// archives

Archive for September, 2009

Joy in Practice

If you feel you’d like to learn more about practice — no matter what your sport or area of interest — make sure you acquaint yourself with the book “The Art of Practicing” by Madeline Bruser. It really concerns musical practice, but everyone can benefit from the insights. In one beautiful paragraph, Bruser relates the […]

Living Big

The other day we talked about the link between an athlete’s personality and behavior on the field. No one exemplified this more than Babe Ruth, who swung for the fences whether it was on the field, at the dinner table or in his social life. “I swing big, with everything I’ve got,” Ruth said. “I […]

Help Out a Fellow Coach

A woman wrote in to Gary Burley of Pro Start Academy in Birmingham, Ala. “I am just getting back into the atmosphere of coaching after taking a break for six years. I have run into a problem that maybe you can help me with. Before I stopped coaching, I worked with girls who had a […]

Choosing Your Response

Peak performance expert Dave Cross says this: “No situation has any meaning except the one your give it.” In other words, whenever a situation presents itself, you choose the response. Whether it’s being sent to the minor leagues, being cut, whatever — you choose the response. This year my team finds itself in a very […]

A Day at the Office

Michael Jordan never stopped shooting during his playing career — not even when the shots weren’t going in. And so it was in Jordan’s Hall of Fame acceptance speech Friday night in Springfield, Mass. He never stopped firing away, even though there were people who thought he wasn’t scoring. Some who heard it saw pettiness […]

Emotions and Competition

Serena Williams’ meltdown in the U.S. Open semifinals reminds us exactly how much emotion goes into high-level competition. We don’t always see that emotion, because pro athletes get where they are precisely because they manage their emotions so well. When batters go to the plate in crucial situations, they must fight the pounding in their […]

When Others are Running Out

On the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the courage of the police and firefighters stands as a challenge to everyone. When everyone else was running out, they were running in. The moment the planes struck the Twin Towers in the World Trade Center, most people found themselves in a new world. Chaotic and terrifying. […]

Controlling What You Can

Yesterday Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals hit two more home runs, prompting a reporter to ask Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa if Pujols deserves to be voted this year’s Most Valuable Player. Answered LaRussa, “Those kinds of questions are distractions, and I don’t answer them.” Though the reporter probably didn’t appreciate LaRussa’s response, it […]

The Losing Culture

Last year, the Detroit Lions became the first NFL team to go 0-16 in one season. The other day, the Pittsburgh Pirates set a big-league record for most consecutive losing seasons. How did it happen? And where do they go from here? Their fans should not expect miracles. As Vince Lombardi said, “Winning is a […]

Becoming an Expert

As Melanie Oudin enjoys her status as tennis’ newest sensation, a few paragraphs tucked into the bottom of an Associated Press story tell her secret. According to the story, Oudin, who has reached the quarterfinals of the U.S.Open, has followed the classic pattern for achieving expert performance. “Melanie and (her twin sister) Katherine began hitting […]