MESSAGE #1653 ICING THE KICKER

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Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Stan Ho in Austin, Texas.

This morning, I was watching ESPN and to my surprise and enjoyment, they had a segment on “icing the kicker” in football. This strategy is used by teams to try to get in the head of the kicker right before they go for an important field goal. Oftentimes they do miss and there are even statistics that show it. During the segment, they were discussing what to do when you are iced, e.g. not thinking about your technique, keeping your mind focused, singing a song in your head, etc.

Well, here’s the rub…

It is impossible for the “icing the kicker” strategy to work on a kicker.

Why?

Because nothing outside of you can affect you…only your THINKING can do that.

“It’s not what’s happening to you. It’s not what’s happening around you. What really matters is what’s happening INSIDE you.”

The ACT of “icing the kicker” in and of itself is neutral. If it truly had the power to affect a kicker’s performance, it would work every time, but it doesn’t.

Take a close look at these two scenarios:

Scenario #1
A player is ready to kick and the other team calls a time out. The kicker thinks, “Ugh, how annoying. Now I have to wait. This is a really important kick, I have to make it. Don’t think about missing. Just stay positive. Sing a song to yourself. You are great.” As the kicker is waiting, he begins to think more and more and before he knows it, his mind is filled with thoughts arriving at light speed. He begins to feel tight and his confidence disappears.

The result: A missed kick

Scenario #2
A player is ready to kick and the other team calls a time out. The kicker thinks, “Ugh, how annoying.” But this player does not take the thought seriously and just lets it pass. He just waits and does whatever he feels like doing. Other thoughts pop up in his head but they just come and go. Because of this, his mind stays clear and he naturally stays loose, confident and focused.

The result: A successful kick

If you look at the two scenarios, the strategy by the other team is the same, but the reaction is different. There is nothing wrong with thinking “Ugh, how annoying” if you just dismiss it. On the other hand, if you stay with that thought or think it is true, you will feed it and begin a downward spiral. You will start to FEEL annoyed and then more thinking will occur and further cloud your mind and tighten your body.

Everyone has negative thoughts, including the greatest athletes in the world. The difference is these peak performers don’t make a big deal of their thoughts. Everyone else thinks they need to “do something” about those thoughts.

Remember this: you can’t control what thoughts come into your head, but it is always your choice whether you reinforce them or just let them pass.

You may not have the physical ability of a pro athlete, but you can have the same mindset as one. The truth is, you already do.

For a free 15-minute mental game consultation, email: ed@edtseng.com

MESSAGE #1637 MY NEWEST FACEBOOK FRIEND

One of the traits successful people share is their desire for constant learning. When you have a growth mindset like that, the sky is the limit and anything is possible.

Well, my newest Facebook friend is almost in the sky, she’s 6 foot 11.5 inches tall. Her name is Marvadene “Bubbles” Anderson. I first met Bubbles after her first high school basketball game back in 2009 when she was ONLY 6 foot 10.5 inches tall. A wonderful young lady who has a growth mindset. Enjoy the video of us below and take notice how her goals were to learn as much as she could.

MESSAGE #1631 THE SECRET TO JEREMY LIN’S SUCCESS

By now, nearly everyone on the planet has heard about Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks and “Lin-sanity.” If for some reason, you have been living under a rock for the past few weeks, let me recap for you.

After getting cut from the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, and nearly the New York Knicks, Jeremy Lin came off the bench for the Knicks on February 4th and scored 25 points against the New Jersey Nets. He then scored 28 points versus the Utah Jazz, 23 points over the Washington Wizards, 38 points over Kobe Bryant (34 points) and the Los Angeles Lakers and 20 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He was named Player of the Week and the floundering Knicks went undefeated with Lin in the starting lineup. And the sports world exploded. What makes the Asian-American Harvard grad from California so special?

Here are my top five keys to Jeremy Lin’s success:

1. He’s a team player. In a league dominated by superstar players who often are like a one-man show, Lin does what most great athletes do…he makes the rest of the team better.

2. He is isn’t affected by external factors. With all the hype and media attention he is getting, Lin still seems down-to-earth and composed regardless of what is going on around him.

3. He goes all-out. One of Jeremy Lin’s goals for every game is to give a full effort. Gandhi said, “Full effort is full victory.”

4. He has faith. In post-game interviews, Lin often thanks God for all that has happened to him. Whether you are religious or spiritual, having faith helps you trust your abilities and focus on the process, not the outcome.

5. He has fun. You can see by how he plays the game that Jeremy Lin loves what he does. Hard work and passion go a long way.

