When you plant bamboo seeds, nothing happens for the first year. Or the second year, the third year, or the fourth. But in the fifth year, the bamboo tree does something amazing – it will grow about two and a half feet every day for six weeks until it is approximately ninety feet tall.

You are a bamboo tree. You are germinating right now.

Keep learning. Keep working hard.

And one day you will shock the world.


Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Brandon Laird, 3B for the Trenton Thunder (Double-A, New York Yankees).


Brandon Laird currently leads all of professional baseball with 77 Runs Batted In in 72 games.

He was named Eastern League Player of the Week and Player of the Month.

He was only the second Thunder player to hit for the cycle on May 26, including a walk-off home run.

Two nights ago, he hit a grand slam and a three-run home run (for the second time this season).

Did I forget any impressive stats? Probably.

I have been fortunate to spend some time with Laird over the past month. His numbers are amazing and his attitude is even better. He is truly a class-act and is mentally tough beyond his years.

After last night’s game, I spoke with Laird and he was telling me how he was in a bit of a “funk” last week.

I asked him how he got out of it and he said, “At first I thought, ‘What am I doing?’ then I thought about what I was doing well before and tried to focus on that. I just trusted that it would come around because failure is part of baseball.”

Laird was persistent in his approach and stayed optimistic. As most great athletes do, he focused on his effort, not his results.

I had to ask Laird about his streak and having the most RBIs in professional baseball.

“You know, I’m just taking it one day at a time. I have a plan, I try to hit the ball hard and have a good at bat,” commented Laird.

Tonight is exactly one month since I first spoke to Laird, which was the same night he hit for the cycle with a walk-off home run.

I will be talking to #29 again before the game and we’ll see if he can continue to stay hot with his bat. I have a strange feeling he will.

Play ball!

MESSAGE #1063 I’m NOT Teaching Tennis Today

Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Nic Cecan.

Summer Tennis Camp 2010 officially begins today.

Though numbers are down, I am very excited.

I’m sure there will be some new faces, which will bring new opportunities.

I look at every session as a way to positively affect our youth. It’s life lessons through tennis. Sure, the campers will improve their tennis game, but more importantly, they will learn confidence, teamwork, how to perform under pressure, focus and much more.

Honestly, I don’t look at Tennis Camp as a way of making money, or getting a nice tan. I look at it as contribution.

Helping others become healthier, mentally and physically.

Teaching them that effort and attitude are more important than results and materialistic objects.

Making the world a better place.

What if everyone on the planet had this mentality?


Greetings from Florida, Day 3. I am having a great time and my talk yesterday in Key Largo was very well received. I sold many books and connected with some great Florida coaches.

Sarah and I then had a great lunch at the Conch House, which was featured on the Food Network.

Today we are in Dania Beach/Hollywood.

As I blog here at Starbucks, I can’t stop thinking about the late, great Coach John Wooden.

Much of my coaching and life philosophy came from John Wooden. And much of John Wooden’s coaching and life philosophy came from his father.

His father used to say:

“You should never try to be better than someone else.

Always learn from others.

Never cease trying to be the best that you can be – that’s under your control.”

Here are some other great quotes from Wooden…

“Never mention winning – you can lose when you outscore somebody in a game and you can win when you are outscored.”

“Give your best effort and your results will be what they should. The score of a game is a by-product and not the end itself.”

“The journey (practice) is better than the end (game). The game is to see if they did a decent job (in practice) during the week.”

Success is…“Peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you are capable.”

“Character is what you are, your reputation is what you are perceived to be.”

“We hope that things will turn out the way we want them to, but we don’t do the things that are necessary to make those things become reality.”

Wooden’s 3 Rules (From his father):

Never be late

Never use profanity

Never criticize a teammate

“Never mistake activity for achievement.”

“He just used sports as a means to teach us how to apply ourselves to any situation.” -KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR


In the 1930s, a poem stuck with Wooden that helped shape his philosophy. Watch the vlog below to see me recite the poem.


Well, I leave for the airport in a few minutes to hop a flight to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Tomorrow morning I will be speaking at the USPTA Florida Convention to tennis coaches, directors, club owners and administrators at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo.

