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I overheard a conversation the other day that, unfortunately, I've heard far too many times. The story always seems to be the same. It's a weekend golf, basketball or baseball tournament, a swim meet or some other competition that the parents have to invest a lot of their time, money and energy into. The family packs up for the trip, spends at least one overnight in a hotel and has to pay a ton of money to feed everyone. For some parents, under these circumstances, it's hard for them to not feel that they are entitled to a little "return" on their investment in relation to their son or...

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One of the more common and frustrating problems for athletes and their coaches is to consistently perform better in practice than competitions. What causes this and what can be done to turn it around?

The "practice athlete" as they sometimes call themselves are relaxed, confident and aggressive in practice. They have access to all of their skills and show great potential when their performance doesn't seem to count in their minds. However, the minute you stick them in a pressured situation, it's like that old movie, THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS. Someone else takes...

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Perfectionism: The need to be perfect /a strong intolerance for anything short of perfection is not always the athlete's friend as it appears to be. On the surface, striving for perfection or to be the best seems like a pretty positive trait to have. It helps you set big goals and then motivates you to go after them. The drive to be perfect also motivates you to look for imperfections in your technique and performance, thus helping you to actually get better. The perfectionist athlete is never satisfied with his...

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The key ingredient that separates champions from everyone else is not talent or ability. It's not simply work ethic because a lot of athletes are willing to work hard. It's not better coaching or training opportunities. The crucial difference that makes a difference in determining how successful you'll be in both sports and life has to do with one word: FAILURE. How you handle your failures, setbacks and mistakes will ultimately determine whether you soar with the eagles or gobble with the turkeys. Within your failures you'll always find the seeds to your success.

Everyone has heard...

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A U-13 soccer game had to be suddenly stopped because two mothers of players on each opposing team began physically fighting and rolling around in the mud, kicking, screaming and slugging each other. What earth shattering, critically important issue could have led them to resort to fighting? Ironically one of the mothers had criticized the overtly physical play of the other's son. And just like that, the game had to be discontinued while all 22 young boys gathered around to watch this gruesome and embarrassing spectacle of adult inappropriateness.

Let's all try to remember something...

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I had a conversation with a coach over the weekend who told me a wonderful story about what makes coaches good teachers. He was working with one particular kid in the pool who just didn't seem to be getting the technique changes that this coach wanted her to make in her strokes. No matter what he said to her, or how he said it, nothing seemed to click. Then the coach remembered that she was "an artsy" kid so he decided to take a risk and say something very different. He told her, "I want you to just paint me a picture with your strokes."

Based on what the coach and swimmer had been...

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