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Most Recent Posts

Hurricane Scale

September 2, 2019

Born in 1917 in Brooklyn, NY, this man grew up to be a civil engineer. At the age of 30 he went to work for Dade County, Fla., updating the local building code. Important work to be sure, but nothing glamorous or historic. But one thing would set this hidden gem apart. He had developed […]

Valerie Harper’s Secret Weapon

September 1, 2019

Anecdotal evidence suggests that children of teachers and coaches might achieve more than others.

Falling Football Stock

September 1, 2019

Drafted with high hopes in April, cut in August. That’s the reality for Jachai Polite, taken by the Jets in the third round of the NFL draft. This story in the New York Post explores the how and why of Polite’s fall. Polite came to the Jets via a 68th-overall pick, a move that now […]

The Tyler Skaggs Tragedy

August 31, 2019

The silver lining, if there could ever be such a thing when it comes to a fatal drug interaction, is that the death of Angels’ pitcher Tyler Skaggs could bring more attention to the issue of opioids. After all, big-league athletes are not supposed to die. Not when they are in full youth. And yet […]

Addiction on the court

August 31, 2019

Here’s a side of tennis you don’t often hear about. But this story just underlines the fact that addiction does not discriminate. Your race, color, creed, religion, skill level, line of work, achievements, or gender … none of it matters. Interviewed by Dr. Lipi Roy, 1993 French Open doubles champion Murphy Jensen discusses the highs, […]

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
Think Better, Win More!: How Sport Psychology Can Make You a Champion
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

Nobody Wanted Him. Now He’s a Star
February 18, 2019
How Much of Making the Hall of Fame Is Pure Chance?
December 13, 2018
The Worst Hiring Decision in NFL History
September 20, 2018
What Made Jerry Garcia Great
August 9, 2018
When a Hire Just Doesn’t Work Out
August 8, 2018
What Would Make You Eat a Rat?
August 7, 2018
What’s Your Response to Criticism?
August 6, 2018
Why Does Rejection Hurt So Much?
August 5, 2018
Times Square’s Lesson on Making Great Hires
August 4, 2018
What’s the Funniest Thing That’s Ever …
August 3, 2018