Solving Your ‘Parents’ issue: Creating a value-based culture to transform your program

Culture has the power to build or break you as a team. It is the x-factor when the competition is tough, and the framework that holds every decision and every behavior on your team to a high standard. But how do you create a truly bulletproof, values-based team culture? And, the bigger question is, how can you create a team culture that extends all the way out to the parents?

We sit down with expert, John O’ Sullivan, an internationally known TEDx Speaker, and the founder of the Changing the Game Project, to discuss the following topics (and more!):


When there is an issue with parents, it typically comes out of fear. Fear for their kid that they won’t get playing time, that their hard work won’t be rewarded, or that the coach isn’t being fair to them. Irrational reactions, aggression, emotional outbursts, and unproductive communication methods typically stem from an emotional response to fear.

As a coach, you can combat fear by providing...

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5 Ways self-talk will help you now!

 By Olympian Courtney Thompson

You should exercise unrelenting discipline over your thought patterns.  Cultivate only productive attitudes… You are the product of everything you put into your body and mind.”  -I Ching

In my experience, it’s pretty safe to assume that everyone wants to be confident.  No matter what you are doing: Playing a game, giving a speech, on a date, or taking a test at school, it’s going to be infinity more enjoyable when you feel good about who you are in that moment. In other words, confident in your own skin.

I know from personal experience how painful it is to NOT be truly myself in a given moment. It’s a feeling, in my opinion, significantly worse than losing or failing or any of the things we spend time worrying about.

What I want for you

This is my challenge to the athletes I work with: Fight and work towards being your true self, nothing more and nothing less, in every environment you...

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How Coaches Can Make Small Communication Shifts for Big Impact

We sat down with communication expert, Betsy Butterick to discuss how you can make just a few small changes to communicate with your team in a positive, constructive way that nurtures growth. You can watch the entire interview here and read about he interview below. Here are a few highlights:

  • How to deal with difficult parents.
  • How to communicate effectively with athletes on sensitive issues.
  • How to correct and critique so your athletes actually hear what you are saying
  • How to nurture a positive environment with your words. 

This is an in-depth coaching masterclass, so buckle up and get ready to learn from Betsy!


Betsy began our interview by teaching us the very actionable strategy and high-power impact of communicating with athletes in a positive way. Namely, she discussed how coaches can reframe negative feedback and rephrase it in a positive way. By sending a positive, constructive message, you can create change and increase...

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3 Simple Tricks to Increase Competitiveness in Your Athletes

Everything is going well until… it isn’t. Then what?

The thing is, you know and I know, that your athletes are going to STRUGGLE at some point- one mistake is going to turn into 2, 3, more? You will likely lose, an athlete will be in a slump. Someone will get injured and another will just have an 'off' day.

So if we KNOW this is going to happen, why not have a plan for when it does? In this information packed interview, I team up with Fast Pitch Fit founder and mental training expert Jenn Starkey to talk about how athletes can use her 3 simple hacks to get them back to a strong, competitive mindset when things aren’t going their way.

Her exercises demonstrate the true power of visualization and mental training and her way of teaching is truly special. (this will be a GREAT video to share with your athletes).

Watch the video, and take her lessons back to your team to show them how the smallest mental adjustment can mean the difference between a foul ball and a home...

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The Top 4 Reasons You Don’t Visualize

I’m bad at visualization,” said a young tennis player I've been working with recently. I get this a lot. In fact, I would say about a quarter of the people I work actually verbalize this statement out loud (there's no way to know how many people believe it but choose not to say it).

So, I wanted to take a little time to talk about visualization, to break it down a little further. After all, visualization is one of the most powerful tools you have for training your subconscious to achieve what you say you want to achieve. And it's not just for sports, it's a highly valuable tool for all parts of your life. Research has shown us this time and time again.

If you are a coach, parent, or an athlete, not only should you be utilizing visualization to help you achieve your own goals, it should be the backbone of your mental training program.

With all this on the line, why isn’t everyone utilizing this powerful (and super simple) tool?

There are a few common myths...

