I recently read a promo by a mental performance coach…he said, “Do you think about walking or talking?…No. the mental game is the same way” (I agree).

He then went on to say that he has the best “routines and techniques” to keep your mind clear during competition…

Interesting. Then how come we don’t need “routines and techniques” while walking and talking?

Think about the last time you had a peak performance. Were you using routines and techniques, or were you “just” playing?

I already know the answer.

In my opinion, when we perform at our best, we are “just” doing it and in the moment. So why then, when we are not playing well would we use “routines and techniques” to take us out of the moment?

One of my favorite things to do is to interview gold medalists, world champions, national champions, professional athletes, and performers on their best performances. They never say they “thought” themselves to victory. They always say they were “just” doing it and as a result, they had little thought, performed with freedom and ease…and kicked butt.

Can you remember the last time you “thought” about walking? If you can, you probably stumbled…

Ed Tseng
Mental Performance Coach
Pro of the Year USTA/NJD 2005
Best-Selling Author and Keynote Speaker

For a free 10-minute consultation on peak performance in athletics, academics, business and life, email or call 609.558.1077.



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.


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:


Earlier today I spent some time with Heather O’Reilly, US Women’s Soccer player and gold medalist. We chatted about the mental game in soccer and I was impressed at how strong O’Reilly’s mental game was.

I asked O’Reilly if she ever had negative thoughts pop up in her head when competing. Her response?

“Of course!”

Everyone has negative thoughts sometimes, but the greatest athletes in the world have a different relationship to their thinking.

When Heather has a negative thought, she doesn’t make a big deal out of it. In fact, it just passes on by and she focuses on the next play.

This is powerful because when we ignore a negative thought, it disappears pretty quickly and our mind naturally clears so we have access to our intuition, wisdom, confidence, energy and peak performance. In other words, we don’t have to believe a negative thought.

If you can remember a time when you were in the “zone,” you probably had very little thinking and the thinking you did have just came and went. On the other hand, when you were in a slump, your head was probably flooded with thoughts like…

“I stink today!”

“What’s wrong with me?!?”

“Why do I keep missing that shot?”

“What will people think if I lose?”

Those thoughts have no power unless we believe them. If we believe them, we allow them to grow and they get bigger and stronger and before we know it, they take over our bodies and minds and we get stuck.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Now, you don’t have to have the experience or soccer skills of a Heather O’Reilly, but you can almost instantly have the mindset of Heather by understanding that negative thoughts are part of the game and it is always our choice whether we feed them, or let them come and go.

I’d love to hear your thoughts so feel free to leave your comments below. Thanks for reading.

For a free 10-minute mental game consultation, email: .


Today would have been artist, Auguste Rodin’s 172nd birthday. In 1902, Rodin created one of his most famous statues, “The Thinker” (above). In fact, if you look on Google’s homepage today, you can see a sketch of Rodin’s sculpture.

I know what you’re thinking, “What does that have to do with peak performance?”

My answer? Everything.

One of my influences, the late Sydney Banks once said, “The most important thing to remember is it’s not what you think – it’s the fact THAT you think.”

It took me a while to understand exactly what this quote meant, but I think I finally got it.

To me, Banks was saying, it doesn’t matter what our thoughts are because thoughts are neutral. It’s our thoughts about our thoughts that make them positive or negative. (Didn’t Shakespeare say something similar?). When we don’t concern ourselves with the content of our thoughts, they don’t last long. Therefore, we needn’t worry about negative thoughts because all thoughts are fleeting. (Can you remember the last five thoughts you had? I know I can’t).

“It’s the fact THAT you think” is a very powerful statement. I believe the power of thought is the most important thing in the whole world. Thought can create extreme confidence and thought can create complete doubt. Thought creates feelings and thought creates behavior. Don’t believe me? Can you recall the last time you had doubtful thoughts? What was your energy level? Most likely low. What did your body language look like? Most likely poor. You were simply feeling your thinking in that moment.

When you know that you are the “thinker,” you are the artist of your own life, and not affected by circumstances, situations, other people, or who got elected President. You can paint any picture you want and that picture will be your reality (in that moment).

In short…

Thought creates our world…not the other way around.

We are the thinker, and we feel our thinking.

Happy Birthday, Auguste Rodin.


Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Mark J. Larose in Clinton, New Jersey.

As athletes, coaches, students, parents and humans, we often get “stuck” in a situation we don’t like, e.g., a difficult competition, test, a difficult child, or natural disaster. As a result, many of us suffer. And our performance/state of mind suffers.

Or so we think.

The truth is, no competition, test, child, or natural disaster can make us suffer. There is only one thing that can make us suffer, and that is our own thoughts. Sad thoughts create sad feelings. Grateful thoughts create grateful feelings. If you have a garden and you plant strawberry seeds, you will get strawberries. If you plant raspberry seeds, you will get raspberries. You can’t get strawberries from raspberry seeds. Your well-being is the same way: you can’t get grateful feelings from sad thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t have sad thoughts. What I am saying is that it is your choice whether you stay with sad thoughts or just let them pass.

In life, most of us think that something, someone, or some situation makes us feel a certain way. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. If something outside of us truly could affect our feelings, then everyone would have the same reaction to the same situation.

Recently, here on the East Coast, Hurricane Sandy caused some major damage and many people were suffering, sad, frustrated and angry. But not everyone. Some people were extremely grateful for what they have in life. Others were inspired to help friends, family, neighbors, and strangers who didn’t have power, heat or homes. We all have separate realities, meaning we all see things differently. Therefore, it is not the “outside” that creates our happiness or sorrow, it is the “inside” that creates it. And that “inside” is our thoughts.

