At the end of an athlete’s career, he/she never says, “I wish I would have held back.”

If successful, an athlete most likely will say, “I’m glad I went all-out.”

Taking risks is a key element to success in sports and life. You need to get out of your comfort zone.

Do you want to be comfortable, or do you want to be great?

Today, I took a risk.

I emailed Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology. The guy is a rock star.

Part of me felt that I shouldn’t do it. Why would he want to talk to me?

But I did it anyway.

Not only did he respond, he shared some valuable resources with me.

Have you ever NOT reached out to someone who you thought wouldn’t give you the time of day?

Have you ever NOT hit a shot that you thought you might miss?

It happens all the time. But when that occurs, people are just training themselves to hold back.

Is that how you want to play the game?


There will be a time in the near future when you will be stressed out.

The stress might come from the pressure of a sports competition. It may come from an exam. Or it may come from asking for a raise.

We can’t avoid stress.

But we can avoid being paralyzed by it.

There is a powerful technique I have the athletes I work with use when the pressure is on, and it can help you too.

Here’s what you do:

1. Take a deep, diaphragmatic breath, inhale through your nose for four seconds then exhale through your nose for four seconds.

2. Repeat.

3. Think of a game plan (no more than two things).

4. Visualize yourself carrying out that game plan successfully.

5. Just do it.


Obviously I like sports.

I like playing sports and I like watching sports.

But I’m not one of those guys that has Sports Center on at my house 24/7.

There is, however, something that I can’t watch enough of…

Upsets in sports.

The Davids beating the Goliaths.

I love watching the little guys beat the big guys.


Because it shows that anything can happen.

It’s not the better player or team that wins, it’s the player or team that plays better that wins.

Yesterday at the Australian Open, fourth-seed, Robin Soderling of Sweden lost to Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.

On paper, Soderling should have won, but he didn’t.

Upsets are part of sports (and life) but many people are defeated before the competition even begins. They think, “Oh, he will probably win.” or “There is no way that team will lose.”

There is a way and it is possible.

So the next time you are the underdog and you come up against a tough opponent, a tough customer, or a tough situation, remember that anything can happen.

And go all-out!


Today’s message is especially dedicated to Quinn Martin and his high school basketball team in Washington State.

What happens when you are in a slump?

If you are like most athletes, your body language is poor, you begin thinking too much and you get down on yourself.

Most people begin thinking about the past (we haven’t won a game in weeks), or the future (what if we lose again tonight?). But the great performers focus on the present moment (your effort, energy level and adjustments).

Last night the Jets beat the Patriots when they should not have. On paper, the Patriots were the better team.

But the Jets played better.

The better team never wins, the team that plays better always wins.

So when you are in a slump, act like you are on a streak.

Go all-out and focus on the things you can control (your effort) and don’t worry about the things you cannot control (winning/losing). I think you will be pleased with the results.


My friend, Dr. Rob Gilbert is a sport psychologist who once asked the great boxing trainer, Teddy Atlas how he taught boxers how to overcome fear. Atlas said that boxing is like war. There are two types of soldiers: heros and the cowards. The difference between them is not fear itself, but how each deal with the fear.

The hero feels the fear and moves towards it.

The coward feels the fear and moves away from it.

The key is doing what you need to do, when you need to do it, whether you feel like it or not.

The more you move towards your fear, the more comfortable you will be with it.

Fear has no control over you, unless you let it.


Zeke Bonura was a first baseman in the major leagues. He had one of the top fielding percentages in pro baseball during his playing days.

The reason why Bonura’s average was so good was because he didn’t go for anything he thought he might miss.

In fact, he was known for giving the ball the “Mussolini Wave” with his glove as he let it go by. Eventually, Bonura got traded.

Zeke Bonura didn’t go all-out.

Is that what you want to be known for?

Someone who didn’t make mistakes?

The most successful people in the world made the most mistakes.

Why would you want to train yourself to hold back?

As you go through your day today, remember what Zeke Bonura did…

And do the opposite.


The only pressure I’m under is the pressure I’ve put on myself.
-MARK MESSIER, hockey great

Recently, there was a football kicker training at my sports center. He is only 13 but has “phenom” written all over him. He has been working hard, doing all the right things and developing quite nicely.

This past week he was training for a pro event, which is a very big deal and only a few days away.

Then something happened.

He started missing kicks he was making easily the weeks prior. He started looking and feeling nervous. He was not the same person.

What changed?

Nothing physically, but mentally he started over-thinking. He was focusing on how important this upcoming pro event is. He started trying too hard. The little negative voice inside his head began getting louder and louder.

This happens all the time in sports and life.

When the pressure’s on, many people fold.

But it is not pressure, it is perception.

There are two ways to look at pressure–you can either get frustrated or fascinated by it.

The choice is yours.

What would be my advice to this young kicker?

1. Understand that nerves are normal. Everyone gets nervous.

2. Take a deep breath to lower your heart rate and stay in the present moment.

3. Focus on the target, not the outcome.

4. Act as if it were impossible to fail.

5. Cultivate gratitude and have fun!

For a free 10-minute mental toughness consultation, email: or call 609.558.1077


Once upon a time a young boy said to his family, “I want to do great things in this world; I know I can.”

Then, an old man said to his family, “I wish I had done great things in this world; I wish I did.”

End of story.

Why is this story so sad?

Because the young boy and the old man were the same person.

At the end of your life, do you want to say, “I wish I had” or “I’m glad I did”?

I think we all know the answer.

You can also apply this mindset to each and every day. Each and every practice. Each and every game.

At the end of the day, or at the end of the game, take the mental toughness test.

You pass the test if you say:

“I’m glad I did.”


Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Nancy Johanson in Phoenix, Arizona.

“Magic is pretty simple: It’s practice, it’s training and it’s experimenting while pushing through the pain to be the best I can be.”

Magic is not unlike sports, or life, for that matter.

David Blaine was not “born” to be a magician. He was “trained” to be one. As a young boy, Blaine was intrigued by Houdini. Magic became his passion. Then he got to work. He began training.

Blaine took the time to practice, he trained, he experimented and pushed through the pain.

Whether you’re a tennis player, chef, or business owner, you need to do the same.

Last night I spoke with my good friend Bob Ryland, who was the first black professional tennis player. He was also Arthur Ashe’s hero and coached the Williams sisters. Bob told me that the first time he saw the Williams sisters, he didn’t think they were talented.

But guess what?

They worked hard.

Harder than anybody.

And they got results.

And you can do the same.


Think about the last time you were under pressure.

Perhaps it was during an athletic competition.

Perhaps it was with a deadline at work.

Perhaps it was speaking in front of your class in school.

Physically, how did you react?

If you are like most people, your body tensed up.

How did you perform?

If you are like most people, you didn’t perform at your best.

Now think about the last time you performed effortlessly.

Physically how did you react?

Your body was probably pretty loose.

How did you perform?

Quite well, I’m sure.

A large part of peak performance is staying loose. Focused, but loose.

How do you do it?

Here’s one way:

Think of something funny before you perform.

It could be a joke, a comedy clip or video, maybe even reading from a joke book you carry around with you. And when things get tough, think of that funny thing.

Here’s an exercise: The next time you see a “big game” on television, watch how some of the players react with smiles and laughter.

Then watch what kind of results they get.