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Beating the Odds

Obama As Sport Psychologist

When President Obama leaves office in three weeks, he might consider a career in sport psychology. Issues like the economy, health-care and foreign relations will force anyone to be a problem-solver, and few problems are as tough as helping athletes relax before they compete.

After all, Yogi Berra famously proclaimed, “Fifty percent of baseball is half mental.”

That being true, Obama’s remarks at Pearl Harbor a month ago apply to the mental game.

“We cannot choose the history that we inherit,” the president said. “But we can choose what lessons to draw from it.”

Every sport psychologist has uttered some variation on that theme:

– You can’t always control what happens, but you can always control your reaction to what happens.
– It doesn’t matter what’s happening to you or around you. What matters is what’s happening inside you.
– Control what you can and let the rest go.

So many people, whether athletes or not, miss this wisdom. They live by this equation: E=O. To these people, event equals outcome. When adversity comes to them, the game is over. They blame. Or quit. Or lash out. “He hit me first” is a response used by first-graders of all ages. Jails are full of people who think event equals outcome.

Winners use another equation: E+R=O. Event plus reaction equals outcome. When adversity strikes, their game has just begun. Winners choose a constructive response. They don’t blame. Or quit. If someone hits them, they realize that hitting back is not the only possible response.

In school, in sport, or in business, make sure you live by E+R=O. Any event, coupled with your response, determines how the situation will turn out.

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Thank you for visiting Total Game Plan. If your team, group or business needs a motivational speaker, please email coachtully @ totalgameplan.com. Here are some other resources for your success:

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To get better at anything, check out “The Improvement Factor: How Winners Turn Practice into Success.”

Do you coach females? Are you a female athlete, or the parent of one? Here’s “Was It Something I Said? A Guide to Coaching Female Athletes” by Vanessa Sullivan and Mike Tully

Need some motivation? Everyone needs it now and then. Open any page of “Thank God You’re Lazy! The Instant Cure for What’s Holding You Back” by Dr. Rob Gilbert and Mike Tully.

Are you a teacher, boss or sports coach? Here’s “Ten Things Great Coaches Know” by Mike Tully and Gary Pritchard.

Want to have your best basketball season ever? Here’s “Basketball: What Great Players Know that You Don’t Know,” by Mike Tully and Gio Grassi.


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