Recently, I put this quote on my facebook wall:

‎”Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.” -LAO TZU

It was very well-received, but what does it mean?

As an athlete, we have many potential external distractions. Common ones include: spectators, coaches, parents, friends, weather, fans, media, etc.

If we care what everyone thinks, we will be their prisoner and will not be able to perform to our potential.

These external distractions are out of our control.

We should not worry about things that are out of our control.

Instead, we need to focus on the things we can control, and all of those things are within us. That is where the true power is.


Control yourself and you can control your destiny.

Let others control you and your destiny is in their hands.


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.


Do you remember a time when you performed REALLY well?

Perhaps you were playing tennis and you could not miss, or you were working and had unbelievable focus, or you were performing a violin recital and nailed it.

Here’s your assignment:

Go back in time to when you were performing at your peak. Write down:

1. Where you were
2. What you were feeling
3. What you were thinking
4. Smells
5. Sounds
6. What your body language was

After doing this exercise, you now have a model of success. Go to this model when things aren’t going so well. Read it and re-create it.

Better yet, create a voice memo on your phone and listen to it whenever you are in a slump.

Slumps are part of life, you can’t control that.

The only thing you can control is HOW YOU REACT TO THEM.

Leave your comments below.


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!


We all get mental blocks. And we all need to overcome these blocks.

Imagine driving across the country from New York to California…with your emergency break on.

Many athletes go through their entire careers like that.

The problem is most people want to win, but they don’t want to get out of their comfort zone.

For all you athletes, amateur and professional, here’s my tip:

The best way to win more is to forget about winning.

During practice you need to THINK.

During competition you need to DO.

Play your game and trust your game.


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.


Suppose you are down at the beach and you catch a crab. If you put it in a bucket, you need to cover the bucket or the crab will climb out. But if you catch more than one crab, you don’t need to put a cover on the bucket. Why?

Because when one crab tries to climb out of the bucket, the other crabs will grab it and pull it back in. It doesn’t matter how many crabs are in the bucket.

Now what does this have to do with you?

You’re not a crab and other crabs will not bring you down.

But other people might bring you down by things that they say or things that they do. Certain events or situations might bring you down.

But don’t let them.

You choose how you react to different people and different situations. There are some things that you cannot control, but you can control your actions. And your reactions. Here’s my recommended action:

Keep climbing.


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.”


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.