5 Reasons I (finally) hired a professional coach

"5 Reasons I (finally) hired a professional coach", By Lindsey Wilson, was recently featured in The Huffington Post. Click the link to see the article.


I have to admit, as a former athlete, I love everything about being coached; I love the accountability, the goal setting, the planning, the undivided attention of someone who believes in me. I even love the hard stuff, like someone telling me I’m making excuses or that I need to stop doing stupid shit.

But I was late to professional coaching mostly because I didn’t really know what it was. I always assumed these coaches spent their days white-boarding with the president of Coca-Cola or brainstorming leadership ideas with the CEO of Google. I wasn’t exactly sure how they could help me.

But, I was curious because I missed it. I missed having someone in my corner that saw in me a level I couldn’t see in myself.  Plus, there was this nagging voice in my head that told me I could do more.


5 Reasons I...

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Embracing failure: The clumsy, embarrassing (and usually ugly) path to success

A guest blog, By Tyson Hartnett


It was my first game on my high school's varsity basketball team. I was a rising junior and the starting point guard after being on the JV team the season before. What do you know, my first game is against a crazy-athletic team that full-court pressed the entire game. Great, I thought. Just great. As the point guard, it was my responsibility to catch the ball and organize our attack against the full-court pressure.

At that moment (after my fourth straight turnover), I wanted nothing more than to hide and never touch the ball again. I was humiliated and embarrassed. But, even more so, I was scared. I was afraid that if I got the ball, I would fail yet again.

Clearly, it wasn't going very well.

At that moment (after my fourth straight turnover), I wanted nothing more than to hide and never touch the ball again. I was humiliated and embarrassed. But, even more so, I was scared. I was afraid that if I got the ball, I would fail yet again.

But, I...

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How to Get Out of a Slump

The dreaded slump. Is there anything worse?

Whether you‘re the athlete in the middle of it, frustrated because you don’t know where to turn, or a coach, parent, or teammate watching from the sideline and feeling helpless, slumps suck!

The truth is, it doesn't matter how talented or experienced you are,

Slumps hit all sports and all athletes.

In the past three days, I’ve worked with two athletes experiencing slumps. Unfortunately, coaching athletes out of their slumps isn’t unusual. Far from it. Slumps are very common, and they don’t discriminate; they hit every kind of athlete, no matter their sport, gender, seniority, age, or skill. Here are the stories of my two latest slump-stricken clients:

Jack is a 17-year-old baseball player who had an amazing junior year on the plate. He batted over .300 and set his sights on a college scholarship. Then senior year came and he experienced a few rough at-bats, starting worrying about that college scholarship, and...

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Why confidence matters for a high school athlete

confidence Feb 19, 2016

It’s likely that, if you’re reading this blog, you know already that a little thing called confidence has a big impact on performance.

Maybe you’ve seen your son or daughter struggle with confidence and are feeling helpless, searching for answers anywhere you can find them.  Maybe you’re a coach who spends time trying to convince your athletes they’re capable, to no avail. Or maybe you’re an athlete yourself, wondering why the one thing holding you back from being your best feels so elusive.

I’m not here to tell you what you already know: Confidence matters.

But I won't just tell you about why confidence matters, I will dig deeper into why confidence seems to be a particular struggle for a particular type of athlete: the high school aged athlete. Then, I'll wrap my blog up by giving you a free download of my new guide designed to build confidence: 4 Quick Hits to Confidence.

I'll begin by telling you about:


My journey to...

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The surprising thing about confidence

Imagine you possess all the material success you’ve ever dreamt of. You have a career full of accomplishments, you live in the house you’ve always pictured, and you hold the respect and admiration of your peers, colleagues, and friends.

In other words, you’d expect to be wildly confident in yourself, right?

Well, not exactly…. While we all picture a future where we ‘arrive’ at our most confident selves, the reality is that’s not how confidence works.


How does confidence work?

When I'm working with athletes, it’s easy for me to look at the ones who have been successful and think, “Now, that’s confidence!”

However, many times I don’t know the backstory of how they got to that point. So while, at times, I'm witnessing true confidence, the result of hard work, failure, and perseverance other times I'm seeing mere “surface confidence”, or an unsustainable, skin-deep confidence that doesn’t...