I will be nervous.

Being nervous is good – it means you are about to do something important. Being nervous is much better than not caring.

Do you get nervous before a big match? A presentation at work? Asking someone out on a date?

Pete Sampras used to get nervous all the time. In fact, he used to get so nervous before finals that he would throw up in the locker room.

But why was Sampras able to perform the way he did?

Because he didn’t act how he felt.

So tomorrow morning at about 9:30am I will be getting nervous.

But at 10am, I am going to ACT like I’m going to rock the house.

Next message from sunny (hopefully) Florida.


I recently started working with a high school tennis player who had low self-esteem and negativity issues.

His father called me to ask if I could work with his son to overcome his challenges.

Well, I did one long session with him and then gave him some homework.

I saw him a week later and I immediately noticed that his body language and attitude was completely different.

I said, “How’s it going?”

He replied, “Great! I am not negative anymore.”

I was skeptical.

I found out that he lost a couple matches during the week, but was extremely happy with his attitude.  He was a new person, and he had a winning mindset. He wasn’t perfect, but this was a great start, nonetheless.

I was extremely proud of him.

What did I give him?


Hold On Possibilities Exist.

What’s the point?

Mental skills are just like physical skills – they are trainable.

This young man is striving to become a little bit better every day, and I am confident that as our coaching sessions continue, he will eventually become the player, and person he wants to be.


“The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.”



You are playing a match. The score is 30-30, 5-5 in the final set. Your return is nice and deep which forces your opponent to hit a weak shot. You hit a nice deep approach shot, follow it to net and get a high floating ball to your forehand side. You hit it, it hits the top of the net and you lose the point.

How do you react?

Most players would react negatively with their body language, self-talk or hit their racquet on the ground.

This works to your opponent’s advantage because…

1. You will boost their confidence.
2. By reacting negatively, you actually produce different hormones in your body and create muscle tension (which makes you play poorly).
3. You will decrease your chances of winning the match.

I have worked with some high level players and most of them play unbelievable when they are “on” but when they start losing, their games and body language deteriorate.

This is fairly normal.

Do you want to be normal or do you want to be great?

Act as if it were impossible to fail. -DOROTHEA BRANDE


In this video blog, Ed Tseng interviews former professional tennis player, Neha Uberoi, as they talk about her toughest opponent, mental toughness and Princeton University.


A man stopped at a flower shop to order some flowers to be wired to his mother who lived two hundred miles away.

As he got out of his car he noticed a young girl sitting on the curb sobbing.

He asked her what was wrong and she replied, “I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother.

But I only have seventy-five cents, and a rose costs two dollars.”

The man smiled and said, “Come on in with me. I’ll buy you a rose.”

He bought the little girl her rose and ordered his own mother’s flowers.

As they were leaving he offered the girl a ride home.

She said, “Yes, please! You can take me to my mother.”

She directed him to a cemetery, where she placed the rose on a freshly dug grave.

The man returned to the flower shop, canceled the wire order, picked up a bouquet and drove the two hundred miles to his mother’s house.


Enjoy Mom today…HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY.


Today’s message is especially dedicated to all the players out there who have anger management issues.

I once had a student who would often get angry at himself after losing a point. And by once, I mean, I “often” have students who get angry and negative during competition.

Negativity and anger are common challenges for competitive players, but here’s the good news…

This can be overcome with training (just like fixing your backhand).

What do you say to yourself after you lose a point?

“I can’t believe you missed that shot!”

“You stink!”

“What’s wrong with you?!?”

Let’s analyze this voice for a second…

Does this “inner coach” help you perform better?

Of course not. What if a real coach spoke like this to their player? Wouldn’t you find a new coach?

If this is an issue for you, you need to find a new “inner coach.”

This inner coach should say something like…

“No problem. How can I make an adjustment? Good, now let’s focus on the next point.”

“That point is in the past, let’s focus on the next one.”

“You’re still in control. Let’s go!”

What you say to yourself between points will determine how you play and what kind of results you get.

How do YOU want to play and what kind of results do YOU want to get?

Remember this secret formula: S + A = R (Situation plus Attitude equals Result).