games but in the hours that lead up to it. Shinny is a simple form of competition: you have to learn to keep the puck or you will lose it. In trying to hold the puck or capture it, players are developing their skills and their competitive instincts. It's a basic form of deliberate practice. While waiting to give a talk in Minnesota last summer, I was two athletes practicing on a basketball court. Each player would shoot a three-point shot and a layup. If both shots went in, the player got to try again. If one shot missed, it was the other player’s turn. It was a brilliantly designed practice in which both players got to work on important skills. On the playgrounds of New York, this principle is on display in the simple basketball ritual of “I’ve got winner.” If you win, you stay. If you lose, you leave the court and wait the next turn. It’s a way to force people to either improve or leave the court all the time. Whatever sport you’re coaching, work hard to use competition in practice. It will help develop what North Carolina women’s soccer coach Anson Dorrance calls that “wonderful practice intensity.” I wonder how many of the players in the Winter Classic ever played shinny. And I wonder, with the temperature at 13 degrees while I write this, how many young people are playing it right now! *** *** *** *** TotalGamePlan offers Winner’s Workshops for schools, sports teams and businesses. The emphasis is on motivation, skill-building and teamwork. To bring a Winner’s Workshop to your group, just email coachtully@totalgameplan.com or call (973) 800-5836. #
  • Former NFL player and coach Tony Dungy has a son playing in college. He discusses the experience in this video. #

Welcome to Total Game Plan

My Books
10 Things Great Coaches Know by Mike Tully
10 Things Great Coaches Know by Mike Tully
10 Things Great Coaches Know by Mike Tully
About Mike Tully

Coach Mike Tully has studied peak performance for three decades, first as an international sports writer and then as a championship coach. Coach Tully covered Olympic Games in Lake Placid, Los Angeles, Sarajevo and Seoul, as well as more than 100 consecutive World Series games. Now he takes the insights gained from the greatest athletes in the world and brings them into high school and college gyms.

Recent Posts

Motivation by the Numbers: 200,000
April 27, 2015
What Makes Jordan Spieth Great
April 14, 2015
Jordan Spieth’s Huge Problem
April 13, 2015
The Genius of Obsession
March 14, 2015
The Genius of Luck
March 13, 2015
The Genius You’re Not Seeing
March 12, 2015
The Genius of Action
March 11, 2015
The Genius of Detail
March 10, 2015
Unlocking Your Genius
March 9, 2015
Stop Thinking About Winning!
March 6, 2015

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