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Most Recent Posts

What Happens When You Hire a Dream Team?

July 18, 2018

You have heard of dream teams. There was the 1960s-70s folk rock group Crosby Stills Nash and Young, made up of star musicians. There was the American Olympic men’s basketball team of 1992. And then there was the team of lawyers who represented O.J. Simpson in his epic murder trial. In all three cases, lots […]

Faces Change, Personality Types Don’t

July 17, 2018

Let’s say you’re a teacher or a coach. You look out over a group of 12. We choose the number 12 arbitrarily, because it’s the size of a basketball team or a volleyball team, or the amount of students in a small class. You meet them on Day 1, and as time goes by, you […]

What Did Scouts Miss About This Star?

July 16, 2018

Chase Utley, a player for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, has announced he will retire after the 2018 season. His announcement quickly set off a debate over whether he will one day be voted into the baseball Hall of Fame. We will leave that discussion to others. What interests me more is how well […]

How to Become a Billionaire

July 15, 2018

Do you find your life a little dull and predictable? Would you like to travel the world, not just on vacation but to speak to people who will write down your every word? How would you feel about going down in history as one of the most influential scientists of all time? Simple. Not easy, […]

Why Astrophysics Is Like Hiring

July 14, 2018

I just finished reading “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. The author is a master at helping the reader understand the mysteries of the heavens. Among the points he makes is that when we cast our eyes to the sky, we’re not seeing the sun, moon and stars as they are […]

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

How a Lazy Man Won a Nobel Prize
July 13, 2018
The Scary Truth About Hiring
July 12, 2018
The One Question You Must Ask Each Applicant
April 4, 2018
When Your Frat Brother Doesn’t Wake Up
September 20, 2017
What Will You Be Three Weeks From Now?
September 19, 2017
What Brett Favre Can Teach Sports Parents
September 18, 2017
The Mental Skill That Decided the Super Bowl
February 6, 2017
What Successful Teams Have More Than Anything Else
February 1, 2017
How to be a hero
January 31, 2017
The Best Story in Super Bowl History
January 27, 2017