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Most Recent Posts

When Your Frat Brother Doesn’t Wake Up

September 20, 2017

"Dead, waxy, with ‘rock-still’ clouded eyes." And yesterday you played basketball with him.

What Will You Be Three Weeks From Now?

September 19, 2017

What you are today need not be what you can become.

What Brett Favre Can Teach Sports Parents

September 18, 2017

Even in winning a Super Bowl, Brett Favre never made a better call than the one he made in watching his daughter play college volleyball. “I try not to be one of those parents,” the famed Green Bay Packers quarterback said recently while watching a match in which his daughter, Breleigh, did not get off […]

The Mental Skill That Decided the Super Bowl

February 6, 2017

If you can improve at this skill, you will win in sports and in life.

What Successful Teams Have More Than Anything Else

February 1, 2017

Team culture means everything., maybe even more than the coaching.

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 to be a hero
January 31, 2017
The Best Story in Super Bowl History
January 27, 2017
Excellence in the Cold
January 23, 2017
Obama As Sport Psychologist
January 2, 2017
There’s No Such Thing as 2017
January 1, 2017
Stop Bashing 2016!
December 31, 2016
Why Election Day Is Like Game 7 of the World Series
November 2, 2016
What the Mars Mission Means to Your Team
October 18, 2016
Are Big Offers No Longer Coming Your Way?
October 14, 2016
Why Jordan Spieth Will Bounce Back
April 11, 2016