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3 Ways fear improves performance

competition fear Oct 26, 2015

This time of year is ripe with haunted houses, frightening costumes, gory props, heart-stopping pranks, and a deluge of horror movies infesting our television networks. And it's all fun, right? The pretend danger, the lure of mystery... these things give us a thrill unlike any other. After all, as I've told you before...

Fear is our body's response to something new, not necessarily something dangerous. Fear is also a tool you can use to improve your game in all it's facets: mind, body, and soul. Sounds deep, I know, so let me break it down...

Fear sharpens your MIND

Who knew scaring yourself could actually improve your brain's function?

In the words of Joseph LeDoux, neuroscientist and author of "The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life", fear "juice[s] up the brain". It activates our amygdala (the fear center of the brain) which increases our fight or flight response- something that is necessary for sports.

And remember, just as Megan Smith, Assistant...

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Using visualization to crush the next pitch

Coaches, have you ever had a hitter who puts in the work, does extra reps, and who genuinely cares?

She’s a player who legitimately works HARD.

Yet she continues to spin her wheels and her progress is slow at best, leaving both of you frustrated. However, she still has moments of brilliance that keep her going and reaffirm to you that she, indeed, can do it.

Knowing she’s capable, you push the fundamentals in practice and do everything possible to prepare her physically for competition. But nothing much comes from it.

So, what’s the next step?

If we were to poll all the softball coaches reading this, it's likely that most of us would say the mental game is incredibly important. Yet, when we examine the time spent working on our mental game each week we find we’re severely lacking.


Softball: The mental game

In the game of softball, I find that hitters most often lose out on the full benefits of mental training mainly because there are so many of them....

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Prove it: The science behind the power of purpose

Last week we discussed some ways that athletes can make the most of injury. We talked about how a sidelined athlete can take opportunities to learn new skills, interact with fans, improve mental strength, and build closer bonds with coaches and teammates while going through the rehab process.

While not explicitly mentioned, all those tasks point to maintaining one thing: PURPOSE.

During injury and rehabilitation, an athlete can experience depression and anxiety as a result of loss of identity. Maintaining a purpose throughout that confusion is essential to a having a successful emotional, physical, and mental recovery.


The purpose of positivity

FACT: Maintaining a sense of purpose makes you healthier.

James Clear, writer and ex-All-American athlete, shared his thoughts on the connection between a longer, healthier life and purpose. He explains that Japanese women maintain an average 86 year lifespan, the “longest disability-free life expectancy in the world.”

...

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5 Ways being sidelined can be a good thing

Nobody likes injury. First, it hurts. Second, it means you need to take time out in order to heal. Third, being apart from the game and from your team can leave you isolated and alone. Nobody likes feeling alone. But the fact is that injury is a part of sports. There comes a day when every athlete is injured, and many have to sit it out of practice and games until they've been given the thumbs up to start playing again. You can’t change injury once it’s there. So own it, face it head on, and commit to healing from it as you would commit to taking down an opponent.


The mental side of injury

There’s a lot of mental flak that gets thrown into your face when you’re injured. Even though we mainly focus on mentally preparing athletes for performance, we know that preparing athletes for periods of non-performance is also important, but it’s also a whole different ball game. That’s because you can’t meditate your way out of an...

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Why trying to be cool will ruin your basketball career

By Tyson Hartnett, contributing author.


Everybody tries to be cool. That is the goal for everyone growing up. That was the goal for me growing up, too. Coolness was this far away land where the kids who partied and smoked lived.

But guess what?

I wasn’t cool. I was never cool. Believe me, I tried but I didn’t fit in.

Seriously.

I was too tall and lanky; I was weird and shy; I was awkward. I tried being funny so other people would believe I was cool, but I’m pretty sure they saw through the desperation.

It was tough, not being cool. I didn’t get invited to parties, I didn’t drink every weekend, and I definitely didn’t smoke.

But all the cool were kids doing it. A lot of times, I thought, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I fit in?”


Basketball was my escape.

It was rough not having everybody want to be your friend, but the one place I didn’t care about being cool was on the...

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