Well, Christmas Day is almost over.

I am a little under the weather, so I spent most of it resting.

Laying in bed, I remembered that I had not blogged yet today.

I didn’t feel like getting up, but I did it anyway.

In my head, I recalled one of my favorite quotes:

“Exceptions shatter dreams.”

I know it’s a holiday.

I know I’m not feeling well.

But I also know that there could be one person out there reading my blog for the first time, and I owe it to them to give it my best.

After all, Lou Gehrig played 2,130 consecutive games for the New York Yankees, all while breaking 17 bones in his hands and suffering many injuries, including concussions.

One day Gehrig got hit on top of the head and was unconscious for five minutes.

Guess what?

The next day, he was in the lineup wearing one of Babe Ruth’s caps that had been cut at the seams so the enormous bump on top of his head could fit in it.

If Lou Gehrig could tough it out, I surely could write a blog entry.


“The first and best victory is to conquer self.”

Recently, I worked with a young girl and she hated serving. She avoided it. Every time she practiced her serve, she would inevitably expect the worst.

I told her I was optimistic about her serve and that she should be as well. “You get what you focus on,” I told her.

Instead of focusing on how much she hated serving, I just told her to think about her technique and adjustments.

She stuck with it and started getting her serves in. And guess what?

She started smiling.

Had she given up or avoided serving, her serves would still be the same.

She conquered herself and began getting the results she wanted.

My student came up to me after class and said, “Thank you, coach. Today I learned a very important lesson.”

Conquer yourself and the sky is the limit.


We choose what we focus on.

Suppose you are winning a tennis match by a score of 5-0, and your opponent then wins the next three games. You start to think that the momentum has switched and that the person on the other side of the net has a chance to win.


This type of thinking is normal, however, many people end up losing that set by focusing on the possible loss instead of focusing on HOW they can close it out.

The key is acknowledging that negative little voice inside your head and then moving on. Focusing on the next point. Your strategy. Your footwork.

Is this easier said than done?

Yes and no. Simple…yes. Easy…no. Mental training is just like physical training. You have to work at it.

Here’s an example of how you can shift your focus at any time.

Look around you and find three things that are blue.

Now quickly close your eyes and find something green.

Isn’t it hard to do?


Because it’s hard to focus on two things at the same time.

You can’t get green when focusing on blue.

You can’t get a win from focusing on a loss.


I just got off the phone with one of my she-ros, Rayna DuBose.

Rayna was a top basketball recruit and received a full scholarship to Virginia Tech. After her first season, she contracted a type of meningitis and within 24 hours, she had all four limbs amputated. Now she is a motivational speaker.

She said that was the best thing that ever happened to her.


Because now she is helping other people.

A pretty bold statement from someone who, wakes up and first thing in the morning, puts on her arms and legs (prosthetics).

We cannot control our situations but we can control our attitudes towards them.

Be like Rayna.


Life is always throwing curveballs at us.

There will always be situations that are not to our liking.

It could be the economy, the weather, umpires, grumpy co-workers, bad influences, etc.

The situation is not nearly as important as…


We control our attitudes.

Suppose you are driving and the person behind you begins to tailgate you. They then pull in front of you, and irritated, you tailgate them back.

Doesn’t this make you just as bad as them?

You can’t control if someone tailgates you, but you can control your reaction to them, can’t you?


Nothing external from you has any control over you, unless you let it.

Don’t let it.


Today I had the fortunate opportunity to meet one of the most mentally tough athletes in history, Mariano Rivera, closer, New York Yankees.

Teammates have said that Mariano is very humble and is the same person that he was when he played in the minor leagues. I could believe that. He was such a pleasure to speak to and had such a great positive energy about him.

Rivera once said:

“When you start thinking, a lot of things will happen. Emotions take place, and you have to know how to control your emotions. If you don’t control your emotions, your emotions will control your acts, and that’s not good.”

Rivera told me today that during pressure situations, you need to keep your composure.

How does Rivera do it? He focuses on the catcher’s mitt. He acknowledges the pressure, then gets to work.

You may not have Mariano Rivera’s cut fastball, but you can have the same mindset and focus as him.

Starting NOW.


Are you looking for a certain level of success in sports, sales or school?

Is there somewhere you want to get to?

Let me tell you a secret.

It’s not out there.

Success is already inside you.

If you have the right mindset (all-out effort/constant improvement) and have passion for what you do, you are successful.

Set goals, but enjoy the process.

Success is a journey, not a destination.

Success is a marathon, not a sprint.

I recently spoke to a minor league baseball player and asked how his off-season was going, how his workouts were going. He said they were going fine. There wasn’t excitement in his voice. It didn’t sound like he was pushing himself to get to the next level. It almost sounded like he was giving up or that the major leagues was a near impossibility.

All of the successful people in the world have one thing in common–They act successful BEFORE they become successful. That comes from inside. And this is trainable.

There are no limits, you can always improve. Don’t be content. Create your vision. Start taking action.

With this mindset, ANYTHING is possible.


Someone once asked George Foreman, former world heavyweight boxing champion of the world, how he withstood the pain from being a boxer.

Foreman replied:

“If I see what I want real good in my mind, I don’t notice any pain in getting it.”

How does this relate to you?

1. Visualize the athlete, student, or salesperson you want to be.
2. Do whatever it takes to get there. No exceptions.
3. Begin today.


“Defeat is a state of mind.
no one is ever defeated
until defeat has been accepted
as a reality.
To me, defeat in anything
is merely temporary,
and its punishment is but an urge
for me to exert greater effort
to achieve my goal.
Defeat simply tells me
that something is wrong in my doing;
it is a path leading to
success and truth.”


With Billie Jean King at my US Open book signing

Champions keep playing until they get it right.

I once had a student who began playing tournaments. In her first tournament, she lost first round. In the next tournament, she had the same result. And the next, and the next. For practically the first year, she didn’t get past the first round.

I told her, “This is a great way to improve, learn and develop as a player.”

She agreed with me, although she wanted better results. Well, she stuck with it and then started getting results.

She started winning some matches. She got to the 2nd round, then the 3rd and now it is rare if she doesn’t make it to at least the semifinals. She is also on her high school varsity team.

Most people give up too soon. They want immediate results. The great ones persist.

You need to hang on until you catch on.

Winning may feel good temporarily, but you learn more from losses.

The two most important questions you can ask yourself after a game/match/practice session are:

1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how did I play?

2. What can I do differently next time to get to a 10?

Focus on constant improvement and as a by-product, you will win more.