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Archive for January, 2010

No Special Gift

Comedian Steve Martin was the subject of a recent biography on TV. In it, he says of himself, “I had no special gift. What I had was focus and a little bit of obsession. I thought, ‘There’s going to be a changing of the guard and someone new will come along. Why not me?’” No […]

The Things You Say! (To Yourself)

My friend and mentor Dr. Rob Gilbert recently asked callers to his daily motivational hotline to list the dumbest thing they’ve ever said to themselves. You can probably guess what was No.1 on the Hit Parade. “I can’t.” These are words you hear all the time. Say them in my gym and you’re automatically doing […]

What Should Nate Kaeding Do?

For Nate Kaeding, or anyone else who’s not doing their best when it matters most, there is help. It comes in a book called “Go Girl,” which tells how Olympic volleyball player Natalie Cook made the jump from bronze medal winner to gold medal winner. Kaeding may want to read it. He doesn’t have much […]

Lectures and Love

My friend/colleague Gary Pritchard and I each attended a national coaching convention over the weekend. Gary came back brimming with soccer tips from Philadelphia, while I had the pleasure of mingling with lacrosse coaches in Baltimore. And each of us returned with an “L.” Gary talked about the three practice killers: Laps, lines and lectures. […]

Fighting Frustration

Yesterday I spent a pleasant hour helping two athletes work on their free throws. We used the model for deliberate practice: Conscious effort to improve. Task is just outside your area of competence. Many repetitions, with feedback. I encouraged them to use their own feedback, namely, look where the ball went and make adjustments. And […]

The Ultimate Game

Duane Thomas, a Dallas Cowboys running back of long ago, went down in history for his take on the Super Bowl. A breathless reporter once approached Thomas and asked him what it was like to be playing in the ultimate game. “If it’s the ultimate game, how come they’re playing it again next year?” Thomas […]

The Horror of Big-Time Football

What is going on in the state of Tennessee? First, four basketball players are picked up because they are suspected of having drugs, alcohol and a gun in the car. Now some students are rioting because a football coach, Lane Kiffin, left the school to take a job at the University of Southern California. Let’s […]

Guarantees of Victory

Yesterday in the fuss over Mark McGwire, a key anniversary passed without notice. It was 40 years ago when Joe Namath backed up his guarantee that the Jets would beat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Funny that 40 years later, the same Jets franchise is being led by a coach who, like Namath, […]

Mark McGwire and Peer Pressure

“There’s one advantage to being 102. There’s no peer pressure.” — Comedian Dennis Wolfberg Mark McGwire gave in to peer pressure. Not the kind that came from other players taking steroids. The kind that came from teammates walking past his locker and saying that he was injured again. In other words, like many of your […]


Today’s post has a guest writer: Ralph Waldo Emerson. Though written more than a century ago, these words apply beautifully to coaches and athletes: “Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to […]