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 #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 #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 #1541 NEVER GIVE UP

At a certain point, if he’s going to get to the top of the boxing profession, a fighter has to learn the difference between the truth and a lie. The lie is thinking that submission is an acceptable option. The truth is that if you give up, afterward you’ll realize that any of those punches that you thought you couldn’t deal with, or those rough moments you didn’t think you could make it through, were just moments. Enduring them is not nearly as tough but having to deal with the next day and the next month and the next year, knowing that you quit, that you failed, that you submitted. It’s a trainer’s job to make a fighter understand about difference, that the parts of a fight that are urgent last only seconds; seconds during which you have to stave off the convenient excuse- “I’m too tired” or “I hurt too much” or “I can’t do this” or even simply “I’m not going to deal with this.” Sometimes it just comes down to not floating- just being there and understanding that if you give in, you’ll hurt more tomorrow. Maybe there is no more important lesson to learn from boxing than that.

From: Atlas: From the streets to the ring: A son’s Struggle to become a man.

MESSAGE #1529 HOW TO BEAT STRESS

We encounter stress every day in sports, in school, in our jobs and in our relationships. One of the three main areas of peak performance is relaxation. Everyone tells us we need to relax, but nobody teaches us HOW to relax. You will learn how in today’s blog message.

I am currently reading a great book entitled, “Just One Thing: Developing A Buddha Brain One Simple Practice At A Time” by Rick Hanson. Below are some of my favorite de-stressing techniques he shares in his book.

1. Do a few things more slowly than usual. Leisurely lift the cup to your lips, don’t rush through a meal, let others finish talking before jumping in, or stroll to a meeting instead of racing. Finish one task before moving on to another. A few times a day, take a long slow breath.

2. Take lots of microbreaks (hey, I did this yesterday!). Many times a day, step out of the stream of doingness for at least a few seconds: close your eyes for a moment; take a couple of deep breaths; shift your visual focus to the farthest point you can see; repeat a saying or prayer; stand up and move about.

3. Make your body happy. Wash your face; eat a cookie; smell something good; stretch; lie down; rub your eyes or ears.

4. Go on a mental holiday. Remember or imagine a setting (mountain lake? tropical beach? grandma’s kitchen?) that makes you feel relaxed and happy. When you can, go there and enjoy yourself. As I’ve told myself in certain situations, “They may have my body, but they don’t get my mind.”

5. Before beginning a routine activity, take a moment to become fully present. (My favorite). Try this with meals, starting your car, brushing your teeth, taking a shower, or answering the phone.

The time is NOW.

Do you have any favorite ways to beat stress? Leave your comments below.

MESSAGE #1527 THE MENTAL GAME VIDEO

I’m a Yankee fan, but I have to respect this guy:

E:60 Evan Longoria from E60 on Vimeo.

MESSAGE #1512 BE LIKE A ROOKIE

I took the above photograph of Yankee prospect, Austin Romine next to the Yankee Double-A affiliate, Trenton Thunder clubhouse last year. This week, Romine got called up to the big club, caught Mariano Rivera’s 599th career save, started his first Major League game and collected his first major league hit.

Not bad for someone who thought his season was over. Romine was walking out of a Wal-mart in Kentucky when Yankee manager, Joe Girardi called, telling him the news.

4:30am the next morning, Romine began is trip to join the Yankees in Anaheim, ten minutes from his home town.

A couple dozen family members were present and Romine’s brother, Andrew was in the opposing dugout, playing for the Angels.

After traveling from Kentucky, Romine was thrown right into the mix, looking at photos, videos, scouting reports, etc.

“I just took a deep breath and treated it like spring training. I’d caught all these guys before and I’d played (at Angel Stadium) before, so the comfort level was higher than I thought it was going to be. I just took a deep breath and didn’t think.”

Romine knows the secret, don’t think.

His deep breath, relaxed him a bit and kept him in the present moment.

Not thinking helped him avoid paralysis by analysis.

Even though Austin Romine is a rookie, he has a veteran approach.

If you missed my exclusive interview with him, you can watch it HERE.

Make sure you checkout my new FREE video on my top five peak performance secrets. Register and enjoy!

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