Masterful Lesson

Jordan Spieth's Masters mistake is a teachable moment about choking in competition, but it misses the bigger mental game lesson.

Fraudulent Draft Day Fantasies

The lights of the NHL shine bright on draft night and they can easily blind optimal motivation. Sometimes dreams can be so vivid and so emotionally sustaining they leave an individual neglecting to attend to important initiatives and hurdles during the journey.

Grit's Dilemma

It should come as no surprise that athletics is ready to jump on the grit-wagon. Is it ready for the bright lights of big time athletics?

Crisis of Confidence

Confidence when poorly defined and poorly understood can be both arrogant and ignorant. Not a great combination when high performance is the goal. “Positive of victory.” A quaint wish. Perhaps a nice pop psychology mantra. Performance confidence at its truest, is likely more honest than this statement.

Reconsidering the Coach Archetype

This seasoned and successful coach seems to understand that fussing and cussing is not much of a way to build a championship team. There is evidence that less dramatic leaders create better functioning teams…exactly what sport is all about.

Sporting Experts, Parenting Amateurs

Too often society’s approach to sports is paradoxical – serious in emotional investment, yet frivolous in community educational investments. The growth and development of children at play ought to be too important for this amateur approach to education.

The Case Against Mental Skills

Mental imagery. Cue words. Goal setting. Centering techniques. Anecdotal reports suggest that Olympians are masters of mental skills… the scientific evidence however suggests that sometimes mental skills are much ado about nothing.

Rafa Tough

Rafael Nadal absolutely dominated the 2013 tennis hard court season. Color commentators and fans alike praise his relentless competitiveness as the foundation of his mental game. Such observations overlook his ultimate sign of mental mastery achieved.

Baseball, PED’s, and Ending an Era

Rules and regulations about moral conduct are poor motivators towards fair and healthy play. The player himself makes the final choice to inject the juice or rub the cream, but the steps to the shady doctor’s (or pseudo-doctor's) office are paved by community and culture.

From Sesame Street to Mean Street—Overnight

In one season, youth sport coaches seem to turn off of Sesame Street and onto Mean Street. This is really confusing to kids—and stressful.

Great Expectations

Expectations in sport are a funny thing. They can lift you up, break your heart, and just about anything in between. The frustrated athlete can often be heard lamenting, “If I just lower my expectations a bit I would be less disappointed and feel less stressed around the playing field.”

Parental Passion Refined

Sports parenting is tough. There is a fine line between supporting and smothering. It was exciting to see a room of passionate sport parents reflect and refocus on how best to play positive roles in their children's growth and development.

The Athlete’s Temple

I get the spiritual roots of many martial arts, but the modern day padded rooms, centered by a cage, and filled with board short wearing combatants feels a long way from the well manicured grounds of the Eastern temples. Sure one research participant said “temple,” but should we cling to this idea?

Considering Caring After Head Trauma

Vast resources are being put towards understanding the neurophysiology of concussion. Sports equipment experts are readily searching for the Holy Grail – concussion preventing headgear. Yet too often neglected is a keen understanding of emotional care for the concussed athlete.

Benched with Fear and Confusion

Sport parenting is a thankless task. The brush of “bad sport parent” paints in broad strokes, regardless of the best intentions of most sport parents. The message is in essence, sign your kid up and back away… far away. This needs to be reconsidered now more than ever.

Coaching on the Island of Misfit Toys

Professional and collegiate sport teams spend endless hours scouting and recruiting players… youth sport teams do not. Moms, dads, and unwitting volunteers often find themselves standing in front of a band of pre-adolescent athletes who more resemble the cast aside toys in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer rather than the starting squad for Manchester United.

Priming Performance

Self-control on the playing field is over-rated. The most impressive displays of mental toughness occur rather effortlessly… or to be more precise, they are displays of automatic self-control.

Life Balance: Gatorade for the Mind

Balance may not be a prerequisite for achieving athletic excellence, but it certainly appears critical to maximizing and sustaining it. Having interests beyond the playing field seems to serve as an innoculator for the stresses of sport.

Lance: I Love Him, I Love Him Not

Sport itself has exacerbated the cognitive confusion presented by Lance Armstrong, he did good and bad. There are enough complexities to the human condition. Is it too much to ask for our play and our everyday to share the same values?

Forget Fun, Embrace Enjoyment

There is a problem with fun. It is the wrong word that creates the wrong idea... especially at more adult levels of competition (teenage years on). Words matter. They create cognitive schemas and shape behaviors. Fun is the right idea, but the wrong mental message.

Pithy Quotes and Performance

Leaving mental readiness to motivational quotes and calorie-light phrases is a sure way to fail the confidence and resilience test on game day. The key to a robust mental game is the meaning making that an athlete does to give the simple phrases resonance.