Here are a couple of my favorite Jeremy Lin quotes:

“I’m not playing for other people; if I start thinking in those terms I would put too much pressure on myself. I play basketball because that is what I love to do.”

“I’m not playing to prove anything to anybody.”

How far will Jeremy Lin go in his basketball career? Nobody knows, but one thing is for sure. If he stays healthy and keeps living by these principles, the sky is the limit.

MESSAGE #1589 DON’T SAY DON’T

DON’T THINK ABOUT A PINK ELEPHANT!

Did you just think about a pink elephant?

Of course you did. This happens because the brain doesn’t know the word “don’t.”

All the brain hears is “pink elephant.”

So if you are getting ready to do your gymnastics routine or drive the golf ball, avoid saying “Don’t mess up” or “Don’t hit it into the water” because you will probably mess up and hit it into the water. Instead, say something like “Focus on your routine” or “Aim for the center of the hole.”

Don’t look where you don’t want to go.

MESSAGE #1573 PERSEVERANCE

By perseverance the snail reached the ark.

You may not be a snail, but you still need to persist.

If your goal is to make your high school baseball team, or become a chocolatier, it doesn’t matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.

One of the biggest problems people have is that they stop too soon. Then they try something else. And probably stop too soon with that as well.

If you persist while others give up when they face adversity, or get frustrated, guess who’s going to be left at the top?

YOU.

Don’t try your best, do whatever it takes.

Ed Tseng
Director of Mental Conditioning
Monroe Sports Center
609.558.1077
ed@edtseng.com

MESSAGE #1569 A MESSAGE FROM JOHN WOODEN

From John Wooden’s book, “Wooden”…

Preparation Is the Prize

Cervantes wrote, “The journey is better than the inn.” He is right and that is why I derived my greatest satisfaction out of the preparation—the “journey”-day after day, week after week, year after year.

Your journey is the important thing. A score, a trophy, a ribbon is simply the inn.

Thus, there were many, many games that gave me as much pleasure as any of the ten championship games we won, simply because we prepared fully and played near our highest level of ability.

The so-called importance of a particular game didn’t necessarily add to the satisfaction I felt in preparing for the contest. It was the journey I prized above all else.

Thanks to the great Fred Klatsky for sharing this with me.

MESSAGE #1565 GREETINGS FROM TEXAS!

Well, here I am in Austin, Texas visiting my sister Grace and her family.

On the plane I watched Tin Cup starring Kevin Costner on my iPad. It was great. In fact, it was one of the best sports movies I’ve seen in a long time.

If you don’t know, Tin Cup is about a driving range golf pro (Costner) who has all the talent in the world but a weak mental game.

At one point in the movie, Costner gets the “shanks” which is an inexplicable glitch in a golfer’s swing. He can’t hit the ball straight. He tries all these high-tech gadgets and they are not working.

Finally, Romeo, his caddy tells him to do the following:

1. Take all the change from his right front pocket and put it in his left front pocket.

2. Wear his cap backwards.

3. Double-knot his left shoe.

4. Put a tee behind his ear.

He looked ridiculous and was obviously embarrassed. Well guess what? It worked! He hit the ball straight.

Why?

Because he wasn’t thinking about his swing, he was just hitting the ball. Romeo said his brain was getting in the way.

When you think too much in sports (and life), you get paralysis by analysis. Peak performance occurs when you play loose. Loose, but focused.

Yogi Berra says you can’t think and hit at the same time. A full mind is an empty bat.

Well, it’s off to explore Texas. Talk to you soon!

MESSAGE #1561 A MESSAGE FROM MICHAEL JORDAN

I never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot…When you think about the consequences, you always think of a negative result.
-Michael Jordan

When I give seminars on the psychological aspect of peak performance, I always ask someone in the audience to name their favorite athlete. Many times it is Michael Jordan. I then ask the following questions…

“Who is faster, you or Jordan?”

“Who can shoot better, you or Jordan?”

“Who can jump higher, you or Jordan?”

The answer is always Jordan (if they are being honest).

I then ask how long it would take for them to be physically equal to Jordan.

Most say forever.

I follow up and say, “Do you know how you can become just as good as Jordan, almost instantly?”

I have the entire auditorium’s attention as I say…

“By having the same mindset as Jordan. And by giving the same effort as Jordan.”

I recently asked the winningest coach in college history, Paul Assaiante, squash coach at Trinity College, if giving a full effort was one of the main goals for his team. He responded…

“It’s the ONLY goal.”

Comments? Leave them below.

MESSAGE #1548 FEAR QUOTE

Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them.
-Brendan Francis