Recently, my good friend, Mark J. Larose posted on Facebook, “OK..I know there is much suffering going on…at different levels for many people. So, post here…Tell me something you are Thankful for Today. Anything. For me, I thankful that my friends are safe. Some are cold, and without power, but they weren’t hurt.”

I responded with:

I am thankful for knowing no matter what happens in life, we can all CHOOSE how we look at the situation or our circumstances. Many people are angry at “Sandy” for doing so much damage. Part of me is grateful for “Sandy” because she/he was a reminder that like a hurricane, we could have disaster happening all around us, but we (the eye of the hurricane) can still be calm and at peace. The eye of the hurricane has no clouds and blue skies can be seen from it. To me, life is not about what happens to us, but what we THINK about what happens to us.

I admit, at times during this past week I have felt sad, angry, and frustrated, but I know they were coming from my own thinking. And I know that it is normal. When I recognize that I am just thinking sad, angry, and frustrating thoughts, and I don’t need to keep thinking about them, my mood naturally rises. It’s that simple.

Having said that, I hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and sound. I know some of you have lost personal items, had damage, and have been evacuated from your homes, but please remember, situations are inevitable, but suffering is optional.

Please feel free to contact me if you should need any assistance, a charging station, or a hot shower.

With love and gratitude,


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


My friend used to coach the great Pete Sampras. One day he was training with Pistol Pete, getting him ready for his clay court season…his least favorite surface. Well, my friend proceeded to beat Sampras in three groundstroke games in a row, and as they were getting some water, he thought, “I just beat Pete Sampras three games in a row. He must feel terrible losing to his coach. What could I say to him to make him feel better?”

Before he could think of something to say, Sampras walked up to him and said, “That was GREAT! I really feel like I’m ready for the clay court season!”

Shocked, my friend thought, “What?!? How could he feel great after losing to a coach? That’s not normal.”

In a way, great athletes are not normal.

To me, what set Pete Sampras apart from everyone else was what was going on between his ears…his thoughts. He didn’t lose confidence when he lost. He gained confidence because he focused on the process and looked at his training as preparation, not a blow to his ego. Did he ever have negative thoughts? Of course he did.

We all have negative thoughts.

But Pete Sampras didn’t concern himself with his thoughts. He saw the game differently. Was the game actually different? No, only in his mind.

We all have the free will to look at any situation in any way that we choose. It’s not our situation or circumstances that affect our feelings, it’s our thoughts. 100 percent of the time.

The next time you find yourself in a “negative” situation, see if you can see it differently. See if you can see it like Pete Sampras.

Thanks for reading.


Recently I was chatting with a professional baseball player before his game. This player was as physically fit as an athlete could be, but he knew the most important aspect of the game was on the 6-inch field between his ears. I asked him if he ever got nervous during a game and he responded, “I sure do.” I then asked him where he thought those feelings of nervousness came from. He looked at me blankly.

Most people think that feelings of nervousness come from the opposing team, the crowd noise, letting your teammates down, the umpires, etc. Or from an unknown place.

The truth is that nervousness comes from one place and one place only…

Your thoughts.

Every athlete gets nervous.

Every human gets nervous.

The key is not to get rid of the nervousness. The key is to understand where that nervousness comes from, and when you see it as thought, it doesn’t seem so intimidating. When you see it as coming from outside of you, it could be overwhelming.

So how can you do your best when you feel your worst?

Just understand that a feeling is just a feeling and you don’t have to take them so seriously. You can feel nervous and not concern yourself with that feeling and still kick some major butt.

A baseball game (and life) is like a roller coaster–you will have highs and lows. When you realize that the roller coaster is inside your own head, and it is normal, you can enjoy the ride.

Physical skills take a while to develop, but you can be just like the greatest athletes in the world overnight by having the same mindset and attitude as them.

Thanks for reading.

Ed Tseng
Peak Performance Coach
Author of “Game. Set. Life. – Peak Performance for Sports and Life”
Keynote Speaker


Martina Navratilova is a former World No. 1 female tennis player. In fact, Billie Jean King said Navratilova is the “greatest singles, doubles and mixed doubles player who’s ever lived.”

I played some doubles with Martina when she was getting ready to make her comeback back in 2000. I vividly remember the first time I hit with her. She and I were warming up and I quickly began thinking, “I’m hitting with a living legend…” I was nervous and my strokes and body were extremely tight.

Fortunately, I quickly thought, “She’s just another tennis player. Have fun.” And I did exactly that and played quite well.

Here’s what happened:

1. I was having nervous thoughts which created nervous feelings.
2. My nervous feelings created my tight strokes and behavior.
3. My thoughts changed and quickly my strokes and body became more loose.

Here’s what you should understand:

1. Feelings are not created by external events, e.g., line calls, spectators, comments or Martina Navratilova.
2. Feelings are created 100% by your own thoughts (often without you even realizing that you are thinking).
3. When you are experiencing negative feelings, you don’t have to “do” anything about them. All it takes is the UNDERSTANDING that your thoughts create your feelings (you are the thinker) and if you don’t take them so seriously, your mindset will naturally rise back up.
4. With this understanding, your mind will clear and you will increase your chances of having a peak performance.


Leave your comments below.

For a free 10-minute phone, Skype or FaceTime consultation on the mental game in sports, academics, business, or life, email: .

Thanks for reading.


One of the traits successful people share is their desire for constant learning. When you have a growth mindset like that, the sky is the limit and anything is possible.

Well, my newest Facebook friend is almost in the sky, she’s 6 foot 11.5 inches tall. Her name is Marvadene “Bubbles” Anderson. I first met Bubbles after her first high school basketball game back in 2009 when she was ONLY 6 foot 10.5 inches tall. A wonderful young lady who has a growth mindset. Enjoy the video of us below and take notice how her goals were to learn as much as she could.