“I think I can, I think I can. I think I can.”

-The Little Engine That Could

This blog is not about tennis or sports psychology. This blog is about giving people hope, and the cultivation of optimism. The belief that anything is possible. We are all blessed with the tools to become successful, but oftentimes we get in our own way. We don’t believe that we can do things. But the truth is, we can. Let’s recall my all-time favorite children’s story…

A little railroad engine was employed about a station yard for such work as it was built for, pulling a few cars on and off the switches. One morning it was waiting for the next call when a long train of freight-cars asked a large engine in the roundhouse to take it over the hill “I can’t; that is too much a pull for me,” said the great engine built for hard work. Then the train asked another engine, and another, only to hear excuses and be refused. In desperation, the train asked the little switch engine to draw it up the grade and down on the other side. “I think I can,” puffed the little locomotive, and put itself in front of the great heavy train. As it went on the little engine kept bravely puffing faster and faster, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

As it neared the top of the grade, which had so discouraged the larger engines, it went more slowly. However, it still kept saying, “I–think–I–can, I–think–I–can.” It reached the top by drawing on bravery and then went on down the grade, congratulating itself by saying, “I thought I could, I thought I could.”

The Little Engine that Could, Mabel C. Bragg

Mabel C. Bragg, a school teacher in Boston, wrote this story in 1930.

Well her her story lives on to this day. Here is an email I received from the great Alma Prelec in Boston.

Dear Ed,

A few weeks ago I received an email from my 9th grade cross-country coach reminding me to keep running throughout the summer so that I will be in shape for this fall. I wasn’t very excited to run after lounging around all of June but quickly I was back into the routine of doing about 5k every day. The only problem was, I would ALWAYS stop around halfway for just a bit to catch my breath because I’d think I couldn’t keep running. This was really bothering me because I didn’t want to have to keep stopping during tryouts.

One day I was reading your blog and I came across the entry about you during one of your first yoga classes. You described how you had to hold your arms out in a position that seemed to go on forever. You noted with frustration how an elderly woman near you seemed to be having a much easier time than you even though you were clearly in better physical shape.

Then you had a revelation! Even though you were in better shape, she was more comfortable with the yoga poses and therefore more confident and had better mental toughness.

So yesterday I went running again. As I ran, I thought about your post. As I neared the mid-point, I thought to myself “I am definitely fit enough to do this. All I need to do is be strong enough mentally.”

And then I did it! It was pretty amazing. I didn’t even feel tired when I got back home. Thanks!

ALMA PRELEC, Boston Massachusetts

PS Congrats on getting your book in the US Open!

So that’s what I’m talking about.




How will you say, “I think I can” today?

Thanks for reading.

Come on out tonight @ 7:30pm to the Cryan Tennis Tournament at Mercer County Park, West Windsor, NJ for 1st Round Doubles action – Ed Tseng and Dan Horowitz.


Today I will be giving a talk at Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education with Bob Ryland, the first black professional tennis player. It comes at a good time, just after the inauguration of our first black president and just before Black History Month.

We will be interviewed live on NBC Philadelphia at their studios and then by Comcast Sportsnet. There will also be several local newspapers reporting the event. Our talk begins at 7pm.

Now I know what you’re thinking…what does a Chinese-American tennis pro have to do with this?

I’ll tell you what. It’s not about the color of your skin. It’s about people helping people. It’s about giving people hope.

If I can fail out of college twice and become Pro of the Year and Mr. Ryland can overcome segregation and other challenges, imagine what YOU can do…

The message today will be…


Check back tomorrow for a full report.

Thanks for reading.


Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Liza Horan.

Pay attention if you’re a teacher, doctor, coach, athlete, student, male, female…

If you’re a coach, the only thing you need to give your players is…


If you believe something is possible, it IS possible. But if you don’t, it ISN’T.

Give hope to your students, your patients, your friends and family.

Below is a message that I received yesterday…

“I am currently a 16 and under junior tennis player in New Jersey. My ranking is #6 in the USTA/Middle States section and #170 in the country. Throughout my life and tennis career I have never been able to beat someone ranked higher then me until today…last night Ed told me a quote-‘It’s better to go all out and lose, than to hold back and win.’ I played like that today and for the first time ever I beat two top 100 players in the country…THANK YOU, ED!”

-Max Rubin, Cherry Hill, NJ

Physical skills take a while to develop, but as I say, in my new book, “Game. Set. Life.” you can improve instantly by having the attitude and mindset of a champion. I just helped Max believe in himself…I gave him hope.

H.O.P.E. – Hold On Possibilities Exist

Great job, Max!

Thanks for reading.