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Pre-Competition Mental Game Talk…

In this video, Ed chats with a tennis player before her high school match. In this behind-the-scenes look, Ed talks with Sydney about the mental game, what goes on in her mind before and during a match, and how the principles that Ed teaches are very different than traditional sport psychology and mental training approaches.

 

For information about how you can work with Ed, email: ed@edtseng.com or call 609.558.1077.

PPP 018 TANYON STURTZE, FORMER NEW YORK YANKEES RELIEF PITCHER

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In this episode of the Peak Performance Podcast, Ed chats with Tanyon Sturtze, former setup man for Mariano Rivera and the New York Yankees. In this exclusive interview, you will hear Ed and Tanyon talk about:
  • The mental game in baseball (and life)
  • The mind of Mariano Rivera
  • The character of Derek Jeter
  • What challenges Tanyon and other elite athletes face
  • And much more!

For more on Tanyon, follow him on Twitter @Sturtze56

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PPP 014 CAM CALKOEN, CEREBRAL PALSY TO WORLD-CLASS SPRINTER

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In this episode of the Peak Performance Podcast, I have a true peak peak performer. Cam Calkoen was born with cerebral palsy and the doctors said he wouldn’t be able to walk and would spend his life in a wheelchair. Neither his parents nor Cam listened. He first learned to ride a bike, and then went on to become a world top 10 100m and 200m sprinter. Cam now travels the world inspiring others. I even give you a sneak peak at the behind the scenes conversation that Cam and I had before the recording. Enjoy!

More on Cam: www.camcalkoen.com

Cam on Twitter: @CamCalkoen

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PPP 007 GARRET KRAMER, AUTHOR AND MENTAL PERFORMANCE COACH

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In Episode 7 of the Peak Performance Podcast, I speak with my good friend, Garret Kramer, author of “Stillpower” and the forthcoming, “Path of No Resistance.” He is also, in my opinion, the top mental performance coach on the planet. I truly enjoyed talking with him about the missing link in the mental game today in the sports world. Simple, yet game-changing.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • A simple understanding that all great athletes know
  • Where our behavior, feelings, and experience originate
  • What determines how long you stay in a slump
  • How to access the zone
  • Why traditional sport psychology and mental coaching strategies, techniques, tools, and routines are not necessary
  • Why results are not the most important thing

Link:

Garret Kramer: GarretKramer.com

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MESSAGE #1657 EVEN SINATRA GOT NERVOUS!

Today’s message is especially dedicated to my lovely wife, Sarah. Tomorrow, March 26th will be our 2-year wedding anniversary. We are big fans of Frank Sinatra and often listen to his music while driving in the car.

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Frank Sinatra, (aka Ol’ Blue Eyes, The Chairman of the Board and The Voice) was an American singer and actor. Many have called him The World’s Greatest Performer.

Prior to becoming a legend, Francis Albert Sinatra only attended 47 days of high school without graduating. He began singing professionally as a teenager despite learning music by ear and never learning how to read music.

The rest is history. Or as he said, the best was yet to come.

I’m a big fan of Sinatra’s music, but an even bigger fan of his mental game.

When Sinatra was a living legend in his 70s, a reporter once asked him, “Do you ever get nervous when you are on stage?”

Sinatra responded, “Every time my name is announced, the little voice inside my head says, ‘Do I still have it? Do I still have it?'”

Yes, Frank Sinatra got nervous. All the time.

So if the world’s greatest performer got nervous, it’s okay if you get nervous. In fact, it’s normal.

The difference between you and Sinatra is that he didn’t take the little voice inside his head seriously. He didn’t make a big deal of his thoughts and then he proceeded to go out and knock everyone’s socks off.

When people take their thoughts seriously, they start feeling their thoughts, i.e., if they believe their nervous thoughts (whether they are true or not), they will FEEL nervous and their performance will suffer.

You don’t have to have the voice of a Frank Sinatra, or even be a singer for that matter, but you can have the same attitude as he did.

MESSAGE #1654 “IT’S SOOO COLD OUTSIDE!”

Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Ashley Fisher.

Well, it is currently 11 degrees (but feels like 3 degrees) fahrenheit here in Princeton, New Jersey. Everywhere I go, I hear people complaining about how cold it is outside. It seems to be making many people feel angry, annoyed, and depressed.

Guess what?

It is impossible for the weather to affect how you feel.

Disagree?

Then how do you account for some people hating cold weather and others loving it?

What’s the difference in why they feel one way or the other?

It’s in their thoughts. Feelings are created by thought and thought alone. In other words, nothing outside of you has the ability to affect you.

People who hate the cold have thoughts like, “I really don’t like getting in my car when it’s cold” or “I hate having to scrape off my car.” Then they feel annoyed.

People who love the cold have thoughts like, “This is great skiing weather!” or “This is a perfect hot chocolate day!” Then they feel excited.

When we have a thought, we automatically have a corresponding feeling. 100% of the time. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week…whether you know it’s happening or not.

I know what you’re thinking…”Ed, how do I change my thoughts?!?”

Answer: You can’t.

Your thoughts will change naturally if you don’t make a big deal out of them. For example, if you looked at the weather report and it said it would be 11 degrees today, you might have a thought like, “Gosh, that’s cold, it’s going to be miserable out there today.” If you take that thought seriously, your mood will begin to go down. On the other hand, if you just let that thought pass, a new thought will probably replace it like “Big deal, I’ll just bundle up…I can’t wait to get some fresh, crisp air in my lungs.”

Thoughts come and go and feelings come and go. When we don’t put much value on the content of our thinking, we naturally reset to a place (space) of happiness, clarity, wisdom, and peak performance.

