Recently, I was talking sports psychology with yoga guru, the great Naime Jezzeny. He mentioned that many marathon runners focus on one thing…the next step.

A marathon is 26.2 miles (approximately 55,335 steps).

If you think about running 26.2 miles, it could be quite intimidating. But if you focus on just taking one step, you will be fine. Then, do it 55,334 more times.

Let me put it another way. If you are driving at night, your car headlights can only help you see about 160 feet in front of you. Even though you are only driving 160 feet at a time, you can still drive through the night.

In sports, sales and school, set goals, but then “chunk it down,” or break the goal into smaller parts. Tackle one goal at at time and before you know it, you will attain your larger goal.

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


Nothing changes on New Year’s Day.
-BONO, rock star

Does anything really change on New Year’s Day?

I suppose change is possible, but is it lasting change?

Doing something once is not impressive.

Doing something consistently is impressive.

Don’t make resolutions, set goals and make lifestyle changes.

I’ve working out in gyms for most of my life and it amazes me how so many people start the new year off with amazing INTENTIONS by joining a gym and deciding to work out like they never worked out before, but don’t stick with it.

Their good intentions usually last only a few weeks.

By the end of January, those “motivated” people fall by the wayside.

Why does this phenomenon occur?

Because most people don’t know how to set goals.

Here’s what most people are doing wrong:

1. They don’t set specific goals; they said “I want to get in shape” versus “I am going to lose 10 pounds by March 1, 2011 at 8am.”

2. They let their goals too low. Michelangelo said, “It’s not that we set our sights too high and we don’t reach them; it’s that we set our sights too low and we DO reach them.” Set your sights high!

3. They think they can do it on their own. Get a trainer. Get coach. Get an accountability partner. Tell everyone about your goals. THEN you will be more likely to stick with it.

4. They don’t make their goals important enough. If something is important enough, you will stick with it.

5. They try their best, instead of DOING WHATEVER IT TAKES. There will be days you don’t “feel like” sticking to your goals. But those are the days you HAVE TO. Winners and losers feel the same feelings, but winners take the right action.

What are YOUR New Year’s Goals?

Leave your comments below.

Want a jump-start to a new you? Email to schedule a free 10-minute mental toughness consultation, or to request information on one-on-one mental toughness coaching via telephone/skype.


Have you ever had a fear of something?

Perhaps playing in front of a big crowd? Speaking in front of a group? A piano recital?

Fear is normal. But you don’t have to act like you are fearful. Focus on the process, not the outcome.

As a matter of fact, fear is nature’s way of testing you to see if you are serious about your goals.

Are you?


Do you have goals?

Do you have specific goals?

Do you have specific, written goals?

Do you have specific, written goals with you right now?

Do you take action every day to ensure that those specific, written goals will be met?

Do you have an accountability partner to help keep you on track?

Just wondering…


Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.


Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Tom Jolly, sports editor of the New York Times. Happy Birthday to a true peak performer.


Many years ago on a rainy July morning in Washington Heights, New York, a 12 year-old boy was watching TV.

“Why don’t you call your friends and go out and play ball?” his dad asked.

“Dad, I’m watching TV and it’s raining out.”

Dad said, “Come over here, I want to show you something.”

From their fifth-floor apartment, they could see the local school yard.

There, in the rain, another 12 year-old boy was hitting a baseball off a makeshift batting tee.

After hitting the ball, he ran after it, teed it up, and hit it again.

This went on for over an hour.

“I guess it’s not raining on Manny,” his dad said.

“Manny” is now one of the greatest hitters of all time: Manny Ramirez!


What do you want to be – a great athlete? a great writer? a great student? a great salesperson?

What are you doing to make that happen?

Instead of “trying your best”…Do whatever it takes.

Here are the five words why most people fail:



Thanks for reading.


“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.”

What do you want out of life?

What do you want to be known for at the end of your life?

How badly do you want it?

Do you want to be a great tennis player? Chef? Salesperson? Artist?

All of your efforts should go towards making that happen. I see too many people go from one thing to the next and they are just spinning their wheels.

1. Figure out what you want.
2. Plan out specific steps to get there.
3. Take action.
4. Make adjustments if necessary.
5. Persist.

Oh, and I forgot, don’t try your best…



“Records are made to be broken. If you have a passion and love for the game, trust in your partner and something driving you, you can accomplish extraordinary things.”

When I was younger, I was intrigued by the Guinness Book of World Records. I would sit there for hours just reading about all these amazing people and all of their amazing feats.

Well, recently, I met a world-record holder.

When I spoke at the USTA Tennis Teachers Conference this year during the US Open, I met Angelo Rossetti, who holds the record for the world’s longest tennis rally with his brother, Ettore.

Several years ago I was rallying with one of my students and we were able to get 650 shots in a row – it took twenty minutes and we were pretty happy.

Can you guess how many shots Angelo and Ettore hit?


It took them over 14 hours and 31 minutes on September 10, 2008.

Amazing, but what I like most about this record is that they did it for charity. Several charities.

I had a great conversation with Angelo and was intrigued by his story. I asked him if he would answer some questions for my blog, which he kindly did. Here they are…

ET: What did you do/tell yourself during the rally when you didn’t “feel like” continuing?