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Mini Training: 4 Simple Steps To Improving Your Team Culture

Note from PPT: This blog is an overview of Lindsey Wilson's mini training, originally published in our Positive Performance Mental Training For Coaches group on Facebook.  Click the video below for the full training.

There are 4 areas (we like to call them "buckets") of team culture. These buckets represent the different parts of a team that need to be addressed in order to cultivate a positive and sustainable team culture. Build an army of leaders who are devoted to upwards trajectory and growth for the betterment of the team by addressing the following:  

Individual Mindset

If you've ever flown in an airplane, you've been told that in the case of emergency, put your oxygen mask on before helping others with their own. The same goes for athletes on a team.  If you're not taking care of, or feeling great about yourself, it's nearly impossible to contribute to a positive team culture. If you're tearing yourself down, you may even be subconsciously...

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The Opportunities We Don’t See


When I’m working with a team to teach them how the brain works, I take them through my go-to favorite exercise that illustrates a really important concept, one that is very easy to forget.

  • First, I tell everyone in the room to look around for the color red. They might suddenly notice the red sweatshirt, the red button, the tiny bit of red in the painting on the wall, little things that they hadn’t noticed before.
  • Then ask them what blue items they noticed in the room, and of course, they didn’t SEE blue because they weren’t LOOKING for blue.

I was reminded of this recently; reminded that this lack of awareness about things that you’re not looking for happens all the time. Even those of us that teach this stuff fall victim to it. That’s why we often need others in our life to remind us to look for opportunities, to see things in ourselves that we take for granted and don’t fully appreciate, to see the goodness in others, or to look...

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5 Simple Steps For Dealing With Nerves

You’ve seen or experienced it before: an athlete practices and trains with focus, determination, and passion for a competition only to tighten up in their big moment.

All that work....wasted.

Seeing an athlete break down and self-sabotage is heartbreaking. Nerves are complicated, and every athlete is different. For one athletes, nerves may make them just a little more hesitant, a little less joyful, a little more stressed than they need to be. For another, nerves can be the trigger that unleashes a flood of emotions. (And of course, for a lucky few, nerves are the thing that they need to compete at their best.)

Big or small, nerves often have unpredictable results and make it difficult for many athletes to play to their full potential.

When there is unrealistic pressure, it’s easy for athletes to get way too nervous, even quit on themselves, their goals, or their belief in what they can do.

So how do you as a coach help your athletes deal with their nerves? After all,...

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Keep Athletes Psychologically Sharp With This Visualization Exercise

Being ON all the time is physically and psychologically exhausting. If you notice your athletes becoming fatigued toward the end of the season or at the end of a tournament, it may be because they are not relaxing and re-booting between games. In this video, Lindsey describes two visualization exercises that can help your athletes be ON when it matters, and relax in their down time; helping them ward off fatigue and stay sharp on game day.

In this video, Lindsey points out that visualization training is based on the scientific evidence that the brain responds well to imagery. You can tell yourself to relax, but it's more impactful when you imagine relaxing in a systematic, visual way. Here are two scenarios that you can use to help your athletes visualize decompressing.

Deceleration Visualization

Have athletes relax somewhere quiet. They can lay down or sit up in silence. Tell them to take a deep breath and release. Tell them the following:

  1. Imagine you're driving a...
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Mental Health Awareness Month: You Are Not Alone

On April 8, 2016, I read a Facebook post reporting that ex-Kansas University football player Brandon Bourbon committed suicide.

“Oh no…no, no, no,” I whispered back at the screen.

You would have thought I knew him. You would have thought we were related by the rush of emotions that took over.

I didn’t know Brandon personally. But as I sat, for almost an hour, reading through all the final goodbyes from family, friends, and former teammates, I just wanted Brandon back and a chance to tell him…I get it. His suicide shook me because there was a time when I would have wanted you to read my name instead of Brandon's.

I can’t put my finger on an exact time or event. It was a slow descent into depression and anxiety that influenced at least ten or more years of my life after college.

And so I need to take you back to high school, maybe even before that, and tell you that I have always been an athlete. Sporting a reversible green-and-yellow Parks and...

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