One area of sports psychology is relaxation/stress reduction.

In sports and life, we reach peak performance by staying in the present moment, using relaxed focus.

Here is a mini-meditation, an ancient technique used by monks that you can use anytime, anywhere to relax, reduce stress and stay in the present moment.

Take a couple deep breaths…in through the nose for four seconds and out through the nose for four seconds, from the stomach (vs the chest).

Now just observe the rise and fall of your abdomen. Don’t force it, just observe it. Thoughts may arise, that’s okay, just accept them and go back to focusing on the rising and falling.

Continue on your own for a few moments….

Notice while you were meditating, you didn’t have many thoughts going on in your head (if you did, that just means that you need to practice)…you weren’t thinking about work. You weren’t thinking about school. You weren’t thinking about getting a goldfish.

Life moves pretty fast, but when you make time for relaxation (meditation), you will have less stress, which is the main cause of disease and sickness. When you have less stress, you will perform at a higher level, slow life down and begin to enjoy the process.

You can use this technique at work, on line at the grocery store or before you perform at Carnegie Hall.


“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around every once in a while, you could miss it.”

I know something about you.

I know that many times you focus on either the past or the future.

You focus on what you did wrong in the past or what you don’t want to happen in the future.

The key to mental toughness in sports is to stay in the present moment. That’s called the zone, flow, or the ideal performance state.

I remember working with a young, up-and-coming player that had all the talent in the world, but he was losing often in competition.

He was such a perfectionist and was focused mainly on results.

“I haven’t won a match in weeks!”

“All I keep thinking about is what people are going to think if I lose.”

So I said to him, “Let’s try a little experiment. For the next two tournaments, just focus on your strategy/placement, energy level, and having fun.”

Nothing else.

It worked. He started getting better results and even said, “Hey, this is fun!”

The beauty of focusing on the present moment is that not only are you enjoying the process, but it also makes it impossible to think about negative thoughts. That’s peak performance.

Be fully present today.

Turn off your cell phone during lunch.

Give your full attention during class.

Really listen to that speaker during your meeting.

Actually taste your food.

Appreciate nature.

Be kind.

I tell my students to play every point like it’s the only point they are going to play that day. If you’re going to play the game, play all out.

Life is the same way.

Thanks for reading.


“A man who suffers before it is necessary, suffers more than is necessary.”

Have you ever gotten so worried and stressed out about something and then it never actually happened?

We, as humans, tend to worry about the past and the future, but the past is already behind us and the future has yet to come.

The only thing we have control over is our present.

What we do on a daily basis creates our destiny.

What are you doing every day? Are you reacting to life, or are you creating your life?

What causes you pleasure? What causes you pain?

Things have to be important enough to you in order for you to take action.

Is making money important to you?
Is helping others important to you?
Is being the best athlete important to you?

Think about who you want to be in the future, and then stay in the present and make it happen.

Make a list. Check it twice. And get to work.

Thanks for reading.


“…we often still find ourselves disengaged from our own clarity, moving along without thinking…”
-From “Light Comes Through” by Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

Autopilot is not good.

Many athletes are on autopilot.

Many students are on autopilot.

What we need to do is live moment to moment. We need to stay in the present.

When we play a point in tennis, we should treat it as if it’s the only point we are going to play that day.

When we are working on a project at work, we should treat it as the only thing we are going to do that day.

School, relationships and our nutrition are the same way.

Take a few deep breaths (in through the nose for four seconds and out through the nose for four seconds, from the stomach)

Observe your surroundings.

What are you wearing?

What sounds do you hear?

Notice your posture.

What position are your hands in?

Whatever you do, put all of your attention and awareness towards it. Be fully present.

Try this in everything you do today. See how you feel…

Leave me your comments.

Thanks for reading.


“Concentration is the ability to think about absolutely nothing when it is absolutely necessary.”

-RAY KNIGHT, former professional baseball player and manager

What do you need to concentrate on?

Your sport? You job? Your schoolwork?