AR: As far as a strategy, we focused on “under the ball, over the net”. If we did both we would not miss. I thought about my family, all of the supporters who were still there and about the 4 charities and the people who face diseases that they try to eliminate. Others have gone through a lot more sacrifice for a lot less reward, so it they can do it so can we. Our sacrifices of lack of sleep, food and water pale in comparison to what the starving, people with cancer and ALS go through. We didn’t let down our fans, friends and family and, above all, the people who are affected every day with (breast) cancer, hunger, Lou Gehrig’s disease and brain cancer. Sometimes you can push yourself further when doing it for others than for yourself. At the net chord at about 12k strokes I was spent. (Angelo)

ER: I felt exhausted – mentally, physically and emotionally. After the hug, I dropped to my knees and buried my face in my hands, overwhelmed by a confluence of feelings: exhaustion, relief, fatigue, dehydration, hunger, pain, joy and sorrow. In that moment, I thought of my wife Soumia, and my two children, Adam and Jasmine, both under 5 years old – and then began to weep for the children around the world who die every day from preventable or treatable causes before they reach age 5. In the developing world, mothers in many countries do not name their newborns for weeks after birth for fear they will not survive. I thought of those unnamed children. I also thought of the late Scott Wilson and the late Tim Gullikson, our honorees, and all of the victims and survivors of ALS, brain cancer and breast cancer. I hugged our Dad and gave a thumbs-up to our Mom, who was still loyally watching from the observation window. (Ettore)

ET: How did you prepare for breaking the record?

AR: One of our keys to success was a training net that attached on the top of the net that helps players hit the ball with a higher trajectory over the net and thus further in the court. It is just as much of a mental challenge as a physical one, if not more so. Doing anything for 15 hours straight is hard to do. We both were physically and mentally training by teaching 12-hour days for more than nine months. I did not eat or drink much the day or so prior as well. We had a handful of 1-hour practices throughout the year prior.

ET: Do you think that anyone can do it?

AR: Records are made to be broken. If you have a passion and love for the game, trust in your partner and something driving you, you can accomplish extraordinary things. With that said, I find it tough for anyone to rally for a longer time period as previous world records were done in half the time. We welcome anyone to raise money for charity and try for the record as we did this year and will do in future years. We secured $1M this year for anyone who could break the record back on August 15. If someone does break the record we would be committed to do it again.

ET: What motivated you to try to break the record?

AR: We wanted to raise awareness and funds for four charities that hold special meaning for us: the ALS Association, Save the Children, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Tim & Tom Gullikson Foundation. The effort was inspired as a way to honor Scott B. ­Wilson, our fellow USPTA Professional, friend and mentor who lost his battle to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2005 at the age of 42, and Tim ­Gullikson, who died of brain cancer in 1996. Early in their careers, the brothers worked with Wilson, who was a head pro at the time. The Rossettis, who collected approximately $20,000 to date, aim to raise $25,944 by December 31 to match the number of strokes from their world record rally. Contributions to all four charities are still being accepted online at (click the logo of the charity of your choice).

The Rossettis certainly had a great purpose for their goal.

If you make a goal important enough, anything is possible. The Rossetti brothers are leaving a legacy – and they’re just two regular people…and so are you.

< br />Thanks for reading.


Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Tina Odisho in Elizabeth, NJ.

In my book, “Game. Set. Life.” I wrote how only about 3% of people have goals. Those are all the successful people in the world.

Imagine this scenario…

You’re getting ready to play a game of soccer. Then, all of a sudden, they remove the goals and the referees say, “Play ball!”

What do you do? Maybe kick the ball around a bit? After a short period of time, you would get bored, wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t get anywhere. You’d be running around in circles. You might give up.

Life is the same way – are you just going through the motions? Just kicking the ball around? Goals will give you a purpose; they will keep you motivated.

Figure out what you truly want to accomplish in this world – what you want to leave behind.

Be specific.

Take action.

Start today.

Thanks for reading.


“Lost time is never found again.”

Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Craig Brotman, racquet stringer for the pros, in Sarasota, Florida.

Have you ever noticed that the greatest athletes in the world are able to slow the game down to their speed? Don’t they make everything look effortless?

We all know that there are 24 hours in each day, but why do some people feel like there aren’t enough hours to get everything done? Why do some people always seem like they are in a rush?

Well, there are many reasons, but time really is subjective. Most of us don’t appreciate time. When we are experiencing something unpleasant or difficult, time seems to go by so slowly. But if we are having a blast, it flies by. But there is also something called, being in the now, where time seems to stand still.

I know in my own life, once I started having gratitude for all the big and little things in my life, time started slowing down. Once I started setting goals and making the best out of every day, my world changed. Time changed. Let me put it another way…

“If you had a bank that credited your account each morning with US currency in the amount of $86,400, and every evening cancelled whatever part of the amount you failed to use, what would you do? Of course, you would draw out every cent of the deposit!

Well, time is such a bank. Every morning it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off as lost whatever of those seconds you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries no balance forward to the next day. It allows no overdrafts. Each day it opens a new account with you. Each night it burns the record for the day.

If you fail to use the day’s deposit, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against tomorrow. You must live in the present – on today’s deposit. Invest it so as to get the most in health, happiness and service.”
-Source unknown

So what are you doing with your time? What are you going to do today?

Thanks for reading.