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Grit: Get tough with tough love

As we leave another Valentine’s Day behind, it’s time we put down the feel-good greeting cards to refocus on sports and let loose a little harsh truth: tough love breeds toughness.

Tough love is real love

Love is too often romanticized into something simple and carefree, that once you’re “in” it's all smiles and flowers and hearts and x’s and o’s, forever and ever. Pretty, yes. Practical? Not even close. No doubt falling in love is wonderful.

“Falling” is, however, the simple part. (As athletes, we know gravity cannot be resisted!) It’s the staying—the constant maintenance, the working through the hard parts, the training, and the getting over the unavoidable mistakes and hiccups—that constitute a successful love relationship.

Don’t be mistaken: the same basic principles that apply to love also apply to sports.

Tough love means getting gritty, and even a little dirty

Call it what you will: mental...

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The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat: Unavoidable pain in sports

Sunday’s Super Bowl was Exhibit A of why so many of us just LOVE sports, even when it hurts. For most people, there are very few times in life when so much is riding on a single moment.

No PowerPoint malfunction has grown men throwing punches; no sales meeting has people with painted faces screaming; no last second email makes a city’s collective stomach sink.

This passion, this pain: it’s the price we pay for caring. 

What a difference a week makes

Last Monday, after the NFC championship comeback, Seattle was literally skipping through her day. As I visited the doctor’s office that afternoon, nurses were wearing Russell Wilson jerseys instead of scrubs and nobody cared that appointments were running 20 minutes late.  In every café, restaurant, and shop, people were talking about ‘The Comeback’. “Go Hawks” rolled off the tongues of old ladies and hipsters, immigrants and yuppies alike. The sun even came out. For...

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Ursula Grobler: Training tips from a champion

Uncategorized Jan 27, 2015

When people want good advice and training tips, they want it from a champion in a specific industry. For business, you might want to get advice from Elon Musk. For politics, perhaps you’d listen to what Jay Inslee has to say.

For athletics, rowing in particular, Ursula Grobler is someone we should perk our ears to listen to.

I’ve mentioned before that Ursula achieved (and still holds!) the Erg World Record. What I haven’t mentioned is that, before she accomplished that feat, she’d only been in training for five short years and, even then, she didn’t even start out intending to become a professional rower! Prior to rowing competitively, Ursula was a runner, and only took up the water sport out of curiosity. (Source: King 5, Aug 2, 2014.)

Her swift, initially unintentional rise to the top is what makes her accomplishment all the more impressive and her story all the more compelling.

Trusting the Process

Before discussing rowing specifically, Ursula...

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Russell Wilson and his Jedi mind tricks

blog Jan 22, 2015

Seattle NFC Championship game between the Seattle Seahawks and Greenbay Packers

It was perhaps one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the NFL. And, while you can certainly look at the X's and O's, in my opinion the real keys to Sunday's NFC Championship game came down to the intangibles.

In particular, looking at Russell Wilson, the Seahawks quarterback, one can see the enormous importance of mental toughness. But it’s important to note that these displays of mental toughness aren't accomplished on the day they happen, but rather from a culmination of months and years of mental preparation. We know the Seahawks practice regular meditation, visualization, and other mental training techniques so they are prepared for moments of adversity.

Here are the...

3 ways Russell Wilson and the Seahawks' commitment to consistent mental training paid off

#1. Patience

Our first example is actually of how the Seahawks spent nearly 56 minutes of the game NOT being patient...

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Ursula Grobler: Winning for the love of the game

Ursula Grobler has a strong love of the game. In hearing her speak, it's easy to see she has a true passion for her sport and there's no doubt that that passion is a strong driving force behind her success.

Last week, I reintroduced Ursula Grobler, 2010 Erg World Record holder, and gave you a peek into an interview I conducted with her about how mental training impacted her outstanding erging performance. (If you missed that article, click here.)

I wanted to continue that thread by sharing a few more portions of that same interview with you.

Ursula Grobler's 2010 Ergomania World Record

A member of Ursula's crew stood by and video recorded Ursula as she pushed herself through Ergomania in 2010 and surpassed the previous record by a full two seconds, a seeming eternity in the sporting world.