It’s like when you hold a cork under water…if you just let go of the cork, it will float up to the surface all by itself. Your state of mind is the same way.

The only thing holding the cork back is your hand.

The only thing holding your state of mind back is your thinking.

Final thought: You know how people say don’t believe everything you hear? It’s also true that you shouldn’t believe everything you THINK.

Thanks for reading.

Ed Tseng
Peak Performance Coach
Author, Speaker
Pro of the Year USTA/NJD 2005
ed@edtseng.com
609.558.1077

For a free 10-minute consultation, email: ed@edtseng.com

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 #1648 ARE YOU RUNNING AWAY?

I have a client and friend I’ll call George. When I met George, he was depressed for many years. During our first conversation, he had an insight and understood how the human experience and mind worked. He realized that he was creating his own suffering for all those years via his own thoughts. His depression has disappeared and hasn’t shown up since. Recently, George and I were talking about how our thoughts create our experience in the moment. I said that you could be on a beautiful island sitting on the beach, but if your thoughts are stressed and filled with concerns back home, your experience will be unpleasant. I also told George that there are people in prison who feel more free than when they were not incarcerated.

George was silent for a moment and said, “That reminds me of when I was depressed…I was in Hawaii, looking out at the ocean, and all of a sudden, anxious thoughts came over me and I was miserable.” He went on to say, “Also, during that time, I moved to Florida, thinking that perhaps moving to paradise would make me feel better. It didn’t. I now know that it was my thoughts that were creating my suffering, not my situation. It was like the Bob Marley song, ‘You’re running away…but you can’t run away from yourself.’ ” I said, “Exactly! It’s like running away from your own shadow.” Thoughts and feelings are directly related.

Our experience of life comes 100% from our own thoughts. Our experience does not come from anything outside of us. It is impossible for you to have a stressful thought and feel happy. It is also impossible for you to have a happy thought and feel stressed. It’s a principle, like gravity: What goes up, must come down. What we think, we feel.

I had never heard the Bob Marley song George was referring to, but “Googled” it. It is now my new favorite song. Below are the lyrics and video on Youtube. Enjoy!

You’re running and you’re running
And you’re running away.
You’re running and you’re running
And you’re running away.
You’re running and you’re running
And you’re running away.
You’re running and you’re running,
But you can’t run away from yourself.
-“Running Away” by Bob Marley

MESSAGE #1645 ANDY’S DREAMING

I just read an interesting article on Yahoo! Sports by Martin Rogers about how Andy Murray is having “bizarre dreams” and is thinking about seeking a sport psychologist to work with. You can read the article HERE.

While reading the article, I had many insights about how Andy is heading down the wrong road, and actually wrote to Mr. Rogers. Here’s what I said…

Hi Martin, I am a mental performance coach and I just read your interesting article regarding Andy Murray and his “bizarre dreams.” I thought you might find my two cents (five cents) interesting.

#1 Murray is taking his dreams too seriously. Dreams are not reality, they are merely random thoughts when you are sleeping and if you don’t take them seriously, they have no power over you. Do people take guns and wear bullet-proof vests to watch action movies?!? Of course not, because they know it’s not real. Neither are dreams. The problem is, feelings actually “feel” like reality, but when people don’t see that it’s just coming from their own made up thinking, they start heading down the wrong road and try to change the situation.


#2 In your article, Murray said, “I’m staying in a quieter hotel than usual this time and trying to make sure I don’t spend too much time around the courts.” This is a red flag to me because a quieter hotel and being around the courts has nothing to do with an athlete’s state of mind. Focusing on external factors is an outside-in approach and that hurts performance and mental resilience. The mental game is internal, or an inside-out understanding so trying to change external factors is like trying to make the tail wag the dog…it doesn’t work.


#3 It worries me that Andy’s mother and Ivan Lendl are taking Andy’s dreams seriously as well. And talking to a sport psychologist will not help because sport psychologists use an outside-in approach, which include techniques, rituals and routines that lead athletes in the wrong direction. These techniques will only create more thinking in Murray’s head and as all athletes and coaches know, increased thinking during competition equates to decreased performance. The zone, or flow is a state of no thought, so it makes no sense to me why someone would want to consciously increase the amount of thought. Yogi Berra said, “You can’t think and hit at the same time; a full mind is an empty bat.” A full mind is also an empty racquet.


#4 Murray is on “an emotional rollercoaster at the time when he should be resting.” Athletes (and all humans) will be on emotional roller coasters during the course of their day, but as long as they understand that this is normal and it’s going to happen, they don’t have to take them so seriously. As a by-product, the roller coaster ride doesn’t last as long. Pete Sampras has admitted to constantly being on an emotional roller coaster during a match, but the difference is in Sampras’ relationship to his emotions. When asked, how he still was able to perform despite the fluctuations in feelings, Sampras responded, “I know that it’s just part of being a tennis player and those feelings don’t concern me.” Same situation, different thoughts about the situation.


#5 You wrote, “If the dreams threaten to turn from an amusing talking point and into a problem, the coach will be certain to take swift action.” It seems to me they are already turning into a problem if they are considering getting help. I would bet that whoever Murray decides to work with will use techniques, routines and/or rituals to try to “fix” Murray’s mental game. Well, guess what? He’s not broken! Nobody is. But sometimes we get in our own way but don’t realize it’s coming from us. It would be as if I made a scary face in the mirror and actually got scared. If people can truly understand how their minds work, they will be able to consistently perform at a high level. Unfortunately, this understanding is the only thing that will help Andy take his game to the next level and help him get over his “bizarre dreams.”


“The only thing to fear is fear itself.” -FDR


I’d love to hear your thoughts.