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.


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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What to do when an LGBT player comes out to you

We had the great pleasure to speak with Dr. Jenny Lind Withycombe about diversity among elite athletes.  Dr. Withycombe, has over 15 years experience within the field of athletics as an athlete, coach, consultant, sport psychologist, and diversity and inclusion educator. Most notably Dr. WIthycombe has worked with the NCAA, AMCC and the US Rowing team.

Dr. Withycombe often gets asked the question of: What do I do when an LGBT player comes out to me?

The #1 reason that students don’t come out to coaches and teams is the fear of discrimination. So if they start the discussion, Dr. Withycombe advises that coaches first first thank the athlete for feeling comfortable enough to come out to you. Reassure your player that this doesn’t affect how you feel about them and offer your support. Ask your player to tell you how you can support them, especially if they want to tell the team. The coming out process is very complex so it’s important to be a support...

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How do I promote athlete diversity without sacrificing our team or school’s brand and reputation?

We had the great pleasure to speak with Dr. Jenny Lind Withycombe about athlete diversity.  Dr. Withycombe, has over 15 years experience within the field of athletics as an athlete, coach, consultant, sport psychologist, and diversity and inclusion educator. Most notably Dr. Withycombe has worked with the NCAA, AMCC and the US Rowing team.

Dr. Withycombe often gets asked the question of: How do I let my athletes be true to themselves? (Without sacrificing our team or school’s brand and reputation)

Dr. Withycombe believes coaches are sometimes stuck between a rock and hard place when it comes to expectations for student athletes. It’s a hard balance protecting the brand and performance of athletes but also allowing athletes to retain their individualism. Dr. Withycombe advises that you bring it back to respect. There has to be conformity within the team but make sure you press that this is about inclusion of all, regardless of gender, race and religion.


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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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What's your athletes' THING? - The fart smeller and other NFL stories

I once heard from an NFL coach that each player in the NFL has their "thing" they rely on.

‘Honestly, Lindsey,’ one of them confided, ‘you could come into our facility and I could tell everyone that you were my professional fart sniffer; you smell my farts to make sure my hydration and nutrition are good. I’m telling you, no one would blink an eye. They’d probably try to hire you.’

Obviously, this is an extreme example, but it holds true: the best players go into competition feeling – and believing – that they bring something special to the table. This is true for the role players as much at the stars, true for team sports as well as individual competition.

The best competitors have an IDENTITY and they prepare in accordance to that identity.

Imagine a team made of athletes who each believe they have something valuable, unique, and powerful within themselves to offer. Each player would position themselves mentally to adhere to that...

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How fear impacts performance

In this article:

  • Learn what fear is, and what it isn’t.
  • Understand how irrational fears affect you.
  • Learn to control your fear by finding your Zone.


Control your fear

I work a lot with athletes on fear. Unfortunately, most believe fear is a weakness. It’s not. Our bodies are designed to feel fear. The problem is that we humans commonly lack the mental tools necessary to deal with fear, thereby allowing fear to run our lives.

I had three experiences lately that made me reflect upon fear in a more personal way: two were in the ocean; the last was on a flying trapeze (yes, that’s me in the photo at right).  

Fear experience #1: Powerlessness.

I was in Hawaii over the holiday. While i was there, my boyfriend and I decided to go snorkeling...Terrible idea.

We had just traversed the rocky shore and immersed ourselves in the water when the tide shifted. We were caught in a washing machine of currents. The waves threw us...

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Injury - The mental side

Being sidelined affects the mind just as much as the injured body part

It’s truly a marvel of modern science that we have so many different ways to reduce injuries, minimize their effect, speed up recovery, rehabilitate after trauma and generally allow an athlete to compete with injuries that, even a decade ago, would have kept them on the sidelines.

In my own collegiate years, I used a variety of contraptions I’d never heard of before: a bone-growth stimulating machine, high-powered ultrasound, an automatic pressurized ankle boot, and a pocket-sized electric stimulation machine. I had customized orthotics, mouth guards, braces and one very confusing shoulder sling … custom made, of course.

Physically, I was more than taken care of, and I have no doubt that each one of those elaborate and costly contraptions helped me a great deal. I’m grateful for that. But psychologically, I had few resources to turn to when I was injured.

Teammates, coaches and trainers...

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