Watch the video (Ursula is the one in the white shirt, fourth from the front, with the colorful socks :) ) and take special notice of how relaxed she is even though...

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Ursula Grobler: Erg rowing & mental training

On October 4, 2014, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ursula Grobler about erg rowing (aka “erging”) and the effect mental training has had on her performance. (If you don’t know what erging is, it’s the use of an erg, or a “ergometer”, an indoor training tool for on-water rowers and better known as an indoor rower, one of the toughest full-body exercises to tackle.)

Ursula is the 2010 Erg World Record holder, a feat accomplished at Ergomania 2010 (otherwise known as the Northwest Indoor Rowing Championships). Most recently, Ursula finished fourth in the lightweight single sculls at the 2011 World Rowing Championships and she continues to train hard with the ultimate goal of achieving first place because, as she says, "fourth isn't first"!

Needless to say, Ursula’s an athlete who is experiencing steady improvement in her performance.

Our conversation was a lengthy one, but from it I was able to glean some really great insight into how...

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4 Things excuses say about you: Why you might be avoiding your 2015 fitness resolutions

Fitness resolutions are some of the most common, and toughest, goals people create for themselves. Why is that? Well, likely because “fitness” doesn’t involve just one specific thing, but a whole slew of miniature commitments that all must be taken seriously for the ultimate goal to be achieved. And, when those smaller components aren’t taken seriously, that’s when excuses creep in to mess up those good intentions.


 

How many fitness resolutions are in your fitness resolution, exactly?

One of the main reasons why 92% of people fail to achieve their New Year’s fitness resolution is because they’ve improperly considered the actual goal they've set for themselves. In other words, the goal is too vague; the resolution is actually composed of several explicit goals rolled into one.

For instance, we all know “getting fit” doesn't happen by a flip of a switch! There are lots of factors and sub-factors to consider, like…

  1. ...
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Hit your performance goals for 2015

2015 change goals performance Jan 01, 2015

With the switching of calendars comes the all too common New Year’s wish:

“I want to change me.”

Many people’s New Year’s Resolutions refer to weight loss, a career change, or a new outlook on life. But, for athletes and coaches, what does “change” really mean? Does it refer to something that can be seen or touched, like a different workout regimen, a new schedule, an alteration of pace or program? Or does it mean something less material, like a switching of attitude or perspective about the game overall?

Any of these things can affect an athlete’s performance for better or worse. But, without solid performance goals set in place, measuring those changes will be difficult and possibly even pointless.

Designed to create goals

Human beings are natural record keepers. We like to know where we’ve been so we can know where we’re going. From warfare to finances to relationships, recordkeeping, whether written down or merely kept...

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New year, new resolution

What New Year’s Resolution can help you be happier, healthier and less stressed?

We've all tried the resolutions to eat better, exercise more, watch less TV. Blah blah blah. This year, why not try something different? Something that can help you be happier, healthier and less stressed. Even better, it’s something that is actionable and concrete; and it can be done in less than 10 minutes a day.

So for your resolution this year, join coaches from all over the country for our popular 5-Day Coaches Meditation Challenge? After all:

"Studies have shown that meditation can cause parts of the brain associated with learning and memory to grow in size and those connected with stress and anxiety to shrink."-Goldin, P. R., & Gross, J. J.

Plus, our challenge is FREE! It's part of our mission to help coaches and athletes be better in all they do.

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Ready to join us for our 5-Day Coaches Meditation...

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Selfishness is out of season: 4 Ways leadership in athletics isn’t about YOU (part 2)

Last week we opened up a conversation about what leadership in athletics means, starting with these two concepts:

  1. Leadership means giving, not taking.
  2. Leadership means you want to serve, not be served.

We ended the previous article by discussing how military training and athletics share an interesting commonality: both require hardcore mental and physical strength. We’ve made this comparison times before, and for good reason.

 

1.     Leadership means being a role model

Whether you’re leading your team officially under a title banner (e.g. as Coach, Quarterback, Captain, etc.) or unofficially, it’s important to consider a hard truth: eventually your position will be taken over by someone else.

Lt. Col. Stacy Clements of the U.S. Air Force wrote a commentary on leadership recently. Much of the article was dedicated to military-specific concepts, but, having related athletics to business AND the military, it was interesting that the Lt....

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