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How to Win

What Tina Fey Can Teach All Performers

Tina Fey can do more than write and perform comedy. In the latest issue of New Yorker magazine, she gives us a look behind the scenes at Saturday Night Live and, in so doing, offers an important lesson for coaches, athletes, everyone.

“The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready,” Fey writes. “It goes on because it’s eleven-thirty.”

She goes on: “You can’t be that kid at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute.”

Many people do exactly that. They are waiting until the moment is perfect. That moment, of course, seldom comes. You prepare as best you can, and then you must go down the chute.

My friend Larry O’Connor is training for the Boston Marathon. He even blogs about his running.

When Marathon day arrives in Boston about six weeks from now, Larry O’Connor will be just like Tina Fey: the time for preparation will be over, and it will be time to perform. The same things goes for whoever is pitching for the Red Sox on Patriots Day.

Naturally, this makes practice time all the more precious. Since the hours of preparation are finite, you must make the most of them. That’s stuff for another post. For now, let’s just agree that there’s no reason to go to the top of the waterslide unless you plan to go down.

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Mike Tully speaks to sports, business and educational groups. He also works with coaches, athletes and teams to make their practice time more productive and efficient. He and Gary Pritchard are co-authors of “Ten Things Great Coaches Know.” To see Coach Tully and Coach Pritchard discuss “Seven Ways to Prepare for Adversity,” go here.


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