In all great performances, there is very little self-talk going on. They “just” did this or “just” did that. They are in the zone, or experiencing flow.

There will be voices inside your head. And if you’re asking yourself, “Are there voices inside my head?”…that’s the voice I’m talking about.

But the difference between the winners and the losers is that the great ones accept those voices and then focus on staying in the present.

Here’s a little exercise to get you in the present right now.

If you’re in a place where you can close your eyes, do so. Take a deep breath through your nose for about six seconds. Now exhale out through your mouth for about eight seconds. Again. As you breathe in, imagine the air being fresh; fresh air and fresh thoughts. As you breathe out, imagine all the toxins, stress and negative thoughts leaving your body. Do this for five minutes. Set your alarm if you have to.

This exercise is a great way to relieve stress and re-focus on the present. You can take these deep breaths also between points and on change-overs during a match.

Leave me any comments.
Thanks for reading.


“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

Well, today is Day 2 of my 21 day program of exercise, meditation, and organization. I didn’t really have time to exercise this morning, as I’m about to catch the 7:36am train into the city, but I did it anyway. I also meditated and feel great. I will certainly organize later today.

Life is about moments.

Yesterday I talked about doing what you need to do.

Today, I’m telling you that after you do those things, create moments for today.

We tend to think that we will live forever.

We accumulate “things” and save all of our money, but we can’t take those things with us, can we? It doesn’t matter if you’re the richest person in the graveyard.

At the end of your life, it is the moments that you will remember. And it is the things that you wish you had done.

Go all out in life.

Go all out in your sport.

Make every day count.

We only have one chance at this wonderful thing called life.

Start taking guitar lessons. Start taking cooking classes. Make time for reading.

What am I doing today?

Playing tennis in Central Park with the great Bob Ryland, the first black professional tennis player.

Talk about moments.

Thanks for reading.


Photos from Tocoloshi Zim’s recent trip to Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Gia Bocra Liwski.

Anyone can perform at a high level if they are “in the zone,” but it’s the great ones that can put themselves in the zone more often. And although they can not avoid slumps, they can certainly shorten their duration.

Most slumps occur because the performer (athlete, musician, actor/actress, student, employee, etc) focuses on the wrong thing at the wrong time. In most peak performances, there is very little self-talk. During a slump, on the other hand, there is much internal dialog occurring.

“I can’t believe I lost the first set!”

“What if I lose this match?!”

The problem is that during a slump, the performer is focusing on either the past or the future.

Staying in the present is one of the keys to peak performance. Concentrate on how you can do something instead of if you can.

“Guilt is in the past. Anxiety is in the future. The power is in the present.”-author unknown

Thanks for reading.


“If you observe a really happy man,
you will find him building a boat,
writing a symphony,
educating his son,
growing double dahlias,
or looking for dinosaur eggs in the Gobi Desert.

He will not be searching for happiness
as if it were a collar button
that had rolled under the radiator,
striving for it as the goal itself.

He will have become aware
that he is happy in the course of living life
twenty-four crowded hours of each day.”

That’s the secret to happiness in life. Enjoying the process. Every moment. Staying in the present. Immersing yourself in everything you do.

Sports are the same way – once you start enjoying every aspect of your sport, the winning, the losing, the sun, the wind, your opponent, the hard work and performing under pressure, you will become happy and win more.

Now, I know what you’re thinking…WHY would I enjoy the sun, and wind?

Put it this way, most people hate playing in the sun and wind don’t they? Well, if you practice in those conditions, you will not only perform better when the conditions are ideal, but when there is sun and wind, you will be used to it and your opponent won’t. Advantage you.

Thanks for reading.


“Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now”

-Eckhart Tolle

“Champions do what they need to do, when they need to do it, whether they want to or not.”
-Rob Gilbert, Ph.D.
Sports Psychologist

“One of these days is none of these days.”
-author unknown
“To get what we’ve never gotten, we must do what we’ve never done…start today!”
-Ed Tseng
Author of “Game. Set. Life.”

Thanks for reading.